1. What should I do if my ABS/brake warning light is on?
If your ABS/brake warning light is on, chances are your ABS control module is bad. To verify the problem, please use our ABS Wizard.
If your ABS module is bad, you have a couple of options:
1) Purchase a new module from the dealer or auto repair shop. Be aware, however, a new module can cost anywhere from $600 to $2000, not including installation. What's more, it's only a matter of time before your new module fails again.
2) Remove your module and send it to ModuleMaster for a complete rebuild. Not only will you pocket a considerable savings, your rebuilt module will outlast a new replacement.
How's that you ask? Simple. We don't just repair ABS modules, we rebuild them from the ground up. Our rebuild process includes replacing all components known to fail with the highest quality upgrades available. We also beef up the circuitry which allows the module to run cooler and therefore last longer. This is how we can offer a five year warranty on parts and labor, while a brand new module comes with only a one year warranty.
Why don't the ABS module manufacturers fix the problems themselves? The short answer is they don't have to. They have no competition. They are licensed by the automobile manufacturers to produce so many units at a preset price. There is no incentive for them to go back and re-engineer last year's model, nor would doing so make good business sense. A big share of an auto manufacturer's profit comes from the repair industry.
At ModuleMaster, our philosophy is different. We believe the customer deserves a reliable product at a reasonable cost. Afterall, it's your brakes we're talking about.
2. Why does ModuleMaster charge more than the other guys?
There's an ancient Chinese proverb which aptly says: "you get what you pay for."
ModuleMaster may not be the lowest priced ABS module rebuilder, nor are we the largest. But when it comes to quality of workmanship and customer satisfaction, we're number one. But don't take our word for it. Read what one of our customers had to say about our service:
I had originally sent my module to be repaired by one of your competitors. I'll be honest I went with them because they were cheaper. After about 3 weeks they sent the unit back to me. They claimed it was unrepairable. Rather than going with the new $1000 unit from BMW I decided to give Module Master a chance. You repaired the unit in 5 days as promised and it is working great. I'm sorry I didn't go with you in the first place.
Need more proof? Please see our ongoing list of testimonials from other satisfied customers.
3. Why is my ABS pump motor running even when the key is off?
A MOSFET transistor in the EBCM (Electronic Brake Control Module) has failed, causing the pump motor to run continuously. When rebuilding a module, we replace not only this transistor, but all other components known to fail or otherwise cause problems.
4. My pump is running right now, what should I do?
Shut the pump off as quickly as possible. Don't let it run the battery down. Your pump was not designed to operate any longer than the very brief periods of time required during ABS stops. Burnout of the motor is very rare however.
If You don't feel confident to stop the pump motor or opening the hood is something scary; go to a good mechanic or your local dealer. Otherwise, follow the steps below.
Disconnect the positive (red) battery terminal first to shut it down. Then locate and pull the ABS pump fuse located in the power distribution center under the hood. Basically you are looking for a fuse box with large amperage fuses and some relays. Look along the fender well in the engine compartment relatively close to the battery. It is a 60 amp fuse in most instances and should be clearly labeled "ABS" in the large fuse box with other similarly oversize fuses used for other high power subsystems. Reconnect your battery after pulling the fuse. The motor should no longer be running.
5. Can I still drive my car or truck after I send the EBCM to ModuleMaster?
Yes. All ABS systems are designed so that the solenoid valves in the ABS brake manifold are in safety "bypass" mode when powered down or when the ABS control module has been removed. You will have standard everyday power brakes no different than brakes built without the ABS system.
6. After removing the EBCM, should I do anything to protect the exposed surfaces?
You should keep the part of the manifold that the ABS controller once covered as clean as possible. Cover the area with plastic wrapping and tape or similar material. Make a dirt-proof and waterproof "cap" out of duct tape. Avoid driving your vehicle on dusty or wet roads if possible. Protect the plug ends of the cables from moisture with electrical tape as well. For those who have electronic four-wheel-drives, 4WD may not function properly until the ABS controller is put back in place and powered up. If you use duct tape, any sticky residue will have to be removed using carburetor cleaner.
7. I removed the module from my vehicle. How should I pack it and where do I send it?
You need to package the unit carefully as it contains shock and static sensitive electronics. Wrap the clean dry unit in common aluminum foil (Reynolds Wrap) or place it in an electrostatic (ESD) pouch to protect it from static electricity during shipping. Wrap the unit with a layer or two of bubble wrap, then place the unit in a sturdy cardboard box (at least 7" X 7" X 6") and fill the space around the unit with packing peanuts. Include a printed copy of your order form or a note indicating your full name, shipping address, phone number, and email. If paying in advance, include a check or money order (business checks only please). Finally, seal your shipping pox with packing tape (not duct or masking tape) and ship it to:
8. What are my payment and shipping options?
You may prepay through our website using PayPal, order by phone using a credit card, or send a check or money order (business checks only please) with your module.
Alternatively, you may send us your module and we will call for payment information once your unit is ready to be shipped back. No need to pay upfront. Be sure to include a phone number and the best time to reach you.
ModuleMaster is not responsible for unclaimed modules after 60 days.
Shipping is the customer's responsibility. You may:
Add return shipping on your order form (preferred), or
Include a pre-paid return shiping label when you ship us your module. Pre-paid return shipping labels are available from Fed Ex, UPS, Kinko's, Mailboxes etc, or your local post office. Note: labels MUST be pre-paid and issued by the carrier. Hand-written labels will not be accepted.
When shipping your module from outside the U.S., the customer is responsible for all customs fees. To minimize this fee, check "REPAIR AND RETURN" on your customs form and list a low value (< US$100)
We recommend insuring your ABS module both ways for the cost of replacement ($700 on average). The typical cost to ship a 2 lb. module by USPS Priority mail with $700 insurance is $14.
For international shipping, the customs fee could be expensive due to the high value indicated for the insurance.
9. How long does it take to fix my ABS controller?
The repair time in our shop is typically 2 business days. If we are unusually busy, such as after a Holiday weekend, please anticipate a 3-day turnaround. All BMW modules take 5 days.
10. When braking normally, my ABS comes on unexpectedly and my stopping distance is increased. Is my EBCM bad?
Not necessarily. Based upon customer feedback, the problem is corrosion of the front wheel sensors. Try the following to cure the problem:
You will need to remove the front wheel sensor from the hub. Make sure both sensor and hub are absolutely clean beforehand. This will assure that no dirt will not fall into the hub and bearings when the sensor is removed. A single Allen head bolt is all that holds the sensor in place.
Remove the sensor and plug the hole with a paper towel or clean rag. Then clean all of the rust from the sensor and its mating surface on the hub. Do the same to the hub and its mating surface to the sensor. Use a gasket scraping tool or wire brush to remove all traces of rust; keeping it out of the hole where the sensor goes. Spray the areas with carb cleaner to remove any remaining residue. Be careful not to let carb cleaner flow inside of the hub as it will dilute the bearing grease.
Apparently, rust formation on the cast iron hub pushes the sensor up just a few thousandths of an inch dropping the voltage low enough to cause ABS engagement at low speeds. This may also cause the 4WD service light (if applicable) to come on as well.
Reinstall the cleaned sensor into the cleaned hub and test the system by driving. If it works normally, then spray the hub and sensor with several coats of rubberized undercoating spray to prevent any further corrosion.
11. What are ABS brakes and how do they work?
ABS is short for "Anti-lock Braking System". The ABS is designed to pump the pressure in your braking system to help prevent brake "lock-up" and loss of vehicle control. A skilled driver can perform this with his/her foot on the brake pedal and "pumping" of course; but ABS plays its critical role during panic stops when thinking about braking is the least of concern. The ABS system has a very powerful 16 bit computer that monitors all wheels and pumps the brakes for you so you don't have to. In fact the ABS computer pumps (or modulates) the brake system much faster and more efficiently than humanly possible.
In the event that the ABS system encounters failure, it is engineered to fail safely by continuing to function like a conventional (non-ABS) brake system. The ABS system notifies the driver of the failure by turning on the (ABS) light. When the ABS light is on you do not have ABS until the system is serviced. Some ABS systems will continue to maintain rear wheel ABS functionality if the system failure affects front wheels only.
12. Does an ABS failure make my vehicle unsafe to drive?
All ABS systems are engineered with occupant safety as the first priority. ABS is a bolt-on system that merely supplements a conventional hydraulic brake system. Should the ABS system fail, you will still have the same braking power as before, only without the anti-lock feature.
The ABS computer (or EBCM) constantly monitors itself when your vehicle is running- even when the ABS is not being used. When the ABS light is off, your ABS system is functioning normally. The EBCM is so intelligent, it even knows if the "ABS" lamp is bad and activates another warning lamp.
13. Isn't this a safety issue?
Yes it can be, especially if drivers become used to anti-lock brakes, and in the absense of them, overestimate their stopping ability. Without ABS, it is important to remember to pump your brakes when coming to a stop under slick conditions, especially during emergency stops. The ABS system simply does this pumping action for you. Much like how power brakes help by applying more brake pressure when needed, ABS helps by pumping the brakes faster than humanly possible. Because in a panic stop on ice or wet pavement, pumping your brakes is not something most people find intuitive. Nevertheless, many people still safely drive cars without ABS brakes every day.
14. Shouldn't there be a recall of ABS modules?
Because ABS failure does not result in a loss of stopping power, manufacturers do not consider it to be a safety issue worthy of a recall. For the same reason, a failed power window wouldn't be recalled because it isn't a safety issue. However, with so many ABS modules failing, you would think that manufacturers would want to design a more reliable product, if for no other reason than to maintain customer satisfaction.
15. What is the EBCM?
EBCM is short for "Electronic Brake Control Module" It is the advanced computer than controls the electric motor pump and valves of your ABS system.
16. I bought a used ABS module, the ABS light is still on and now my 4WD has quit working. What is going on?
You probably have the wrong module for your specific vehicle or the module has the incorrect software version to match your vehicle. Each module is specific to each vehicle; even brand new modules specifically ordered for your vehicle sometime require set up and calibration information to be updated. When you get your module from the wrecking yard, used sales source or even new; there is a risk that the module will not work. The other computers in your vehicle may recognize the new/used ABS controller as belonging to a differently equipped vehicle and will “reject” it. Repairing your existing EBCM avoids this costly risk completely.
17. Am I compromising my safety or the safety of my family with a repaired module?
No! Your brake system is not being modified in any way. We simply replace defective components and parts in the EBCM (Electronic Brake Control Module) that are under-rated for their specific function. If the EBCM, pump motor, or solenoid valves fail, your brake system will continue to function safely, only without the benefit of anti-lock brakes. It is impossible for the bad or malfunctioning EBCM (ABS module) to cause total loss of braking.The pump/manifold stays in your vehicle so you can keep driving while you ship us the EBCM for repair. Our rebuilt modules are so much better than the original, that the odds of one failing again are miniscule. All EBCMs repaired by ModuleMaster use upgraded components designed to handle 40% more power than the original OEM parts.
18. Why is my electronic push button four-wheel-drive (4WD) disabled when my ABS module is removed?
The ABS module runs a different anti-skid program when the vehicle is in 4WD. Certain vehicles also use information from the ABS module; such as front and rear wheel speeds to operate the "automatic" 4 wheel feature. If the module is removed or completely powered down, the transfer case control unit will disable itself and 4WD.
19. Where is the ABS controller located in my vehicle?
In most vehicles, the ABS controller (EBCM) is bolted directly to the hydraulic assembly- a cast aluminum brake fluid distribution hub with 5 or 6 brake lines branching off of it.
On certain GM/GMC trucks, the ABS controller/hydraulic assembly is bolted to the frame rail under the cab. However, on most cars and trucks, it is located under the hood within easy reach. For exact location and removal instructions, please use our vehicle search.
20. My local dealer informed me that I need to buy a whole new ABS pump/manifold because the pump motor is bad. Can it be repaired like the EBCM?
In most cases, yes. Pump motors generally do not fail, but when they do, the culprit is usually worn-out brushes or corroded electrical connections. In a worst-case scenario, your motor is beyond repair; we may have a replacement in stock. Please call for details.
21. Do I have to disconnect all of my brake lines to get to the ABS controller?
No. The only instance when you might need to disconnect the brake lines is if the bolts holding the EBCM on are rusted or stripped, and need to be drilled out. This usually only happens on vehicles where the unit is located on the bottom of the vehicle such as GMC and Chevy trucks.
If it is necessary to disconnect any of the brake lines, you will need to change the brake fluid and bleed the brakes after reinstallation. Since brake fluid is hygroscopic (absorbs water), water molecules will tend to settle into the lowest parts of the brake system eventually causing corrosion of critical brake components. This is why brake fluid should be changed every 3 years or 30,000 miles; so you are providing your vehicle a much needed service in the process of this repair.
22. Can I bleed my brakes myself? I've been told there is a special procedure.
NOTE: this only applies if brake lines had to be disconnected.
If certain steps are followed, you won't have to follow a "special bleeding procedure" which typically requires a certified technician using a computer that sends a set of commands to your ABS controller to open certain valves with the pump running. This procedure flushes out pockets of air trapped within the ABS manifold's labyrinth of orifices and cavities etc. In most cases, this is not necessary. When the pump/manifold is removed from the vehicle, all of the valves are closed sealing the manifold's "insides" from drawing in air. When you re-install the manifold, make sure the battery is disconnected (assuming repaired ABS controller is in place).
Once everything is reinstalled, bleed the brakes as you would any conventional vehicle. When you are confident all the air is out of the lines, connect the vehicle's battery and start the engine, keeping the vehicle stationary. Make sure that the brake pedal is firm and not spongy. Verify that there are no leaks where the hydraulic lines were re-connected and that the brake pedal keeps it position without slowly dropping to the floor. If all is good, take the vehicle for a low speed test drive. The ABS system will then perform a self check once you exceed 5 MPH and the "ABS" and "brake" lamps should turn off. During this test, the controller runs the pump motor and briefly operates all of the valves. If the brake pedal remains firm, then you succeeded in removing any air left in the system, and you're done! If the pedal begins to feel soft or spongy, park the vehicle and manually bleed the brakes again. Test drive again, park and repeat the bleeding process until brakes are firm. This ABS "self-test" is performed every time you start and drive. It is similar to the "special bleeding procedure" a techician would perform, without the need for a tech or his special computer.
We suggest checking for leaks around the manifold every few days or until you are satisfied everything is in good working order. At the same time, keep an eye on the brake fluid level in the reservoir for sudden changes. Remember, your brakes are your vehicle's primary safety feature, so keep them well maintained!
23. How do I know if my ABS controller is bad, and not just something simple like a dirty wheel speed sensor?
If your ABS and/or BRAKE warning lights are on, the problem is most likely a bad ABS controller. A dirty wheel sensor, on the other hand, will make your ABS system behave erratically, but will not cause warning lights to come on. See FAQ 9 for help on cleaning your wheel sensors.
24. My auto repair shop replaces ABS modules with new ones. Can I sell my cores to ModuleMaster?
Yes. Please call for prices and which modules we are currently buying.
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