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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 11-12-2010, 08:44 AM
time8228 time8228 is offline
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Question abs traction control, speedometer not working

I have a 99 528i and the speedometer works part of the time. At first it may work for about 4 miles and then quit and the abs and trac light was on all the time. I took advice from the forum and replaced the lr speed sensor, the spedometer worked for about 75 miles with the lights on, and then quit again. I let it set overnight, and the lights were off and the speedo worked again, drove about 6 miles and parked it for a couple of hours, got back in and the lights sayed on, but the speedo is working.

help please! it's my first BMW

thank's
Tim
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  #2  
Old 11-12-2010, 08:47 AM
mtnbimmer mtnbimmer is offline
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Troubleshoot your wiring. Sounds like you may have an intermittent short. Unfortunately, these can be a PIA to track down. See the ABS/DSC/Brake thread on how to test your wheel speed sensor.
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  #3  
Old 11-12-2010, 08:50 AM
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BentValve BentValve is offline
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I don't want to jump to the conclusion that your ABS module is on it's last leg but that's the same symptom I had when mine went out.
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  #4  
Old 11-12-2010, 11:04 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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You didn't mention if you had all three yellow lights, ABS/BRAKE/DSC, so, maybe your problem is different, but, by replacing the wheel speed sensor without (presumably) first testing it, you're just throwing money at the problem.

Here is my standard cut-and-paste response for the ABS/BRAKE/DSC yellow trifecta ...

(All this information is from teaming up with Bill (540iman) and gathering additional details from BlackBMWs, BMW_n00b13, TheStig, Edgy36-39, Max_VQ, PharoE39, freewilly, BAMF, and others).

Three solid yellow ABS/Brake/DSC lights almost always indicates a classic BMW problem:
1. Go to the first thread in the E39 forums (the VERY best of E39 Links)
2. Search for ABS (you'll find this post)
3. Click on this canonical summary in that post (in addition, see Bill's 'logic' of testing ABS sensors).
Note: The lights may come on all at once, or one at a time, and they may be intermittent, and in the beginning they may go out when you restart the car but come back; eventually they become lit solid all the time. It's all the same problem when you have the ABS Brake DSC trifecta!

Luckily, almost always, resolution is quick, simple, and reasonably inexpensive:
- Quick: In a half hour with a DMM, you'll know exactly what components failed;
- Simple: Removal of speed sensors (<$100 each) and/or the ABS control module (<$500 new) is a ten-minute job each;
- Cheap: My ABS control module rebuild cost me $150 USD, in toto, including tax & shipping (most people report successful rebuilds under $300).

In summary, the flow-chart procedure to follow (summarized from this thread) is:
a. Open the hood, disconnect the ABS control module harness & check the four wheel speed sensors with a DMM;
b. If any wheel speed sensor tests bad, doublecheck at the appropriate wheel; replace the bad one with an OE sensor (<$100, rarely more than one!);
c. If all four speed sensors are good, simply send your ABS control module to BBA/MM/ATE (recommended in that order) for a rebuild ($300-$150 in toto);
d. If the rebuilder can't repair your module (takes about 5 days overall), buy a new module ($480 from Jared at EACTuning) & have the VIN recoded at the stealer (about $120).

In almost all (if not all) ABS, Brake, & DSC light trifecta situations, it's that simple!

BTW, while your ABS control module is out of the car (about 5 days), the following anomalies may occur:
- Brake/DSC/ABS trifecta solid yellow lights (on the instrument cluster)
- Service Engine Soon (SES) solid yellow light lit (on the instrument cluster)
- No ABS (upon hard braking under low-traction conditions)
- No traction control (DSC or ASC on lateral action)
- No speedometer (use a portable GPS navigation unit if you're worried about that)
- No odometer (again, use a portable GPS unit if this bothers you)
- No tripmeter (use a portable GPS unit if it's a worry to you)
- No cruise control
- OBDII diagnostic trouble code DTC P0500, i.e., bad speed sensor (clear by driving or with an OBDII scanner)
- No possibility of passing (California at least) smog inspections (until you replace the ABS control module & clear the DTC)
- No speed-sensitive automatic door locks (if enabled at the stealer)
- No GPS (if you have navigation)
- No mileage calculations on the instrument cluster
- No fuel consumption calculations on the instrument cluster
- No range indications on the instrument cluster
- No speed-sensitive radio (if equipped)
- No speed-sensitive wipers (if equipped)
- Erratic fuel gauge (especially when near empty, so keep the tank at greater than 3/4 at all times)
- Erratic transmission shifting (if automatic; if it bothers you, switch to manual shifting)

SUMMARY:
The problem is usually a single wheel sensor goes bad (wires or the <$100 sensor), or the ABS control module goes bad (a steel resistance-welded wire lifts off its bond pad, Bill kindly ran a full autopsy here). Debugging is best done with a DMM; an OBDII scanner can ONLY find "communication errors", i.e., it cannot tell a bad speed or pressure sensor from a bad ABS control module and will often report the wrong problem because it isn't inserted BETWEEN the ABS control module and the various sensors (see extensive reports by 540iman on this). The ABS control module costs ~$150 to $300 to rebuild, ~$500 to replace; if you put anything back on other than your original ABS control module, the VIN will need to be recoded (15 minutes with a GT-1 or Autologic or similar; impossible otherwise). You'll need to clear your OBDII DTC codes after you fix everything if you plan on passing smog tests that week (ask me how I know). If you need to replace a speed sensor, don't go aftermarket; get as close to OE as possible.

Before you send your ABS control module out for rebuilding, please consider opening it up first, post pictures to Bill's ABS autopsy thread (the rebuilders say they work on previously opened ABS control modules all the time). If you fix the broken wire, post that to the thread as a success story!
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  #5  
Old 11-12-2010, 12:33 PM
time8228 time8228 is offline
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Thanks for all the info!!! I appreciate the response. I will report back asap.

Thanks again,
Tim
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  #6  
Old 11-14-2010, 08:49 AM
IanAntih3r0 IanAntih3r0 is offline
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if it is the DSC, which controls all of that.

just had this problem with my 530, send it to module masters. $300 bucks fixes all of that...
and comes with a 5 year garentee...
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  #7  
Old 11-14-2010, 09:32 AM
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agent15 agent15 is offline
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BBA is less expensive and their repairs are warranted for the life of the car. I paid $130 including round trip shipping but I'm hearing they've gone up a bit.
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  #8  
Old 01-18-2011, 09:40 AM
time8228 time8228 is offline
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Thanks again for all of the help!! I finally got around to sending my abs module to BBA reman. and everthing is working great! They rebuilt it for $225 plus shipping, got good quick service also.
Before I sent the module off, the car would do fine if the temp was in the teens, but if you let the car sit and idle for a bit, the heat from the engine would cause the module to fail until it cooled down again. Also, it had only the ABS and trac control lights coming on, no brake light, and the speedo would quit if the module heated up enough.

Thanks,
Tim
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  #9  
Old 01-18-2011, 10:19 AM
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shenecke shenecke is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by time8228 View Post
Thanks again for all of the help!! I finally got around to sending my abs module to BBA reman. and everthing is working great! They rebuilt it for $225 plus shipping, got good quick service also.
Before I sent the module off, the car would do fine if the temp was in the teens, but if you let the car sit and idle for a bit, the heat from the engine would cause the module to fail until it cooled down again. Also, it had only the ABS and trac control lights coming on, no brake light, and the speedo would quit if the module heated up enough.

Thanks,
Tim
You could have done it for $185 including shipping with that company on their ebay sight. Ebay price only!
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  #10  
Old 12-22-2012, 10:19 AM
Domer1982 Domer1982 is offline
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I just got the ABS/Brake/DSC light trifecta problem. It started last week after driving through a deep puddle in a rain storm here in SoCal. Maybe a coincidence, but I thought it worth mentioning. The lights only come on when the engine is warm.

I tried the troubleshooting procedure (DMM on he ABS module connector), but all the sensors have a reading of 1.385V-1.395V with the DMM on a diode setting - IN BOTH DIRECTIONS. Resistance values are all in the 16-17Mohm range. None of that jives with what's been posted for typical or "bad" readings. So I don't know what to do next. Any advice?

I was going to purchase a new ABS module because it seemed that it had most likely failed, but now I really don't know what to think.
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  #11  
Old 12-22-2012, 05:13 PM
kuykendall kuykendall is offline
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same here

Quote:
Originally Posted by BentValve View Post
I don't want to jump to the conclusion that your ABS module is on it's last leg but that's the same symptom I had when mine went out.
Mind did the same things and as you said sometime it work then quit, I had my rebuilt for 150.00 5 days later install it everythings work fine now and that was in Jan. of this years ain't had one bit of problem since., if you hasn't check that yet I bet any amount of money that going to be it.
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  #12  
Old 12-22-2012, 05:31 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Domer1982 View Post
I just got the ABS/Brake/DSC light trifecta problem.

About 1/10 of people have a problem with the diode readings. It's either bad technique or a meter that doesn't work well with the diodes. We have all seen this time and time again.

You are doing the RIGHT THING by testing all four of your sensors - so it's worth you trying to figure this out. I would suggest borrowing another meter. Or, yu 'can' buy a Fluke at Fryes (or a Craftsman at Sears) DMM and then use that. Those readings don't make sense for ALL FOUR wheel speed sensors - since it's almost impossible for all four to be bad at once.

Another thing you can do is try one of the OTHER six tests for wheel speed sensors - but none (by far) are as simple as this test (which, I must say, Bill - i.e., 540iman - gets the credit for coming up with).

Another thing you can do - but really it's a bit more effort - is open up your ABS control module and use a toothpick to see if the 6th aluminum wire is loose - that would tell you for sure it's the module - but I realize that's a lot of work to cut it open with an exacto knife. The good news is the rebuilders will still take it, even if you've opened it.

So, in summary, I must recommend to you two things:
a) Find a better DMM and make sure your wires are touching the metal points (thinest wire you can get)
b) Maybe consider opening your ABS to see if the 7th wire is lifted.

As for the puddle - it has nothing to do with it - as all of us, every single man and woman experiences this trifecta at one time or another. Blame BMW for putting the Bosch module too close to the engine. Blame Bosch for not heatproofing it.
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Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #13  
Old 12-30-2012, 12:42 PM
Domer1982 Domer1982 is offline
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OK, I spent a little more time looking into this and I think I understand what's happening. A standard diode will pass current in the forward bias direction, but there will be a voltage drop of 0.5V-0.7V across the diode. In the opposite (reverse bias) direction, no current will pass through it so the voltage drop will be whatever voltage you apply to it.

My DMM (and I suspect many others) only generates a voltage of about 1.35V to test a diode. So when I use it to check a standard diode, I get 0.5V in the FB direction and 1.35V in the RB direction. This is correct.

In the case of the ABS sensors, the various forum posts indicate that there should be about 2V in the FB direction and "OL" in the RB direction. I'm not sure what OL means, but a RB diode should have a voltage reading that matches whatever source is applied, unless the voltage exceeds the breakdown threshold (which usually damages the diode).

Back to the expected reading of ~2V... That can only happen if there are 3 or 4 diodes in series (so the sum of the voltages across each diode adds up to ~2V) or if there is also a resistor in series with the diode, in which case the voltage will depend entirely upon how much current the DMM is pushing through the circuit (V = IR + ~0.7V). That current will very likely vary from one DMM to another, so it may not be correct to state that a reading of 2.0xxV is the only valid reading.

In either case, my DMM doesn't generate a voltage that is high enough to forward bias the diode (or diodes) so I'm getting 1.35V in both directions on all sensors.

The bottom line is that the DMM has to generate a test voltage that is well above the expected 2V reading or it won't work. So I'm going to try to get my hands on a DMM that can do this.
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  #14  
Old 12-30-2012, 06:30 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Domer1982 View Post
I think I understand what's happening.
That was such a nice explanation that I added it to the thread on what to do if the quick test doesn't work! Thanks.
- What to do when the 10-minute wheel speed sensor diode-action quick test doesn't always work, especially on brand new non-OEM wheel speed sensors (1)

It also might be nice if we started listing the DMMs that do work (e.g., my Fluke 75 worked perfectly) so that others know what to borrow or buy.

PS: Googling, OL apparently means "over limit", as in "infinity".
PSS: My Fluke 75 worked perfectly on the diode test.
PSSS: Just to be clear, as JeffStri has often clarified, the hall-effect sensor isn't a diode; it just acts sort of like a diode does - and we take advantage of that in the quick test - but there 'are' six other tests that can be run.
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:16 PM
Domer1982 Domer1982 is offline
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OK, I brought home a high-end HP DMM from the lab at work and took the measurements. The diode readings were all ~2.01V in the FB direction and "OL" in the RB direction, so all seems well there. The resistance readings were all 6.7-6.9 Mohms in the FB direction and 181-183 Kohms in the RB direction. So I'm not getting the ~4 Mohm readings in the RB direction that your post suggests, but I suspect that's just a difference in the how the different DMMs are measuring a circuit that isn't purely resistive. The fact that all four readings are essentially the same tells me that the 4 wheel sensors are probably OK.

I didn't do any of the other tests because none of the 4 wheel sensor readings differed from the others. So I'm inclined to conclude that my ABS module needs to be repaired or replaced.

Two questions - if I send the ABS controller in for refurb, can I still drive the car without it? And if so, do I need to cover the exposed portion of the ABS system with anything to protect it from the elements?
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  #16  
Old 01-03-2013, 09:14 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Domer1982 View Post
The fact that all four readings are essentially the same tells me that the 4 wheel sensors are probably OK.
Yes. Although, there is this caveat with non-OEM sensors:
- Quick99Si's explanation of why the 10-minute wheel speed sensor diode-action quick test doesn't always work, at least on his brand new non-OEM wheel speed sensors (1) (2)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Domer1982 View Post
I didn't do any of the other tests because none of the 4 wheel sensor readings differed from the others.
You have the same (consistent) results I had. And I didn't do any additional tests either. I sent out my ABS control module for repair. If you want, you can open it up and do the toothpick test - but other than that - you're now at the next stage:
- Summary of all known ABS control module rebuilder options & new suppliers with prices (1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Domer1982 View Post
So I'm inclined to conclude that my ABS module needs to be repaired or replaced.
Please do one thing for the team BEFORE you send it out and DURING the repair!
a) Snap a photo of BOTH SIDES before you send it out
b) Ask them what they found and what they replaced WHILE it's on their test bench

Tell us the answer. For example, see if they replace the two blocks on the BACK of the ABS control module. Also if you open it up, snap a picture of the guts for the same reason (all the rebuilders say they will accept an open module).
- ABS control module autopsy (thanks to 540iman)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Domer1982 View Post
can I still drive the car without it?
Sure. Every one of us had done it. We listed all the things that will happen in this thread somewhere, and elsewhere. Gimme a sec to find it. OK. It was in the bestlinks, right in front of my face.
Quote:
BTW, while your ABS control module is out of the car (about 5 days), the following anomalies may occur:
- Brake/DSC/ABS trifecta solid yellow lights (on the instrument cluster)
- Service Engine Soon (SES) solid yellow light lit (on the instrument cluster)
- No ABS (upon hard braking under low-traction conditions)
- No traction control (DSC or ASC on lateral action)
- No speedometer (use a portable GPS navigation unit if you're worried about that)
- No odometer (again, use a portable GPS unit if this bothers you)
- No tripmeter (use a portable GPS unit if it's a worry to you)
- No cruise control
- OBDII diagnostic trouble code DTC P0500, i.e., bad speed sensor (clear by driving or with an OBDII scanner)
- No possibility of passing (California at least) smog inspections (until you replace the ABS control module & clear the DTC)
- No speed-sensitive automatic door locks (if enabled at the stealer)
- No GPS (if you have navigation)
- No mileage calculations on the instrument cluster
- No fuel consumption calculations on the instrument cluster
- No range indications on the instrument cluster
- No speed-sensitive radio (if equipped)
- No speed-sensitive wipers (if equipped)
- Erratic fuel gauge (especially when near empty, so keep the tank at greater than 3/4 at all times)
- Erratic transmission shifting (if automatic; if it bothers you, switch to manual shifting)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Domer1982 View Post
if so, do I need to cover the exposed portion of the ABS system with anything to protect it from the elements?
Again, this is well covered already in this thread. I realize the thread is over 650 posts long, but, at 80 posts per view, that's only 8 pages for you to scroll through, and you can rest assured we have pictures of the packing of both the car and of the module itself.

The simple answer is aluminum foil on the car and masking tape on the module inside the box that you're shipping out. But look in the 8 pages of this thread for the pictures.
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #17  
Old 01-04-2013, 07:31 AM
Domer1982 Domer1982 is offline
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Thanks, Bluebee. After researching the refurb prices and including shipping fees, I decided to just purchase a new one so I won't be able to report what a refurb shop finds. However, I may open it up and see if that wire has become disconnected from the PCB. I'll report what I find.
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  #18  
Old 01-04-2013, 09:07 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Domer1982 View Post
I decided to just purchase a new one
Remember the new one will need a $120 coding, which is just about how much it costs to refurbish the old one.

But you really only have three choices:
a) New
b) Salvage
c) Refurbish

Let us know how it works out if you open it up. I wish I had known what I know now when I had sent mine out for repair as I would have at least opened it up for a look see.
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #19  
Old 01-04-2013, 12:44 PM
Domer1982 Domer1982 is offline
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I checked several of the refurb shops, including ModuleMaster, and the price to refurbish - including shipping - was going to be around $350. For $458 plus the recoding charge ($100 at a local indie), I can get a brand new ABS controller. So that seemed more prudent.
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Old 01-04-2013, 03:02 PM
tohadamjo tohadamjo is offline
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check alternator.
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  #21  
Old 01-04-2013, 06:04 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Domer1982 View Post
price to refurbish - including shipping - was going to be around $350. .
Hmmm.... mine was rebuilt for something on the order of $105 plus something like $20 for fast shipping one way.

Plenty of people are posting they're getting it for around the same price in the threads I listed.

But, it doesn't matter to me how much you pay - I'm just surprised, that's all.
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #22  
Old 01-15-2013, 04:39 PM
Domer1982 Domer1982 is offline
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Replaced the ABS controller, had a local repair shop do the reprogramming (for $50), and all is well now.
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  #23  
Old 01-15-2013, 04:45 PM
Domer1982 Domer1982 is offline
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Also, just to make sure I wasn't going looney, I rechecked ModuleMaster (which seemed to be the most recommended and reputable place) and they charge $300 to do the refurb:

http://www.modulemaster.com/en/abs/bosch57.php

Maybe they're more expensive than the others - I don't know. But once tax and shipping is included, the price difference between "new" and "refurbished" wasn't all that much, which is why I decided to go with new.
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