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Old 01-08-2004, 08:43 AM   #1
regista
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Exclamation ABS ECU problem in Baja too

Our 2003 Baja Sport has exhibited the same ABS ECU defect plaguing the WRX, which is now under investigation by NHTSA. My wife already got into a crash because of this. Three people got injured.

Beware of bad Baja brakes, people!
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Old 01-08-2004, 10:04 AM   #2
hatake
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Is this the one that activates ABS under rough surface and prolong the stopping distance?
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Old 01-08-2004, 05:42 PM   #3
SouthShoreBaja
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Can you describe what this sounds/feels like when it happens?

I've had mine for almost a year now and have had some quick braking instances and it performed as well as i could expect.

Last edited by SouthShoreBaja; 01-08-2004 at 05:55 PM.
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Old 01-08-2004, 07:21 PM   #4
dragonglen
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My brakes have been acting kinda funky, I was thinking about taking it in to get serviced. Sometimes I'll go to hit the brakes, and it feel like the ABS are trying to kick in or something, but the car doesn't stop like it's supposed to. I almost hit a person in front of me twice for this reason. Also, when pulling up to a tollbooth in the rain, there's a small metal piece before the ticket dispenser, and my ABS kicked in while going over it and actually made things worse, I almost drove right past the ticket. I wasn't going any faster than I have in any of my previous vehicles (93 Saturn, 00 Celica GT-S, and 95 Dodge Dakota Sport). Not sure if this info is related, but figured I'd mention it.
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Old 01-11-2004, 06:46 PM   #5
regista
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Exclamation ABS ECU problem in Baja

In our case, the brakes failed in a routine stop. The pedal felt harder than usual and there was no stopping action, even as the pedal was pressed harder and harder. Then, the pedal was released and a second rbaking attempt initiated, but this time, the pedal went right through the floor with still no braking action.

Our Baja "turned into a bumper car," for no apparent reason, other than a couple of manhole covers and a asphalt repair patch in hte area where the brakes failed to operate.

The driver (my wife) and two others got hurt. Thank goodness there were no serious injuries, fatalities, or loss of property.

The same thing seems to be happening to other models, too. There's been a Technical Service Bulletin issued for "REPLACEMENT OF THE ELECTRONIC CONTROL UNIT (ECU) FOR ANTI-LOCK BRAKE SYSTEM (ABS) REPAIR." It basically paves the way to easier replacement of deficient ECUs. Don't be surprised if Subaru replaces the Baja's ABS ECU down the road. Given teh NHTSA investigation, the WRX's will probably be first.

Call your Subaru dealer for more info.
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Old 01-13-2004, 06:59 PM   #6
dadswrx
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regista:

By any chance have you ever had the compact spare installed on your Baja due to a flat tire?

Also, have you filed a complaint with NHTSA? Especially since there were injuries involved? It's easy to do online at

https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/Consumer.cfm

Hope all that were injured are doing ok.

Mike
02 WRX Wagon
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Old 01-13-2004, 09:50 PM   #7
Baja Turbo
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Default flat tire

On autos,except Baja Turbos you install a fuse under the hood in the fuse box to disable AWD when you are using the tempory spare to keep from doing damage to the AWD system.
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Old 01-18-2004, 03:13 PM   #8
BostonBaja
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I almost went soaring through a busy intersection today and thought of this post. Granted, the road was a little snow covered, but not a condition that has been a problem with other ABS cars. So I put on the brakes to slow down, the ABS seems to kick in, but I had the pedal all the way to the floor and I was not slowing down at all. It was a little scary seeing my car sliding into a few other cars and feeling like I had no control. I have never felt out of control in any of my Subarus in the last 15+ years...in any condition before. Could this be a result of this ABS probelm mentioned here?
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Old 01-25-2004, 01:22 PM   #9
regista
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Exclamation Could be, but SoA will say "not in our car!"

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Old 02-26-2004, 04:26 PM   #10
regista
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Exclamation Here's some news on the NHTSA investigation...

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Old 02-26-2004, 09:52 PM   #11
dtesta
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Default I hope there is nothing to this but...

I did not think much of it when it happened but I came to a stop in my driveway (mostly gravel and some ice) just a bit faster then I normally would and the car did not stop. It gave me quite a scare, traveled about 10 feet further then I expected to and almost ended up inside my shed. At the time I did not think there was enough ice to do that but I just wrote it off to one of those things. 2004 Turbo. Has anyone tried to make it do this to see what would happen?
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Old 02-26-2004, 10:21 PM   #12
regista
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Exclamation My Baja's ABS brakes went wacky...

...while literally inching my way into my narrow garage one morning. When I applied the brakes, there was no stopping. Since I was just going so damn slow, the parking brake worked just fine.

The first time it ever happened may have been to a valet parking attendant who drove the car to us and said- "Hey, there's something wrong with your car's brakes!" We all were puzzled, as they seemed to work fine then. Never gave it another thought until my wife got into a fender bender because of it.

It's happened three more times since. Always under 20 MPH on routine (no-brainer) stops. The kind of stop where ABS isn't needed at all. Have taken it to the dealership to check and they just say it's "normal behavior" and keep telling us to mash the brakes when it happens.

The point they're missing is that it happens when mashing the brakes is not required. Not panic stops, but ordinary "ease the brakes into a stop" stop.

Our attorney suggests that we get rid of the car to avoid potential liabilities down the road.

But is this, or pulling the ABS fuse, or drive around manholes and potholes to avoid the defect, what one plunks hard earned cash for when purchasing a vehicle in Good Faith?

I don't think so!
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Old 02-26-2004, 11:30 PM   #13
BajaNut
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I havn't seen it in my 04 turbo yet. I had a scary situation the other morning. A lady in a explorer decided to stop it in my lane behind a blind curv. The roads are not too great out here and are a bit ruf. My car stopped just fine. After I stopped, the lady looked at me like "what are you doing?". like she wanted me to hit her. I hate it when poeple do that. when they are in the wrong but act like they arn't. But any way. We both with on our marry ways and no harm, no foul.

Ben
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Old 02-27-2004, 01:19 AM   #14
SouthShoreBaja
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Its instances like Ben's that i wish i'd opted for the James Bond package. Take her for a ride in my ejector seat.
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Old 02-27-2004, 01:21 AM   #15
BajaNut
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hehe. . boy do I wish.
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Old 02-27-2004, 08:39 AM   #16
Baja Milk
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Not the only ones...

I've owned this Baja for about 2 months I've experienced the same issue..Crawling into my driveway (lil bit of ice..tiny tiny) and the ABS started kickin back my pedel. Scared me for sure...thought i was going to go off the side of my driveway.
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Old 02-27-2004, 09:43 AM   #17
regista
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Exclamation We've had it happen 5 times in 7K miles...

...one of them resulting in a personal injury accident (meaning we may very well get sued). Subaru, on the other hand, says it's "normal behavior."

So... according to Greek logic theory...

Given the fact that the observed ABS behavior has resulted in automobile accidents...

And that the factory says this behavior is normal.

Then, would it be safe to conclude that the factory sanctions (as normal) ABS behavior that causes accidents???

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Old 02-27-2004, 09:02 PM   #18
Samirr76
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No they're saying its driver error....smartypants. and that it would nt have stopped any faster (or slower) without ABS. ABS does NOT affect your braking distances. If you have no traction you have no traction, ABS cannot magically create more traction.

Close to 20k on my wife's Baja and not a single problem.
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Old 02-28-2004, 09:09 AM   #19
regista
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Exclamation You don't know what you're talking about...

...do a search right here at NASIOC and read up. You may want to go to NHTSA's website and do a search in their complaints database. Google it.

Do your due diligence. Be informed. Be prepared. It may very well happen to you, too.

And if it does, it won't be a pleasant experience. Particularly if you cause property damage, personal injury, and/or loss of life as a result of your Baja stopping a tad too late in an otherwise routine stop, denying you of your will and intent to stop your vehicle.

Caveat emptor and good luck.
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Old 02-28-2004, 05:28 PM   #20
Samirr76
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If you felt you were having an issue you probably should have thought of taking it to a subaru dealer before an accident happend.

Were you with your wife when the accident happened? Do you know the actual circumstances from firsthand experience? Maybe you should get your wife online to describe what happened in her own words since she was there.

Just a suggestion
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Old 02-28-2004, 07:48 PM   #21
regista
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Exclamation Subaru says it's "normal behavior"...

...that there's nothing to fix. The Service Department rep at the local dealership has a WRX with the same problem. He didn't know what causes it. Not even that it's being investigated by the NHTSA ODI. Not a clue. He said he knew something was wrong with his Subaru's brakes, but didn't know about the trigger-happy ABS ECU problem.

As to being in the car when it happened, I didn't have to. After my wife explained what happened and did some testing of my own, I can replicate the problem nearly at will now.

At least now I know what triggers it and what to expect. My wife didn't have that luxury back when it happened to her. Most people out there don't, either.

And that's a shame.
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Old 02-29-2004, 07:02 PM   #22
Samirr76
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If you havent taken YOUR specific vehicle to the dealer you shouldnt assume they will tell you its normal. Other people may be experiencing something normal, you may not. You know what happens when you ASSUME right?
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Old 02-29-2004, 07:21 PM   #23
aross
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Guy here with an 02 WRX had the same problem.

Basically useless brakes because of oversensitivity.

They replaced the computer, the ABS controller thingy, and finally resolved it when they replaced all the wheel sensors.

They had inspected them, and found no problem, BUT replacing them fixed his brakes.

His performance in the local winter auto-x' s proves the fix.
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Old 02-29-2004, 07:25 PM   #24
regista
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Exclamation Samir, they've had the vehicle...

..and all they say is that there's nothing to fix.

Want to see the service records?

Geeezzz...

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Old 03-04-2004, 08:58 AM   #25
Kalins1
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So, what is the actual action you are taking to duplicate the situation. Would be nice for everyone here to know so that we know what to avoid.
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