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03 Dodge Stratus ABS and Traction Control

My uncle (school district mechanic) and I recently replaced the front brake pads and front rotors on my 2003 Dodge Stratus. Within the last couple weeks, the dash lights for my ABS and Traction Control have remained on while I’m driving. I have also noticed a grinding noise on the front, driver side wheel, similar to what I’d hear when I applied my brakes on an icy section of road. I am concerned that my brakes may fail. My uncle and I have not been able to figure out what the problem might be.

There’s a wheel speed sensor up there and you may have disturbed it, or its wiring, or the tone ring on the hub while you were doing the brake work. So you need to check all of that.

I would also ask whether or not you just rammed the caliper piston back into the caliper with a c-clamp or something. I never do that on vehicles with ABS as it forces old brake fluid backward through the system - which includes the ABS module. I have taken to opening the bleeder while retracting the caliper piston.

We completely drained the brake fluid from the system, and put new fluid in when we were done. I will take the driver side wheel apart and see what I can see. Do you have a suggestion as to what might be making the grinding sound?


I’ll go a little off-topic here . . .

Please thank your uncle for keeping the kids safe, by maintaining the school bus

Excellent post by Cig, as usual.

Before you take the wheel off, try spinning it by hand and see if the pad is dragging. It is possible that when you flushed the system you somehow caused the inner hose liner to collapse and act like a check valve.

Re: pushing the fluid back through the system, forcing crud backwards into the modulator valve can interfere with the valve’s ability to properly close. It might even be able to prevent it from opening fully when the ABS is not activated… I’ve never pulled an ABS modulator apart, so it’s just a wild guess. This can cause the system to detect a failure and store a fault code. Allow me to suggest checking the ECU for stored fault codes.

I’m not suggesting that you did or did not do these things, I’m just suggesting things to check. Solving this will require eliminating possible causes one by one.