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Let's cover some basic information on AH, TC, and ABS. In simple terms, these three systems combine data from wheel speed sensors, yaw rate sensors, steering wheel position sensors, along with brake and throttle inputs to determine what the driver wants to do and detects any lose of traction and take corrective action by pulling back on the throttle, activating brakes on individual wheels, or releasing brake pressure as needed to maintain traction.
What goes wrong?
When there is a problem anywhere in the system, the computer does not know what's going on with the car or cannot respond correctly. Rather than risking the wrong response, which could potentially wreck you car, the whole system is simply disabled for the remainder of the ignition cycle. At this time you will see the ABS and Traction Control warning indicators illuminated on the instrument cluster along with the following messages on the Driver Information Center (DIC):
- Service ABS
- Service Traction System
- Service Active Handling
At this point, you can safely continue to drive your car, just remember that your electronic driving aids are no longer functioning so you should adjust your driving habits accordingly.
As I said before, when there is a problem the system is deactivated for the remainder of the ignition cycle, so sometimes everything will go back to normal if you just turn off the car and restart it. If that corrects the problem, it was either a glitch in the system, a lose connection that's going to come back soon or an early sign of a future failure that is coming. Even though the system is now functional it is still beneficial to continue to trouble shoot. The history code should give you a good idea of what to check
The next step is to see where the fault is. If you have several different codes write them down, clear them, and see which ones come back the next time you start the car. At this point, I'm betting that the codes point to either the EBCM or the wheel speed sensors. We'll get to the wheel speed sensors later, for now, let's get to the EBCM.
The "system" that provides functions such as Anti-lock Braking and Traction Control is made up of two major parts ... the EBCM (Electronic Brake Control Module) and the BPMV (Brake Pressure Modulation Valve).
EBCM - This is the computer that receives input from sensors such as the wheel speed sensors (one sensor per wheel) and then decides when and how to "intervene" to unlock a wheel that has stopped spinning under heavy braking, for example. The most common code for the EBCM is C1214 - Sol Valve relay Contact or coil CKT Open. This code is set when the system voltage is less than 8 volts for 0.23 seconds.
BPMV - This unit has a pump and a series of valves. It is connected to the brake lines from the Master Cylinder and is then connected to the four brake calipers.
Under normal braking the BPMV valves are "open" so that brake fluid just passes straight through it and the calipers respond to your foot pressure on the brake pedal.
Should the EBCM decide it wants to take control of a caliper, say for ABS, the EBCM starts the pump in the BPMV and using solenoids it can change the valve layout so the EBCM can control brake pressure to that caliper. Using the pump and valves the EBCM can use the BPMV to decrease and increase brake line pressure to that caliper.
The C1214 indicates that the relay inside the EBCM that powers up the BPMV pump and the solenoids in the BPMV has failed. Without this relay the EBCM cannot power up the BPMV components when needed. That is why the C1214 causes the loss of all the systems that require control of brake line pressure. You have lost ABS, Traction Control, and Active Handling. You have also lost Dynamic Rear Proportioning and Rear Stability Control if your car is a 2001 or newer, though you won't see warning messages for those systems.
Since our goal is to fix this for the lowest price possible, we'll start checking things we can fix for free.
The EBCM sits between the engine and radiator.
You can see it in the picture on the below. The EBCM is on the left with the large wire harness coming into it and the sticker on top. The Brake Pressure Modulator Valve (BPMV) in on the right with the brake lines coming out. The EBCM is a dry module, meaning that you can change it out without having to worry about bleeding the ABS system. All of the brake fluid is contained within the BPMV (Figure 1 EBCM (Left) and BPMV (right)). The coils (seen in the picture on the below, (Figure 2 Coils) fit over small spools that have valves inside them. The valves are operated by an electromagnetic field supplied by the coils
Start by doing a quick visual inspection of the wires. If there are any obvious signs of damage, you've likely found the problem. One member had a problem with the wires rubbing the serpentine belt
Also check to make sure the wire harness has a good connection. If the connection appears solid disconnect it (see step 3 in the replacement instructions below) check the pins to ensure that they have not been bent or damaged in any way. If there is any sign of corrosion, clean it off. Once everything looks good, reseat the harness.
Next, let's move on to the grounds. The EBCM is grounded to the chassis on the left frame rail, just forward of the engine. It's the Black box right in the middle of the picture. As you can see, it's real easy for dirt and moisture to get in that area which isn't exactly good for electronic components. Even if you never drive your car in the rain, it'll still get wet when you wash it, and that could be enough
Start by unbolting the chassis ground (Figure 3 Unbolt Chassis Ground), and then take the chassis ground connector apart.
The next set of pictures (Figure 4 Chassis Ground Connector 1, 2, 3 and 4) show the corrosion that can build up in the ground connector. If you chassis grounds look like this one, you've probably found the problem. Even if they don't, go ahead and clean it up with a wire brush before putting it back together. Also clean off the chassis and bolt to make sure you've got a good clean ground.
*If you are having any other electrical issues, it's a good idea to check the grounds. These pictures show where the other grounds are. (Figure 5 Chassis Ground Locations)
It's unlikely, but before you break out you credit card and forking over your hard earned money, it's a good idea to check the fuses. One fuse box is located under the hood beside the battery; the second one is under the passenger side of the dash. Remove the floor mat and you will see the access panel. Just pull the fuses out and do a quick visual check.
On the left, you see a good fuse (Figure 6 Good Fuse); on the right is a bad fuse (Figure 7 Bad Fuse)
At this point, we know all of the wires are good, but for some reason enough voltage is not getting to the system. It is possible that your battery is not functioning properly. If your battery is a couple of years old, has been drained and recharged a couple of times it might be a good idea to go ahead and replace your battery. This is a long shot for EBCM issues, but I think it's worth a shot before spending several hundred dollars for a new EBCM and you're going to have to replace it eventually anyways. Old batteries can cause a variety of minor electrical issues and you likely have a bunch of history codes for minor issues if the battery is causing the problem.
Electronic Brake Control Module
Now on the EBCM itself, if the electrical contacts (Figure 8 Electronic Brake Control Module) inside the relay are dirty or burnt, the vibration from striking the module may change the symptoms or may clear them up for a while. This is by no means a fix or a cure all, in fact it could make it worse or it may not do anything, it's just something to try. Use a small plastic hammer or something similar; lightly tap the front of the EBCM on the lower right corner of the module. The area will be on the right hand side of the lower electrical connection seen in the picture below.
At this point, youve got to additional possibilities. Replace the EBCM or replace both the EBCM and the BPMV. The service manual calls for you to measure the resistance between each pump motor control circuit and the housing of the BPMV, if that checks our okay; you replace the EBCM if not you replace them both. Since most people do not have the equipment to do this the best we can do is to replace the EBCM. If that doesn't work, you'll have to go back and replace the BPMV. The procedure for replacing the EBCM is very simple. The only special tool you need is a T-20 Torx screwdriver.
I have a Craftsman tool set that has a 1/4" drive screwdriver with and adapter for many different size bit. Unfortunately, the adapter was too long to fit between the EBCM and water pump, so I purchased a set of Craftsman 5 pc. Torx screwdriver set that worked fine. A flathead screwdriver may also be needed to pry apart the EBCM from the BPMV
1 - make sure the car is off.
2 - You will probably need to remove the air bridge to get to the EBCM.
3 - Remove the wire harness by first removing the white plastic clip that locks it in place (I cut it off and replaced it with a zip-tie) (Figure 9 EBCM (Left) and BPMV (Right)), then lift gray handle and pull back on the wire harness (Figure 10 EBCM Disconnected (Front View)). At this point, you will be able to see the second wire connection that is removed by pulling down EBCM. (Figure 10 EBCM Disconnected (Front View))
The EBCM is on the left with the large wire harness coming into it and the sticker on top. The Brake Pressure Modulator Valve (BPMV) in on the right with the brake lines coming out.
4 - The service manual calls for you the remove the 2 insulator nuts that hold the BPMV to the brackets and lift the EBCM/BPMV out of the bracket. I do not think this step is necessary because there is plenty of room while it is still in the bracket and you do not gain much additional clearance since the brake lines restricts the movement.
5 - Remove the 6 T-20 Torx screws connecting the EBCM and BPMV - 1 on each corner and 2 on the sides (Figure 11 Remove 6, T-20 Torx screws EBCM and BPMV).
6 - "Separate the EBCM from the BPMV by gently pulling apart until separated" - I should start laughing here, but it's not that funny. It's been my experience that anytime the instructions call for you to do something gently, nothing gentle is going to work. In this case, I had to use a flathead screwdriver to break the seal. Once it moved a little, the rest was easy. In addition to the rubber seal, each of the 12 holes you see in (Figure 10 EBCM Disconnected (Front View)) has a peg in them from the BPMV. Don't go crazy, but be prepared to force them apart.
7 - At this point, all you've got to do is put it all back together. Push the new EBCM onto the BPMV.
8 - Replace the 6 T-20 torx screws
9 - Reconnect the wire harness
10 - Put the intake back on
At this point, the AH/TC/ABS should work normally. If not, you've also got a problem with the BPMV. Although you could replace the BPMV yourself, you have to bleed the ABS system, which requires Tech II. For those of you like me that don't have access to Tech II, you've got 2 options. Replace the BPMV yourself and tow the car to a shop with Tech II to have it bled, or just take it in to have the BPMV replaced. The advantage is that you've already done all of the trouble shooting so you want have to pay the mechanic to diagnose the problem for you.
Replacement part sources
below is a list of part #s. Check with
Fred Beans for actual price & availability ($650 to $1000)
Part Number: 10343433 All 2003-2004
Part Number: 12216561 All 2001-2002
Part Number: 9367071 All 1999-2000 w/o Control Active Brakes
An alternative to buying a new one is to have your original rebuilt.
For EBCM repair/replace
877-648-7530 at ABS FIXER
$150. plus UPS....warranted as long as you own it