ABS 5.3 Antilock Brake System for Early Subaru Part 5:
Beginning in approximately December of 1996, a new antilock braking system called ABS 5.3 was installed on Legacy vehicles equipped with ABS. This system uses a Bosch hydraulic control unit and a Nippon electronic control unit. ABS 5.3 is a four channel control design which can independently control the front wheels and utilize select low control to control the rear wheels (a system which provides the same fluid pressure control for the two rear wheels if either wheel starts to lock up).
Although similar to other Subaru ABS systems, there have been enhancements to component operation and location. Diagnosis has also improved because of the ability of the 5.3 ABS system to communicate with the Select Monitor. The hydraulic control unit or HCU is located under the hood on the right side of the engine compartment. The size of the HCU has decreased by approximately a third from that of the ABS-2E system, used on previous model year vehicles.
The HCU controls brake fluid flow by utilizing eight solenoid valves. There is an inlet solenoid valve and an outlet solenoid valve for each wheel. Mechanically, the inlet solenoid valve is open during normal braking, and the outlet solenoid valve is closed. The HCU also contains a motor and pump assembly, which operates only while ABS is actively controlling the brake fluid flow–preventing a wheel lock.
Externally the HCU of the ABS 5.3 has a relay box attached. This allows troubleshooting of the valve and motor relay area to be kept separate from the troubleshooting of the solenoid valves and pump motor. There are four modes of operation for the ABS 5.3 system. They are normal, pressure-drop, pressure-hold and pressure-increase. When wheel lockup is sensed, Mode Two, Mode Three and Mode Four may be activated. They are described as follows: