ABS Kicked in?

Good afternoon everyone,

A bit of background information: a little under a year ago, my mechanic told me that the ABS tone ring on my 04 Escape XLT was broken. He told me that the broken part really presented no safety risk, and since I didn’t have the money to fork over to replace the tone ring AND the half-shaft, I decided to hold off. I more or less forgot all about the issue until this morning. I was driving to work, and slowing down from ~40mph to merge into the right turn lane and turn, when I started to feel a rumbling feeling in the brake pedal. I guess the only way I could describe the feeling was that it felt like the ABS was kicking in. I sometimes brake hard and urgently, but those times are few and very far between - in this case, I was easing on to the pedal for a nice, pleasant braking experience. The pavement I was driving over was very bumpy and a bit uneven, so I assumed that that was the main cause of my problems, so I continued on with my turn. After I rounded the corner, I felt it yet again. Once I pulled into the parking lot at work, I came to a complete stop. After that, any rumbling in the pedal was completely gone. I drove around the lot at various speeds, trying to recreate the rumbling, but it never came back. I drove all the way home without any issues at all. The 2-3 times that I felt the rumbling in the pedal, I did not notice any indicators on my dash, nor did the rumbling seem to have any affect on the car’s ability to stop. I have every faith that if I would have needed to stop quickly, I would have been able to safely.

My questions would be: 1.) does this sound like an issue related to the broken tone ring? 2.) If no, what else could I be looking at? 3.) If yes, is the car still safe to drive, or should I look at making time in the not-too-distant future to head to the mechanic? 4.) For anyone with experience, is it possible to JUST change the tone ring and NOT replace the entire half-shaft?

Thanks in advance!

It most likely is the ABS. The bumpy road excited the system because the tires were skipping a bit across the bumps. If it did not compromise your stopping distance, don’t worry about it. If you feel it did lengthen your stopping distance either fix the tone ring or pull the fuse to the ABS and ignore the ABS light that should appear on the dash. I don’t know if you can just change the ring.

Thanks, Mustangman! I appreciate your help!

Update: Just drove in to work - the whe 10 miles in, everything worked fine, but when slowing down and merging over to make a right turn (different location this time), the rumble came back. I don’t think that it is the ABS, as it felt more like a knocking. The knocking feeling and sound seemed to go in time with the motion of the wheels, but had no affect on any other aspect of the car that I could tell. My first instinct is that it is the caliper, but so far both times this has happened, the feeling and sound go away after coming to a complete stop. Seem that if it was the caliper, it would happen each time the brakes are applied.

Could it be the CV joints? When they go, they tend to manifest as a metallic “knocking” in turns, esp when accelerating.

I’d check under the car and see if the boots are torn as a first step.

EDIT: Probably unlikely now that I re-read your post and see it manifests mostly through the brake pedal…

Take a look at the rotors and if they aren’t shiny and smooth you could have the start/finish of warped rotors. If your last brake job was years ago there might be a damaged brake pad.