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Thread: 1992 GMC c1500 - Emergancy Brake light in dash always on

  1. #1
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    Aug 2010

    1992 GMC c1500 - Emergancy Brake light in dash always on

    I have a 1992 GMC 1500c truck and the light in the dash for the emergency brake is always on.
    If I lock the emergency brake down the light goes brighter,
    and then when I unlock the emergency brake the light is not as bright but is on.
    Is there a switch like on the brake petal that turns on and off that light?
    If so what is it called?
    Last edited by crabtruck; 04-09-2011 at 12:21 AM. Reason: title

  2. #2
    Senior Member zombie1969's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    If the wire to the ebrake is shorting someplace its a matter of tracing the short.But that same light should be for the main brakes also so if you have a problem with leaking lines or air in the system the light will come on and you might have a low fluid levle sensor on the master telling you the fluid is low and the brakes need service.
    Sent using Boost mobile 4g htc evo.

  3. #3
    Senior Member c15004ever's Avatar
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    Apr 2011
    Ft Campbell, KY
    i have the same problem, there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with my brakes; fluid level is fine. Where does the wire for the e-brake run from and where does it run to?

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    crabtruck's Avatar
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    Jul 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by chrismclaws View Post
    dash for the emergency brake is always on.
    If I lock the emergency brake down the light goes brighter,
    and then when I unlock the emergency brake the light is not as bright but is on.
    The dash light in those years typically serves 3 purposes.
    You may notice an ABS label nearby, use varies.
    In some truck setups the ABS light functions independently,
    and in some it does not have it's own bulb.
    Depends greatly on whether you have ABS or RWAL.
    ABS is 4 wheel antilock and RWAL is 2 (rear) wheel antilock.
    There is a third type but not used on 1500's.

    This link will show basic difference between ABS and RWAL looks:
    1992 K1500 Brake warning light goes on at 35 MPH
    RWAL in thumb has simple pipes, ABS link is many pipes.

    A brake pressure problem or an antilock problem will turn on dash light.
    Neither will cause dash light to be as bright as using E-brake.

    E-brake causing light to brighten and dim suggests not a problem.
    There are ways for problems involving weird shorts etc,
    but first you should troubleshoot as if system is working properly.

    Directly out of master cylinder, the two pipes head to 'combo valve'
    which protects from total brake failure as one of it's jobs
    by reacting to broken lines and leaking wheel cylinders.
    There is a single wire attached to the top of it which lights dash.
    Unplug this wire. If dash light goes out problem is this direction.
    Could be as simple as the valve is not centered or pressure problems.

    If dash lamp is still on, leave unplugged and unplug harness to
    either ABS or RWAL, whichever you have.
    Do this at 'brain box' not at little valves.
    If dash lamp goes out problem is antilock related.

    If lamp is not out with combo and antilock unplugged,
    and of course, E-brake released, you have a wiring problem.

    Do let us know if you have RWAL(likely) or ABS(mostly 'burbs)

    c15004ever it appears you have an RWAL setup.

  5. #5
    Senior Member 87c10slammer's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    levittown pa
    my 92 does the same thing.. brakes have always worked fine.. my abs light comes on and off periodically when i hit a bump as well.. i tried tracing down the problem but ended up doing the ole electical tape trick..

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2010
    Port Hawkesbury, NS
    Mine does the same thing. I found out that it doesn't 'go up' all the way, so I bungee corded it to the grove in the plastic above my fuse panel. It's worked since.

  7. #7
    Junior Member
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    Aug 2010
    Thanks for all the info, it's a RWAL. Will be looking into this, now I know were to start.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
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    Aug 2010
    It was the ABS that was keeping the light on. Thanks for all your help.

  9. #9
    Senior Member shadygrady's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    Question crabtruck.On the RWAL setup my light goes out when I disconnect the single wire that connects on top next to the brain box.the wires go into the same loom as the black boxes wires.What is this called or what needs replacing.Does the combo valve off to the passenger side of fluid reservoir need replacing or what?I havent had to deal with ABS issues in past so im not sure what to do next.
    I am having a lot of shuddering on stopping like the abs is grabbing really hard and releasing.I realize it could be the rotors but they look fine when visibly checked with a straight edge.They could still be the problem but with my brake light on and everything else normal I just want to eliminate all possibilities before replacing parts,thanks.
    1993 k1500 SWB,4l60e.CAI,CAT!3" single exhaust from y-pipe to tip.3" in and out turbo muffler.

  10. #10
    Senior Moderator
    chevychase's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
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    Will try and help some.. Abs light is on? Maybe a sensor . But try this .. pull abs fuse see if it stops pulsating. If it does you need to have it scanned.
    If it persist after fuse pulled need to check rotors ect. I would go to a open parking lot and try this for safety ... brakes will work but for safety.

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