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 Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!

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deekster_caddy
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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:45 pm

Hi,

I'll back up what AA said - if the fluid is low, it means your pads are almost completely worn out. Now, when you find out in a month that you need new brake pads, they will spill fluid all over the place when they compress the pistons. He should have checked the pad thickness instead of adding fluid, and determined that you need new brake pads!!

Anyhow, I also agree that your mechanic should not have missed this. Brake light on = first thing to check is if the e-brake is released, second thing is fluid level.
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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:25 pm

I'll "third" what was said, with a little different explanation.

Brake fluid is hygroscopic - means it absorbs water from the air. it increases in volume a little when that happens. As far as your brake reservoir being low, as mentioned above the level of fluid in the reservoir lowers over time as the brake pads wear. I also bet your brake pads are pretty much worn out too.

As far as the ABS goes, if you never change brake fluid, eventually the moisture in the fluid kills the ABS valving by making it rust out. In cars with ABS brake fluid must be changed from time to time. DOT3 spec brake fluid darkens as it takes on water. So if your brake fluid is the color of pancake syrup it is past time to change it.

One reason to keep service records is that reviewing them helps a lot in (a) determining when maintenance has to be done (b) guessing at the cause of a problem before disassembling and inspecting things. If you are going to keep the car I recommend you get a small notebook that will fit in the glove compartment, and write the date and mileage of each time the car was worked on , and what was done - to the best you can - and then leave the book in the glove compartment - refer to it when talking with the mechanic and when you have the car serviced write in the book what was done, and when. Maybe even what you paid for it.

Finally - Have you *ever* had the brakes repaired? Do tell.

Albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:27 pm

While it's quite possible the pads are all worn down to the bare minimum, causing the fluid to go down, I'm still leaning toward some sort of leak. The reason is this all happened within a 2-3 week period - that's pretty fast. Also, your brakes should be making all kinds of noise if the pads were that low. Beth didn't mention any squealing sounds, so I assume there's still some life left in them?

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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:36 pm

you don't know what level the fluid was at 2-3 wks ago, I bet it was already gone...

Albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Tue Jun 16, 2009 11:22 pm

I totally agree, there is no way this mechanic should have missed this. He tends to rush, and he just barely glanced at the resevoir, and deemed it not low. Well, I could not see through the plastic well enough to tell the level for sure (which is why I used a twig to check). Once he looked in, through the open cap, he could see it was in fact low. The fluid in there was light yellow-- a shade lighter than Coors Light--not like pancake syrup.

In terms of service records... that's another sad story about this shop. They had everything on computer, so I did not retain records. Then they switched systems, and the records were lost. I seem to remember having brakes replaced 2-3 years ago, but cannot verify this. I do remember him finding something on the brakes that needed to be done-- replacing pads sounds right.

There is no noise at all when I brake, and tonight I drove further and still had no light or beeping.

I know this guy messed up, and he knows it. I have asked a couple friends and have two recommendations of other places to try. I will feel better if I have someone check the brakes, and determine whether there is a leak. I don't drive far-- mostly stay within 35 miles of home in this vehicle but not being able to stop the car would be a serious issue for me.

Question-- I do have to take the car to Discount Tire as it's due to be checked/balanced. During that process, will they see the brake pads? (I know that on my horse trailer, when I pack bearings or replace tires, the brakes are checked-- so wondering if that's an easy way to get them checked? If not, I will try one of the shops that my friends have been satisfied with-- and see what they say.
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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:53 am

DTD most likely will remove the wheels to balance them. They *Can* be balanced on-car but most shops don't. With the wheels off the brakes can be inspected.

You're not going to find one "smoking gun" here so to speak, there is too much going on. The car sat for a long time, the ABS got waterlogged and froze from rust, I think Aaron is probably right about the leak it's just that the leak is probably *not* the only problem, and so on. Worst case for you is you may have one of those sneaky leaks where a caliper piston is leaking behind an outer seal (a little bellows thingy on the outer lip of the piston) so technically the brakes are leaking you just can't see it. And I recall one of the toughest leaks I had t find was when a master cylinder was leaking into the power brake booster.

If you have them in your area, take the car to a shop certified by the AAA (American Automobile Association, or "Triple A") - at least you have recourse if there's a problem

I think you're on the right track.

Albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:53 am

Discount Tire, well if they are anything like NTB, they will give your car a full inspection when it comes in the garage for _anything_. NTB sells a ton of brake jobs that way... Almost all of them will tell you how dirty your air filter is, and that it _needs_ to be replaced, that your transmission fluid needs to be flushed, etc etc. They will generally recommend way more than you really need, usually with some fear tactics thrown in for good measure. Take everything they recommend with a grain of salt - then get a second opinion on it all.

Another option to find a good mechanic is to visit the website http://cartalk.com/menus/info.html, scroll down and click on "mechanics files" and see if they recommend anyone in your area.
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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:26 am

My car is doing this now as well, on top of EVERYTHING else.

I was down about 1/3 fluid, and topped it off, still beeping. I played around with the e-brake, definitely feels like its releasing. Still beeps.

... I held a torch to the opening of the fuel filler neck, still beeps - there is no way to win.

Any other suggestions?
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deekster_caddy
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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:26 am

There's probably air in the brake system that needs bleeding out.
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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:44 am

Could be a leak somewhere. Inspect the lines and wheels, monitor the fluid level. You should never need to top it off.

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KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:59 pm

The beeping has stopped. Haven't seen it since I changed the battery, about a day after the fluid top off.
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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:21 pm

I have this problem from time to time, always related to low brake fluid. Mine has a slooooow leak so I have to put extra fluid in there every couple months or so or it will beep whenever I accelerate. I assume this is because the the fluid sloshes to the back under acceleration making the sensor go off.
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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Sat Jan 16, 2010 2:29 pm

My brake light is now constantly on and the beeper is sounding off as well. At first i thought it might be the parking brake not fully disengaging but when i fiddled with the parking brake pedal and tried to pull it all the way up or reset it nothing happened. Also my brake lines sprung a leak a month or two back and were patched up and new fluid was put in place, the light appeared after this so I assumed that there still may not be enough fluid in the reservoir but it seems to be at the appropriate level. The only thing I can think of is a malfunctioning brake float. My brother's 2001 Malibu has a similar dashboard brake light problem because the float doesnt function correctly and incorrectly signals low brake fluid when it sinks to the bottom. It is easily remedied by using a pair of needle nose pliers and pulling the float to the surface. I figured I would give this a shot on the Riviera but I was not able to retrieve any such float. Is there a way to reset the float in our fluid reservoirs?
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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Sat Jan 16, 2010 3:56 pm

L67 wrote:
My brake light is now constantly on and the beeper is sounding off as well. At first i thought it might be the parking brake not fully disengaging but when i fiddled with the parking brake pedal and tried to pull it all the way up or reset it nothing happened. Also my brake lines sprung a leak a month or two back and were patched up and new fluid was put in place, the light appeared after this so I assumed that there still may not be enough fluid in the reservoir but it seems to be at the appropriate level. The only thing I can think of is a malfunctioning brake float. My brother's 2001 Malibu has a similar dashboard brake light problem because the float doesnt function correctly and incorrectly signals low brake fluid when it sinks to the bottom. It is easily remedied by using a pair of needle nose pliers and pulling the float to the surface. I figured I would give this a shot on the Riviera but I was not able to retrieve any such float. Is there a way to reset the float in our fluid reservoirs?

Consider replacing the reservoir, it will come with sensor properly installed. gm 25622012, $41 from Rockauto.com - but it's likely that you can locally get a Dorman replacement MC for around that $$ and just swap the reservoirs.

If this was my problem and I was sure there was nothing wrong with the wheel cylinders or lines or ABS, I'd get a Bendix, Raybestos, Kelsey-Hayes, ATE or NAPA United replacement MC, bench-bleed it and install to replace your current MC. That'd get rid of the sensor issue and as well take care of the MC rebuild you'll eventually have to do anyway. Call it preventive maintenance.

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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:11 pm

The first & easiest thing to do, Matt, is to unplug the connector on the side of the brake reservoir... If the light goes out, then the bad float-switch is your problem. If not, pull the driver's side sound deadener/heater duct and check the alignment of the parking brake switch.
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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:26 pm

The light does disappear when the sensor is unplugged and the master cylinder was replaced about 2 years ago. Is there an easy way to grab the float? I'm assuming it sank when brake fluid was dumping out of my rusted line. If not I suppose a replacement reservoir isn't a big deal.
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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:29 pm

i had the same problem after a full bleed b/c i let the level get too low. i was able to fix it by tapping on and jiggling the reservoir to either shake the float loose or get the air bubble off the sensor (i think our cars have a sensor not a float)

all else fails you can try siphoning out the fluid then refilling it with new DOT3. you may have some dirt on the sensor.

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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:53 pm

Mr.Riviera wrote:
i had the same problem after a full bleed b/c i let the level get too low. i was able to fix it by tapping on and jiggling the reservoir to either shake the float loose or get the air bubble off the sensor (i think our cars have a sensor not a float)

all else fails you can try siphoning out the fluid then refilling it with new DOT3. you may have some dirt on the sensor.

Ok sounds good I'll give it a try!
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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Sat Jan 16, 2010 7:48 pm

Quote :
I assumed that there still may not be enough fluid in the reservoir but it seems to be at the appropriate level.
Is it clearly above the "Max" fill line on the reservoir?

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:06 pm

AA wrote:
Quote :
I assumed that there still may not be enough fluid in the reservoir but it seems to be at the appropriate level.
Is it clearly above the "Max" fill line on the reservoir?

Yup.
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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:17 pm

L67 wrote:
The light does disappear when the sensor is unplugged and the master cylinder was replaced about 2 years ago. Is there an easy way to grab the float? I'm assuming it sank when brake fluid was dumping out of my rusted line. If not I suppose a replacement reservoir isn't a big deal.

As Mr.Riviera said, sucking out the fluid and starting with a clean reservoir would be a good idea.

Otherwise, there is always the corollary to my previous post: If the light goes out, screw it, leave the damn thing unplugged... We got along fine without it for 60 years! jump
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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:18 pm

My light was beeping under acceleration as well. That being said, the e-brake doesn't always come up all the way, have to give it a little nudge sometimes. I topped off the fluid (I don't think we ever did after the brake job we did, so I'm not immediately suspecting a leak). Will report back in a week or so. Anyone have a suggestion for making the brake come up all the way all the time?
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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:38 am

my brake mass cylinder went out and i was leaking brake fluid into the brake booster line, NOT A GOOD FEELING, replaced that it was great! no more leak! just thought i should throw that out there
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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:18 am

cold Hello guys Riv96 over here have been having an issue with my brake light and bell, they keep coming on, before it was only once in a while now sometimes I get it even when I am stopped at a red light, Does anyone have any suggestions?
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PostSubject: Re: Emergency brake light/beeper won't stop-- driving me crazy!   Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:00 am

Check your brake fluid level. If the levels are good try wiggling the e brake pedal.
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