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post #1 of 31 Old Mar 15th, 2010, 5:14 pm Thread Starter
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ABS lights flashing

Yeah. Took the big bitch out for my first ride of the year today. Fabulous. Started up immediately and ran like a champ.
However, as I was accelerating onto some interstate off a ramp, the ABS warning lights began flashing alternately. Kept on doing it until I got home a few minutes later. I shut it off and restarted and ran her around the block. The flashing did not reappear.
Anyone know why this might have happened?
The bike is a 2000 LTC with 76,000 miles on it.

Greg
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post #2 of 31 Old Mar 15th, 2010, 5:36 pm
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Re: ABS lights flashing

Normally the sign of a weak battery. My 2000 would do this until I got a new battery. It may just need to have a good charge as well.



Quote:
Originally Posted by gpolakow
Yeah. Took the big bitch out for my first ride of the year today. Fabulous. Started up immediately and ran like a champ.
However, as I was accelerating onto some interstate off a ramp, the ABS warning lights began flashing alternately. Kept on doing it until I got home a few minutes later. I shut it off and restarted and ran her around the block. The flashing did not reappear.
Anyone know why this might have happened?
The bike is a 2000 LTC with 76,000 miles on it.

Tom Ress
Great White North
Minnesota
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post #3 of 31 Old Mar 15th, 2010, 6:14 pm
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Re: ABS lights flashing

New battery might be in order and/or fluid flush of the ABS unit. The BMW shop manual says the ABS unit doesn't need to be flushed unless the system has been drained. I had flushed the brakes from reserviors to calipers. When my lights started flashing I flushed the ABS unit. Fluid that was at the bleed screws came out really dark. Flushing the system gets most of the fluid, but not all out of the ABS unit.

I found a one-man bleeder system at Advance Auto. It's a small ball check valve that lets fluid pass, but not return. Similar to Speed Bleeders, but very little cost and still no having to open/close the bleed screw. This is not the package with the cup you have to fill. There are a couple pieces of clear tubing, some clamps (use them or not), and the cylinder-shaped check valve. It works and it's easy. I like easy!

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post #4 of 31 Old Mar 15th, 2010, 6:27 pm
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Re: ABS lights flashing

Usually indicates your brake fluid is low. The reservoir under the rear seat. When the bike warms up, the fluid expands and - voila, no flashing. It doesn't take much to set the lights off.
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post #5 of 31 Old Mar 15th, 2010, 9:33 pm
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Re: ABS lights flashing

Mine did this also. I changed the battery with no success. The fix on my bike was to add fluid to the ABS unit. The two pots under the seat on the ABS unit itself.
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post #6 of 31 Old Mar 15th, 2010, 11:37 pm
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No fluid in ABS unit

Remember, guys, Greg's bike is a 2000 - no separate control/wheel circuits. There is no fluid to add into the ABS unit - the only reservoirs are at the front brake and behind right sidecase.

If I was in Greg's situation, I would first:
- check the battery, of course.
- check front and rear ABS sensors for clearance and debris - there is a clearance spec on stickers.
- check fluid levels (and flush if over 2 years, anyway).

The flushing procedure on that generation LT is very much like a non-ABS bike, although speed-bleeders on front calipers help immensely for a one-man job.

If you suspect unusual amount of air in the system, the nipples on top of ABS modulator should be bled as well. These are high points of the system and bubbles may collect there.

I just bled the whole system yesterday, twice, to purge well after installing new brake lines - it is really easy, takes more to set up and clean up than the whole process.

I found that the clear 5/16"OD x 3/16"ID tubing from Sears Hardware fits extremely well onto the bleeding nipples, nice and airtight (I heated the end of tubing to force it on). You need to run through 6 nipples: 2 on the rear caliper, 1 on each front and 2 on top of ABS modulator.

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post #7 of 31 Old Mar 16th, 2010, 7:06 am
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Re: ABS lights flashing

gpolakow,

If you don't have a fluid leak...your brake pads have worn enough to make the fluid low. You can handle it in one of two ways:

1. Add fluid to the reservoirs then in a few hundred...or a few thousand miles change the pads and "remove" the excess fluid from the reservoirs.

2. Just change the pads now and not have to get into the brake fluid sys.

Minde had about 16,000 mi. on it when they started flashing. I went ahead and changed the pads. The pads still had "some" mileage left on them but not enough to wish I had gone through the "add fluid...take out fluid" ordeal.

Rocket Ron


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post #8 of 31 Old Mar 16th, 2010, 8:39 am Thread Starter
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Re: ABS lights flashing

Wow. Thanks so much for the advice. Really appreciate it.
I'm guessing my brake pads are a bit worn. I'll start there. May have the brake fluid flushed as well.

Greg
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post #9 of 31 Old Mar 16th, 2010, 11:29 am
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Re: ABS lights flashing

I really can't add much to any of this, but on the older LT's, I believe they recommend flushing the system every year. I have a 2000 LT, and my ABS module is toast, but my friend and I are planning on replacing it sometime this spring with a used one I bought on Ebay.
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post #10 of 31 Old Mar 16th, 2010, 12:13 pm
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Re: ABS lights flashing

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigGeo
Usually indicates your brake fluid is low. The reservoir under the rear seat. When the bike warms up, the fluid expands and - voila, no flashing. It doesn't take much to set the lights off.
Fror 1999 through 2001 models, fluid level does not play in this equation. Until you get to integral brakes in 2002 and up, with two reservoir, the fluid level plays heavily.

The ABS II system can have several other problems besides the battery, but if you were able to ride it around the block later and not have them come on, I'd replace the battery. BTDT on the '00 and '01. I've some other issues after that with both bikes that was the ABS II unit itself.

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post #11 of 31 Old Mar 16th, 2010, 1:11 pm
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Re: ABS lights flashing

You may find that this problem will go away if you ride the bike regularly. Checking the fluid is a good idea as well as the brake pads.

Good luck and ride safe

Tom Ress
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post #12 of 31 Old Mar 16th, 2010, 6:35 pm
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Re: ABS lights flashing

I've had the exact problem. I changed the battery (based on suggedstions here on the blog) and it did nothing. Turned out, that the fluid was low. I had the system flushed and filled and the problem went away.

Good Luck
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post #13 of 31 Old Mar 17th, 2010, 11:14 am
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Different models -> different ABS!

OK, guys, we are all contributing to confusion here. Please specify what model year you are writing about, as this affects the problems and the troubleshooting. Early-model K12LT's will not have their ABS lights flashing due to low fluid - unless it is so low that the modulator is running empty.

The 1999-2001 LT's (as is George's bike) feature the non-integrated ABS system. It does not sense brake fluid level and will not throw a fault if the fluid is low in the reservoirs - unless you run out of fluid in the ABS modulator, I presume. The faults in non-integrated ABS are most likely due to self-check of the controller (signaled as controller failure) - very often caused by low battery voltage on start-up. If you are really unlucky, that is may be set as a persistent fault; there are some techniques in the archive here that purport to allow you to clear that fault yourself but these did not work for me. The dealer's computer will clear it (as, supposedly, will new version of GS-911) - even though they will try to tell you that you need a new controller. BTDT.


If you look at the electrical wiring diagram for the bike, you will see that the non-integrated ABS consists of:
  • controller module
  • warning light relay and warning lights
  • front and rear wheel sped sensors
  • modulator module (confusingly called on schematics "ABS-Relay")
Nothing else. That gives you an idea of what can cause the fault. If there are no actual component failures, the likely causes of faults are power-up controller self-check (including voltage), missing wheel rotation signal or a bad self-check at the modulator (that could be related to contaminated fluid - I do not know).


Now: sometime at 2001/2002 model year break, the integrated ABS was introduced. It features four hydraulic circuits instead of two and additional fluid reservoirs. It is a very, very different animal to maintain and troubleshoot - but, in terms of electrical components, there is this addition:
  • brake fluid level switches
Needless to say, that is the first thing to check. Also my experience with a very similar system on the GS is that integrated ABS is much more resistant to low voltage levels.


Still, with both of these systems, the basic troubleshooting includes:
  • low voltage at start-up? I.e., battery nor recovering quickly after cranking?
  • contamination or wrong clearance at the wheel sensors?
  • low fluid?
  • contaminated fluid? Needs purging/flushing?

I do not believe that there is much more a casual mechanic can check beyond that. Next step would involve determining the actual fault code and, if needed, replacement/rebuild of the controller or the modulator - quite more of an adventure.

Robert in Northern NJ

'09 R12GS, '08 R12RT, '03 R1150RT, '01 F650GS - time to thin the herd?


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Last edited by rdwalker; Mar 17th, 2010 at 11:34 am.
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post #14 of 31 Old Mar 17th, 2010, 1:39 pm
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Re: ABS lights flashing

Model 2000 / ABSII. The only self clearing fault is caused by battery voltage. All others need resetting to be cleared. So get a new battery.

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post #15 of 31 Old Mar 17th, 2010, 1:48 pm
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Re: ABS lights flashing

Every time I had that problem with my old LT, the reservoirs under the seat were always low.
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post #16 of 31 Old Mar 17th, 2010, 5:53 pm
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Re: ABS lights flashing

But the '99s, '00s, and early '01s only had one reservior at the rear. And it isn't monitored.

Lee
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post #17 of 31 Old Mar 17th, 2010, 7:19 pm
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Re: ABS lights flashing

Battery, Battery, Battery and that is all I am gonna say.

John
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post #18 of 31 Old Mar 20th, 2010, 7:58 pm
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Re: ABS lights flashing

2000 LT

I flushed front and rear brake lines today.
Nasty black crap came out..
Looks like coca cola.
Rear reservoir was almost empty.

Put battery on Schumacher trickle charger, and yes the charger needs to be unplugged from the wall. Plug bike in first, then charger to wall.

Still need to bleed at abs unit.
I am using a mini mighty vac, works great.

But I only have one bleeder on the front, there is some other gizmo on the front right.
Will probably flush all a second time.

Can I remove the left side panel without removing the front fairing?

Eric von Laue
Stony Plain Alberta
1990 PC 800 ( Honda V Twin )
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post #19 of 31 Old Mar 20th, 2010, 10:55 pm
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Re: ABS lights flashing

Eric, I am not hundred % certain (my bike is now in a zillion pieces, so I cannot have a look) - but I think that you should be able to get the side panel off. You will have to loosen the footrest plate and pop off the rear part of the fairing, at the least. Most time spent will be futzing with an allen key to get the grabhandle off.

Regarding bleeders, you will have to remove the setscrew ("grubsrew") which is installed at factory for their fill procedure. Install a bleeded nipple and leave it there. Both calipers need to be bled.

Check your clutch drain as well (it is packed in a foam tube, tied just above right-hand tip-over wing) - these also come with grubscrews from factory. If so, order extra bleeders.

As for bleeders, after pooh-pooing speed-bleeders for many years, I finally broke down and got two for the font calipers. Wow! What a difference! It really becomes an easy and quick one-man job. Should have done it long time ago.

So, I suggest that you get (at least) two speed bleeders and put them into the front calipers - save the OEM bleeder for the clutch. You'll need SB1010-S (10x1.0mm, short) for your bike. Their pointy tips will have to be filed down a bit to be the same as the OEM bleeder screws.

Robert in Northern NJ

'09 R12GS, '08 R12RT, '03 R1150RT, '01 F650GS - time to thin the herd?


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post #20 of 31 Old Mar 20th, 2010, 11:05 pm
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Re: ABS lights flashing

Thanks Robert,
I put speed bleeders on my PC800, yes they work nicely.
I noticed that the owners manual says to change brake fluid yearly.
Yet so many people do not do it.

The PC800 has many similarities to the LT, half of the fun is finding the quirks and solutions.

Mirror cables are going on tomorrow.

Eric
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post #21 of 31 Old Mar 21st, 2010, 10:22 am
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Re: ABS lights flashing

I usually go on a 2-year cycle with brake fluid - at that point it seems to be dark-yellow. As you say, though, brake fluid changes tend to be neglected because it is either a costly dealer service or an intimidating DIY procedure for many owners.

Well, if you are popping the mirrors to install cables, you will be going over the prime psychological hurdle in Tupperware removal - from then on it is easy. I would remove the fairing panels at that point: I'd hate to get DOT4 splashed on the paint.

Also, as I mentioned, your clutch cylinder circuit should be looked at as well since you seem to have evidence of prior neglect in the brakes. Now, as I recall, the clutch bleeder nipple may require removal of RH fairing panel: it is surrounded by a foam tube and tie-wrapped to the crashbar near the fuel tank quick-connects (unless it is accessible just by removal of the tip-over wing covers). Unlike brake bleeders, you do not need to repeatedly open and close the clutch one: if you have a good seal on the nipple tubing, just crack it open and slowly pump the fluid through.

If you never took off the fairings: not a real problem. Might as well do it for practice... The crucial steps are:
- pop off mirrors
- remove wind deflectors (3 screws each)
- remove turn signals
- remove crash bar protectors and the long silver covers
- remove oddment box lock cover
- remove all screws - be careful, there are many of them. Some are hidden in wind deflector and in turn signal cavities.

I use an electric screw driver and sort screws in small envelopes.

- pop off rear ends of fairings from their ball-in-socket snaps.
- now move fairing panel upward to unsnap the catches at radio stingray. You need vertical motion for release.

That's it.

Robert in Northern NJ

'09 R12GS, '08 R12RT, '03 R1150RT, '01 F650GS - time to thin the herd?


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post #22 of 31 Old Mar 21st, 2010, 11:43 am
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Re: ABS lights flashing

I think most people do not flush the hydraulics because they believe it is not necessary, same goes for vehicles.
Or they do not know it is necessary.
How many times have you taken your car in to get it flushed.
No, you just drive it till you sell it.
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post #23 of 31 Old Mar 21st, 2010, 11:48 am
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Re: ABS lights flashing

I checked the clearance at the sensors.
The minimum was a tight fit.
Should I pull the sensors and clean.
Should I shim out to halfway between min and max.
Eric
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post #24 of 31 Old Mar 21st, 2010, 12:14 pm
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Re: ABS lights flashing

On my 99 whenever the battery is disconnected then reconnected I get the same flashing. I found the solution to be simple. Turn the ignition off, let the bike set for around 15 seconds then restart. It never fails, everything is back to normal. My WAG is the computer has to reset. Kurt
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post #25 of 31 Old Mar 21st, 2010, 1:00 pm
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Re: ABS lights flashing

Mine did that a coupla' days ago...I'd turn it off and restart and would stop. After reading this, I put a 3-stage charger on the battery to see if that doesn't cure it. The brake fluid is clear throughout.

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post #26 of 31 Old Mar 21st, 2010, 5:57 pm
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Re: ABS lights flashing

Quote:
Originally Posted by MountianMama
I checked the clearance at the sensors.
The minimum was a tight fit.
Should I pull the sensors and clean.
Should I shim out to halfway between min and max.
Eric
If the loosest clearance in in specification - just leave it alone. Too close won't hurt (unless it touches), where as too loose will cause it to fault the ABS. Clearance is set at the widest gap.

John
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But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #27 of 31 Old Jul 9th, 2010, 6:56 pm
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Angry Re: ABS lights flashing-WARNING EXPENSIVE IABS BRAKE MODULE!

My independent mechanic just told me the IABS module (brain) on my '05 LT ABS system is now 'frozen' and will not bleed fluids correctly, so the ABS system will only stop the front wheel correctly. Guess what a new module cost? $2500.00 in U.S. dollars! Mechanic said I should have had the brakes bled way before now. I used the BMW dealer in Daytona for the first 4 years of its life and that dealer NEVER ONCE TOLD ME the bike brake fluids must be bled to avoid such costs/damage to the system. I just assumed they would had suggested all necessary services and then performed the work in addition to normal services during the first 4 years. This expensive failure is just one more reason why I am dumping my LT when I can afford to and that my next bike is a new Gold Wing, because the BMW Dealers really suck at maintenance and communications with owners. Hell, I could have bled the damn thing myself if I had known such a threat was possible or I would have had an independent service it .
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post #28 of 31 Old Jul 9th, 2010, 7:49 pm
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Re: ABS lights flashing-WARNING EXPENSIVE IABS BRAKE MODULE!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeanderson611
My independent mechanic just told me the IABS module (brain) on my '05 LT ABS system is now 'frozen' and will not bleed fluids correctly, so the ABS system will only stop the front wheel correctly. Guess what a new module cost? $2500.00 in U.S. dollars! Mechanic said I should have had the brakes bled way before now. I used the BMW dealer in Daytona for the first 4 years of its life and that dealer NEVER ONCE TOLD ME the bike brake fluids must be bled to avoid such costs/damage to the system. I just assumed they would had suggested all necessary services and then performed the work in addition to normal services during the first 4 years. This expensive failure is just one more reason why I am dumping my LT when I can afford to and that my next bike is a new Gold Wing, because the BMW Dealers really suck at maintenance and communications with owners. Hell, I could have bled the damn thing myself if I had known such a threat was possible or I would have had an independent service it .
Visiting this site 4 years ago would have taught you alot that would have saved you $$$$$. Sorry your dealer was so sorry, but most of us do our own maintenance. It would not hurt to try a flush with fresh fluid - she may come back to life. Flush is listed on the maintenance schedule as "annual" on wheel circuit and "bi-ennial" on the control circuit. So you should have had at least 4 flushes since new. Especially in a humid environment.

John
2009 K1300GT Red Rocket
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN

Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #29 of 31 Old Jul 9th, 2010, 8:37 pm
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Re: ABS lights flashing

Thanks for comment. I just started reading bmwlt.com for serious maintenance problems and I am not gifted mechanically, but I am learning...I did use bmwlt.com for the leaking gas line repair and it worked great. Thanks for encouragement.
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post #30 of 31 Old Jul 9th, 2010, 8:41 pm
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Re: ABS lights flashing

You are welcome. You might want to fill out some of your profile. There may be some one nearby with the skills for a tech session and give you a hand. You are always welcome at my place for a maintenance assist.

John
2009 K1300GT Red Rocket
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN

Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #31 of 31 Old Jul 10th, 2010, 11:09 pm
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Re: ABS lights flashing

Jzeiler:

This whole issue of IABS diagnostics is still a puzzlement to me. Elsewhere, you and I have discussed the results the BMW dealer gave me (for the second time) and the vagueness of what they told me.

Would an independent mechanic be able to diagnose an IABS controller failure without access to proprietary BMW diagnostic tools?

I'm just curious: I'm hooting and scooting around the Canadian Rockies for eight days and have been watching the dash lights closely: I was parked on a steep slope waiting to board a ferry yesterday and then had some momentary fast flashes and unresponsive brakes as I was boarding the ferry (down the steep slope and then up the ramp) but then everything seemed fine and has been for the last five hundred miles up in these hills.

Just curious.

Larry Johnson
El Paso TX
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