1998 Regal Abs during startup

03-17-2012, 01:06 AM
Its finally warmed up and I'm trying to fix all the issues that appeared during winter. I park my 1998 Regal LS 3800 on a driveway that is on an incline. On a cold start when I shift my car into drive and drive down the driveway I lightly brake as I go down the driveway so I don't hit the bottom too hard. Right away as I hit 3mph my ABS will engage and I will actually slide about 5-8ft down my driveway before the ABS disengages and my car stops. The "low trac" light comes on during that brief moment and I can't stop the vehicle for that time. It makes the typical ABS noise and then everything goes back to normal until the next cold start. I was thinking I could have a bad speed sensor? I also feel that my ABS may engage a bit too quickly in the snow but I am not entirely sure. What are your thoughts on how to diagnose this? Has anyone had this problem before?

It should be noted that it happens both when I'm on driveway and in parking space that has a level surface. It occurs both in drive and in reverse when I have my foot lightly on the brake.

03-17-2012, 08:40 AM
It sounds like you have a bad wheel bearing probably in the front end. You will need an ABS capable scanner to diagnose which bearing is bad and most likely if the bearings are original you may need to replace both. I had a similar issue with a Grand Prix. Once the bearings were replaced the problem resolved itself.

03-17-2012, 05:59 PM
The vehicle does not store an abs code I checked. The low traction light only comes on for a second and goes away. You think I should just replace both front hub assemblies?

03-17-2012, 07:38 PM
Did you scan it with an ABS capable scanner? If there is an ABS code in the computer it will be there but a normal scanner will not show it. The bearings are expensive and it is hard to tell you to go ahead and replace both. If you can get a proper scanner you may be able to detect it a code when you move the car with the scanner plugged in. If you decide to replace the bearings use quality hub assemblies as the foreign one are often only good for a couple of thousand miles before they give you problems.

03-17-2012, 10:45 PM
Yes it was an abs scanner but it wasn't storing a code. That's good advice on the bearings because i was going to buy a cheap one from rockauto for 39.99....valu craft, should I skip it?. So if the abs scanner is on it will tell me what wheel is activating the abs system? I don't think it throws a code, it just thinks one of my wheels is skidding and activates.

03-18-2012, 08:59 AM
If the issue is with one of the bearings or sensors or with the ABS it should set a code to tell you what is happening. If it is a touchy brake it will not but the ABS will activate if it detects a spinning or slipping wheel. The valu-craft hubs and bearings are not the best to purchase however, just to see if the bearing and sensor is bad that may be the way to go given the price. If you install it and the problem goes away if it reoccurs then you can purchase the higher price bearings the next time you change them. I would expect the bearings for a period of time so I would not rule them out.

04-01-2012, 07:14 AM
I'm wondering if I order the ELM327 OBD tool and connect it to my laptop is there a free program that will show me what speed sensor is acting erractic? These hub assemblies are pretty expensive for a reliable one.

I found this online....exactly my same problem http://www.justanswer.com/buick/2py21-98-buick-regal-w-abs-automatic-traction-according-scanner.html

04-01-2012, 08:30 AM
Based on what I read you would be better off purchasing the Auto-tap software for your computer. It is more expensive but it will work much better as it will give you every perimeter you need. I still think you have a bearing issue on this car but it is hard to diagnose. I have a Grand Prix that did a similar thing as you indicate and it was due entirely to bad front bearings.

Tech II
04-01-2012, 11:05 AM
Had a problem like this, that did not set a code....only way I found the problem, is with a Tech II scan tool.....by taking a snapshot, and then plotting a graph of each wheel speed sensor, I could see a "blip" occur in the data......that pointed me in the direction of which wheel circuit it was.....however, it could be the sensor OR the harness......since I had a water intrusion problem, BOTH had to be replaced.....

As for those cheap hub bearing assemblies, more often than not, you will replace them within a year, if not sooner......not worth it....

04-05-2012, 04:35 AM
I totally agree that there is a bad bearing. I just do not want to start guessing because each incorrect guess costs me 100 bucks as that is the price of a good hub. Is auto tap the cheapest software that will give live abs data? I hear 1998 abs data is different to get a readout then 99 and newer because gm upgraded their systems? If thats the cheapest.....where would I get it and how much? I am trying to do this as cheap as possible. Thanks

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