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2007 outback MT
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Discussion Starter #1
This is a STORY about how i disabled my ABS. I am writing about it in response to a request. If you choose to make this modification to your car YOU DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK. I am not responsible for any injury damage or possible fatality as a result of braking. This is not proven to be fail safe and can even be dangerous if done.

I have a 2000 OBW. Last year before i bought my car i was borrowing my parents to commute to sugarbush, where i work from jan to feb. It tends to get pretty cold and smowy up in VT. Anyway my father has an AWD audi with ABS and when i was aproaching a stop sign i hit the brake but did not stop. However i could steer and was forced into a snow bank, and yes, had to get towed out. After this happened 2 more times i decided i was not a big fan of ABS.

The first thing i did for my VT bound car was disengage the ABS. This is an extremely easy project that took about 15 min. I first decided that when i was on the highway i wanted to use ABS, but not on back country roads. So i would hook a toggle switch up to the ABS fuse. I started out by buying a hood protected toggle switch from auto zone, since this is not something you want to accidently flip. You can place this wherever you want, but i placed it in the blank compartment right below the stereo. I put a hole through the back of the blank bay with a soldering iron. I then proceeded to route two wires (positive, negative) through the hole behind the steering column and to the fuse box, which i located directly behind the change bin. To get at the fuse box remove the change bin and there ya go. I did this project a while ago so i dont remember the specific fuse to remove but this can be identified in your owners manual. Simply place the two wires where the fuse was (leave plenty of stripped wire to insert into the fuse holes. Next i broke one of the wires, about in the middle, and soldered the fuse in between the two ends.

When you flip the switch while driving the ABS warning light will appear in the gauge cluster. If you flip the switch to turn it back on it will NOT. You must turn the car off in order to reengage the ABS. This can be done while driving in a Manual transmission by having the car in gear, turning the car off, coasting, and then turning it back on. But make sure not to turn the key so far as to engage the starter.

Never disable the ABS while on the highway. This is just stupid. Only use this in instances where you think it would help you stop faster, like a light covering of fresh snow. ABS will not lock up the wheels and you will end up sliding over the new snow. If the wheels lock up, without the ABS, they can dig through the snow and actually get some traction. Also a smart technique is to pump your brake, which will help you stay inline like ABS but can help your get more traction.

I will try and take some pictures if anybody would like later on.
Good luck!!
 

SubaruOutback.org Founder
2018 Outback Limited 2.5L - 105,000+ miles
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Luke I edited your post to put your disclaimer statement in bold and then italics. For the record I have no problem with you putting this type of info on this website. Now for my disclaimer:

***SubaruOutback.org Disclaimer*** If you choose to make this modification to your car YOU DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK. SubaruOutback.org cannot be held responsable not for any injury, damage, or possible fatality as a result of braking due to the fact as previously stated that this is to be done at your own risk. This is not proven to be fail safe and can even be dangerous if done. Furthermore, SubaruOutback.org does not encourage this activity but rather provides a medium to provide this type of information to anyone with interest.
 

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02 OB sport, 2.5, 5MT, WRX seats/catback/rear bar, Hellas, Home Despot CAI and roof rack
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Hero--

i'm probably to blame as i was the one who asked him abt this. i was interested in how to disconnect it for autocrossing, where a good driver can often outbrake the ABS due to alert driver, sticky rubber, dry road, known braking points....ie, everything idealized for maximum braking and driver control. the Grassroots Motorsports folk seem to suggest that 5-10' off 60-0 distance is not unusual.

with all due respect to Luke, i don't think i'd ever disconnect it on the road. i don't have to drive in snow much, but i thought this low-traction situation was exactly where it was the most beneficial. what he seems to be saying is that an experienced snow driver can also beat the ABS stopping distances. can't speak for this and ain't gonna argue with actual experience.

the disclaimer is a very good idea as we obviously have all levels of mech knowledge on this site. might be a good thing for everyone to add such when they see a post that the unknowing or careless might hurt or kill themselves or others with, whether they were the poster or not. remember, there IS a reason the installation instructions on fan belts tell you to be sure the engine is off first..... :behead:

on disconnecting the ABS, tho, all it does is give you a non-ABS system just like we all survived for many years. or am i missing something?
 

Tokyo's between my toes
2001 Wintergreen Outback 5MT
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6,684 Posts
My 98 OB is the first ABS car I've owned, and so far at least I'd rather have the old stomp-it-and-lock-it-at-will technology. It can be frustrating to step on the brake, and get a buzzer instead, on snow or ice.

...so, I downshift...
 

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'04 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport H-4 4EAT Platinum Silver Metallic
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Almost two years after getting the GMC Sonoma, my first with ABS, I had an accident. Was pulling a 16' I/O boat at the time. I thought I knew the routine with those brakes, the way it would glide along through gravel, until a real emergency happened. In that instance I forgot to hold the brake pedal down steady and reverted back to the old brake-pumping method. I just reacted normally, or rather as I had learned over the past couple decades, since the truck seemed to be sliding and all that stuff about ABS got overlooked.

What a mistake that was. If I had kept hard on the brakes I think I'd have stopped in time. Was a hot and dry July 4th, going 40 MPH (the speed limit, like I usually do) toward the intersection when the light changed to yellow. My reaction time was impaired a bit after the hour I spent on the water in the noontime sun with a broken down boat, working in vain to get it running again. Someone towed me back to the boat ramp.

I honked the horn all the while as I was braking. Person with the green light pulled on out anyhow, so I went slamming into his driverside rear quarter panel with my passengerside bumper. Guess I turned it a little left at the same time. Without a doubt, you can't pump ABS brakes and expect to stop. I've never made that same mistake since then.

Never had trouble in the snow, although very little experience with that. I realize it'll slide instead of dig in, just hope I won't need to worry about that much. I think ABS really can help, if the braking is done fully and not partially. Maybe I'll get some chances this winter to try it someplace safe.
 

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Formerly 04 Outback 3.0R VDC, now 2011 Mitsubishi Pajero GLS DiD
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Personally I'm a big fan of ABS, to me the benefits far outweigh the downside, most of the negative stuff here is due to the ABS not being calibrated for the conditions, there is obviously a big difference between the settings required for dry bitumen, wet bitumen, hard dirt, loose grave, sand and snow or ice. How about if Subaru put a switch in which allowed you to select the settings for the current conditions? Have it revert to bitumen/tarmac setting at each restart. Of course you could also have an OFF position. I know the reviewers here have said the current Outbacks are somewhat biased towards offroad with their ABS settings, but wouldn't it be nice to have it closer to the ideal for any given condition?
 

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02 OB sport, 2.5, 5MT, WRX seats/catback/rear bar, Hellas, Home Despot CAI and roof rack
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Jondalar--

there's probably something i'm missing but the way the system works compensates for that to some extent.

crudely stated, the computer compares the signals from the mag sensors on all 4 wheels to determine if one is turning slower than the others and thus that wheel beginning to lock, and then it reduces the pressure in the hydraulic line to that caliper. it doesn't really sense the road (or non) surface at all, as far as i'm aware...all it recognizes is impending lockup.

so assuming the computer is set to have the ABS kick in when it senses X% speed variation in a wheel from the other 3, you won't have that % on higher traction surfaces until much higher rate of deceleration, whereas on slipperier surface, obv it will begin to lock much sooner.

i guess they could reprogram the computer to allow for a slightly higher % of speed variation on high traction surface..?? or reduce the line pressure to the near-locking wheel a little less?

bottom line, i'm sure glad i have it whenever traction ain't great and/or i'm anything other than at my sharpest and most focused. altho as Roo correctly noted, it does take a reprogramming of your reactions to just "let go, let Bosch"...

you DO know that us bubbas here in the USA call it ALL "blacktop"....??? :D
 

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2018 Outback Limited 2.5L - 105,000+ miles
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cptoversteer said:
Hero--

i'm probably to blame as i was the one who asked him abt this.
CPT, I don't blame anyone ;) Its this site's purpose to provide a place to share info, etc about our cars. But with a case like this... well hence the disclaimer :)
 

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02 OB sport, 2.5, 5MT, WRX seats/catback/rear bar, Hellas, Home Despot CAI and roof rack
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oh, come on, blame me, career public defenders learn to thrive on abuse....we get blamed for the all the wrongs of the court system and rampant crime anyway.......:D :D :yodaddy:

seriously, what i was suggesting is that maybe we ought to have a std disclaimer that could be pasted onto msgs discussing matters fraught with peril for the unwary. as i noted, risk to said persons on this mod would just be that they'd have non-ABS brakes, but i've been part of sevl threads where an obvious neophyte was diving into repairs in areas where a screwup could often mean no brakes at all or a wasted engine. :eek:

bw
 

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hope that didn't sound like i was trying to be arrogant, i'm certainly a neophyte in enough areas myself! the more i learn, the more i learn how little i know....
 

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Formerly 04 Outback 3.0R VDC, now 2011 Mitsubishi Pajero GLS DiD
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Cptoversteer -

I think the main problem I've heard of is an ABS setup for "blacktop" kicks in too early on loose surfaces such as gravel where you need some wheel lockup to cut through the loose stuff on top. I don't know how feasible my suggestion is but I liked it at the time.. ;)
 

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i still do like it, and think it's well within the realm of do-ability for a car company that offers cockpit-adjustable F-R torque split....

i suspect the major obstacles are not engineering but fear of liability....if the driver forgot and left ABS in "dry paved road" mode and then found self on wet/icy surface, ABS doesn't deploy, locks wheels, slides to fiery death, estate sues Subaru. etc. accursed lawyers again!

bw
 

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Ahhh ok so I see the problem with original idea, it needs to be automatic, perhaps a little camera under the car takes a photo of the road surface every 10 seconds then a digital image processor analyses the type of surface and adjusts the ABS to suit.... it could also warn the driver "Warning you are driving too fast for snow" hehe, could've done away with the need for an ex or two with that :D
 

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I'm another one who is NOT a fan of ABS. Here in New England, I find that ABS (this is my third car with it) just does not work well in the really slippery stuff, like light snow over solid ice. After driving for 27 years with regular brakes, I find ABS to be great in the rain on solid road surfaces, but horrible on snow and ice. Sure you can steer, but you can't stop. The brakes just keep pulsing and the car just keeps rolling. If you know how to pump brakes, I feel that I can stop better without ABS. ABS is good for the crowd that just stomps on the brakes and prays whenever something happens in front of them. So it probably saves lives and prevents damage in many cases, but on ice and snow it's just not the thing.
 

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Wulf--

i agree with your comments, but can't say it's of value only to "them"...when i'm tired, thinking abt work, not paying as much attn as i shd, talking to a passenger, angry, adjusting stereo, or where there's differential in traction between sides of car (like the right edge of the road being flooded but not the left, not uncommon here), ABS is of value to me, and probably you. and certainly to my signif other, who is a good driver but not enough of a car geek to practice panic stops for fun.

you really see this with motorcycles...a good rider on dry road can always outbrake ABS, but it sure is nice to have when you suddenly have to grab a handful of brake on a wet night. (locking up the front wheel on a bike is a REAL bummer, as you usually visit Mr Pavement) It took the Japs to refine it and make it work, tho, as the orig Bosch ABS on BMWs had such a low sampling rate that the bike would stop in a series of lunges as the front brake loaded and unloaded...
 

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2007 outback MT
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Discussion Starter #16
I think that there is a possibility of an automatic abs selection. For example: In the snow it could adjust to a predetermined setting based on the TEMP and the speed at which you are traveling. The Temp would let the system know that it is in a snowy or icy climate and the road speed could determine a number if diff settings. Such as if u are traveling at highway speeds no human being is going to be able to control a car better than abs; so full ABS would be a good idea since you want to control the direction of travel. However, while traveling slowly in cold weather all u want to do is stop over a shorter distance and the direction your car ends up in really isnt that big of a deal, since you just want to stop, period.

I dont know how a system could determine whether or not your on a gravel road or race course though. Any ideas?? Maybe GPS is the answer. Like a predetermined setting for every road that exists during a specific month. Or perhaps someday the car would recieve weather updates via sattelite or something. After all sattelite radio exists, why not sattelite braking settings. Who knows maybe im just going to far with this. Im starting to sound like a philosopher.
 

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I dont know how a system could determine whether or not your on a gravel road or race course though. Any ideas??

for former, just measure the frequency of the road vibrations coming through the wheels...gravel road will have lower frequency than pavement, but what abt smooth dirt or sand?

for latter, it's simple, just yank the fuse temporarily or set up a kill switch for it....there is essentially no competitive use except maybe rallycross or pro rally (or ice autocross?) where the ABS would be desirable....and my understanding is that even a lot of the prorally guys kill it because it's confused by the impacts wheels are constantly getting pounded with :eek: Brian, do you yank fuse when you do rallyX?
 

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'04 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport H-4 4EAT Platinum Silver Metallic
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Thanks to this thread I finally did some hard stops to try the ABS. I'm still afraid to really mash down the brake pedal with the OBS being so new though.

First was some unexpected braking. After leaving home at night I only got around the first curve in the road when I came across a group of kittens with a cat. I was looking down at the shifter (AT) thinking it seemed in 3rd, and it was. I'm still not used to looking at the dash for the lights, and I tend to put it in 3rd instead of Drive about once every 15 times going from Park so I notice it more now when I make that mistake.

Anyway... so, damp road from recent rain, nighttime, and cats. Looking up just in time to see my right front wheel closing in fast on a white kitten and several others (less visible) scattered around in the road. Went from 40 MPH to near zero very fast, as I swerved a bit left too. Didn't seem like ABS ever activated, just a slight momentary skid sound.

Well, turned around and checked on those kittens, all had gone into a yard and were okay. But then I get another couple miles along and once again I'm glancing down at the gauges, thinking to myself I should really only look at the AT gear lights and not the shifter from now on, learn that and make it a habit, and up there in front of me is a 'possum in the middle of the road. No brakes but a slight swerve to the right. Then just a few hundred feet more around a curve and another possum walking into the road from the shoulder of the road but I was looking more ahead at oncoming car headlights around the curve. More brakes and more swerving, but apparently no ABS, even though the road is wet.

So, I get to someplace thinking I should try those brakes out with a hard stop. The tire(s) skidding instead of doing the usual jittering I was accustomed to in my truck. In fact, the GMC Sonoma was real obvious when ABS activated and it did so quite often. Maybe more than it should have, since a little dust on dry pavement caused the wheels to glide through without locking up.

Like I said though, I never really spent time attempting to lock up the brakes since the car is so new. On paved roads there doesn't seem to be a chance to witness the ABS in action, but I need to be even more vigorous in braking next time I test it out. Also need to give it a try on dirt, gravel, mud and in rain.

Surprised me that the ABS is that difficult to react, because I know it should have done so at least twice and all I noticed were short tire skids. It's very different from the Sonoma.

Luckily, two deer I saw recently, along the same road those other critters were on, weren't in the road or I might have had some other unexpected chances to try out the ABS. The possums are real common though, can hardly go out at night without almost hitting one of those.
 

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Surprised me that the ABS is that difficult to react, because I know it should have done so at least twice and all I noticed were short tire skids. It's very different from the Sonoma.


is it possible that it IS activating but that it's more seamless than we realize? i can momentarily lock a wheel but just momentarily, and i've wondered if that's due to the ABS. OTOH, i had to hit the brakes HARD from abt 100 down to 50 on a recent highway trip, and never noticed any locking. quien sabe?

i'm going to go out and test it tonight. see what this forum does to keep us all safe?
 

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cptoversteer said:
Surprised me that the ABS is that difficult to react, because I know it should have done so at least twice and all I noticed were short tire skids. It's very different from the Sonoma.


is it possible that it IS activating but that it's more seamless than we realize? i can momentarily lock a wheel but just momentarily, and i've wondered if that's due to the ABS. OTOH, i had to hit the brakes HARD from abt 100 down to 50 on a recent highway trip, and never noticed any locking. quien sabe?

i'm going to go out and test it tonight. see what this forum does to keep us all safe?
Guys I've noticed this too, the current generation of ABS doesn't obviously pulse the brake pedal and shudder the car like earlier generations. When Roo braked to avoid the kittens ABS did it's job and allowed momentary wheel lockup only. It's similar on my OBW, though it can be more obvious on a loose surface. On blacktop you probably will barely be able to notice it in action, but the fact that there was only a momentary lockup and not the car sliding all four wheels sideways means it was working IMHO. :)
 
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