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mk4 golf abs grinding noise


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Can anyone help. The ABS warning light and fault message has appeared but today I was driving as usual, applied the brakes and there was a sudden grinding noise from the engine bay and the brake pedal felt hard then grindy, it felt like I had a load of cogs grinding together under my pedal.

Then all was ok again. The pads seem fine. If they were gone I'd hear them scraping all the time. Also lost brake power when it happened.

Is my abs pump, or whatever it is, broke?

Feel that I should not drive the car till its sorted. Its done 132k miles but does have a S.H.

Just my luck really as I am trying to sell it!!

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  • 4 months later...

Sleeve, did you manage to sort your problem out with your wierd ABS grinding noise? My GTI appears to have developed the same problem although in addition to the symptoms you've had, mine makes the noise if you are on ice and the wheels start to spin. This initially made me think gearbox but I also heard the noise when I tried braking in the ice too so I'm now on the ABS route.

Would it make sense if the ABS sensor was slightly faulty, therefore at slow speeds not detecting wheel motion. That compared to the other sensors which are detecting wheel motion would make the ABS system think that a wheel had locked up and hence it would apply the ABS. My only two questions to that theory are, does the ABS apply pressure to all four wheels or is it to the one wheel only that has detected a lock-up? And is there a way of isolating a faulty ABS sensor ie a resistance check of the sensors?


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  • 6 months later...
  • 3 months later...
  • 9 months later...

there is one of 2 things wrong with your car:

1. you need a new wheel speed sensor on one of your wheels

2. A wheel speed sensor is too far from the wheel. (probably this one)

if your unfamiliar to what this does, its a sensor that uses a magnet to tell how many times the wheel is spinning. the sensor is held in by a 5mm bolt and the magnet needs to be almost touching the spoked spindle on the back side of the rotor. and i mean ALMOST TOUCHING

to figure out what wheel it is use vag com, follow this link: VAGCOM Demo Movies and go to diagnosing a abs fault. if you don't have vag com then find someone who does or you'll have to pull off each wheel and see how close the sensor is to the spindle. make sure that the spindle has all its teeth as well and is not bent so that some of the magnet on the sensor sweeps close and some of it sweeps away from it.

when the sensor is bad vag com will tell you it is malfunctioning, when it is working then it will give you a error message under 03 ABS controller that says dtc memory intermittant or something like that.

the best way to monitor which sensor is not working correctly/not close enough is to go to the abs controller and go to measuring blocks, click go! on 001 and go to vag scope, watch the graph as you drive especially when slowing or accelerating, one of the colored lines will not match up and that colored line represents one of the speed sensors.

any questions let me know


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Just to remind you guys if you have no faults with your sensors as with Jareds statement no 2 or the reluctors and wheel bearings are all fine????? You do have whats known as EDL Electronic Diff Lock which is a program in the abs control unit as on MK4's onwards as with Planestoners driving on ice issue, they do make a noise when the diff lock is working as it pinches the brakes on one side at a time as one wheel slips so it gives more drive to the non slipping wheel.....just a litle bit of info as not alot of people know of this function on VW's

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  • 3 weeks later...

i have the exact same problem which at first i thought it was the clutch but after taking it to one of my mates he reckoned it was the abs, so i changed the bearings, hubs, abs rings, abs sensors had my abs electroniclly bled through vagcom and still got the problem i think its down to a faulty abs pump, its going into awesome gti tomorrow to get fixed (hopefully) lol

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