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E34 (1989 - 1995)

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  #1  
Old 02-24-2014, 05:14 PM
eons11 eons11 is offline
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Replace ABS Module -- Recode?

Hi there, I'm new to the forum, but I've already used it quite a bit after purchasing my first BMW, a 1989 525i. It was in great condition, single owner, 140k miles, so I bought the car I'd always wanted instead of a generic late model Camry. Of course, owning it hasn't been without it's quirks, but I quickly got up to speed with a lot of great info on this forum.

Since I bought it, the ABS light has been on constantly. When I had the car at a shop for a service and timing belt change, they told me the to fix the ABS problem, I needed to install a new ABS control module and relay.

Buying a used ABS module and new relay off of eBay and installing them myself is a lot cheaper than what the shop wants. I've already changed the General module and power protection relay under the backseat (to get my windows, etc working that were not working when I bought the car), and also changed a couple of dead fuses. So I feel comfortable physically removing the ABS module and relay from the main engine compartment, having already located them.

My question is, I've read in a few places something about re-coding a new ABS module once installed and that is something a dealer has to do. But I'm unsure if that relates to the e34, especially a 1989. Perhaps that's for newer 5-Series? Anyone ever replaced an ABS module on their own and know if it must be recoded?

Thanks for any help or information!
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  #2  
Old 02-24-2014, 06:11 PM
south26 south26 is offline
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Nope just put the new used one in. There are a few different ones so make sure you get the right one. If interested I have a few. Would ask 30 shipped.

Andy
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  #3  
Old 02-26-2014, 11:13 PM
eons11 eons11 is offline
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Today I followed the advice on another post and checked fuses 1 & 17 -- both good, unplugged the ABS control module and cleaned the contacts, and then I was going to pull out the ABS relay but couldn't find it. I checked both the Bentley Manual and the 1989 Electrical troubleshooting manual, but both books seem to suggest that there is no ABS relay for the 89-90 models. Can anyone confirm this? Thanks!
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  #4  
Old 03-01-2014, 03:52 PM
eons11 eons11 is offline
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Bump. Can anyone confirm where the ABS relay is in an '89 M20 E34, if one exists? Thanks.
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  #5  
Old 03-01-2014, 08:46 PM
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Quick Google search found this
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  #6  
Old 03-01-2014, 09:18 PM
eons11 eons11 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E34ZombieHunter View Post
Quick Google search found this
Hi there, thank you, I appreciate you checking. But I also checked Google, and was unable to find any conclusive information, which is why I posted here.

The photo you found is of a 91-95 E34 with the M50 engine. The photo is taken directly from the E34 Bentley manual. I have an '89 E34/M20, and my fuse box is different, which you can see in the full page from the Bentley manual, and the photo of my fuse box attached here.

The Bentley manual does not specify an ABS relay in the engine compartment fuse box, the e-box, nor the rear power distribution box for the M20. This leads me to wonder whether the ABS system in the 89-90 E34 had a dedicated Relay, or if it shared a relay with another component. Still, I can't seem to find anything.



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  #7  
Old 03-01-2014, 09:33 PM
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You have the E32 box setup.
The relay should be the second row second relay, you do not have it......

BTW you are missing one relay, but I'm sure you know that.
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  #8  
Old 03-01-2014, 09:39 PM
eons11 eons11 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E34ZombieHunter View Post
You have the E32 box setup.
The relay should be the second row second relay, you do not have it......

BTW you are missing one relay, but I'm sure you know that.
If you're referring to the 2nd row, 1st spot on the left, that corresponds to #5 in the Bentley diagram, which states it as "vacant." I'm assuming that's why there's nothing there.

Spot #6, 2nd row, 2nd spot from the left, Bentley calls that space "phone alert relay," and I figured that space was reserved if the buyer bought the car with a pre-installed car phone, which my car doesn't have.

Are either of those the missing relay you mention?
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  #9  
Old 03-01-2014, 09:43 PM
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The empty socket in the picture 1st spot second row, are there any metal contacts in it? If so then a relay usually belongs there...
Either way it seems you do not have the ABS relay.
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  #10  
Old 03-01-2014, 09:51 PM
eons11 eons11 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E34ZombieHunter View Post
The empty socket in the picture 1st spot second row, are there any metal contacts in it?
Yes, there are metal contacts in the vertical and horizontal center rows of the socket, like a + sign (please see below photo).



Are you suggesting this is where the ABS relay should be?
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  #11  
Old 03-02-2014, 07:07 AM
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It may be possible
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  #12  
Old 03-02-2014, 04:23 PM
eons11 eons11 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E34ZombieHunter View Post
It may be possible
I don't know... The Bentley does say that spot should be vacant and it is. What's the worst that could happen if I put an ABS relay in that socket?
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  #13  
Old 03-02-2014, 05:00 PM
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IIRC all the relays are different, so either it fits or not.
Im not sure what would happen, but i am yet to see an actual vacant one with pins.
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  #14  
Old 03-03-2014, 06:51 AM
Mamij Mamij is offline
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You are not going to damage anything by switching relays around. All the orange relays are the same. Swop them around.

You are also not going to damage anything by putting a relay where noe there is none. If the circuit is connected to nothing, nothing new will happen. Even if something happens, it won't damage the car. That's the real reason why you have been dancing around it instead of doing a trial and error, right ? Your fear has overwhelmed your logic.

Now tell me. Is your ABS working ? When you jam the brakes hard from sperd, do the brakes chatter ? Check YT for what this sounds like if you don't know.

If your abs works then I suspect one of your wheel sensors has gotten damaged or become disconnected, hence the warning light.

Anyway try swooping all the orange relays round randomly. As for the other coloured relays, just remove them and see if the circuit they are supposed to control (according to Bentley) is no longer working when you key2 the ignition.

Finally, the abs unit does not need any security coding at all. Coding only happened for ews2 cars and only on the main DME, the immobiliser unit, and the chipped key.
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  #15  
Old 03-03-2014, 08:30 AM
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If the light is on ABS is deactivated so jamming the brakes most-likely will lead to a skid instead of the chattering.
You could send 20$ on a ABS/SRS scanner on Ebay and find out what the car is telling you.....
The warning lights are there for a reason, when one is on the car is trying to tell you something, and around here that seems to be rare that the car knows the issue.
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  #16  
Old 03-03-2014, 09:56 AM
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Or hit up a JY and spend the 20$ on a new ABS module.
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  #17  
Old 03-03-2014, 04:04 PM
eons11 eons11 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mamij View Post
Your fear has overwhelmed your logic.
Well, I unfortunately didn't take electric or auto shop in high school, and my father isn't very mechanically minded, so a lot of this stuff is new or alien to me. So yes, fear certainly is playing a large part in all of this--with a 25 year old car, I think caution is warranted.

But I am a good researcher, and read over the pertinent parts of the Bentley manual and other online sources before posting here. If the Bentley says that socket is supposed to be vacant, and it is vacant in my car, isn't it logical to assume that is correct? Now the Bentley may be wrong, which is why having more than one source of info would be pertinent. Unfortunately, I haven't found anything on Google about the existence of an ABS relay for an '89 E34.

Quote:
Originally Posted by E34ZombieHunter View Post
Or hit up a JY and spend the 20$ on a new ABS module.
You're right, and I've done just that and got it for exactly $20 off eBay. I'll post an update when it's installed.
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  #18  
Old 03-03-2014, 07:38 PM
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Mamij is right, nothing SHOULD happen if there is a relay installed. If something starts working then no biggie, if not just leave it for a spare.
If it were indeed vacant then it would look like the one next to it.

Try it, if something goes wrong that is what fuses are for anyways. The Bently and google can't cover everything and you may have a more rare option that the relay is supposed to serve i.e. ABS on an early model.
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Gotta love an E34!!
If you want to get junkyard parts remember one thing, if it was wrecked you know it was running/driving. You may not know how well, but it was.

READ THE STICKIES AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE!!

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READ ME IM THE BIBLE

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  #19  
Old 04-13-2014, 04:33 PM
eons11 eons11 is offline
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Well, I got the used ABS module, installed it, and no change from before. ABS light is still on. I also popped a relay in that open slot -- no dice either. Either the used ABS module I bought wasn't in good working condition, the shop that told me the problem lied with the ABS module requiring replacement were in error, or there is some other problem. Oh well! Unfortunately ABS isn't something I can really spend a lot of money on trying to diagnose and fix.
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Old 04-14-2014, 06:40 AM
m735is m735is is offline
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I thought the ABS relay was on the ABS hydraulic unit itself, below the black cover.

How did the mechanic determine that the module was bad?

Does the ABS light come on when you turn your key to acc, then go off? Does it then come on right away? Does it stay on? Does it come on at speeds over 55ish MPH?

Are all of the connectors plugged in at the connectors near the wheels? Any wires obviously broken?
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  #21  
Old 04-14-2014, 03:37 PM
eons11 eons11 is offline
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I have no idea where the ABS Relay is for my model year '89 M20 car. Couldn't find anything online, in the Bentley, or from others here. The open relay slot in the Fuse box was purely speculation. You're the first person to tell me where the relay might go. By ABS hydraulic unit, what and where is that exactly? Is it the same section as the where the ABS module is installed?

As for the mechanic, I have no idea -- I was simply told the car needed a new ABS module and relay, and as we parted on bad terms, I didn't ask for more details.

When the car first starts, the ABS light is off. Then in about 10-20 seconds of driving, the light comes on and stays on until I turn the ignition off.

As for connectors near the wheels being broken or properly plugged in, I would have thought the mechanic would have done that in their initial inspection. It's not something I know how to do? I don't have an easy way to get under the car.
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:56 AM
m735is m735is is offline
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The relay should be under the black plastic cap that's on the ABS unit. If you follow the metal brakes lines from the master cylinder, they go into the ABS valve control unit. From there they go the brake calipers.
My 85 735i has the same situation. I really don't care about ABS, even living in Buffalo, NY and driving it in the winter. I just have to remember to pump the brakes if they start to lock up.
Sorry I can't be of more help.
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  #23  
Old 04-16-2014, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eons11 View Post
I have no idea where the ABS Relay is for my model year '89 M20 car. Couldn't find anything online, in the Bentley, or from others here. The open relay slot in the Fuse box was purely speculation. You're the first person to tell me where the relay might go. By ABS hydraulic unit, what and where is that exactly? Is it the same section as the where the ABS module is installed?

As for the mechanic, I have no idea -- I was simply told the car needed a new ABS module and relay, and as we parted on bad terms, I didn't ask for more details.

When the car first starts, the ABS light is off. Then in about 10-20 seconds of driving, the light comes on and stays on until I turn the ignition off.

As for connectors near the wheels being broken or properly plugged in, I would have thought the mechanic would have done that in their initial inspection. It's not something I know how to do? I don't have an easy way to get under the car.
After 10-20 seconds of driving?? Verify that it does not come on at a stand still... Indefinitely (Obviously engine running)

I'm leaning straight towards a wheel sensor as Mamij mentioned.

What are the last 7 of your VIN? Post it back here, and plug it into here to get a head start. May help with relay locating, and will help with wheel sensor identification and location.
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  #24  
Old 04-16-2014, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m735is View Post
The relay should be under the black plastic cap that's on the ABS unit. If you follow the metal brakes lines from the master cylinder, they go into the ABS valve control unit. From there they go the brake calipers.
My 85 735i has the same situation. I really don't care about ABS, even living in Buffalo, NY and driving it in the winter. I just have to remember to pump the brakes if they start to lock up.
Sorry I can't be of more help.
If you mean that small box with 2-3 relay in it that is not for the ABS. High/Low speed fan relays, and the third is headlight washers, some cars have them, some not; and some that do not, have the wiring there like mine. Pop a relay in and some washer lines and it works.

I also agree it needs a wheel sensor, if it was a relay or module it should always have the light on. Go around the car and look at the sensors to make sure they are all connected. Sometimes they get disconnected when doing brakes by mistake.
Just use the car jack and lug wrench if you do not have one and go one wheel at a time.
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If you want to get junkyard parts remember one thing, if it was wrecked you know it was running/driving. You may not know how well, but it was.

READ THE STICKIES AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE!!

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  #25  
Old 04-17-2014, 06:42 AM
m735is m735is is offline
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I am not talking about the small relay box, the relay should right on the ABS hydo box, right where the wire harness plugs in. But I agree, I don't think it's that. Hell, it could just be crap between the sensor and hub ring, like metal shavings. I'll assume the car has been in or around Vegas it's entire life and rust is not an issue with the toothed ring. Could even be a missing ring, rare, but some have cracked and come off.

The free thing is to check the snsors and associated wiring and plugs, like suggested above.
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