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.