I have 2002 Cavalier with ABS on all four wheels. I am very disappointed
with their performance (design?). I drive in Northern Canada, so one reason
I bought this car was ABS, because we have a lot of slippery (frozen) roads.
These particular ABS are scary how their work. Normally, on slippery road,
when brakes (ABS) are applied they go Brr---Brrrr-------Brr to prevent
The brakes on Cavalier go Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. They go berserk
once they are activated. They do not stop "pumping" unless you release the
foot from the pedal. You hear them for about another 1.5 sec when stopped
already. The bottom line is that it is impossible to stop when you need to.
I estimate that I need 3 times longer to stop compared with normal brakes or
ABS on my Ford Taurus. I bought this car for my wife with ABS so she has
better control in the winter. She is scared to drive it in winter!
This weekend I went to GM dealer, the foreman took it for test drive and he
told me that the brakes work as they were designed. He suggested not driving
it in the winter and said that people are complaining about these particular
I still cannot believe that it was designed like this. If it was designed
like that then the GM people must be brain dead!
I need some comment and suggestions, please.
Personally I'd ask to take another Cavalier out to see if that's how it's
supposed to work. On the Cavaliers I've driven once it kicks in it goes for
maybe a second at the longest at a time. Well, every GM I've driven is the
This car seems to have the Delphi DBC7 system on it.. I'm not familiar with
that exact system, but what you describe doesn't seem normal for a system of
that design (this is a 4-channel system with 2 solenoids for each wheel,
unlike the older Delco ABS VI systems that were a 3-channel system using
motorized pistons). You may hear the pump continue to run for some period
after the ABS activates, but you should not be getting pedal pulsations when
the wheels are no longer locking. I would suspect some kind of wheel speed
sensor malfunction or something - have they checked for trouble codes?
Robert Hancock Saskatoon, SK, Canada
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Proper brake maintenance and adjustment is essential to proper ABS
Remember the way the 6000's and Century's used to lock the back wheels on
Feel free to bash me, but...the back brakes get worn and out of
adjustment....when the shoes move out towards the drum, they hit the drum
and sort of go cock-eyed because they had to travel so far to get there.
This can result in premature lockup. On a slippery road, this translates
into you going brrrrrrr all the way through the intersection. If the shoes
are adjusted so they're just skimming the drum, they apply smooth, even
pressure as you brake...rather than hitting the drum and jamming, causing
the wheel to lock up. You'll really notice this on wet days, when the
brake dust is damp and tacky.
Depending on your mileage, might be a good idea to have the rear brakes
cleans and adjusted.
As the previous owner of an Astro with ABS, I know where you're coming
from...push the brake and you seem to speed up.
If the brakes are properly adjusted, and all wheel speed sensors and systems
are working correctly, the ABS should never come on (in theory). It only
comes on when one wheel starts to lock, and if a wheel has locked, you've
lost control already. This is ABS reasoning, anyway..
I lived in the North, where is stayed cold enough that they didn't even salt
the roads in town. Coming to a stop light, I used to have to aim for the
snowy patches between the polished ice wheel tracks, and hope the tires bit
ABS is not designed to stop faster. Any Joe can pump the brakes. ABS
gives you control while braking and turning on a slippery surface.
Your traction is dependent on the tires mounted on your vehicle. Tires
have everything to do with stopping, and control.
Yes that has been our recent experience;
We were approaching the intersection of a county road and the main
highway (we were on the county road) at the same time that an 18
wheeler was approaching the same intersection on our left on the main
highway. We had the stop sign the truck did not.
As it turned out the entire intersection was glare ice with almost
zero traction. Both of us put on the brakes to no effect. I was headed
right into the middle of the trailer when I instinctively turned the
wheel to the left. The car responded and I was able to just barely
miss the back end of the trailer as it passed us. Otherwise we would
have been wedged under the trailer. We slid across the highway and
gently ended up in the ditch on the other side. No harm to us or the
The ABS system did exactly what it was supposed to do-give us control,
not better traction, and that control very likely saved our lives.
A Minnesota Buick driver.
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