2004 Ford E-Series Van ABS bypass

Tiny
TOOLFRANK
  • MEMBER
  • 2004 FORD E-SERIES VAN
  • 145,000 MILES
My ABS module on my van started leaking, making braking non-existant.

I checked with the local dealer, and the replacement part costs $902 plus tax. Not an option.

I wish to bypass the ABS module and directly connect the master cylinder to the brake lines. One goes to the two back brakes, and one each for the two front brakes. It would seem a simple task to buy some brake fittings and short lines and accomplish this.

I am a veteran driver and learned driving long before ABS systems came on. I know how to feather brake when traction is an issue.

Can this be done to restore the braking system, or are there complications that I am not aware?

Frank
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Monday, October 14th, 2013 AT 7:56 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Yes, you can remove the hydraulic controller but you'll also have to disable the Anti-Lock Brake Computer. Usually that is easiest to do by just unplugging the two fuses for it.

You will most likely have to install a combination valve if there isn't one there now. That's the brass block that sits underneath the master cylinder, on the frame rail. The two steel lines from the master cylinder go into it, and three lines come out, one for the rear, and one for each front brake. That valve contains a proportioning valve which is very specific to each vehicle and the optional equipment on it. It limits rear brake fluid pressure to prevent rear-wheel lockup. That valve could be different, (if it's there at all), with anti-lock brakes because they could be going for more rear braking power knowing the ABS is there to bail them out if frequent rear-wheel lockup occurs. The dealer's parts department will have listings for the combination valve, and they'll ask you all kinds of questions related to what's on the van.

You might want to do a search for places that rebuild these units. That will cost a real lot less than getting a new one from the dealer. Hydraulic controllers are rarely purchased new unless the vehicle is still in warranty. If the dealer is quoting a rebuilt unit already, you'll be able to find them for less money on the internet.

Keep in mind, as all mechanics have to do, that anything you do to modify the van could land you in court. If the other guy runs a red light and causes a crash, his lawyer and insurance investigator will look for any modification they can use to convince a jury you were partly at fault because you were less able to avoid the crash. You and I both know cars were around a lot longer than anti-lock brakes, but depending on the system you have, they can shorten stopping distances. That is not their purpose. Anti-lock brakes are only intended to allow you to maintain steering control by preventing a tire from skidding.

I have ABS on a Dodge Dynasty. With that Bendix-10 system, you will just about tear the seat belts off their hinges when you stomp on the brakes. That's because when you try to stop as quickly as possible, as in a panic stop, you recognize that a skidding tire has no traction. You hear the skidding, and to stop that you have to let up a little on the brake pedal. That will restore that tire's traction, but you had three tires that weren't stopping to their maximum potential, yet you let off the brake pedal. Anti-lock brakes keeps all four tires at maximum braking. That's what reduces stopping distances.

An almost identical Bendix-9 system was used in the early '90s on the Chevy Caprice Classic, including squad cars. With that ABS system, at least on the GM models, if you do a panic stop, you go and go and go, and they find you in the next county, but at least you didn't lose steering control! If you have a system like that, your stopping distances will be shorter without ABS.
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Monday, October 14th, 2013 AT 10:14 PM

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