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Old 06-16-2011, 04:03 PM
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What do you think of Anti-lock brakes(ABS)? Like them?

The first time I really spent any time driving a vehicle with ABS was in 1994. I had just returned to work at a company I had previously worked for from 1988-1992.

When I came in that first day, they assigned me a brand new 1994 Chevy full size 1 ton van. For some reason, the other guys there with more seniority than me didnt want the new van, and they kept their older vans. I guess they didnt want to be held accountable for the wear and tear put on that new vehicle. I actually never was criticized for any wear and tear over the next 3 years on it.

Anyway, it had ABS, but It didnt hardly ever kick in. But there were a few roads that I drove on periodically that had a slight bump in the road in a bad place that would cause the ABS to kick in at a bad time, like when I was trying to stop for a stop sign at an intersection where the crossing traffic didnt have to stop.

When it did kick in, it worked by automatically causing the brakes to intermittently grab and release the rotors, on and off, very quickly. The problem is, that when the brakes are being applied and released on and off, that means that half the time they are off, which means that you cannot slow down as fast as normal when the ABS isnt kicking in. As a result, I almost ran this stop sign a few times, and ran into oncoming traffic! My 2005 Dodge pickup also has ABS, and there have been a few instances where it kicked in and reduced my braking ability.

I'll compare the new-fangled, modern Power assisted, anti-lock disc brakes with the brakes I had in my 1966 Chevy C-10 Short bed/step side pickup:
These brakes were completely original, which meant they were fully manual, 4 wheel drum brakes. But I did replace shoes when necessary.

I remember a few times where I was driving that old truck, and once I came to a situation where I was forced to stomp on the brakes in order to keep from slamming into a line of cars that were backed up on the other side of a steep bridge that I couldnt see until I was on top of them! There had never been a backup like that at that area of road before either, so I didnt expect it. So I suddenly see the cars completely stopped, and I'm going about 50mph, and I've got like 100 feet to stop! So I slam on the brakes, and they lock up immediately, and the truck goes into a straight, easily controllable slide, and stops very quickly..... I missed hitting the cars by several feet, but the guy behind me in his new car had to swerve over onto the right shoulder to keep from running into me because I stopped so fast!

I can tell you for sure that if I was in that 1994 Chevy van or my 2005 Dodge pickup, I wouldnt have been able to stop in time, and I wouldve crashed into the line of cars! All because of the ABS and its disadvantage of slowing down your stopping ability, because of its intermittent braking.

There were other instances in my 1966 Chevy where I had to lock em up, but I came to a quick, controlled stop! Also in other cars I've owned without ABS.....

In my opinion, ABS is just another 'Nanny-state' idea added to cars because big brother doesnt think we are smart enough or coordinated enough to safely drive cars on our own, so we need help from some on-board computer to do parts of the driving for us!

I hear that there are more advanced ABS systems in the high end cars, which might actually work well, but I've never experienced it.

What do you think?

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Old 06-16-2011, 04:40 PM
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ABS brakes are a good thing. Trust me , they are worth it. You think you can stop as well as an ABS brake system, think again.
When you make an ABS active stop, it is because you are not ready for what just jumped in front of you, like a child or a deer.Youre never ready for that it is a total suprise and the reaction is allways the same . Stand on the brake as hard as you can, hence skidding the tires. A skidding tire has very little traction compared to a tire that is gripping as hard as it can almost to the threshold point of skidding. You cant think as fast as the ABS processor, nor can you react that fast. Proven fact.
And as for SRS (airbags) they only have to work once to be worth it
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Old 06-16-2011, 06:10 PM
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Also, in 1994, GM vans and trucks only had RWAL, which, IMHO, is kind of pointless to a degree. ABS does not mean "I can stop faster, and in less distance." The main focus of ABS is maintaining directional control. YOU CANNOT STEER WITH A LOCKED WHEEL. ABS is designed so that in a panic stop situation, you can retain directional control to seer out of the way or around something. After a certain distance and speed, also affected by tire and road temps, a skid stop becomes longer than a controlled ABS or threshold braking situation.
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Old 06-16-2011, 06:18 PM
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I drive a 97 Z71 and they saved my but just last week when a dummy on a four lane street in town was cutting in and out of traffic and when she cut in front of me there was a car turning so she locked up and I had to give them all they had and took my truck up on the sidewalk to keep from hitting her. I was able to steer to the side without sliding thanks to the ABS.
They are great when you need them ,Trust me.
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Old 06-17-2011, 04:23 AM
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I'm sure there are some good ones but I basically hate them I don't need the brakes turned off right when I need them most. Anything that dumbs down driving isn't good, just makes dumber drivers.
I've had several close calls with Ford pickups. The worst was my F150, hit a little ice, one front tire skips and it turns off the brakes. I could have been stopped by the bottom of the ditch without the abs but instead end up bouncing over the backslope and through the fence. Several times while towing the bobcat with the F250 I had it skip a front tire a little on the gravel when coming to a stop sign and it turned off the brakes and I zinged right through the intersection. Personally I go more for knowing how to avoid bad situations than trying to live through them.

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Old 06-17-2011, 05:26 AM
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I dont like them either plus it seems no one has a totally trouble free system. I've had a lot of Performance and Family cars with them and it seems they all go into ABS mode when they're not suppose to. PLus even with a brand new vehicle is seems they all have ABS issues and end up in the dealership eventually because of it.

As for my performance Vehicles I ALWAYS disconnect them, simply dont have any need for them. (plus they freak out on the 1320 when you try to stop your vehicle)

PS
Family Jeep is going in today for ABS problems and the Family Outlander has been in twice already for ABS problems
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:51 AM
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I have dealt with ABS systems since 1967. There have always been lots of arguments about them since day one and will continue to be. Most arguments come down to operators not understanding the systems and how they perform. I personally am a fan of ABS. You can not beat it on snow and ice, no mater how skillful you may think you are. In a panic stop, you will also not beat it unless you are well skilled in maintaining an incipient skid. Once tires
are locked, the melting rubber balls become a great lubricant and COE goes to nearly 0. Directional lack of control under these conditions have already been discussed. My wife's Eldo has 106,xxx miles and my Tundra has 158,xxx and both have been trouble free. I have forced my wife to "stomp the pedal" until a full ABS stop is made so that she will know what to expect when the real deal arrives. She will not give up on the system because she knows what all the chattering is about and what is causing it. I do exercise both vehicle systems on occasion to make sure they are still working, though there is no guarantee they will the next time.

Trees
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:00 AM
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ABS brakes (All But Stop)

"Operators not understanding the systems and how they work" are nearly the exact words that the GM lawyers used when they wormed out of the DOT hearings about ABS failures and the numerous lawsuits after the GM EBC-4 ABS (4WAL) brakes went to the floor and caused collisions with serious injuries and even some fatalities. GM got the idea to put ABS brakes on automobiles from the old coal burning locomotives that had a "dead man's brake"

If you don't have a Tech 1 scan tool, you cannot bleed the GM pre-1995 ABS modulator which makes the ABS brake system useless. How many car owners or technicians at auto repair shops will buy a $400 Tech 1 Scan Tool that they may not use but once or twice a year?

The ABS brakes on my 1994 F-150 pick up have not worked in 10 years and I have had many panic stops during that time and survived without a scratch. The brakes on that pick up are the best I have ever had on any vehicle, even without the ABS working.
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:18 AM
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GM and Chrysler make the worst ABS systems out. Crap designs, so failure prone. My 16 year old camry had an ABS failure last year, for the first time.
My 98 F 150 RWAL works perfectly, still
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:24 AM
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Some of the 2000 up GM systems on trucks, develop a signal problem within the wheel sensors for the front, that causes an ABS to go active at 7 or 8 miles an hour. Even though the wheel in question is not locked up, it goes active and it can cause a loss of braking to the point that you keep rolling. I have almost put a few through the fence because of it. I can see why GM would get sued.It truly is unsafe IMHO.
It may be a few more year models than that, I dont recall 100%, but I know I have experienced it more than a few times.
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willowbilly3
I'm sure there are some good ones but I basically hate them I don't need the brakes turned off right when I need them most. Anything that dumbs down driving isn't good, just makes dumber drivers.
I've had several close calls with Ford pickups. The worst was my F150, hit a little ice, one front tire skips and it turns off the brakes. I could have been stopped by the bottom of the ditch without the abs but instead end up bouncing over the backslope and through the fence. Several times while towing the bobcat with the F250 I had it skip a front tire a little on the gravel when coming to a stop sign and it turned off the brakes and I zinged right through the intersection. Personally I go more for knowing how to avoid bad situations than trying to live through them.

I forgot about the snow and ice problems with ABS. I've almost ran red lights in the snow because the ABS came on after a tire slipped a little. That's obviously not good!
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trees
I have dealt with ABS systems since 1967. There have always been lots of arguments about them since day one and will continue to be. Most arguments come down to operators not understanding the systems and how they perform. I personally am a fan of ABS. You can not beat it on snow and ice, no mater how skillful you may think you are. In a panic stop, you will also not beat it unless you are well skilled in maintaining an incipient skid. Once tires
are locked, the melting rubber balls become a great lubricant and COE goes to nearly 0. Directional lack of control under these conditions have already been discussed. My wife's Eldo has 106,xxx miles and my Tundra has 158,xxx and both have been trouble free. I have forced my wife to "stomp the pedal" until a full ABS stop is made so that she will know what to expect when the real deal arrives. She will not give up on the system because she knows what all the chattering is about and what is causing it. I do exercise both vehicle systems on occasion to make sure they are still working, though there is no guarantee they will the next time.

Trees

That's probably a good idea to go out and intentionally cause the ABS to come on so you can learn how it works and get used to it.

Where did you or your wife try that out, like in an empty parking lot or a back road?
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Old 06-17-2011, 04:05 PM
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Back road, very little traffic, wet and dry pavement and in snow/ice conditions.

Trees
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Old 06-17-2011, 04:21 PM
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I will state ahead of time that this is purely anecdotal and probably apples to oranges, but it's my experience comparing both:

I drove a 1996 Mustang GT for four years as DD with a great set of tires and upgraded brakes with slotted and cross drilled rotors, 4 wheel disc. Light for a modern car at about 3200lbs with absolutely no factory ABS. (optional)

I moved to a 1996 C2500 LD a year or so ago. Right now it has cheap Autozone front discs, rear drums, heavy at almost 6000lbs and factory abs that has been working since it was purchased with 160,000 miles all the way to now at 231,000. I can't vouch for before obviously.

In a panic stop situation I would rather be in the truck over the Mustang any day of the week. A panic stop in the Mustang feels like it stops about a thousand times faster in a perfect situation, which isn't often. When the tires lock you're at the mercy of lady luck and physics. It was hard getting used to the "fighting" feeling of the ABS in the truck, but when I have to panic stop, I don't have to worry about modulating the brakes. I can stand on them and look for a way out. Public roads aren't a race track, I'm just trying to keep my family safe and maintain a low deductible.
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Old 06-18-2011, 05:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trees
I have dealt with ABS systems since 1967. There have always been lots of arguments about them since day one and will continue to be. Most arguments come down to operators not understanding the systems and how they perform. I personally am a fan of ABS. You can not beat it on snow and ice, no mater how skillful you may think you are. In a panic stop, you will also not beat it unless you are well skilled in maintaining an incipient skid. Once tires
are locked, the melting rubber balls become a great lubricant and COE goes to nearly 0. Directional lack of control under these conditions have already been discussed. My wife's Eldo has 106,xxx miles and my Tundra has 158,xxx and both have been trouble free. I have forced my wife to "stomp the pedal" until a full ABS stop is made so that she will know what to expect when the real deal arrives. She will not give up on the system because she knows what all the chattering is about and what is causing it. I do exercise both vehicle systems on occasion to make sure they are still working, though there is no guarantee they will the next time.

Trees
So just how do I learn to drive a system that basically turns off the brakes just when I need them the most?
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