The following is an overview of the German developed Teves Mark II brake system used on the Buick Reatta. The Reatta Field Service Manual should be referenced for more information on the operation and maintenance of the Teves brake system.All 1988-1990 Buick Reattas were equipped with the Teves Mark II Antilock Brake system. Unlike most conventional brake systems, the Teves brake system does not use a vacuum booster to supply power assist (power brakes). It uses a pump that is powered by a 12 volt electric motor to provide hydraulic power assist.
The Teves Mark II is a reliable brake system but it is complicated and it requires proper maintenance to ensure safe operation. All Reatta owners should familiarize themselves with the operation and maintenance of the Teves brake system. This brake system can be very difficult to diagnose by the average mechanic without prior knowledge or experience. In the hands of an incompetent mechanic the costs of diagnosis and repairs can be extremely expensive. An inoperable brake system is probably the number one reason for Buick Reattas being parked and eventually being scrapped.
There are many expensive parts in the Teves system. The life of those parts can be extended with proper maintenance and attention to how the system is performing. To extend the life of the brake accumulator, you should NOT pump the brakes as is often done with a conventional brake systems. Pumping the brake pedal tends to deplete the reserve hydraulic pressure stored in the accumulator and cause the pump motor to run excessively. Applying pressure to the brake pedal in a steady manner, with enough force needed to stop the car, is recommended.
Flushing out old brake fluid and refilling with a good brand of DOT 3 brake fluid every two years is HIGHLY recommended to keep the Teves brake system operating safely and to prevent premature failure. Do not use synthetic brake fluid in the Teves brake system! If your RED brake warning light is on constantly DO NOT operate your vehicle until the problem is corrected!If you see the RED or Yellow brake warning lights flash momentarily when you hit the brakes you should investigate the reason for the lights flashing on as soon as possible. It is normal for the lights to come on and stay on several seconds when you first start the car while the pump is building reserve hydraulic pressure in the system but the warning lights should not flash each time you hit the brakes. Here are links to How-to Guides you may find useful for testing and maintaining your Teves brake system:
The Teves brake unit bolts to the firewall in the same way as conventional vacuum assist brakes. The Teves unit is basically two major components combined. There is the master cylinder that is integrated with the ABS valve block. The master cylinder and ABS valve block isn't serviceable by the average mechanic for all practical purposes. The ABS valve block is controlled by an ABS Control Module (mounted in the trunk) based on inputs from sensors mounted on each wheel. Full explanation of the ABS controls is beyond the scope of this article. Consult the Reatta Field Service Manual for more information.
There is a pump/motor assembly that bolts onto the side of the master cylinder with one bolt. It provides brake fluid pressure to the master cylinder for power assist (power brakes). The components of the pump/motor assembly are a pump, a 12 volt motor, a pressure switch, and an accumulator ball that screws into the pump. The accumulator provides reserve hydraulic pressure for power assist when the pump isn't running.
The components of the pump assembly can be tested and replaced by a mechanic who has a good understanding of the system. Some of the parts are obsolete and used parts are becoming hard to find. The pump/motor assembly is controlled by several electrical components. Although some troubleshooting of the electrical controls is covered in the How-to Guides on this website, the Reatta Field Service Manual is highly recommended to properly diagnose and repair the Teves brake system.
If you have questions about the Teves brake system please join us in the discussion forums on this website.