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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1998 Dodge mid size pick-um-up, with 96k miles, big V-8, automatic. Drive it one day and park it, week later start it up and the ABS light and brake light is lit, half a pedal on the break. Why question is, how in the heck can a truck have a problem while sitting still? Is it because it is a Dodge? What is the cure? (can't junk it, just in case that is an answer)
 

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I have a 99 with ABS in the rear only, and it did the same thing. Is your speed ometer work OK, if not it may be the sensor on top of the rear end housing.
Might want to try a bleeding the break system, may have some dirt or moisture.
Might have a master cylinder going bad.
 

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I would check all the electrical connections on the ABS, especially under the truck. I had trouble with the road salt eating one of the connections on my truck.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, fluid is good, odometer is okay, this happen during the extreme cold we had, even though I did not drive it then. I will have the stuff under the truck checked. I'm a good watch and clockmaker but don't know nuthin' bout this stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Other repair shop put a electronic reader on and it showed no fault found. Still half a pedal and the ABS light and Brake light are still lit. They can be reset and when I start the truck both lights are out. Now the crazy part, if I gently tap the brakes a couple times then come to a stop the darn lights don't come on and the brake pedal is full until the next stop.
 

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I have a 2004 Ram and my rear speeds sensor broke. It happened on the really cold day last week. My ABS light and brake light came on but the speedometer also didn't work. Moister must have gotten in the sensor and the cold weather broke the sensor apart. I had to remove the cover on the rear and clean out the broken parts from the sensor. I doesn't sound like you have the same problem but I figure I pass on what I went through with my truck.
 

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Try driving in a straight line and apply brakes...if they seem okay, then drive a short distance and make a sharp turn in either direction. If after coming out of the turn the pedal seems soft and the abs light comes on then its a good bet you have a bad wheel bearing. The play in the bearing will allow the brake rotor to wobble enough to force the caliper piston back on a turn so then the pedal seems soft until you pump the pedal a few times. Just a thought from old truck mechanic.
 

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No,Brake pads or shoes could be wore down.If not like someone said have your brakes bleed.Also simple.Fluid could be old. Who ever is doing it have them check the wheel cylinders,rubber brake hoses for cracks,rusted line connectors for leaks.
 

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I would have the brake lines checked for a leak. The road salt is highly corrosive. Local garages tell me they see vehicles only a couple years old with brake and fuel lines needing replaced. A couple months ago, the brake pedal on my 04 Tahoe felt soft, just made it to the garage when the brake light came on. A line had a leak, when the mechanics got looking around, quite a few of my brake and fuel lines were ready to burst and needed replaced, cost $1200. At the locations where the lines were secured to the frame or ran overtop, where the salt could lay, they were badly corroded.
 

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I would recommend to have your cars or trucks oil underneath each year.For $40 bucks can't hurt.Could save you a huge bill!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
My truck is undercoated and all line are in good condition, no leaks anywhere. Thank you all for the help.
 

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justshoot said:
Other repair shop put a electronic reader on and it showed no fault found. Still half a pedal and the ABS light and Brake light are still lit. They can be reset and when I start the truck both lights are out. Now the crazy part, if I gently tap the brakes a couple times then come to a stop the darn lights don't come on and the brake pedal is full until the next stop.
A mechanic with the right diagnostics can usually tell if you have a bad sensor pretty quickly. Based on your symptoms, my guess is that it's something more than that. A few ideas:

1) There is a sensor in your master cylinder (MC)/reserve. Once your brake fluid gets low in your MC, your brake warning light comes on. It sounds like you ruled that out, and I'd be shocked if a mechanic didn't notice it.

2) Having a half a brake pedal usually points to low fluid levels or air in the brake system. Braking systems need to be completely free of air. If air is in the system, you get that spongy or soft sensation. To introduce air into the system, you have to have a leak somewhere in your system (either line, master cylinder, wheel cylinder, etc.). What's weird is almost any leak obviously results in low brake fluid which you're not experiencing.

3) How worn are your actual pads? I think your mechanic would of noticed this, but if the pads are warn enough, you have to push your brakes further (the "half of a pedal feel you have"), using more fluid, and potentially making your light come on.

4) Does it pull to one side when you press the brake pedal hard? The master cylinder has two chambers. This is so if the MC fails, you'll still have some brakes. The one chamber usually will engage the front left and rear right, the other chamber engages the front right and rear left. If the mc is shot, usually the car will pull hard to one way when braking hard. You can also jack it up, pull tires off, and see if one of the rear brakes is not engaging when someone is pressing the brake pedal.

I'd try to find another mechanic and park it until you can have someone look at it. Brakes are usually pretty straightforward to diagnosis and fix for a good mechanic.

If you do diagnosis it as being a bad master cylinder, I would advise not changing it yourself if you don't have a mechanical background. You have to bench bleed it, and if you introduce air into the ABS system, you can't get the air out with simply bleeding the brakes the old fashion way.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Today I had the rear sensor changed, the one that sets on top of the rear differential. The brake pads are almost new, couple thousand miles. Lines were bled last week. Driving to the garage this morning and using the brakes, there was no pulling to the side nor one wheel braking first. Light didn't come on but still half pedal on the way home, Still room between the floor and pedal. My next move is to go to a dealership garage and get their electronic tester hook-up, I really hate dealing with those places. This truck only gets driven about 7 to 10 thousand a year, I didn't think it would wear out sitting still! Again thank you for all the help.
 

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Well the sensor worked that's good news. Does your truck have drums brakes on the back? If so the self adjusters might not be working.When your brake shoes wears the star adjuster clicks or adjust the shoes so you have full brake pedal. With the winters in Pa. salt and other junk could have frozen them,In turn half break pedal. I don't think you have anything major. Keep us posted. Up front on your disc,Your caliber slide on pins! Have them check them! They have the same functions as the rear.They need to move freely
 
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