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ABS Disable - Better Brake Feel?


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Nice day out today so I dug out the instruction for disabling the ABS on the S4 to see how it would improve brake pedal feel. My car has a totally standard brake setup at present and is pre-Brembo :( apart from fairly new Green Stuff pads all round.

At first there didnt seem much difference as I first rolled out of the drive but once more pressure was needed during normal road use the pedal feel was much more natural and comfortable. The pressure placed on the pedal seemed to translate much more directly to the brakes. This started to give me much more confidence and feeling of control. :) Obviously, I probably wouldnt think that if I had to stop quickly in slipperly conditions with the ABS disabled.

As Im a dry weather only driver with my car Im probably gonna keep the ABS disabled once I've got the brake setup fully upgraded.

Probably looking to go to the SJ Discs, Pads and calipers all round with braided hoses too. :o As long as the wife doesnt find out... :)

Im interested to hear anyones thoughts on all this ?

Edited by CarlC
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I did this on my S4s and found the pedel has way more feel and feedback - two thumbs up from me. I'm planning on hitting the skid pad this year, and will try ABS on and then disabled - will let you know what I find out ......

Paddle Faster, I hear Banjos!
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Interesting - I hate the ABS and was going to look at it this year too with the option of switching it on and off - only issue is I generally hate working with things so critical as the brakes, scares me a bit to the point where I would opt to simply live with it.

ABS is VERY VERY handy in lock up situations and can save your life, on the flip side of that I've heard many a story where ABS has been the cause of an accident - the car's wheel has hit a bump and the wheel speed sensor noted it's locking up and the ABS comes in when the other wheels are fine drasticly reducing braking capacity - so it's horses for courses.

I always thought the later cars had 3 channel ABS anyways (2 for each front and one for the back) ?

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Late cars ?? I dont know what you mean by late cars but the s4 has the 3 channel ABS setup as you say. I suspect you'll hate the ABS even more if you try this.

Its just two fuses to remove if you want to try it. Which is what I did today. I expect the effect of disabling the ABS to be even better if you have the Brembo brake setup.

I'd be interest to hear anyone with brembo opinion on this if they have tried it.

Edited by CarlC
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I have the Brembo brakes and a comment to add on what Jonathan mentioned. Only time I've ever had the ABS come on it nearly caused an accident! It was raining (rare event over here) and I came to a traffic light at a speed suited to the conditions, applied the brakes and started to slow. Just as I went over a manhole cover the ABS kicks in and the car continues moving forward with what seemed like zero brake force - I eventually stop in the middle of the intersection, and luckily for me no one was coming the other way!

Paddle Faster, I hear Banjos!
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Easy to follow instructions here - http://www.voicecrystal.com/Esprit/ABS_Disable/

disclaimer - if you crash 'cause you did this, don't blame anyone except yourself B)

Paddle Faster, I hear Banjos!
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Yep, Credit to Mark Wiens B) as thats the guide I followed.

Easy to follow instructions here - http://www.voicecrystal.com/Esprit/ABS_Disable/

disclaimer - if you crash 'cause you did this, don't blame anyone except yourself  B)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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Just as I went over a manhole cover the ABS kicks in....I eventually stop in the middle of the intersection.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I've heard this happen so many times, never had it happen to me but I have had ABS save me a few times when it was icy - one where I was going about 3mph downhill on ice, the foot was on the brake and that stopped me from gaining speed whilst I worked out it was a good idea to put it in 1st instead of neutral - very scary but I did praise the thing afterwards.

I'm going to give it a go, my Esprit doens't a have ABS atm anyways because the system has a fault, the pedal is still actually a house brick but it'll lock if you ask it to - not that I've done it on the street mind you.

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I have fitted the Mark Wein mod.

www.lotusesprit.org/brake.htm

It works well on the Delco-Moraine system which the 1st ABS lotus put on the Esprit. It is too sensitive to bumps in the braking area and you loose pedal feel.

I would really be best to have it switchable in the cabin and this should be possible if one gavesoem thought to a suitable circuit and some relays. The other option is to pull the ABS fused, be very CAREFUL you pull the right ones, it is very easy to loose all braking ! However this switchs off the other ABS computor monitoring functions and produces a ABS warning light.

Dermot

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garage_mod-238-1125941176_thumb.jpg

Thats my switch I am going to use for the ABS, as Dermot says all you need is a relay to bring in the fuses when you need them. Feed the wires back down and through the bulk head and mount a suitable relay (contacts rated above the ruse rating) in the front compartment and simply wire them in series to the fuse on a normally closed contact so in the event of circuit failure you get ABS back.

The ABS light is probably a good thing and helps you remember it's disabled !

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I remember pulling the fuses a while back when I had my red MY98 GT3's. I went on a a few hoons with Bibbo in various conditions, wet and dry.

The Esprit is light at the front and unless it is doing very high speeds it doesn't throw a lot of its weight forward. The fronts lock up sooner than you think (and in my opinion is also why the ABS comes in too soon).

The surprises I encountered are the sudden whips of understeer when one or both wheels lock before you think they should have. The brake system in the later ABS cars doesn't lend itself to great pedal feel where you can get the feedback to accurately know when the lock point is approaching. So practising it where it is safe will help you get to know that. Also, I got the feeling that the brake balance is biased a bit too much to the front in the ABS versions.

If you have been riding ABS equipped cars for a while, in a sudden hard braking situation, your instinct is to plant the pedal, so you can get into trouble when you pull the plug and something like that happens. My experience was it has a very different feel to an Esprit which has no ABS and just normal brake set up where pedal feel is better.

My advice is that if you do this, go out where it is safe and re-learn your braking in the car at various speeds, particularly at lock up to see how you need to modulate the pedal yourself. A few emergency stops and definitely try hard braking while turning.

After that it is preference, in my current cars I have not bothered to disable it.

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  • 10 years later...

I finally got around to disabling the ABS and was very pleasantly surprised at the difference.  It makes the brakes "feel" like a normal vacuum assisted car.  The pedal moves and braking is proportional to the pressure you apply.  I doubt it actually changes the braking performance (mine still seem like the pads are slightly glazed, like too much pressure needs to be applied), but it makes a major improvement in normal driving in my opinion.  It's a "must try" if you have that silly PowerMaster system with ABS.  I regret not doing hearing about and trying this when I bought the car.  (Though this thread obvious existed, lol)  

 

Now I'm off to buy resistors so I can make this a permanent solution. :)

 

 

 

  

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5 hours ago, ian29gte said:

You planning on making it switchable, Richard? That seemed like a good option to me.

I don't think I'll bother.  I've never locked up a wheel except due to ABS (jittering when one wheel goes over a pothole or such), so I think I will just rid myself of it permanently.  I can't imagine the situation where I would switch it back on.  It's a summer only car of course.  

 

We get lots of snow here during the winter, and I appreciate the benefits of newer ABS systems, but I really doubt the safety aspect of these older designs.  I had a 1992 Jag XJS with the Powermaster system that I winter drove and I pulled the ABS fuse every winter.  Good intentions and all, but you have to take care of #1 (yourself).

 

I don't think I'll miss the ABS, but it'd be a 5 minute exercise to restore it anyways (for selling the car for instance).               

 

     

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Turned mine off ages ago, won't be going back to on. Also never affected the MOT, but then the place I go they don't use the machine as my car is low, they just take it down the road and test it (I think they are doing a Ferris bueller!)

Ferris.jpg?t=358477d108500c39bfd059c0561

This is the method I used to turn it off.
ABS switch off

Edited by OwenGT3
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ABS function isn't part of the MOT test*. The only reason it'll be an issue is if the light is on, nothing to do with it actually working or not.

*Neither is taking off but as long as they're enjoying themselves :)

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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