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  • ABS brakes

    I was in a pursuit tonight. I was second vehicle....probably about 75 yards back. I watched the suspect and lead car turn, yet when I started braking, nothing happened. The vehicle simply didn't brake. It was like I was on ice. I couldn't turn at 80+ mph so a ended up crashing, taking out a guard rail and post. I'm fine, though my car's push bar, bumper, grill, etc are toast. And there were almost no skid marks. Yet I was braking hard...and right before I crashed I tried pumping the brakes. But to no avail.

    Is it common for ABS brakes to fail at faster speeds? Excuse my ignorance on this. I've been in pursuits/run code frequently, but never had anything like this happen before. Any ideas?
    Last edited by JLFINFAN72; 05-13-2007, 06:11 AM.

  • #2
    First off, I'm very happy to hear you are ok. The patrol gods were on your side tonight brother!

    Quick question, were you in a Ford Crown Victoria? If so, I understand and feel your pain. 5 years ago, I was in a bad T/C in a Crown Vic where my brakes did nothing for me, and I ended up driving straight into a block wall. In this incident I had been driving for an hour or so, the last 20 minutes or so, I was moving (60+ MPH) and using the brakes quite a bit. The OEM brake pads used on the Crown Vic suck! I spoke with my station's mechanic and he said he wasn't surprised. It's not so much the ABS system as it is the small brake rotor size, which are non-ventilated and heat up quickly, and the crappy brake pads that "glaze" easily and quickly, and provide no braking if used hard in a short period of time.

    The 1996 Chevrolet Caprice's with their ABS worked great because the brake rotors were bigger and cooled quicker and the pads used were better, or so I was told by the mechanic. As it was, I never had a problem with the Chevy's, just the FoundOnRoadDead Crown Vics!
    Carpe Noctem

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    • #3
      You had brake fade. It happens when the rotors heat up too much and the pads can't grab. It has nothing to do with ABS.

      Brake fade happens damn fast. I made a 100 mph run for about 1/2 a mile, stopped at a red light, then went 110 for about a mile. When I tried to stop the second time, I almost crashed into the car I was trying to stop. I didn't think fade would happen that fast, but it did.
      What Delta said x2

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      • #4
        It's an '04 Crown Vic. And the airbag never deployed either.

        Thanks for the info. I'm certainly lucky. The suspect, intoxicated and on a motorcycle was not so lucky.....10-7, about a mile from where I TCed.

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        • #5
          Glad you're OK.
          You may find this article: http://mfes.com/tempfail.htm interesting. Be sure to have the vehicle's Event Data Recorder data downloaded and preserved.

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          • #6
            As I work for two dept.s I have two take home cars. They are both Fords. One is a 03 and the other a 04 The 03 has the scariest brakes in the world. Totally unpredictable. The 04 on the other hand has killer brakes (Good ones) I guess it come down to what your mechanics use for parts. The 04 has command performance rotors and ceramic pads. The 03 has all NAPA stuff. My 2003 gets replaced with a new 07 Charger V-6 soon, I have heard they have outstanding brakes.
            "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms. . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." - Thomas Jefferson

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            • #7
              I had a pursuit a few years ago...probably 1997...in a Chevy Caprice....It was quite a long chase, but when it ended, I went to move my patrol car and noticed that the break pedal went all the way to the floor....turned out the break fluid was boiling. I opened the reservoir and observed the fluid boiling....waited about 10 minutes and I was able to use the breaks again.

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              • #8
                Brake fade actually isn't unusual during extreme driving. And, it's not limited to just the Crown Vic. The Chevy Caprice had the same problem...I and several other officers experienced it first-hand during an in-city (ie, LOTS of braking) pursuit. There's nothing quite like the feeling of hitting the brakes at speed during a pursuit and having the peddle go to the floor!
                "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
                -Friedrich Nietzsche

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                • #9
                  Yeah I had the same thing happen to me. I was assigned a 02 CVPI. It was tied up so I drove a 05 that still had the oem brake pads on. Got a code 1 call....Drove hot for mabe 3 miles with some moderatly hard braking. Pedal went to the floor with a lot of brake smoke that I could see behind me. Almost crashed into the unit that was stopping ahead of me. Was able to swerve over a lane and stopped 50 yards ahead. I don't know what my dept uses for brake pads, but they are much better than the oem ford junk pads.

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