Switching ABS to Conventional.

Dslsmoke said:
Well John; I have a question, You mentioned about using a booster form a '89 or '90 non SC Bird, and the MC from a '93 Vicky, that's all fine and makes sense, ( since Napa wants $1775 for a re built ABS pump, good thing Prior is still somewhat affordable at $695) the problem I see is with the clutch MC.

Is there enough clearance around the booster to still fit the clutch MC?
I can see if you are running an auto trans, but with a 5 speed there might not be enough room. I have not really paid too much attention to the newer ('92 on) birds where this issue is concern, but my '90 seems to be real tight in that area, and it makes me wonder if I should look for a different booster based on the assumption of space.

Your thoughts please....

Thanks; Dslsmoke

There is enough room. I've done it already, I just didn't know about the MC and the one I used didn't work well. It's pretty much clear sailing fellas. The OE ABS system IS a stand alone system. You can yank the entire setup if you want, you will have to seperate the wire harness from the ARC harness unless you have already ditched that too...... :D
How did you get the booster in place? I worked on mine a couple of hours the other day and had hell of a time tiring to get it into place. Ended up cracking a small chip out of the plastic assembly on the pedal side. Had to drop off of it for a couple of days for another project. Need to pickup another booster also, before I try again.
Dave is right, it does fit. My car has a 5-speed, and I did not have to remove the clutch cylinder or any of its parts. If you are able to look at the donor car for the booster, you will notice there isn't much room between the end of the brake master cylinder and the inner wheelhousing. I'm pretty sure that's why this particular booster is so skinny,( approx. 3 inches thick) or so. The Crown Vic booster is the one I would have preferred to use, as it was matched to the master cylinder, by the engineers at Ford. It was probably 4 inches thick, or more, if I remember correctly, and there's no way the master cylinder would clear the inner wheelhousing on the T-bird, if I had used it. I had no idea if there would be enough boost or not, till I tried it, and I'm sure the engineers would pipe up and say it won't work, but guess what, it works fine. When you begin to install the booster, make sure your children, wife and the minister of your church are nowhere near. Its a terrible job, but it has to be done. I figured Ford had to design it to come out of there somehow, if it ever failed, (I'd like to punch some of those engineers). If I had to do it again, I think I might remove the motor hood, so I didn't have to lean in underneath it for so long. I think the perfect time to do this would be when the engine is already out of the car for a rebuild, so you can climb in there to work on it. Then again, is there anything easy about working on any car nowadays? John V.O.
Any way you could post pic's on what you have installed? I ended up putting the ABS unit back in with a rebuilt motor for now. But when I do the head gaskets and have to top end off I want to try the installation again. Seems like it would be nice to have the lower IC off and out of the way. The 2 ea. 93 crown Vic police Interceptor's that I found had only 2 brake lines coming off the MC not three? You know a picture is worth a thousand words... :D :D
The wife wants her 89 5-speed to stay on the road.... :D :D
Thanks, for posting this.
Flip said:
The 2 ea. 93 crown Vic police Interceptor's that I found had only 2 brake lines coming off the MC not three? You know a picture is worth a thousand words... :D :D
I think maybe that is why he said *except* Police Intercepter. :p
jvo said:
We looked at bore and stroke sizes, and the 1993 Crown Victoria, (ex police car) had the same bore and stroke master cylinder on it, as well as a front/rear braking system, 'cause its also a rear wheel drive car. I had to use the lowline T-bird booster though, because it is only about 3 inches thick. The Crown Vic booster was substantially thicker, and if you tried to bolt it to the firewall, then bolt the master cylinder to it, it would hit the inner wheelhousing on my Super Coupe, because of the strut type suspension. So,,,,, use the NON-ABS booster from a '89 T-bird, and the master cylinder from the 1993 Crown Victoria police car. John V.O.

Guess I keep looking at the second description not the first one. ;)
Its funny really..............

ABS is so bad and everything as is being indicated by several people here (by the sounds of it, not just the tbirds either, but overall) then I guess they'd better ground all the planes out there, cause that's even scarier considering the speeds and weight their dealing with AND how many souls are on board those.

The way I look at it, if you have to hit the brakes that hard to lock the wheels up or close to it to have to get yourself stopped that quick, then ultimately you screwed up by not paying attention around you, going too fast for the current environment, and/or following to close........ Ask a cop, he'll tell you the same thing.

I chatted with a friend of mine who's a cop and he's says every cop he's knows loves ABS brakes, cause it allows them to focus on steering the car etc without having to focus on how much brake pedal needs to be applied to prevent a lock up. Its called sensory overload, and by taking out 1 factor, like I just mentioned, allows the brain to deal with something else, like looking for an opening to get yourself out of the situation that you got yourself into.

ABS brakes are there for emergencies, not for everyone to sit on and hit everyday so they can get the idea of tail gating everyone (like we all know happens), and from what I've been told..... the folks that are dead set against ABS brakes, don't know how to drive a car with ABS brakes, and that covers almost all drivers anyways until they are trained to drive properly.

Now if we're talking about the system thats in the tbird, everyone yips about how bad it is, but from what I've been reading.... is it that bad???? It may not be perfect, but what is.... hell the ABS systems on jet airliners use the same principles as our cars do, so lets run to the local airport and start yanking out their brakes just because we don't like ABS LOL.

The brakes in my car are solid and she'll stop on a dime without even engaging the ABS so whats the problem..... I do check my brake system like fluid etc as often as I check my engine oil, and I also know my car is 15 years old and the system is wearing down, so I'm going to be proactive with it..... hhhmmmm...... but wait, most folks know that certain parts of the car is getting old and they become proactive and swap the parts out, SO WHY NOT THE BRAKE SYSTEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nothing lasts forever..... and since my car has become 15 years old, obviously to me the brakes are working ok as it hasn't been in an accident.....

Point out to me a cronic brake failure problem with these cars when they where less than 5 years old and under 100,000 miles that shows more than 1% of the sc's built in fact have had total brake failure because of the ABS and I'll yank mine out, until then............... I'll maintain my existing system and be proactive. Maintenance schedules are there for a reason ;) .

Maintain the system properly, learn to drive properly and realize that when your driving, everybody else does NOT know how to drive, and ye shan't have any problems.

Well, not to argue, but heck why not. :D

1) Comparing abs on jet liners to our cars is not a valid comparison. Jet airplanes have completely different requirements for their brakes than we do. On jet planes it is ok to remove your seatbelt during flight. Is it ok to remove our belts when cruising down the highway? No it's not. Risk factors are completely different and therefore the technology and accompanying principles are not valid. Does ABS work? Yes it does and no one here is arguing that.

2) Our ABS brake systems are all on the edge of reliability. The question remains, is the required maintenence worthwhile? I know I purchased my XR7 in 1990. The first (and only, I might add) winter I drove it in (1990-1991) everytime I got slow/slush on the sensors the system warning light would come on and the system would not work. When I needed it most it malfunctioned. Nothing was ever found to be wrong with it.

3) It is common understanding that 10 years is the recommended life span of the accumulator. These are expensive replacement parts, and since all SC's are beyond 10 years old, all which have not been replaced need replacing. However, most people do not replace things until they fail. This is a known human nature thing and the fact that the system allows you to drive with a failing accumulator is reason enough to want to ditch the whole system. In it's early stages of failure an accumulator will function as normal until an extreme braking situation is encountered in which case you will have virtually no brakes at all. I've been there. Fortunately I didn't wreck the car but others have not been so fortunate. You could blame the owner on poor maintenance, but what good is it to do so if someone is dead or injured and property is damaged? In this case what is legally correct is not morally right.

4) Using police drivers as an example of "expert" drivers is a poor example. Most police car drivers are marginal when it comes to actual performance driving. They know how to stomp the gas, how to stop in an emergency, how to avoid an accident, and how run people off the road. Most police drivers have no idea how to "finesse" a car, particularly a car that has good road manners and a tuned chassis. Police cars are boats and they are trained in how to drive them. Does an excellent truck driver make an excellent race car driver? I hope you don't think so. This doesn't suggest that police drivers suck, it's just that their experience and performance requirements are quite different that what some of us have, need or desire. FWIW I've seen policemen drive on race tracks. Not very impressive. ;)

Anyway, the decision whether or not to keep the ABS at this point in the car's life is certainly the choice of the individual and it should not be made out to be a poor one. 4wheel disc brakes do not lock up unexpectedly and/or uncontrollably and this car is no exception. The ABS system is indeed very primative in terms of modern ABS systems and is indeed marginal in it's job. It is very obtrusive when it kicks in removes from the driver the ability to modulate the brakes effectively. I've run up against the ABS only a few times in my life with this car and in each case it was more of an annoyance than a help. I'd rather not have it and I believe that my decision to delete it is an informed one.
I totally agree its up to the individual if they want to drop the ABS or not, and heck I would do it to if the car if I was unable to get any parts for it.

My points are more aimed at the individuals that need to justify removing their system by saying that ABS is totally useless and is garbage etc etc............ and they'd never drive a car with it and so on. Just remove the darn thing and get it done.... you don't need to justify it and ram it down everyone's throat that its totally useless (this doesn't include you Dave :) )

The problem I have is I still drive my car like it doesn't have ABS, as its the first car I've ever had with ABS. My 2000 corolla doesn't even have it. Have I seen an advantage of one system over another..... maybe slight, as the ABS did kick in as I slid toward a minivan in front of me, but I was able to assess the situation quickly then steer myself over into the other lane because the oncoming traffic was stopped. Would I have been able to do that in the Corolla, yeah, but I know I would have been slighly more delayed as I would have had to pay attention to my wheels locking up so I could maintain steerability of the car.

To be frank, both systems have their advantages, and is one any better than the other? Thats more up to an individual and their driving style.

Personally I don't give a darn if I have it or not, just so long as the car can be stopped and be controlled easily in the process. Now I can hear someone piping up about total failures only happen because of the ABS system................... that would be funny to read cause I've seen regular brake systems totally fail as well :rolleyes:

My pressure switch went out during an emergency manuever once. I had to drive from Virginia to Michigan w/ a brake pedal that was stiff as a rock. Then the nightmare of getting the part ordered and UPS losing my package. Then trying to install it. Recently I was cut off and put the brakes down quickly. To the floor it went. And then right about 3 inches before slamming into an F-150 4x4's trailer hitch, my accumulator pressurizes and I have ABS. Luckily I didn't hit him. But boy was I pissed. I said a few not so kind words to him as I passed him and I held up my hand to show him that I thought he was #1.

I have a new accumulator that I ordered sitting in my garage in MI. I'm going to install it, and if it gives me anymore problems I'm going to go to a junk yard and get a tbird booster and a crown vic master cylinder to use as cores when I go to an auto parts store to get remanufactured replacements. I don't know if I'd trust junk yard brake parts, but I will use them so I don't have to pay core charges at the parts store.

Both of my SC's have leaking accumulators. I normally drive on dry roads. I want to put my foot down and stop, not wonder if the brakes are gonna kick in. Personally I learned to drive in a car that didn't have ABS. I learned how to threshold brake, and to pump while turning so you don't lock up and slide. True ABS makes it easier and less hassle, but too many people rely on it and if it failed the road would be a scary place. Especially in these big SUV's that people think they are invincable.
First off, Flip, I have to apologize for my mistake. My Crown Vic master cylinder does actually only have 2 lines coming from it,(after reading your post, I went out, flipped the hood, and saw my mistake), but the front brake line goes to the "block" from the Crown Vic. Make sure you take that from a donor car, or buy a new one. Its got 1 line going in, from the master cylinder, then 2 separate lines going out from the block to the front brakes. There's also a plug on this block, that I did not use. I assume it was for the brake lights. The other line from the master cylinder goes directly to the rear brakes. I could take a picture, but it won't show much, because you can barely see the booster buried in under the wiper valance, and behind the master cylinder. Look at a regular Thunderbird (NON - SC) and that's generally what you will see. The brake booster from the regular T-bird will look, in its original home, exactly like it will in your SC. I highly doubt that Ford changed the firewall and inner wheelwell sheetmetal just to make a Super Coupe. (I could be wrong, but its never happened before.) Just kidding. I think this "block" from the Crown Vic is nothing more than a junction block. Anyway, to think of this in simpler terms, when you had your ABS system out of the car, all you should have seen was 3 brake lines protruding from below. Those are the ones you need. Ignore the electronic plugs, I just zip-tied them back out of the way. To install the booster, you may want to remove the driver's seat, (I did not, but it may have been easier to gain access to the booster from the inside of the car), from there it is just plain a miserable job, but it very obviously can be done, in the event the booster ever fails. If I were going to do this again, I would probably remove the motor hood also, for easier access. I did this job totally by myself, but it may be easier if you had someone else help hold lines and wires out of the way, as the booster just barely fits in there. Make sure you don't kink any brake lines, as I didn't have to cut any of them to shorten or lengthen them. I merely bent mine slightly to make them shorter. I can't remember exactly how my brake light wiring worked, but I am pretty sure I never cut any wires, either. When I peeked under the hood a few minutes ago, I could see the plug from the original wiring plugged into the side of the Crown Vic master cylinder. I live 30 miles from work, if I remember to bring my camera tomorrow, I will take a picture of what you can see, anyway. I hope this site is easy to post pics on, as I am not really very good at computer stuff. One more thing I forgot to mention that is VERY important, is to check your pushrod length between the booster and master cylinder. That should go without saying, and if you don't know much about brakes, you probably need someone to help you that does know. I "think" my pushrod length was the same, but can't say for sure, as I have been adapting booster and master cylinder on my Model A Ford pickup as well, and can't remember which one I did some work on. Some of these pushrods have adjustments available to them. Measure how far the pushrod protrudes out of the booster on a Crown Vic, and measure the same on the T-bird donor booster, and make it the same. This is pretty important stuff, and like I said, if you don't know that, you shouldn't be doing this swap alone. Its important, not difficult. Every hot rodder that's ever upgraded his rod has done it all. What I actually did was go to the local wrecker, get a booster and master cylinder, and 4-way block from the Crown Vic, then went and purchased a NEW master cylinder, 'cause its only about 65 bucks, cheap insurance. If you did this swap with the engine out of the car, you could climb right in there, and I "think" it would be far less work. Also, you could bend the lines and tuck them away a little nicer than I was able to. Regardless, I will try to post a pic tomorrow. To respond to Fturner, Dave has summed it up pretty well. I don't think I can add much to his comments, except that your turn is coming sometime in the future when you can decide if you want to spend a couple thousand bucks to rebuild your system. I, also, went through the process of installing a new accumulator and trying to find someone to troubleshoot this system, short of going to the Ford dealer and paying them $80.00 and hour for a 2nd year apprentice, (that I don't think knew as much as I knew about it) to teach himself at my expense. After a lot of frustration, I decided to replace it. John V.O.
fturner said:
Personally I don't give a darn if I have it or not, just so long as the car can be stopped and be controlled easily in the process. Now I can hear someone piping up about total failures only happen because of the ABS system................... that would be funny to read cause I've seen regular brake systems totally fail as well :rolleyes:


Well, and this is entirely true. I lost a brake line on my Acura Integra and ended up having to yank the E-brake, spin around backwards and nail a guardrail to avoid hitting stopped traffic. So much for the "safety" of diagonal braking. lol My pedal went right to the floor with no warning whatsoever.

Scott, what you just said is exactly my point about the poor maintenance practices of the average motorist. To think that you can drive the car "easy" because you know the accumulator is failing is one of the most incredibly dumb things I've ever read. Sorry if that sounds offensive, but the truth is people don't plan extreme emergencies. If the accumulator is failing, your brakes won't be there when you really need them. Plain and simple.

How about a 93 T-Bird that has 4 wheel disc and the ABS on it... But doesnt have all the garbage that goes with ours.. Can that Master Cylinder and booster be put on ours as a swap out. I have one of these sitting by the garage taking up space.... Would just use it if I can.. :D
ScrapSC said:
How about a 93 T-Bird that has 4 wheel disc and the ABS on it... But doesnt have all the garbage that goes with ours.. Can that Master Cylinder and booster be put on ours as a swap out. I have one of these sitting by the garage taking up space.... Would just use it if I can.. :D
Nope, doesn't fit.
Dave, its not that I am intentionally driving the car like this. I orderred the new part, but my tools and permanent shipping address are in MI, I am now in Virginia. As soon as I make it back to MI (next month maybe) I will install my accumulator. I don't tail gate at all, and I use steady pressure when applying the brakes. If I see the light turn red, I slow down in plenty of time to make sure I won't need to slam the brakes. I hate this system with a passion, but its my daily driver so what am I supposed to do, not go to work? Its not that I'm not gonna fix it, I just can't do anything about it today. If I get into an accident I know very well that I am increasing my chances of it by driving on a failing accumulator. How many other cars on the road do you think have problems with the brake systems that the owners know nothing about and therefore are clueless to the fact that they can't rely on their brakes in an emergency. I think that in fact is a scary thought.

A little defensive driving goes a long way in keeping you safe and your vehicle in one piece.
Very true Scott, and you touched on another sore point with me. Car manufacturers are more and more accurately gauging how long parts should last on a car and targeting the designs for roughly 120K miles/10 years. They are trying to make it a sure science of how long a car will last and then make it extremely expensive or difficult to maintain a car longer than that. It's called "planned obsolescence" and it really sucks. For those of us who think that we can drive a car forever with proper maintenance it just gets worse. :mad:
Just took a look and noticed that

I went and checked it out and saw that it wouldnt work... I am going to swap mine out now since the engine is out... I have already pulled the old Abortion System... I have a booster off of a 90 already... Gonna get the Crown Vic tomorrow...

Cross your fingers for me!!! LOL :D
There are 3 of us here at work, trying to post these pics, I have 4 more that the system won't let me upload. Ignore the fuzzy ones. Hopefully you can see where the plug goes into the side of the CrownVic master cylinder. You can see the extra line that I had to coil up, because I was too lazy to cut it and flare a new end onto the line. The 3 plugs that are not being used are left over from the ABS. As I stated earlier, you can't really see the T-bird booster, 'cause its back in under the wiper valance. I just took a pic of the speedo, in case no-one believes I have 315,000 kms on this car. Its definitely a daily driver, and a beater, but it still gets me around. It ain't much, but its all mine. Hopefully the pictures will cast a little more light on this swap. John V.O.
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