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ABS preventing bleeding of system?

I replaced a rusted section of steel brake line at the right rear wheel, but when I tried to bleed the system, no fluid pumps to that wheel. Bleed screw isn’t plugged. The Haynes says that to bleed the ABS system, you have to turn the ignition on so that the pump can fill the accumulator. Years ago, the ABS light went on and off a few times in snow/ice conditions. Finally, it just stayed on. I read an archived Tester post about cleaning the tone rings and pickups, but the wires just disappear into the hubs…I don’t see the rings or pickups.

Dratted ABS…I wish I could just bypass it and rely on my own ability to control the vehicle.

What is my cheapest way out of this mess?


I think you are confusing the ABS as the source of your problem bleeding the brake cylinder or caliper. You replaced a section of the brake line and lost a good deal of brake fluid in the process. You likely emptied the master cylinder and that now needs to be bled as well. Refer to the manual as to how to do that, and then go back and bleed the wheel.

You have to set the solenoids in the ABS pump to the HOME position prior to bleeding the brakes. This is done by turning the ignition switch on and off three times within five seconds.


Here’s what happened:
The master cylinder is directly attached to the abs unit, which has two bleed screws. I got a bunch of air out of one of them. Then I turned the ignition on and off as Tester suggested. I went to the wheel cylinder but after several pumps, got nothing. With my finger wet with fluid, I lightly capped the end of the tube that I had on the bleed screw, but felt no air pushing out and figured it still wasn’t pumping. I then took it to a mechanic. He got a few drops as soon as he opened the bleed screw. Several more pumps and he had it bled. Either the act of having the car running on the way down there changed something, or I didn’t give it enough pumps at home. If the latter was the case, it wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve proven to myself that I’m an idjit…and it only cost me $30 this time. :smiley:

Thanks for your help, guys. :slight_smile: