Brake job has left Crown Vic with a case of the shakes

  • Article by: PAUL BRAND
  • Updated: December 9, 2011 - 4:10 PM

Is there a certain way to bleed the brakes or do you need a special tool?

QI have a 1999 Ford Crown Vic with ABS and traction control. Several months ago I had the front pads and rotors replaced and the rear rotors turned and pads replaced. Everything was fine for about a month, then a vibration started when I applied the brakes. I resurfaced the front rotors and replaced the front calipers but now I cannot get a firm brake pedal. I also replaced the master cylinder. Is there a certain way to bleed the brakes or do you need a special tool? The shop bleeding sequence is RR, LF, LR, RF.

AAccording to my Alldata automotive database, Ford suggests bleeding in this sequence; RR, LR, RF, LF -- the correct sequence for a front/rear dual hydraulic system. The sequence the shop used would be correct for a RF/LR, LF/RR diagonal hydraulic system. Since the master cylinder was replaced, meaning air can end up being pushed through the ABS electronic brake control module (EBCM), it may be necessary to connect a scan tool to operate the ECBM as directed during another round of bleeding. Try the correct bleeding sequence first.

QFor the last few years my 2004 Ion has gone through cold-weather fits of not starting. The issue is not a battery or starter problem. The oddest thing is that after 10 minutes of waiting it WILL start. One guy advocates cutting a wire to solve the problem. While it might work, it sounds nuts. And of course, with no Saturn company any longer it's hard to get it resolved.

AThe 10-minute delay may be the key -- pun fully intended. The PassLock security system features a resistor in the ignition switch. When the key is turned from Run to Start, a voltage signal is sent through this resistor to the BCM -- body control module. The signal may have what's called an "ignition switch bounce" that the BCM interprets as a failure in the PassLock system and disables the ignition for 10 minutes. BCM fault codes B2960 and/or B3033 would confirm this. An upgraded ignition switch P/N 10392423 and BCM reprogramming software were issued to address this problem.

Also, disassemble the battery cables at the battery to make sure there is no corrosion, loose connection or stripped threads that could cause intermittent starting problems.

QIn the nighttime mode the PRDNL display (Park/Reverse/Drive/Neutral/Low) illumination on my 2001 Buick can be adjusted by the dimming control on the headlamp switch. This operation appears to work properly. In the daytime mode the PRNDL display should come on at normal brightness and the one-minute delay worked when you backed out of a dark garage into normal daytime brightness. Now, the PRNDL display is very dim in the daytime mode.

ATry the simple fixes first. Make sure the dimmer control is set to fully bright and not in a dim setting. Then, with the car parked and running outside in daylight, cover the ambient light sensor on the dash and see if the lights shift to night mode in one minute. A scan tool can check for faults including a B2647 or B2648 code for a faulty, open or shorted ambient light sensor.

Motoring note: My thanks to Nick Born for his suggestion in regards to the 1996 Chevy Corsica with the idling problem. "I've had the exact same problem with several GM vehicles of that vintage and every time the problem has been traced to the Idle Air Control valve. Several fixes have been as simple as pulling the IAC and cleaning the deposits off with brake cleaner while others have required replacement of the IAC. I just wanted to pass on an easy fix that most shadetree mechanics like myself could try first before calling in the professionals."

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