Welcome to Part 4 of Hooptie or Honest Car (yes, I’m still doing it.) When last left off the Bosch ABS module, being the root of all evil in my mother-in-law’s 2000 BMW 528i, was on its way to Tennessee, and the good people at Automotive Scientific (www.autoecu.com. Not a plug. It was just a pain in the arse to find this information initially, so I’m paying it forward) for a refurb, which according to the internet involves resoldering some cold joints and replacing a couple components that commonly fail due to the module’s proximity to the exhaust manifold.

After about a month and a hundred bucks, the module came back, all cleaned up, with a few stickers on it and a clean bill of health. Following the instructions that came with the module, I:

  1. Disconnected the battery.
  2. Reinstalled the module, taking care not to force it or bend and of the dangily parts.
  3. Reconnected the battery.
  4. Turn the steering wheel lock-to-lock several times.
  5. Drive the car straight.

The result?

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Womp-womp. The light was still on. The instructions indicated that if the light didn’t go out after all of that, either the module would need to be recoded by someone with the correct tools, or the steering angle sensor and/or brake pressure sensor were actually toast.


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Fast forward to today, by first going back to earlier this year. One of the glaring blemishes on this car was the missing cap on the driver’s side mirror. Right after I took possession of the car, I picked up a replacement mirror off eBay, in the hopes of swapping the cap over. That went about as well as the module replacement, as the mirror I bought was slightly different than the mirror on the car. Between that and the heretofore wonky BMW electrics, I focused on my day job and let the car sit until things got warmer.

Today, things got warmer, so I decided to take a chance that the mirror I bought over the winter would bolt onto the car. All I had to do was remove the door panel, which was a lot easier than I feared.

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A couple different head screws, a few clips, some wiring and a touch of brute force, and the panel was off. A few more screws, the mirror was swapped and, VOILA! The car looks 100% better. Time to take the car down to my local independent shop to get the module coded. Jump in the car, turn the key, and...

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Womp-womp. Not sure what happened, since the car started fine on Monday, but today the battery was dead. Or just dead enough not to turn the car over. Grabbed my Jetta and my jumper cables, hooked everything up and the BMW fired right now.

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Not only did it fire right up, but it also gave me a little surprise:

YES!!! The flat battery must have reset something, or the BMW Gods took pity on me. Whatever, the light is out. I took a ride around the block and it didn’t come back on unless I hit the DSC button on the center stack, just above the shitty cup holder.

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The next steps are to give the car a quick wash, find an interesting backdrop to take a bunch of pictures of it, and get er up on Craig’s List. That’ll be for Part 5.