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Car: Ford | Fiesta | CX (Mk3) | All Derivatives | Hatchback

ABS Removal

ABS was a factory option on all Mk3/Mk3.5 Fiesta's. The system is an antiquated mechanically operated affair that uses belts around the inner CV joints to detect the onset of a locked wheel. The system was outdated even when the Mk3 Fiesta was first released and as is to be expected, system performance is poor.

I tested the braking performance and it was terrible, by no means up to the cars performance which is in stage 1 tune. The pedal feel is also bad, even for a Mk3. The ABS appears to do nothing even though both belts and calipers were OK - the left wheel locks up while the right doesn't. To get a decent pedal back and to even out the braking I made the decision to remove the ABS system.

Red Fiesta RS Turbo Restoration

Removal is simple, requiring only 3 new parts. The brake fluid reservoir needs swapping for a non-ABS variant (right), which will have blanks over the ABS modulator feed line take-offs. An alternative is to loop a piece of tube between each ABS take off, but for peace of mind it's worth getting the correct replacement.

Brake bias is regulated by load apportioning valves at the rear of the car, the brake lines for which come from two T-pieces on the inner wing. The T-Pieces also feed the front brakes, and take the output lines from the ABS modulators.

Red Fiesta RS Turbo Restoration

To remove the ABS system I had 2 short sections of brake line made (above right) to link the master cylinder directly to the 2 T-pieces, instead of through the ABS modulators then the T-Pieces as before. This keeps the rear apportioning valve and negates the need to change any other brake lines on the car.

The new brake lines can be carefully radiused to look neat, see the photo (left) for the finished tubing installation.

Red Fiesta RS Turbo Restoration

The task is finished by removing the modulators themselves (right), which bolt to the gearbox.

There are sensors on each of the ABS units which illuminate a warning lamp on the dashboard in the event of the wheels locking, the wires for these lead to a 2 pin connector on the bulkhead. This can be safely left disconnected, as per non-ABS cars.

© Mark Stewart, Wednesday 15th June 2005
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