BRAKE light will not go out!

BRAKE light will not go out!

Postby tedanderson [OP] » April 29th 2012, 3:33am

Today I changed my brake pads and calipers and 9 hours later (on a job that should have taken no more than 2) my BRAKE light is continuously illuminated. I also noticed that the brake pedal is a little hard even though the van stops very will with very little effort. Is this an indication of another problem in the system or is this light/sensor something that has to be reset once it has been activated?

Here's the back story:

So as I stated above, I changed my pads and calipers. I did the passenger side and everything went perfectly. I had to run an errand so I cleaned everything up and drove my van for a couple of hours with no issues. Then I came home later to do the driver side and that's when I started to have problems.

The old caliper came off and the new one bolted on without any issues, however, fluid kept leaking between the caliper and the brake line screw. After fighting with it for a LONG time, I resolved myself to the fact that the caliper was probably defective. I fully came to this conclusion when I bolted the old unit back on the van and there was no leak.

Then I discovered that the bleeder screw would NOT move! :screaming:

Vice grips, a half-can of PB-Blast.. nothing would work. So I did what any non-sensible person would do and I drove my van to the parts store with limited braking capability. :naughty: Long story short, the near-miss collisions showed me that this was a very very BAD idea. :naughty:

So as I approached the intersection where the Autozone is, I made a mad dash for the left turning lane and then I started pumping the pedal only to push it all the way to the floor when I saw that I was about to hit the cars in front of me.

I couldn't stop in time so I shifted down to 2nd gear, hopped a 6-inch curb to avoid the stopped traffic, and I rode the median all the way down to the end of turn lane. Just before I hit the curb I heard a loud "bang" noise. I don't know if it was something in the back shifting around or if I damaged the transmission but once I stopped the van and collected my thoughts, the BRAKE light was on. I pulled into the Autozone parking lot, added more fluid, but the light remained on.

I exchanged the part, got back home.. in one piece...thankfully.. :D and changed out the caliper. I started it up and went for a test drive and the brakes seem to work very well.. it's just that the pedal feels a little different. It feels "hard" but I don't have to exert that much force to stop so I don't know if I got used to driving cars that run the pedal half way to the floor or if something more serious is going on. What do you guys think?
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Re: BRAKE light will not go out!

Postby chevymaher » April 29th 2012, 3:45am

Brake light needs reset with a scanner. My brakes were always a brick feeling pedal. It is normal for my van. All new brakes still hard pedal.
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Re: BRAKE light will not go out!

Postby tedanderson [OP] » April 29th 2012, 5:25am

My van is a 92. Where would a scanner be plugged in at?
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Re: BRAKE light will not go out!

Postby Jasen » April 29th 2012, 5:42am

Disconnect the battery for 15 mins, that should clear it.
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Re: BRAKE light will not go out!

Postby chevymaher » April 29th 2012, 12:11pm

tedanderson wrote:My van is a 92. Where would a scanner be plugged in at?


It is under the dash by your left leg as you sit. A square port/plug. And Jason is correct unplugging the battery will clear it on your Year van.
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Re: BRAKE light will not go out!

Postby kramerhd » April 29th 2012, 12:24pm

Jasen wrote:Disconnect the battery for 15 mins, that should clear it.


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Re: BRAKE light will not go out!

Postby tedanderson [OP] » April 29th 2012, 1:40pm

Ok.. gotcha.. kind of the same way that you dump the codes in the ECM by disconnecting the battery and then turning the headlights on.

Thanks guys! :thumbup:
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Re: BRAKE light will not go out!

Postby paintdrying » April 29th 2012, 1:58pm

Man, this is my story as well. Probably more common than we think. I started doubling up the copper washers on the lines now. I though it was just me, but there is this new thing were the brake lines leak now. This last one was some sort of unsolved mystery because the brake line and caliper were both new. Everything look and felt fine, but it leaked.
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Re: BRAKE light will not go out!

Postby tedanderson [OP] » April 29th 2012, 2:20pm

After close inspection I discovered that the mounting surface on the caliper was not perfectly level. I probably could have put my dremel tool on it and smoothed it out but I figured that was too much work to do for a new part.. and they probably would not have taken it back if I discovered another problem.. like the boot leaking or something to that effect.

But you are right.. this is a common problem. I actually found out that I wasn't crazy when I googled this issue and found it on an F-body forum. And there were guys there who said different things like discovering that they had the line on backwards or they just simply doubled up on washers.

None of that worked for me. Plus I didn't want to flip the line around in the other direction putting excess tension on the line.. I mean I could see the dent marks in the foam boot that surrounds the end of the line so I knew I had it in the right direction.

When I took it back to the store, the clerk behind the counter didn't exactly know what I was talking about so hopefully that unit doesn't end up in circulation again.
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Re: BRAKE light will not go out!

Postby paintdrying » April 30th 2012, 12:00am

I have turned into one of those hard to deal with customers when it comes to those calipers. I really give them a real good look over before i install it. Then I screw the banjo bolt for the line in, then I remove the bleeder bolt. Quality control has gone to the dogs. If it gets any worst I will just go to rebuild my old ones.
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Re: BRAKE light will not go out!

Postby redfury » April 30th 2012, 3:02am

Likely what happened was the proportioning valve moved too far in one direction to try to take up for the lack of hydraulic braking on the front wheels and sent more pressure to the rear axel. There is a sensor that detects when the proportioning valve moves. Until the proportioning is back to normal, the light will be "on" as it's a mechanical switch on most cars ( meaning it rides in an indent on the valve ). Once the brakes are fixed, a few good hard stops should reset the valve back to normal.
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Re: BRAKE light will not go out!

Postby tedanderson [OP] » April 30th 2012, 10:42pm

Thanks Red.. I am going to try that. I didn't know there was a proportioning valve but I did suspect that with all of the pumping, the rear brakes might taken some sort of overload.
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