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Replacing brake pads & ABS system

cobia80cobia80 Member Posts: 3
edited September 2016 in Toyota
Recently had my rear pads replaced at a local mechanic shop. Two weeks later & 470 miles (On a trip to WV which used up 440 miles) the entire ABS system went out costing me big bucks. Not good to loose brakes in the mountains!
My Question: Can the ABS system be damaged if you don't bleed the caliper when compressing the piston?
I have heard several different answers concerning this...My cruiser only has 65k miles on it and it's the 1st time that I needed brake work.


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Your brakes should still work fine if the ABS fails, so perhaps something else was going on here. I suspect so, since the failure took place weeks after the work was done. Hard to say what's going on here without a pretty thorough inspection. Bleeding the caliper is not necessary when compressing the caliper pistons, but you have to be careful that the brake fluid reservoir doesn't overflow.
  • cobia80cobia80 Member Posts: 3
    Mr_Shiftright, Thank you for your response...The car sat in the driveway for the most part for 2 weeks (20mi in 2 weeks) then off to WV. Every light on the dash went off along with the ABS light and a schrill alarm. Had to drive down the mountain in low gear with hand on emergency brake with the alarm sounding in my ears. I have read that debris can be pushed back into the system when the piston on the caliper is forced back in without bleeding the line (Cardone, Ryder, & Bendix) and can shortly after damage the abs module. On my Land Cruiser, the whole module was replaced at a local WV Toyota dealership which was very costly ($3,229.00)
    Was wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience with ABS failure.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well okay it is theoretically possible to contaminate the ABS pump---they have some very small valves in there. It's hard to say what went wrong on a ten year old car, especially if the brake fluid hadn't been flushed in many years. I myself would probably have clamped the brake hose and opened the bleeder but I do have a special hose clamp tool for that purpose--to avoid any line damage.

    I guess it's a matter of how aggressively you want to pursue this---even if it happened just as you say, proving it isn't going to be easy in Small Claims. That's one helluva big bill, though, Sorry to hear that you had to bear that expense. I would have guessed more like $1500.

  • cobia80cobia80 Member Posts: 3
    You would think that a dealership that has serviced the car since it was new may have suggested to flush the brake fluid...btw the ABS module part was $2,700 at the WV Toyota dealer, the rest was labor.
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