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Discussion Starter #1
Hello there,
I've searched the forums a bit and couldn't find an answer - sorry if this has been covered.

I'm having an issue with my ABS:
Under arguably 'medium' braking, and with the slightest turn of the wheel, the ABS activates even though all tires are on dry pavement and have 100% traction. This actually could be quite dangerous if I have to increase braking while steering because sometimes the ABS activation can increase stopping distance while traction is 100%.

All tires are at the correct PSI

My brake light is on, however, so that might possibly be a symptom of the underlying issue. (It's the red "BRAKE" light that is on....not the ABS light)

Another side question...what are all factors that could turn on the red "BRAKE" light. (My parking brake is not engage, although maybe I should inspect the switch...)

Thanks all!
 

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The brake light is for the e brake. Does your truck have the "T" handle ebrake. I recall having to bump mine often to keep it from being lite.

The rear axle on my Hardbody (which essentially is a gen1) has a suspension lift proportioning brake valve (my own term). As you stomp on the brake the truck will drive and the rear end lift. As the rear end lifts the it will tend to skid if the same amount of brake force is applied. Thus this little gizmo reduces the amount of brake pressure to the rear wheels as the rear end lifts. If it is not functioning properly (like missing the spring) then then back end will tend to lock up and force the ABS to start pulsing. One thing to check.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Update: While driving home last night, ABS was activating under light (medium at best) braking while driving straight and on dry pavement. Considerably worse than my original statement.

Thanks for the suggestion. However, I can confirm that my truck does not have any of that equipment mounted to the rear diff. Regarding wiggling the parking brake, I'll mess with that to see if the BRAKE light turns off.

What else could set that light off, though? Low brake fluid level?

Does anyone else have any other thoughts of things to check for the ABS activating under unnecessary circumstances?
 

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I had a 2013 xterra that did that because of a bad wheel sensor. It would do it until the system recognized a problem and disabled abs. It would happen every time I started driving for the first 3 or 4 stops.

If your abs light is on you can grab the code and see what the problem is. Could be more than one thing with a truck this old. They are also known to have a host of abs issues.
 

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I think he said that he was not throwing up a ABS warning light.

Low brake fluid, you should have already checked that.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys.

I would agree that a bad wheel/abs sensor is a probable culprit. But without the ABS light being on, is there a way to troubleshoot besides replacing parts and hoping I fixed the problem?
 

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Bad e-brake warning switch or circuit issue, low brake fluid, faulty low brake fluid level sensor switch or circuit or a hydraulic issue, and/or a charging system problem can all cause the brake warning light to illuminate. Low brake fluid in the reservoir would be the first thing to check, as mentioned.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Update: The ABS activates every time I touch the brake pedal now. The ABS light is FINALLY on! Now I have a place to start troubleshooting.

Fun Fact for ABS light troubleshooting, with your vehicle off, on your OBD2 port under your steering console, if you jump the top right terminal (#9) to the 4th from the right terminal on the bottom row (#4), then turn the ignition on, the ABS light will flash you the error code(s). The long dashes represent 10's, and the short dashes represent 1's.

In my case I got 2 long dashes, and 5 short dashes....code 25 which refers to "Front Left Sensor" error.

I've called auto parts stores and the going rate is over $100 ! My service manual has some troubleshooting steps that I can exhaust before handing over all that money. I'll provide an update. Once I know more. If anyone has any experience with this type of ABS code, I'd be glad to hear about it!
 

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Update: The ABS activates every time I touch the brake pedal now. The ABS light is FINALLY on! Now I have a place to start troubleshooting.

Fun Fact for ABS light troubleshooting, with your vehicle off, on your OBD2 port under your steering console, if you jump the top right terminal (#9) to the 4th from the right terminal on the bottom row (#4), then turn the ignition on, the ABS light will flash you the error code(s). The long dashes represent 10's, and the short dashes represent 1's.

In my case I got 2 long dashes, and 5 short dashes....code 25 which refers to "Front Left Sensor" error.

I've called auto parts stores and the going rate is over $100 ! My service manual has some troubleshooting steps that I can exhaust before handing over all that money. I'll provide an update. Once I know more. If anyone has any experience with this type of ABS code, I'd be glad to hear about it!
Do you live where rust is a big deal? While a slightly different setup, my S10 blazer's front wheel speed sensor mounting pad rusted up, lifting the sensor away from the tone ring and caused the ABS to activate whenever you touched the brakes. I'm not sure about the Nissan, but you could check the Chevy with a multimeter set to VAC, at the sensor side plug, spinning the wheel and comparing side to side IIRC.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Do you live where rust is a big deal? While a slightly different setup, my S10 blazer's front wheel speed sensor mounting pad rusted up, lifting the sensor away from the tone ring and caused the ABS to activate whenever you touched the brakes. I'm not sure about the Nissan, but you could check the Chevy with a multimeter set to VAC, at the sensor side plug, spinning the wheel and comparing side to side IIRC.
Rust? ABSOLUTELY! Right in the middle of a WI winter right now. Thanks for the suggestion; I'll try and check that out after work. Good idea with the multimeter.
 

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Have you taken a look at the sensor and wire. Could be a cut wire. Could just need a brush off the tone ring.
 

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As mentioned by Nissan4life, Before replacing the sensor you should remove it, inspect it and the wires for damage, clean it good, clean the hole it sits in, and clean the tone ring that it reads.

If you still have the problem, the sensor is probably broken. There may be a way to verify that with a multi meter, but I’m not sure what it is. Hopefully someone can chime in. Maybe check resistance versus the sensor on the other side.

Looks like rockauto has a beck/arnley replacement for just under 70 bucks.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well over the weekend, I've exhausted all the troubleshooting the manual had to offer. I've confirmed there is no short in the sensor and wires, I've confirmed there is good continuity in all the cables including the ones coming from the ABS harness, I've cleaned the sensor, the hole it sits in, and the tone ring (the tone ring looked clean visually so I just sprayed brake cleaner into the hole while spinning the hub by hand. Didn't bother to take all of that apart since it was decidedly clean to begin with). I then cleaned all the connectors with electrical connector cleaner, too.

After all this (including a quick intake mod - removing the resonators and plugging where needed), I reassembled and took it for a test drive, and all is the same with 1 exception. Now the ABS light comes on immediately whereas previously it took 5 - 10 minutes of obnoxious false ABS activation every time I touched the brakes and then it would finally throw an ABS light.

So I've ordered a new ABS Sensor from RockAuto for $82.06 shipped (as well as a knock sensor and harness from a '99 Maxima to do a relocation). I'll update once I have the parts installed.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thought I'd conclude this thread.

After conducting all suggested troubleshooting in the Nissan shop manual, all fingers pointed to a bad Front Left ABS sensor.

I purchased the Front Left ABS sensor from Rock Auto and completed the part replacement. I then went out for a test drive, the ABS light was turned off (hurray!).....until I hit the brakes for the first time. The ABS light immediately came back on even with the new sensor. I then read the ABS codes and there were like 5 codes now (rather than lone single code before - Right front ABS failure).

As I was sick of dealing with it, and was selling the truck anyway, I took the ABS sensor out, got my $100+ money back, and sold the truck with the ABS light on.

In conclusion.....a can of worms was opened when I replaced the sensor, and decided to throw in the towel...
 
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