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Thread: 2007 R1200R ABS repair

  1. #1
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    2007 R1200R ABS repair

    Last summer I picked up a low mileage '07 R12R with a known failed ABS controller module. I discovered the fault during the test ride at the dealer. Flashing ABS light would not go out, hard breaking on rear brake would lock the wheel and the bike would skid, ABS fault light would turn steady. It was a wet day and this occurred every time. The dealer was not familiar with BMW's so they took the bike to a BMW dealer and verified the module was bad, $2400 to fix it. Deal breaker for most but the already low price was about to get a lot lower. After several emails with Don Eilenberger and Anton Largiader, I was convinced there was an easy and relatively inexpensive fix so I took the risk and went ahead and brought it home. The brakes on the '07 work just fine without ABS and the bike passed the state inspection but I wanted to get it fixed anyway. I have ABS on my RT and its a must have. Especially since my wife would be riding this bike (eventually).

    I spoke with Module Masters about sending them the ABS controller module. They had seen this before, the motor brushes in the module pump get stuck and can no longer pulsate the brakes and a fault is generated through the system. Module Masters will rebuild the unit and warranty the repair for 5 years. They were running a special repair rate of $150 when I called and said they would honor the price if I wanted to wait until winter to send it (no brainer). So I enjoyed riding without ABS for the rest of the summer and fall and waited for the cold weather to get me off the bike long enough to get this done.

    Getting the unit out really wasn't all that bad. It had been awhile since I had done a major repair such as this and it was fun to get acquainted with the new bike and an opportunity to strip it down to do some other mods. Thanks to the many posters on this list most of the work was already covered in the DIY and other posts but the ABS module specific R&R was a little more detailed. For that I went to the BMW factory CD which is an excellent source. It covers most of the work but they assume you are a qualified technician so not all tips etc are spelled out. None the less if you have some skills its really not that hard. I'll try to cover what I did but bear in mind this isn't a thorough DYI.

    1. Gain access to the ABS controller module
    a. Remove seat
    b. Remove side covers and body panels
    c. Remove Tank - mark all lines and connections with tape and some identification for when you reconnect everything at a later date. The module will be sent off and you may not be reassembling for a week or two, or longer if this is a winter hobby project.
    d. Remove air intake snorkel.

    2. Drain the front and rear brake circuits.
    a. First take note of the brake fluid level in both front and rear reservoirs. This will be important when you put everything back together and bleed the brakes. Unless you install new pads as part of this action, you want to maintain the same level when all is done.
    b. I used gravity drain at the brake calipers and a little suction from a hand pump. I was very conservative with suction as I didn't want to damage any seals and turn the $150 repair into a $2400 "ah crap". This is probably the most critical part of the removal since you will be opening the hydraulic lines and having to twist and rotate the unit out of the bike. You don't want any residual brake fluid leaking out the module or the brake lines and making a mess during this process.

    3. Remove the ABS pressure modulator
    a. For appearance and styling this unit is really buried in the R bike but its only 3 bolts once you get it disconnected. Use the BMW repair CD as it has great illustrations and step by step instructions.
    b. Loosen brake line clamps, cable ties and clamps. This is well shown in the BMW repair CD but you will find as you go you will have to cut some more ties to allow access to mounting bolts and to remove the module from the bike. Again, mark all lines and connections with tape and some identification for when you reconnect everything at a later date.
    c. Disconnect brake lines from modulator. You can use an open end wrench on the outside lines but I had used a crowfoot on the inside ones and to re-torque on the installation. Open the lines slowly in case there is still hydraulic fluid in the lines. Of the four lines, I had three bone dry. On one of the inside lines as soon as I started to crack the line fluid started to seep out. Not to worry, re-tighten and drain the line again.
    d. Cap the brake lines. I used 'Vac-u-tite' caps I picked up at an auto parts store. This will keep dirt and crud out of the lines and any stop any residual drips although at this step the line should be dry.
    e. Disconnect the control unit electrical connector and cut the two cable ties.
    f. Remove the three screws that hold the modulator with bracket to the bike. The lower screws on the left are really buried. I used several combinations of 1/4" drive extensions and universal adapters to get a tip on the screw. Use magnetic holders if possible. This is also where you will have to loosen more cables etc than the CD calls out as necessary. I took photos with my iPhone and took notes along the way so I would remember what to reattach. You may also find some of the plastic cable clips have cracked and its a good time to replace them when you do the installation.
    g. Now everything is disconnected. Simply move the brake lines and cables aside and remove the modulator upwards from the bike. There may be a few drop of hydraulic fluid still in the module so be careful but just wipe up any spills immediately and you should be fine.
    h. Remove the three screws holding the bracket to the module and set the module upside down on some paper towels to drain any residual fluid in preparation for shipping to MM.

    4. Installation is reverse of the above. Bleed the brakes and go for a test ride. (See note above regarding maintaining brake fluid level as before.)

    My ABS repair was successful and worked immediately. The ABS light went out as I was pulling out the driveway. I did several hard brakes to engage the ABS and it worked as advertised, every time. I put in speed bleeders and re-bled the brakes. As we said in Naval Air: "Works good, last long time!"

    I will go back an edit this post with pictures when I get a chance. I have several pictures and not sure how to load those.

    Way big thanks to Don Eilenberger and Anton Largiader. They drink for free around me.

    Fletch
    Last edited by fletchdude; 01-27-2013 at 05:24 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered User westhautianplen's Avatar
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    Talking Another ABS to be Removed for Brush Replacement.

    Fletchdude

    I will be performing the same operation on a 07 R1200RT in the near future.
    I just wanted to say thanks for sharing.
    I have been to a couple of auto parts suppliers in the last month looking for those Vacuum caps, however no luck. Now I know why, I did not know what to call them.
    I have a service CD and watched the tech video on how to remove the ABS unit, however I do have a couple of questions.
    What size and how many of each size of the Vacuum caps will I need?
    How much of the clear plastic drain hose will I need to bleed the ABS unit and calipers? I read in one of the post that it requires a smaller hose than what is supplied with the mighty vac. 2mm I believe.
    One more question after reassembly is it possible to satisfactorily pull the new brake fluid through the ABS unit with the mighty vac.
    In my service video it shows the use of a funnel, it screws into the top of the ABS unit.
    Sorry I don't have the part number with me.

    Thanks in advance for any guidance.
    Plen Smith
    07 R1200RT

  3. #3
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    The funnel in the ABS is used to bleed/flush version 1 iABS -- the power assist "whizzy" brakes. The last year for those brakes is 2006. Your '07 should be different.

  4. #4
    Registered User westhautianplen's Avatar
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    Marchyman,

    Thanks for clearing that up for me.
    Plen Smith
    07 R1200RT

  5. #5
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    WestHout, as far as the caps for the hydraulic lines, I bought a multi-pac with various sizes but used the 1/4" ones to cap the lines that go to the ABS unit. The multi-pac has already come in handy for some other applications and at around $5 it was worth it. I used two hoses for the brake bleed. To get the fluid out through the stock bleeders I used a tube that's been around my garage for awhile and I don't remember the size. I can use the vacu-tite caps to see which ones fit the best and let you know. The speed bleeders are smaller than the stock ones and use a smaller hose. I purchased a new hose and bleed bag with the speed bleeders.

    I used a combination of a vacuum hand pump and standard bleeding using the lever and pedal. You really don't want to over do it with vacuum pressure. The seals inside the unit could be damaged if you use too much suction. I used very little suction by slightly pumping the vacuum up to about 5 PSI and let it draw the fluid through. I finished by pumping the front lever and rear brake pedal in the normal fashion for each circuit. Since the system is drained it will take some time to get all the air out, especially the front master cylinder which has a separate bleeder. Speed bleeders will make this easier but they only work with fluid in the system so you still need to get fluid in and bled with the stock bleeders, then install the speed bleeders. When I installed the speed bleeders I used their bleed hose/bag and it worked great. Here is the link for the guy on ebay I bought them from which I highly recommend. Its Kirby's brake bleeders: http://myworld.ebay.com/kz10cubed

    BTW - you mentioned a tech video on how to remove the ABS module. Is this on line or a CD/DVD? Can you share this or let us know where to get it? One reason I did this post is I did not have access to any resource to explain what it would take to do this repair. I was trying to determine if if it would be better to have a qualified mechanic/shop pull the unit and then still have it repaired by MM. Others were curious as well.

    Jim

    Here is a picture of one of the hydraulic lines disconnected and plugged with a 1/4" vacuum cap
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
    Registered User mpmarty's Avatar
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    OK I'm confused (again).

    You speak of brushes as in an electrical motor. Does the later ABS (non whizzy) even have a motor?
    Marty - in the western Oregon mountains.'06RT, (gone '04RT, '86 Venture Royal, '81 Yamaha Virago920, '82Suzuki GS1100GK, '76 Suzuki GT750, Triumph 750 Bonneville, BSA Road Rocket 650, 61" Harley knucklehead)

  7. #7
    Registered User westhautianplen's Avatar
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    Service CD and DVD

    It list R1200GS, R1200RT and R1200ST (USA). It has the BMW logo. I believe it was advertized in the ON but could have been in one of the other periodicals I subscribe to.
    I also have a DVD by JVB Productions that provides video segments on how do the following: remove gas tank, change oil, replace trans fluid, change the final drive fluid, valve adjustment, air filter change, replace alternator belt, brake bleeding, fuel tank install, fault code read, throttle body sync..
    I am going to start the tear down process on my bike Saturday, and get things ready for the ABS removal.
    Let me know if you find a new version out there. The one I have even though it is pre-2007 it is help full in providing insight into the structure of the bike.
    With only 21K miles on the bike, I am still trying to accept the failure as normal maintenance, down deep I feel it is a lack of engineering and product quality control on BMW's part, but most of us could ---ch for days on that subject.

    34 51 050 Replacing ABS pressure modulator can be found in the CDBMW Service CD.jpg



    Thanks again
    Plen Smith
    07 R1200RT

  8. #8
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MPMARTY View Post
    You speak of brushes as in an electrical motor. Does the later ABS (non whizzy) even have a motor?
    I'm not Fletch (I just advise him a bit..) but the answer is yes it does. The motor does the modulation. It doesn't "power" the brakes as the whizzy brakes had.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  9. #9
    Registered User westhautianplen's Avatar
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    The Brushes

    [QUOTE=MPMARTY;853835]You speak of brushes as in an electrical motor. Does the later ABS (non whizzy) even have a motor?[/QUOTE

    The ABS unit has a motor that spins the pump. Some how the brushes in a 2007 unit were designed or manufactured with a tappered brush sleeve and after very little wear the brushes loose contact with the armature and will not conduct the voltage or current through the amature to power the ABS pump.
    Now with that in mind, some of these pumps are failing with as little as 11k miles. I saw a picture someone had posted and I could not disern if the these brushes even had spring behind them to push them into the armature. They looked fixed to me and as soon a little wear takes place no armature contact, thus ABS failure. I personally feel the problem is due to some really poor engineering. They of course want to blame the failures on the brake fluid change frequency.
    I have decided, hey I like riding the thing so i just have to find ways to afford it. (its called service it yourself)


    Thanks,
    Plen Smith
    07 R1200RT

  10. #10
    Registered User westhautianplen's Avatar
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    Hi Don

    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    I'm not Fletch (I just advise him a bit..) but the answer is yes it does. The motor does the modulation. It doesn't "power" the brakes as the whizzy brakes had.
    I am finally getting around to the ABS Change out.
    Thanks again for you help.
    Plen Smith
    07 R1200RT

  11. #11
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WestHautianPlen View Post
    Now with that in mind, some of these pumps are failing with as little as 11k miles. I saw a picture someone had posted and I could not disern if the these brushes even had spring behind them to push them into the armature. They looked fixed to me and as soon a little wear takes place no armature contact, thus ABS failure. I personally feel the problem is due to some really poor engineering. They of course want to blame the failures on the brake fluid change frequency.
    I have decided, hey I like riding the thing so i just have to find ways to afford it. (its called service it yourself)

    Thanks,
    Plen,

    The brushes DO have springs behind them. The design used is quite common - the spring is retained in the metal housing by a bent-over tab at the end of the housing.

    Not ALL modulators fail. Mine has 63,000 miles on it and no failure as of yet. There are threads around (I know ADV-Rider has one) showing disassembly and modification to fix the flaw. In this case - it's not poor engineering (it's a VERY common design, a vacuum cleaner I fixed has an identical design) - it's poor quality control on the part of the motor manufacturer. Some fail, some never do. That is an almost sure sign of bad QC.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  12. #12
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    Plen, look for a PM from me with some updated instructions for your bike. I'll be around some today but leaving soon for New Orleans. My team is playing this weekend and we have tickets for the big game. Cheers, Jim

  13. #13
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Folks,

    I've leaned on Jim to make up a DIY from this thread which will end up in the DIY section. Once that's in place, this thread will be locked, with a reference link to the new DIY.

    Thanks much Jim! And hope your team does well.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  14. #14
    Registered User westhautianplen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    Folks,

    I've leaned on Jim to make up a DIY from this thread which will end up in the DIY section. Once that's in place, this thread will be locked, with a reference link to the new DIY.

    Thanks much Jim! And hope your team does well.
    Thanks to all for your help!
    Plen Smith
    07 R1200RT

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