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Topic: Kodiak C5500 Brake Warning Alarm

Posted By: mfa on 12/25/07 01:32pm

It's Christmas Day, we are 1,200 miles from home and our C5500 gasser has a brake warning light/alarm problem.

It first happened a couple of days ago. The manual says that the brake warning lights and alarm may come on when braking and turning at the same time, which we were. It doesn't say anything about what mechanical conditions cause it or under what conditions it will reset. It stayed on until I got the MH stopped. Each time I started the engine, it came on again. Finally, I was going to try to make it somewhere off the highway and the alarm stopped about 200 feet down the road. Based on the manual statement that it might be "normal", we kept on going.

The next day, we stopped for lunch and when I started the engine the brake alarm came on again. After restarting the engine a couple of times without effect, we started out and again it quit within a few seconds.

Last night, after sitting for a few hours, we started out and the brake alarm went off when we were sitting at the first red light. This time it would not turn off when we rolled again. It remained on for the 15 minutes it took us to get to a safe overnight destination.

In all cases when the brake alarm was sounding, braking and power steering seemed absolutely normal. Both halves of the brake fluid reservoir are full.

There is a Chevy medium truck place in the town we are stopped in, but I'm concerned they may not be open or be able to work on it in this holiday week between Christmas and New Years. I'm calling them in the morning. Fortunately, we were going to be staying here in Austin for a few days, but we need to be on the road home this Saturday.

Anybody have any advice or previous experience on this?

Posted By: ronfisherman on 12/25/07 02:10pm

Service manual suggest checking parking brake switch. Next step is to put a scan gage on to check for fault codes.

2004 Gulf Stream Endura 6340 D/A SOLD
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Posted By: Pull-Tab on 12/25/07 02:43pm

On our 4500 that happened to us and it turned out to be the brake switch. Problem we had when it happened was it dropped out our brake lights. The emergency brake switch will also do it but most likely you will be getting the brake switch replaced. good luck

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Posted By: BillyP on 12/25/07 05:55pm

Our brake light came on last year. I called ERS, who called GM. They ended up towing us to a dealer (about a 4 hour deal) who replaced (so they said) a sensor. Took them all of 15 minutes, the following morning when they opened, and we were on our way.

05 Jayco Seneca 35GS/22k Kodiak/6.6 Duramax
04 Jeep Rubicon Automatic
SMI Silent Partner/BlueOx Aladdin
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Posted By: mfa on 12/25/07 07:03pm

Thanks for the responses. The brake switch seems to be operating normally -- both engine running or not. The emergency brake switch seems to be operating fine, too.

A quick sensor change would be wonderful!

Posted By: Desert Diesel on 12/25/07 08:36pm

If it is the switch the part number is 25771554. It costs about $15.00 and you should always carry a spare since they are prone to failure and are really easy to replace . The electric boost motor can also fail which would cause the same alarm.

20' Universal trailer
02 2500HD D/A CC/LB

Posted By: paulin on 12/26/07 08:52am

It may also be a ABS problem. Visually check for a disconnected or loose wire to the sensor on each wheel. Be sure the dealer checks for a bad ABS sensor.

Paul & Linda
2007 Jayco Seneca HD 34SS Duramax
2005 Saturn VUE
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Posted By: mfa on 12/27/07 06:49am

Couldn't get to the Internet yesterday, but here's the status...

The closest Chevy medium truck service place that I called said, "We can put you down for the 2nd." [emoticon]

I called the only other one in the area and they said to bring it in. That was 27 miles away. When I got there, the service writer said they "may be able to get to it Thursday evening." [emoticon]

As I said earlier, when it happened late Christmas Eve, I didn't want to stop and the alarm never stopped, either. Christmas Day, I did some looking at it and the alarm would still sound every time I started it up. But then yesterday morning when I started out to take it to the truck service place, the alarm stopped after moving a couple of hundred feet.

So for the three times this has happened, here are the common items --
  1. Alarm comes on with little or no provocation.
  2. Brakes and steering seem perfectly normal when the alarm is sounding.
  3. Alarm stays on through vehicle stoppage.
  4. Alarm comes back on when engine is restarted, whether in seconds or overnight.
  5. Alarm stops (resets?) when the vehicle is driven a couple hundred feet.

If I knew for sure that the alarm would reset each time I stopped, restarted, and started rolling again, I would probably start for home on Saturday if they can't get to it by then. I really don't want to be stuck here for another four days through New Year's Day. [emoticon]

Posted By: mfa on 12/27/07 09:07pm

Desert Diesel wrote:

If it is the switch the part number is 25771554. It costs about $15.00 and you should always carry a spare since they are prone to failure and are really easy to replace . The electric boost motor can also fail which would cause the same alarm.

It seems you are correct. I got the MH back this evening and they said that this brake switch (25771554) was found broken and they replaced it. I sure hope that was the problem.

One thing puzzling about why the alarm apparently resets after the vehicle is started up and rolls a bit -- the manual says that an anti-lock brake check is done during that rollout period. If that check is resetting the alarm, then you would think that the alarm would have something to do with the anti-lock system and that the anti-lock alarm light should be coming on.

Posted By: kgmz on 12/27/07 09:08pm

I had the same problem on our 2005 Kodiak 4500 work truck.

A quick fix and easy to check is to remove the brake switch from the brake pedal. The brake switch is a about 2" x 2" white plastic part held on to the pedal assembly with a quick clip, this clip has a keyhole shaped hole that you pull up the tab and slide to pull off. Remove the wire harness plug first. When you get the brake switch out, look for 4 places where there are tabs that hold the 2 halves together. Pop it apart being careful so the spring doesn't fly out. Inside you will find if I remember right 4 or 6 copper bars with silver contacts on them. Look at the contacts and see if they are corroded or have burn marks on them, think about the points in old car distributers these contacts are similar and just larger.

The first time that I did this was scraped the one set of burned contacts with a screw driver and just knocked off the chunks on there. It didn't last but a couple of weeks. I took it apart again and cleaned the contacts with emery cloth and have not had a problem in a few months now.

1998 29' Itasca Sundancer pulling a 2002 Interstate West 27' All-Sport, 10,400 GVWR with Yamaha Mountain Viper's inside.

2001 Suburban 2500 LT,8.1,4.10
2001 2500HD Crewcab Longbox LT,8.1,4.10

Posted By: mfa on 01/04/08 04:05pm

kgmz wrote:

I had the same problem on our 2005 Kodiak 4500 work truck.

Thanks for the info!

We made it the 1,300 miles back home without further incident, so it definitely must have been that switch. I'm going to get a spare one to carry for sure.

Posted By: pawpawlang315 on 01/05/08 09:29pm

I had what sounds like the exact same problem on my 05 6340 as what you have discribed. After many non-helpful calls to GM I finally discovered the cause of the light and the alarm. Under the dash and above the brake pedal is a wiring harness connection that was not fully connected and the vibration of the vehicle would cause the light/alarm to activate occassionally. After securing that connection I have not had any more problems. Hope this helps.

Posted By: JeF4y on 01/09/08 09:00am

Glad to hear I'm not the only one. Just curious as to why everything has to break when you're away from home! (yes, that was humor).

I isolated it pretty quickly because I didn't hear the relay for the brake lights snap on, so I looked in the rear-view monitor (it was night) and sure enough, no brake lights.

I thought it was due to my trailer brake wiring tapping into the wire, so I pulled that and tapped on the white box (switch) and voila. problem solved.

Thanks for the part number. I'll add this to my bin of stuff that I carry (like a spare fuel filter!) Oh the things we learn...

Anybody know of an online place to buy this? I hate retail stores.

It is not until you've lost everything, that you can truly gain anything.

2005 Gulfstream Endura 6316 Duramax
23' Pace American hauling my race bikes

Posted By: BillyP on 01/09/08 04:14pm

Posted By: mfa on 01/10/08 05:25pm

BillyP wrote:

$ 9.12 Part 25771554
$ 4.52 Handling
$ 6.43 Freight
$20.07 Total

If I do it again, I'll check the prices at local GM/Chevy dealers...

Posted By: TrashHauler on 01/10/08 08:50pm

Mine did the same thing was driving me nuts wondering if it would stop or not......was the brake sensor switch took to Chevy truck dealer said
it was a common problem, mine did it at less 3000 miles

2007 36' Four Winds Fun Mover
6.6 Duramax Diesel
2 Polaris 500
"You Don't Quit Riding Because You're OLD, You Get OLD Because You QUIT Riding"

Posted By: Patster on 01/11/08 07:46am

Wow, this is a way more common problem than I realized. My father had 2006 Topkick 4500 that he towed a fifth wheel with and this same problem happened to him in Flagstaff last spring on his way home. It too was the brake witch which I replaced upon his return. It is a double contact switch, a normally open set of contacts for the brake lights and a normally closed set for the cruise control. So when your foot is off the brake pedal there is power through the cruise control contacts but not the brake light circut, when you apply the brakes the cruise circut opens and the brake light circut closes. The electric brake monitor looks at various inputs, fluid flow in the booster circut, continuity through the aux boost motor, and brake fluid level. In the case of a faulty switch the EBCM will see the open cruise circut indicating the brakes are applied but no brake light switch input. If this occurs for more than a few seconds it will set a fault with the brake monitor and turn on the light. It may take several key cycles to reset this even after the fault is gone.
You will also hear a slight "click" when the brake light relay is activated when your foot is on the brakes. With the ignition off you will hear the relay and the boost motor kick in when the brakes are applied. If not check the switch, if you hear the relay click when the brakes are applied but no boost motor (ignition off) then check for voltage at the Hydromax relay located below the master cyl near the firewall usually taped to the harness. I could go into further detail if you like but by far the switch seems to be the most common problem. The strange thing is that switch also AC DELCO part number D1588G is used on pick ups and fullsize vans from 1999 until 2008 as well as TopKicks but it is not as common to fail on the other vehicles.

Posted By: kgmz on 01/11/08 10:29pm

Very good explaination.

The relay click is how I know the brakes lights are working. I never noticed the relay click until a few months ago when I took the switch apart and cleaned the contacts better than the time before with emery cloth. So once I noticed the relay click, I always listen for it now to make sure the brake lights are working, don't want anyone smacking into the back of me.

Also the alarm won't go off all the time. When my brake lights were not working before, the alarm might only go off once a day. Then I would shut the engine off and restart to silence the alarm and could drive another hour or all day until it went off again. But I did not have brake lights so I would use my emergency flashers to warn everyone at every stop.

My thoughts on why this happens with only the Kodiaks and not our other GM trucks with the same switch. I am wondering if the relay takes a high load and the switch contacts can't handle it without pitting and having carbon build up. On our 2500 and 3500 pickups the only load the switch is handling is a couple of light bulbs.

Posted By: mfa on 01/12/08 02:17pm

I received my spare switch yesterday. Between looking at it and then looking at the one currently installed, I can't for the life of me see how it works. It does not appear to have any moving parts and there is nothing that makes contact with it when the pedal is released. (The whole switch is mounted on the brake pedal and moves unhindered with it.)

The only thing I can guess is that there may be a pressure pad on one side of the switch that touches the rod-end of the shaft that goes through the firewall. (This rod-end is pinned to the brake pedal and the switch is also mounted to that pin.)

The other puzzle is why would a brake switch need a six-wire electrical connection?

Posted By: mfa on 01/12/08 02:28pm

Patster wrote:

... In the case of a faulty switch the EBCM will see the open cruise circut indicating the brakes are applied but no brake light switch input. If this occurs for more than a few seconds it will set a fault with the brake monitor and turn on the light. It may take several key cycles to reset this even after the fault is gone...

In my case, no amount of key cycles and engine restarts would reset it. It would only reset when the truck was put in gear and driven the first 200 feet or so. The manual says that an ABS system check is done during that first rollout, so I think the report of a successful ABS rollout check resets this other fault, too.

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