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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy All,

Well, after trying the almighty ECM upgrade on the '08 sky, our brakes were still "crunchy" when we first got in. We have two Skys. (Skies ?) (MY DH had to get a second Sky, as I refused to share mine ;) )

My sweetie has been use to warming up his 70 GS, so it was no big deal, and I just got use to the 2 minute warm up, after a scare during the garage car swap. (My CRX and Sky park tandem.)

Still, the stories of folks losing vacuum w/ long distance/cruise control got us nervous, so we spoke with our dealer. Our service dept called us back and let us know they received the OK to switch out our brakes to the 2009 canister, and now they perform like normal power brakes. My DH got on the brakes after a sustained high RMP acceleration, and the new brakes performed flawlessly. You don't feel the road quite as much, but they do perform right out of the driveway.

I've attached the the worksheet so you can see what was done. Ft Collins Saturn has been FANTASTIC, from my original purchase to making sure that we are happy with any work. I get a call after service to make sure I was happy, and the service department is tops. I never get a blank stare when I've asked about the brake retrofit, or the impending ECM upgrade.
 

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Wasn't there supposed to be an computer update too? Didn't see it on the order.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I saw a reference to the ecm update on the original e-mail from the regional office authorizing the retro fit. I don't think they showed it on the parts list, because it was considered part of the labor. But the brakes work great, and I am sure if the ecm had not been rewritten to tell the the pump to kick on when needed, I would still have crunchy brakes when cold.
 

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Hey Fellow Star Wars geek:thumbs:, good to see you posting again..how is everything. My brakes are fine after the re-calibration...hope all is well....Life is Great!
 

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Which ECM upgrade?

As in GM/Saturn or patch for the brake booster issue?

I haven't had any problems w/my brakes, but then again, I let the car warm up before I peel out.

Thanks
 

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The ECM mod was a work around using firmware that changed the engine management system paramaters on start up. Initially they were set to warm up the catalytic converter. The ECM change set the inital start up conditions to generate vacume instead of warming up the cat. It worked for some and was cheap fix for the factory.
 

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Well I wish I was part of the some it worked for. I had the ECM up date and my brakes still do not work properly on a cold start up.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The ECM update I was referring to is the one for the brake vacuum upgrade. It tells the computer to turn on the vacuum pump in low vacuum situations (cold start, high RPM with turbo,etc,). We did have the ECM update/mod done to both of our cars before, that Rob the Elder is talking about. It seemed to help a little, but did not completely fix our problems. We still had very crunchy brakes on both cars during cold start up. Problem is completely gone now. And we have noticed no "low vacuum" issues after sustained constant speeds, or high RPM/full turbo runs. Any of you still having issues after the original ECM update/mod, may want to push your dealerships for the 2009 vacuum pump retro fit, if you are uncomfortable with what you have. The main thing to remember is that the 2008 system does work as it was designed. It is not that you don't have brakes in certain situations. It is that you do not have complete vacuum assistance, so the computer tells the hydraulic system to augment for the low vacuum. It "feels different" from the normal full vacuum assist power brakes. Just push harder on the brake, and it will work. Out dealership really worked hard to make us happy. They went the extra mile to get the 2009 retro fit approved by corporate. But we went through proper channels, and tried the original ECM update/mod first. In our case, it wasn't a complete fix. It very well may be because of our higher altitude. But whatever the case, the vacuum pump retro was the silver bullet. And I suspect that is why they went back to this system on the 09s. I hope this helps, good luck everyone!!
 

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My older brother works as a mechanic for Saturn in Fort Collins (20+ years), last week he asked me how my brakes were. He might be involved in some of the brake fixes. I haven't noticed any brake issues, partly because I don't drive the car much. I will be home all next week, prior to doing any long drives I'll ask my brother if there are any brake issues I need to look for.
Edit: Just got off the phone with my brother, He thinks I won't see any brake issues due to the almost sea level area where I live.
Now if he had a way to keep the rear tires from spinning on wet rainy days :)
 

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Howdy All,

Well, after trying the almighty ECM upgrade on the '08 sky, our brakes were still "crunchy" when we first got in. We have two Skys. (Skies ?) (MY DH had to get a second Sky, as I refused to share mine ;) )

My sweetie has been use to warming up his 70 GS, so it was no big deal, and I just got use to the 2 minute warm up, after a scare during the garage car swap. (My CRX and Sky park tandem.)

I know this is a Sky board :D but let's hear more about that '70 GS :cheers:

Fellow Buick guy here:thumbs: Is it a 455? Stage 1? Is your husband on the www.v8buick.com forum???

Yeah we still have that damn brake problem on the RL :(
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Just a lurker on that board, not that it matters as the Buick is gone now, Just sold it ... after 25 years of wrenching, increasing part unavailability and the need to rebuild the block, he was finally seduced by my RL and got one of his own. They fit tandem in the spot that the Buick once owned.

It was a 70 GS 4 speed 455 stage 1 convertible clone. Very fun car and a definite head turner, but it was a "tired" engine. That GN of yours is a monster as well, nice car.

The brake fix on both of our RLs is working great. I highly recommend it, since you are still having problems. My sweetie is waiting for the GM 290 hp/ 340 lb torque to be released for the RL, he is going to have that installed on his, along with the larger throttle body at the same time.
 

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Just a lurker on that board, not that it matters as the Buick is gone now, Just sold it ... after 25 years of wrenching, increasing part unavailability and the need to rebuild the block, he was finally seduced by my RL and got one of his own. They fit tandem in the spot that the Buick once owned.

It was a 70 GS 4 speed 455 stage 1 convertible clone. Very fun car and a definite head turner, but it was a "tired" engine. That GN of yours is a monster as well, nice car.

The brake fix on both of our RLs is working great. I highly recommend it, since you are still having problems. My sweetie is waiting for the GM 290 hp/ 340 lb torque to be released for the RL, he is going to have that installed on his, along with the larger throttle body at the same time.

It sounded like a very nice GS.:thumbs: I have gone through many over the last 25 years. My last one was a 72 455 Stg 1 Clone that I sold about 2 yrs ago.
The GN (Thanks) I have had for 11 years. My 1st TR, and it will never be sold!
My wife loves the old Buicks too she had a 70 GS 350 the 315hp version, man was that car fun to play with:D

Gota get the Sky in soon...
Here a couple of shots of my Buicks





 

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Thanks

Jade,
Thanks for the information. I had the ECM flash done back in April with no apparent results. I have printed your work order and will be at Saturn of Clarksville this week to ask to have this done.
Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #15
fast86gn,
Nice buicks! Here's a pix of me and the GS:


3xHounds,
How did the upgrade request go?
 

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Ok, quit hyjacking the thread :D, we all like(d) the power of the GS, it was almost a "sleeper" in its time.

Back on topic, I had the reprogram 2 weeks ago when SkyGasm was in having the windshield replaced. While it isn't "crunchy" it's like pressing the brake with a board under the pedal between it and the floor. I think Saturn still has some work to do to the Sky's brakes to ensure none of us die a needless death! :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hijackin' my own thread! LOL

Anywho, Skypilot, the reprogram won't do it. Tell your dealer to install the canister. The brakes now work just like standard power brakes. If enough of us ask for it, maybe GM will get the message (although with their current financial situation, I'm not holding my breath)
 

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Hello everyone, this is my first post. I have been following the forum for some time, and finally decided to join. I am Jade Sky's better half. lol

I have a red 08 redline. And yes, we had the 09 brake vacuum pump upgrade done to mine as well. I did try the ECM reprogram first and it did help somewhat. But cold starts where still an issue. That by itself didn't really bother me, because until this year I had been driving a 70 Buick big block, so warming up came with the territory.

But after a little wake up call driving this summer, we decided it was time to have both cars upgraded. I was up in the mountains on a long straight away and passed a pack of cars. Had my foot in the turbo all the way, because I knew a corner was coming up. After the pass, I had to hit the brakes hard for the corner, and ran out of vacuum assist. So I was down to the hard pedal feeling you get on a cold start. It wasn't a big deal for me, because I am used to a performance vehicle with low vacuum assist in these situations. My 70 Buick Big block was real hairy at the end of a 1/4 mile run. LOLL We live in Colorado, so the elevation probably is a factor.

When you have your foot in the turbo, the engine is not creating vacuum for the booster, so when you immediately get on the brakes, the only vacuum you have is what was left in the booster. And you are not creating any new vacuum, because the engine is winding down from a high rpm burn. Now to be fair, I must say that the hydraulic assist did kick in like it is supposed to with the 08 design, and I had brakes. But there was no vacuum left in the system at that point, because the pedal was down a long ways and it had the tell tail cold start feel to it. I just had to stand on the pedal pretty darn hard, because there was no booster assist left. But I could feel the StabiliTrak hydraulic system augmenting and then the ABS start to kick in.

Since the 09 retro fit, and when it was still good summer conditions, I retested that same situation several times. And I always have vacuum booster assist now. What you need to remember is that you will always have brakes with the 08 system, they just may not "feel" the same. And if you are in a panic situation, just press harder. Be prepared for the "strange feeling", and be ready for the ABS to kick back real hard in extreme braking, because you do not have the built in cushion of the vacuum boost assist in that situation.

I would encourage anyone with an 08 redline to test the car in a safe location, so you are familiar with how it feels. I have read about a couple of incidents where people didn't get stopped/slowed down in time and felt it was because of the brakes. I think in the panic, they just didn't press hard enough on the pedal.

If you are not happy with how the brakes are performing for you, then go to your service department and request the 09 retro fit. GM is aware of the 08 issue. After all, that is why they went back to the vacuum pump system for 09. The 08 system was a great idea on paper and it functions as designed. But it probably was not a good design for the general public.
 

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Finally an Answer

Jade,
Thanks for your original post on this. I printed your info and approached my dealer. Since then I have been down with some surgery and the holidays arrived. Finally today I was told that the parts were on order and that Saturn is footing the bill for the retrofit. Again, thanks because of your post I pursued this, and it seems that I will end up with satisfaction.
3xhounds
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Yea! That scare doing the almighty car swap in my driveway was all it took for me to request the upgrade. Our dealership is SO responsive, which really helped our situation. Some others it appears don't have such a great dealership/service department. Hope you get to feeling better!
 
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