Join Date: May 2002
Location: Kingsland, Georgia
Sounds to me like three seperate problems.
Touchy brakes first thing in the morning sounds like dampness (wet) brake pads, it's common because of aggressive metallic pads and if your ABS is not working they will lock up.
Grinding noise sounds like worn pads, rotors, or bearings which has nothing to do with the ABS or how it works. This would be my first concern, the thing to fix first.
Each time you cylce the ignition (turn key on) the ABS system will perform a self check and the ABS light will flash a # of times. If everything is OK the light will go out, if something is wrong the light wil remain on and disable the ABS system leaving the vehicle with a standard power brake system. This means it is possible to lock up the brakes on one or more wheels during a skid. The ABS motor is part of the ABS valve and is serviced as an assembly, current pricing is about $1300.00 dollars. There should be trouble codes stored in the ABS computer to diagnose your problem but a Tech I or II with a chassis cartridge is required to retrieve them and should be an easy fix. Did whoever told you your ABS motor had an intermitent short scan the ABS computer?
I would fix the mechanical part of the brakes (pads, rotors, etc.) first, then have the ABS looked at. If you hear grinding noise, one of your wheel sensors might just be full of metal particals causing it not to function correctly (they are magnetic) and can cause an ABS light to set. Could be as simple as this.
Brakes are nothing to fool around with, get a qualified person to check them out and get them fixed. Good Luck.