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GM Pontiac Grand Prix ABS, TCS Off & SES Warning Lights
A guide to troubleshooting problems with the Anti-Lock Braking & Traction Control Systems on a General Motors vehicle.

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This guide was specifically written to assist owners of the GM (General Motors) 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP in resolving problems with the ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System), "TCS OFF" (Traction Control System) and the SES (Service Engine Soon) dash board warning lights. I am not a mechanic and this is just an informal troubleshooting web page. I take no responsibility for damage to your vehicle, your person, your property or anything else. Consult a GM Master Technician or ASE (National Institute For Automotive Service Excellence) Certified mechanic before attempting any repair on your vehicle.
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ABS Warning Light

 
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TCS OFF Warning Light

 
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SES Service Engine Soon

 

This guide may also be useful for owners of other GM vehicle brands such as Saturn, Chevrolet (Chevy), Buick, Oldsmobile (Olds), Cadillac, Hummer, GMC, Holden, and Opel.

A few of the specific General Motors automobile models that may develop this problem include the Grand Am, Fiero, Firebird, Trans Am, GTO, G6, Bonneville, Montana, Aztek, Vue, Sky, Aura, Outlook, Astra, Ion, Corvette, Lumina, El Camino, Impala, Monte Carlo, Venture, Regal, Century, LeSabre, Park Avenue, Riviera, Aurora, Intrigue, Silhouette, Eldorado, Seville, Catera and other W-Body or E-Body cars.

The most obvious symptoms of this problem are the "ABS" and "TCS OFF" warning lights being lit up on your dashboard's instrument panel. Other warnings you might see depending on your vehicle model may include the "SES", "Check Engine", "Trac Off" or "Service Engine Soon" warning lights.

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Parking Brake Warning Light
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3800 Series II 3.8L Engine
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Brake Fluid Reservoir
On my car the "Brake ! P" parking brake light was flashing and then stayed on, which I knew might be due to worn brake pads and a low brake fluid level. I made this issue a first priority to check due to the safety concerns. I verified that my brake pads had plenty of life left and topped off the brake fluid reservoir with Prestone DOT 3 fluid to the correct level.
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Coolant Overflow Bottle
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Buick STB 13mm Bolts
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Power Steering Reservoir

I also noticed that after the ABS & TCS OFF lights came on, my power steering became stiffer and the car was harder to turn in parking lots. I removed the coolant overflow bottle (10mm bolts), and my aftermarket Buick STB (strut tower brace) (13mm bolts) to access the power steering fluid reservoir and it was a bit low. I used a funnel and a rubber hose to pour the Pyroil Power Steering fluid into the reservoir. Then I took the car for a test drive, did some online research, and realized that the power steering problem was due to the ABS/TCS issue. Since the vehicle's computer could not read the WSS (wheel speed sensor) a.k.a. VSS (vehicle speed sensor) in one or more of the wheel hubs, it disabled the Magnasteer (speed sensitive power steering feature). I've also read that on some GM models the computer may also disable the cruise control feature.

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P.S. Filler Below Coolant
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Pyroil Power Steering Fluid
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Funnel & Tube
While reading online about the infamous ABS/TCS problem, I made a list of possible solutions or things to check yourself before spending money on a repair shop diagnostic test. I'll just ramble them off for you. Check for wire damage from rodents, rats, mice, abrasion, or rubbing and replace or repair the wiring harness or connectors. Check for brake dust accumulation on the ABS ring, but I don't believe this applies to the Pontiac Grand Prix since it uses a sealed wheel bearing hub with integrated anti lock braking sensor. Check the wire connection points for corrosion, rust, missing contacts, loose wires, grounded wires, or cracked insulation. Check for water in/around the main brake light bulbs, the third brake light and the tail light sockets common ground which may cause a short. Check the tires for extreme pressure differences or deviations from the recommended settings. Check the battery terminals for corrosion or loose connections. Finally, check the ECM (engine control module a.k.a. "ECU" engine control unit, in the air box), EBCM (electronic brake control module, under the dash), and EBTCM (electronic brake traction control module, on the master brake cylinder ABS mount) for broken connectors or wiring.
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Torque Star Wheel
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Lug Nut Covers Removed
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Caliber, Rotor, & Wheel Hub
Once I checked the easier things like tire pressures and light bulb sockets, I jacked up the car to remove the wheels. I inspected all of the wiring and connections but found nothing wrong. I cleaned the connectors with a can of Dust Off compressed air and a small wire brush. To reset the error codes, I removed the battery's negative ( "-" black wire) for about an hour and then reattached it. Not more than a few minutes into the next test drive, the ABS, TCS OFF and SES lights all came on.



 

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ABS, TCS, WSS Wiring
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Wires From Wheel Bearing Hub
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Wiring Connector
At this point, I knew that I would be needing some professional help. I went to a trusted local repair shop to have them scan the vehicle's computer for error codes. Depending on your vehicle model you or the mechanic may need an ABS scanner, OBD scanner, OBD II scanner, a Tech 2 scanner or an OHM meter.
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Dust Off Compressed Air
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Plugged Into Hub Connector
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Checking For Wire Abrasion
The mechanic informed me that the scanner pinpointed the right front wheel bearing hub as having a faulty ABS speed sensor (a.k.a. VSS or WSS). My brother and I had just replaced both of the front hubs less than a year ago with CarQuest brand parts that were made in South Korea. Since the part had a warranty, I went back to the CarQuest auto parts store, exchanged it for a new one and installed the new part. For step by step instructions click on the following link - GM wheel bearing hub replacement guide. As far as I know right now, replacing that hub has solved my ABS/TCS/SES error codes. Be sure to disconnect the battery cable and let the computer's error codes clear out while you replace the hub.
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Checking Brade Pad Wear
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CarQuest S. Korea Hub
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Wires Clear Of Moving Parts
If you determine that the ABS control module on your vehicle needs to be replaced, I've seen them priced anywhere from $90 to $400 on eBay and other retail websites depending on the model. Replacement wheel bearing hubs can be purchased for about $60 to $200 and some of the better known brand names are Timken (Mexico), DynaPak (China), and BCA. My first replacement hub was a Dynapak and it made a loud popping noise while turning at low speeds.
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Wiring On Control Arm
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Connections Cleaned & Checked
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2001 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP
I hope this guide has been helpful for some of you. Please be sure to take a look at some of my other vehicle maintenance pages such as the Grand Prix Power Window Motor & Regulator Replacement Guide, the Eaton M90 Supercharge Oil Change, the GM 3800 Series II Alternator Replacement Guide, the PCV Valve Replacement Guide, and the Grand Prix Oil Change Guide.
 
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