Broken ABS on a 1992 Chevy Astrovan

  • 1 POST

I have a very unique situation. I have a 1992 Chevy Astrovan that was given to me after it had some minor body damage in a small fender bender. It had been labeled as "totalled" at that point by the previous owner's insurance, and they paid out the value of the car. So for me to get the registration, I would have to declare it a salvaged title and have certain certificates to validate the registration. One of those tests is the brake and light test. The brakes work great, the lights come on when they should with one exception. On the dashboard the ABS light and the Brake light are always on. The mechanic performing the test said I had failed because the Brake light on the dashboard will not turn off, and I need to get it fixed. I have had it looked at twice, and each time I am told that the ABS is causing the issue. Fixing the ABS is well over $1000, which I cannot afford. So. That leads me to my question. Is it possible and legal to disconnect an already broken ABS system from this van to solve the dashboard brake light issue so I can pass the test? I know it is illegal to disengage an already working ABS, but given this one is already broken, can it be done legally in California? Any answer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.


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Friday, January 27th, 2006 AT 9:31 PM

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I have a 92 astro as well with abs. My dash light is also on. However mine is caused by a disconected rear abs system. I have replaced my rear axel with a non abs unit. You did not mention if you had checked the wire connections from the axels. Sometimes they can come loose. The rear wires should be shrouded with a metal sheath and connect to the frame rail just above the rear axel. Make sure they are connected tightly. Follow those lines as far as you can inspecting for any cracks or breaks. Also note that the lines go into the back plate of each axel. You also did not say where the damage to the van was. Front end, drivers side? Near/below the stering colume is where the abs system feeds into. Was this damaged. On each axel (4) when you remove the tires, you should be able to locate the abs sensor. If they are missing/broken on the front axels, replace with good used ones from a salvager. On the rear check to see if they are there as well. Maybe, like me the previous owner swapped out the rear axel with a non abs unit. If that is the case swap it out yourself with a proper used one from a salvage yard. If you buy a rear axel from a salvage yard, get a 3 to 6 month return/exchange gurantee. The ring and pinion gears do go bad in these units and having a shop do this is overly expensive. As for the light in the dashboard, fortunately it is relatively simple to just remove the bulb. Be careful when taking the climate controls apart. That panel has two srews at the bottom and you must slide a small flat screwdriver along the sides to pop out the top. BE CAREFULL WITH WHAT YOU DISCONNECT HERE. Two screws inside this panel must be removed first before you can remove the rest of the dashboard.
Have patience and do not force anything. The plastics get old and brittle and will break if you force it. If it is not coming out then you missed a screw somewhere. If you plan to keep this van for a while you should buy a Haynes general repair manual for this van. Usually about 15 to 20 dollars. Good luck Cali.

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Wednesday, February 1st, 2006 AT 3:15 PM

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