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Old 10-19-2001, 02:37 PM   #1
IanM
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Default ABS Brake issues etc.

I am seriously considering buying a WRX. I realize all cars have problems, but I am concerned about the ABS issue some people are having. Is anybody having this problem with the 17" wheels/tires? I am not sure the 17" BBS wheels are worth $1800 to me, but if it fixes the problem I would dump the Potenza's in a heart beat and buy either decent 16" tires or get 17" or 18" OZ wheels and good tires.

Any other issues I should be aware of?

Thanks
Ian
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Old 10-20-2001, 08:08 AM   #2
IanM
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So there is nothing to worry about?
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Old 10-20-2001, 02:54 PM   #3
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Wheel size shouldn't affect the abs system in any manner. It's basically a weird (possibly poor) abs brake design.
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Old 10-20-2001, 03:09 PM   #4
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I dunno, I think people are blowing it out of proportion. I read a couple threads on the issue before it ever happened to me. I wanted to see what the actual result was, so I went out, found some really crappy roads, did a couple of runs while braking hard and turning. Yea, the abs clicks on, the pedal feels funny (drops a bit), but nothing crazy. I don't think this would make the car go out of control or anything, however if your driving so hard that this is a problem, I hope its on an autox course or a track, not local roads. I would advise anyone with a rex to go out and attempt to try it (safely).

You know what, now that I think about it, tires and wheels will definately affect this. I'd like to see what some people with lighter wheel setups have to say about the problem, and then compare it to people running heavier wheels. In addition, if your running any other suspension upgrades, that'd probably affect this as well.

0.02

-jb
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Old 10-25-2001, 11:29 AM   #5
Spa2K
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After seeing all of the posts here on ABS problems, I spent a lot of time in my WRX trying to cause the ABS to misbehave in all sorts of conditions—bumpy, smooth, wet, dry, gravel, grass, straight, turning, two wheels on pavement and two wheels off—and I couldn't do it. Not once did the system do anything unexpected.

As a result, my conclusion on the reported ABS problems is that there can only be two things happening (and I'm not taking sides):

1. The drivers of the cars reporting the problems are inexperienced, incompetent or just got scared driving over their heads and beyond their capabilities. They felt something funny happening under their braking foot and, in a moment of panic, interpreted it as the brake pedal going to the floor. This group really bothers me, because there are too many drivers like this on the road, and they have no business being there in high-performance vehicles.

2. There is a real problem—either intermittent or affecting only a certain bunch of WRXs—that needs to be addressed. This group really bothers me, because I don't want to be sharing the road with drivers of cars with disappearing brakes. I'm also troubled by the fact that no one who has experienced the "pedal to the floor" problem has been able to duplicate it; if it happens to you, I'd suggest turning around and going over that same section of road again at the same speed to see if it happens again. If it does, get your car to a dealer before your car gets you dead!
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Old 10-25-2001, 12:23 PM   #6
Zoomer
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Spa2k - Since the ABS (if that indeed is what the problem is) anomoly happened to me, I think it appropriate that I respond to your post.

At the time it hapened, I was only going 30mph or so and was prep-ing for a turn. I'm not a pro driver but I think I can handle 30 mph without being "over my heads and beyond my capabilities". Also, this is not my 1st car with ABS. I know what the pulse of ABS feels like and this wasn't it. The brake was soft almost to the floor. So that said we are left with your explanation #2 - either intermittent or affecting only a certain bunch of WRXs.

I got mine in April. It now has 8k miles on it and this is the 1st time I experienced this problem. The dealer has checked the entire brake system item by item at the direction of SOA and couldn't find anything wrong. I have been unable to reproduce the problem .. even at the exact same location. I'm stumped !
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Old 10-25-2001, 12:26 PM   #7
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I forgot to mention, anybody who has experienced this brake problem .. please contact SOA. They tell me only a couple of calls have been received about this problem. They need as much info as possible to track and identify the problem in order to come up with a solution.
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Old 10-25-2001, 03:53 PM   #8
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zoomer...
my thoughts exactly. i was coming to a stop light on a busy city road. not exactly pushing the car. I have had the car for 4 months and it was the first time it happened to me.
well, basically everything you said!!

-A
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Old 10-26-2001, 02:06 AM   #9
ANZAC_1915
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Even if the ABS design/firmware was completely whacked the pedal shouldn't go to the floor. It does go down a bit w/ ABS activation though.

If it really is going "to the floor", then it sounds like a hydraulic (pump, fluid, solenoid) problem to me.

I've spent a fair bit of time driving WRXs, and the ABS has always done exactly what I expected. There may be some cars with a problem, but none that I have driven.

If anyone has one of these cars in Seattle, I'd be happy to try it out.

Glenn
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Old 10-26-2001, 02:31 AM   #10
veowsaku
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To Spa2K, I don't think you have spent enough time in your car to see the ABS problem (I have both legacy and impreza and I drive 30,000-40,000 miles per year). ABS problem will come to you sooner or later but when it actually happened, don't pee on yourself because we already give you enough warning.

PS. Sometime you can't really simulate the problem no matter how hard you try but it will caught you off-guard when you are not paying attention.

Khem
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Old 10-26-2001, 10:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by veowsaku
To Spa2K, I don't think you have spent enough time in your car to see the ABS problem (I have both legacy and impreza and I drive 30,000-40,000 miles per year). ABS problem will come to you sooner or later but when it actually happened, don't pee on yourself because we already give you enough warning.

PS. Sometime you can't really simulate the problem no matter how hard you try but it will caught you off-guard when you are not paying attention.

Khem
And sometimes it's driver inexperience or a brake system malfunctioning on a specific car. Sorry, but I trust my many years of experience autocrossing, racing and testing cars to tell me what I need to know.

After what happened to Ford and Firestone, does anyone here really think SOA would try to hide an ABS problem with the WRX? Doing so could put the company out of business in the U.S. in a very short time.

I've had enough dealings with SOA and the dealer with BAD WRX to know how the system works. When SOA becomes aware of a problem—as reported by dealers who have actually seen and tested the affected vehicles—it puts the wheels in motion to solve the problem. Now don't get me wrong, I think SOA moves much too slowly—but after it sees enough evidence, I believe the company will act to remedy any problem (even those like the air-conditioning issues that so far have eluded SOA).

However, even though the tech folks at SOA read these boards, they can't act without hard evidence—and all of you guys who are just gassing here without taking your cars to a dealer are contributing nothing to solving the problem. And if you can't duplicate the problem either by yourself or with a dealer tech at your side, how can anyone believe there really is a problem? Sometimes you just get yourself into a one-time situation that makes you wet the seat, but so far that's not SOA's fault. The only thing that will put this ABS issue to rest is if someone can actually prove that it happened; just saying that it happened once isn't good enough.
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Old 10-26-2001, 06:56 PM   #12
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I'm with Spa2K on this one. I had a Legacy GT wagon that I drove the piss out of before getting my WRX wagon, have driven RSes hard, etc, and I have never experienced the brake problem.

To answer one question, I don't really know if wheels/tires will affect this "problem." Wheels/tires will assuredly affect braking performance. I remember being accustomed to my WRX with DMS, P1s and stainless lines, and driving a stock car. I came up to a stop, applied the brakes at the same point I would customarily apply mine, and about shat my trou!

The ABS didn't go off, but boy, those RE92s were saying "I don't know what YOU want to do, but we're not with the program."

Suspension will also improve braking performance, especially in the wheels off the ground situations that rough or uneven pavement duplicates. I actually thought that my ABS was defective, and didn't work after getting my DMS and Goodridge lines put on (not that I ever doubted you, rao!

Kevin
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Old 10-26-2001, 10:44 PM   #13
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Certainly the RE92s are going to cause more ABS activation.

If Subaru is culpable of anything, it is fitting those tires.
Driving the Aussie WRX with 17" wheels and RE-011 (?) tires it was quite different.

I know we got a low MSRP, I just wish they hadn't cut that particular corner.

Glenn
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Old 02-11-2002, 10:45 AM   #14
mtb_dude
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Quote:
Originally posted by Spa2K
After seeing all of the posts here on ABS problems, I spent a lot of time in my WRX trying to cause the ABS to misbehave in all sorts of conditions?bumpy, smooth, wet, dry, gravel, grass, straight, turning, two wheels on pavement and two wheels off?and I couldn't do it. Not once did the system do anything unexpected.


I totally agree. I've been interested in this since I first read it and there is one section of road where I live that is an exit ramp onto a smaller service road that is really bad right as the ramp hits the service road. The first time I went over that in the WRX, i was going too fast and I realized that a car was coming down the service road. I got on the brakes kinda hard and when I hit that broken section of pavement, the ABS kicked in instantly and did exactly what it needed to do to prevent me from putting flat spots on my new stock tires, and from avoiding hitting the other car! Yeah the pedal drops a bit, but it vibrates, like it should. Remember, you will experience less braking force than if the tires had normal grip, that's just pure science. Nobody says ABS will stop you in the same distance as normal braking.

Since that day, I've always thought how good theABS is and I've never had any problems. It's impressed me in rain, snow (especially), bumps, etc. Maybe those complaining of faulty ABS were just caught off guard by them. The pedal does drop, but never does the braking actually fail. And the braking force is not the same, but it's physcially impossible for it to be. I'm sure I'll get flamed, but I'm a mechanical engineer and I think I would be in tune with problematics systems.
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Old 02-11-2002, 12:52 PM   #15
FargoRS
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Quote:
Maybe those complaining of faulty ABS were just caught off guard by them. The pedal does drop, but never does the braking actually fail.
Well, what I've experienced and what other people are claiming is braking does actually fail for a brief moment. I have driven an RS, Outback, Forester, and many other cars with ABS. ABS is by no means new to me as I'm sure it's old hack to others as well. The WRX does have a glitch when braking hard on bumpy surfaces. It's one of those things that won't show up on a track or during testing....Only real world driving conditions seems to cause this.

I'm not really worried about it. I just make sure I go a little slower on roads I know that cause the problem. But there is always that thought in the back of my head that says "leave lots of following room just in case!"

Oh yeah " IT'S NOT THE RE92's" as much as I hate them, they are not to blame!

Mike
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Old 02-12-2002, 07:41 AM   #16
Zoomer
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Some people just don't get it. I'm getting a little tired of the "it hasn't happened to me .. so it doesn't exist" crowd. Hey you've probably never been hit by lightning either .. but it happens to people.

What is at issue here is not normal ABS reaction. The one time I experienced this anomoly, I was only going 30 - 35 mph - lightly hit the brakes - the pedal went almost to the floor - and the car was not slowing down. THAT'S NOT NORMAL !!!!!!!!!!

Fuse # 8 has been pulled and will stay out until SOA figures out what is going on. Having said all of that, this issue would not stop me from buying a WRX .. it's a glitch and eventually it will get straightened out.
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Old 02-12-2002, 08:30 AM   #17
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My car is right in between- the ABS activates a LOT for me, but I've never had it go to the floor, thankfully. I believe the ABS is overly sensitive, even with better tires (I have dunlop M2's on now for the winter) and think it has something to do with the rate at which the wheels bounce when going over bumps. When the wheels hit a certain frequency of bounce, ABS interprets that as lockup and activates, regardless of whether the wheel is actually skidding or not. Just my theory. I can duplicate it anytime on some roads near my house.
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Old 02-12-2002, 12:54 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Zoomer

What is at issue here is not normal ABS reaction. The one time I experienced this anomoly, I was only going 30 - 35 mph - lightly hit the brakes - the pedal went almost to the floor - and the car was not slowing down. THAT'S NOT NORMAL !!!!!!!!!!
That does sound scary and very strange.

Quote:
Fuse # 8 has been pulled and will stay out until SOA figures out what is going on. Having said all of that, this issue would not stop me from buying a WRX .. it's a glitch and eventually it will get straightened out.
Well if it ever happens to me, I will now remember to pull Fuse #8.
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Old 02-12-2002, 03:59 PM   #19
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That makes sense, jamz. I had a theory that linked this "malady" to the suspension, somehow related to the soft springs, perhaps?

It would also explain why I don't have any problems with my DMS Gold-equipped Rex wagon. It might also explain why nobody with an uprated suspension has experienced this problem.

Kevin
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Old 02-13-2002, 01:55 PM   #20
rexecutioner
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Well it happened to me yesterday also. This was not the first time either. ABS when engaged should pulse but not drop and momentarlily let the wheels free-wheel.
I was moving along maybe 35-40 when I realized I should be looking for a parking spot. Then low and behold one immediately popped up. So I pressed firmly on my breaks and midway into the stop started turning in quickly, or I would have passed it. All of a sudden the pedal dropped for a moment and I rolled forward and themn it started pulsing. On the first pulse the wheels let out a little chirp. I came to a halt about 6" from the car in the parking spot ahead of me. That would have sucked rearending a parked car while pulling in to a spot. Anyway the only thing in the road was a patched channel for running phone or electric cables. It was about 10" wide and theblending patch didnt blend too well. The only other time it happened to me, I was turning as well and slowing down for the corner at the same time.
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