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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi - I'm new to the forum so please be gentle with me ;)

I live in Laos and have a 916 Spider - need to do some work on it and immediate problem is the front sticking brakes. Cannot drive for more than a mile before they get too hot. Taken Calipers apart and cleaned pistons etc. - all seems OK there. I'm thinking there maybe a problem with master cylinder or ABS - the ABS light does come on but reading other threads it seems that this is a common problem and may not be related so not sure. Are there any pressure sensors that could be at fault and if so how do I check them?

I have never seen another Alfa over here in Laos and I have no access to parts here - a friend of mine is coming over from the UK at the end of October so can bring bits with him.

Any help with the problem and/or where cheap good parts are available in the UK would be appreciated.

Many thanks in advance

Rob
 

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Are the pistons moving in and out on the calipers? have you removed the caliper from the hub and attempted to push pistons back into housing and checked for pitting on the cylinder? If they are pretty fluid, a good flush with new brake fluid may help too?

As above also check that there is no kinks in flex hoses and if fairly perished replace, although the binding does sound like its the calipers to me.
 

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I would say, give the calipers a good clean & flush the complete brake system & bleed, this may solve your issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for replies - calipers have been split and pistons removed and cleaned - no pitting on them at all - pistons pushed in easy but when caliper fitted to brake lines very stiff and wont move much at all - why will changing hoses solve the problem? - they appear to be fine and not perished? is there a none return valve or something between the calipers and brake cylinder?
 

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Ok rob, when you say you have had issues with your ABS light is the light flickering or on constantly? What about the fluid, when was it last changed?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The ABS light comes on and stays on pretty soon after I drive the car ( seconds) - it doesn't flicker but stays on - when the brakes are applied I can hear a noise under the bonnet - I think its near the master cylinder but not sure - maybe even a clicking noise like a solenoid - will check again tomorrow - not sure when brake fluid was changed last but there was a bottle in the boot - its DOT 3 and I'm used to using DOT 4 - could that make a difference?
 

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If the light is on constantly, its generally not a good sign im afraid:( In my experience its generally the ABS unit that needs replaced. (Worst case scenario) have you tried braking hard to see if the wheels lock-up?

Have you got access to diagnostics?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
there is one Ford garage in the town I live and that's it - no diagnostics - why would a faulty ABS cause the brakes to stick? - I don't care for the ABS if there was a way to uninstall it I would if that was causing the problem - will try and lock brakes tomorrow to see if ABS is working
 

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why will changing hoses solve the problem? - they appear to be fine and not perished? is there a none return valve or something between the calipers and brake cylinder?
Mine looked fine but ballooned under pressure, braking, but collapsed when lifting off. The collapse caused a restriction which meant the fluid could not return quickly enough so the brakes remained on for a while. Repeat this a few times and it seems the brakes are always on.

It took a while to discover this as, like you say, the hoses looked fine and it then became a process of elimination.
 

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Try replacing the hose - I do think this can cause the problem (especially if someone has used pliers to clamp off the rubber hose in the past)

Do an ABS stop and see if it operates at all?

The ABS system is capable of raising the brake pressure in an individual brake line, and the ABS pump would need to be running to do this (would make noise), however that sounds like a very unusual type of failure. BTW your ABS pump will burn out pretty quickly if it is running all the time.

Could be the sensor erroneously detecting a rapid deceleration of that wheel... Might be worth disconnecting the ABS sensor (if possible?) on that corner to see if it helps the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
its affecting both front brakes an equal amount - will disconnect ABS sensors and see if it makes a difference - are there any manuals on line for it? - apart from the internet I have no access at all here for technical information. Are there any other Alfa's with similar running gear?
 

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There are quite a few links to the 916 manual on here, the search function is your friend :thumbs:

Also, if you are the only person with an Alfa in Laos, I would advise that you invest in one of the diagnostic programs that people recommend on here, Alfadiag is one and I think FiatEcuscan is another. You will also need a cable to connect between your PC and the ECU. There are two types available depending on which phase your car is. Again, a search on here will produce all sorts of threads :thumbs:.

Good luck.
 

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If it is both front wheels then it is not the wheel sensors - double sensor fault is unlikely

So leave them plugged in... sounds like the ABS computer might be buggered...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Many thanks for the replies - drove it yesterday for the first time and did about 100km's - nice car but suspension needs sorting at the back end - its all over the place and I suspect worn bushes etc. which is hardly surprising with the bad roads over here. Had to use the hand brake instead of the foot brake so didnt go too fast.
Is there any way I can disconnect/remove the whole ABS system as we don't go that fast over here and I'm not too keen on spending big money replacing it. Its also one more thing not to go wrong if removed!
 

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I had a similar problem and after spending $2000 it was finally fixed. I was told to suspect my ABS pump but I took it elsewhere - new master cylinder and it was going well. I also replaced all four brake hoses in the process.

However my problem was all four wheels locking up and sticking for like an hour then I'd be free to drive.. would typically last 10km before I'd get stuck on the side of the road if just driving normally down a highway - short city trips weren't as much of a problem so I actually had the issue with the car for about a year before I got it sorted!
 
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