ABS operation / diagnostics

I thought you would like to know what is all involved with the ABS system and what could be casusing it. Here it is anyway.

An Antilock Brake System (ABS) indicator is standard equipment on all instrument clusters. This indicator is located near the top of the cluster overlay, between the speedometer and the tachometer. Illumination of this indicator may also be accompanied by the display of certain textual messages in the cluster odometer display.

The ABS indicator consists of a stencil-like cutout of the International Control and Display Symbol icon for Failure of Anti-lock Braking System in the opaque layer of the instrument cluster overlay. The dark outer layer of the overlay prevents the indicator from being clearly visible when it is not illuminated. An amber Light Emitting Diode (LED) behind the cutout in the opaque layer of the overlay causes the indicator to appear in amber through the translucent outer layer of the overlay when it is illuminated from behind by the LED, which is soldered onto the instrument cluster electronic circuit board.

The ABS indicator is serviced as a unit with the instrument cluster.


The ABS indicator gives an indication to the vehicle operator when the ABS system, or a circuit or component of the system is ineffective. This indicator is controlled by a transistor on the instrument cluster circuit board based upon cluster programming and electronic messages received by the cluster from the Controller Antilock Brake (CAB) over the Controller Area Network (CAN) data bus.

The ABS indicator Light Emitting Diode (LED) is completely controlled by the instrument cluster logic circuit, and that logic will only allow this indicator to operate when the instrument cluster receives a battery current input on the fused ignition switch output (run-start) circuit. Therefore, the LED will always be OFF when the ignition switch is in any position except ON or START. The LED only illuminates when it is provided a path to ground by the instrument cluster transistor. The instrument cluster will turn ON the ABS indicator for the following reasons:

Bulb Test - Each time the ignition switch is turned to the ON position the ABS indicator is illuminated for about three seconds as a bulb test. The entire bulb test is a function of the CAB.
ABS Indicator Lamp-On Message - Each time the cluster receives an electronic ABS indicator lamp-ON message from the CAB, the ABS indicator will be illuminated. The indicator remains illuminated until the cluster receives a lamp-OFF message from the CAB, or until the ignition switch is turned to the OFF position, whichever occurs first.
Communication Error - If the cluster receives no lamp-ON or lamp-OFF messages from the CAB for five consecutive message cycles, the ABS indicator is illuminated. The indicator remains illuminated until the cluster receives a valid message from the CAB, or until the ignition switch is turned to the OFF position, whichever occurs first.
Actuator Test - Each time the instrument cluster is put through the actuator test and the Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM) is configured for the ABS option, the ABS indicator will be turned ON, then OFF again during the bulb check portion of the test to confirm the functionality of the LED and the cluster control circuitry.
ABS Diagnostic Test - The ABS indicator is blinked ON and OFF by lamp-ON and lamp-OFF messages from the CAB during the performance of the ABS diagnostic tests.
The CAB continually monitors the ABS circuits and sensors to decide whether the system is in good operating condition. The CAB then sends the proper lamp-ON or lamp-OFF message to the ElectroMechanical Instrument Cluster (EMIC) (also known as the Cab Compartment Node/CCN). If the CAB sends a lamp-ON message after the bulb test, it indicates that the CAB has detected a system malfunction or that the ABS system has become ineffective. The CAB will store a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) for any malfunction it detects. Each time the ABS indicator fails to light due to an open or short in the cluster ABS indicator circuit, the cluster sends a message notifying the CAB of the condition, then the instrument cluster and the CAB will each store a DTC and the cluster will flash the brake indicator ON and OFF as a backup to notify the vehicle operator.

For proper diagnosis of the antilock brake system, the CAB, the EMIC, the CAN data bus or the electronic communication related to ABS indicator operation a diagnostic scan tool is required

thats some good info.