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  1. #1
    Renato Piereck
    Spreading the Saab virus rpiereck's Avatar
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    24 Jul 2011
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    Ansbach, Germany
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    Saab(s)
    '00 9-5 Aero SC, 87 900i 8v
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    SAAB 9-5 ABS /TCS module removal/installation

    I recently had my 9-5 dashboard light up like a Xmas tree, with the Triangle of Death, INFO DISPLAY, BRAKE, TCS OFF and god knows what else making my face brighter when I drove at night. With winter set strongly, roads slippery and icy, all that kept me from fiery death were my snow tires. It's a common 9-5 problem, when the ABS module decides to quit, and you're left with a less safe car without ABS or traction control.

    The fix? Remove the module and send it to one of many rebuild services, then re-instal it. Sound simple, right? Well, it actually is rather simple, but when looking for information on how to remove the darned module I couldn't find good instructions online. What to do? Figure it out on my own, and then make a tutorial for those that have the same problem in the future.

    Alternatively you could also buy a new module and install that, but then you need to take it to a mechanic with Tech 2 to get the new module married to your car. This is a generally more expensive route, as new modules cost from $200, up to $500. Rebuilding your costs from $50 to $120.

    There are a number of companies that do the repair, including BBA Reman, which is the most famous one as most people recommend it. When I was looking for prices to get the rebuild done I saw BBA Reman price at $150 for a rebuild, sending it from Germany (where I am) to the UK where the repair is done. I searched online for other companies that would do the work, and found two: Module Master out of Moscow, Idaho, who charge $159 for the repair. Their site is well made and actually has a very good tutorial on removing the module. The other company I found was Cheap ABS out of Charlottesville, VA. Their repair service cost me $100 plus shipping to them. The $100 includes shipping to you. I went with Cheap ABS because of their lower price and due to numerous positive reviews I saw on VW and Audi forums, whose cars use the same ABS module as SAAB, which is fabricated by Bosch.

    So, here is the tutorial:

    Problem: dashboard lights up like a holiday special: including TCS OFF and the BRAKE fault symbol.
    Diagnostics: ABS module is faulty, module also controls TCS (Traction Control System)
    Fix: ABS module needs to be rebuilt or replaced

    Tools needed:
    - 13 mm socket or wrench
    - 10 mm socket or wrench
    - T20 Torx tool
    - one large zip lock bag
    - two small zip lock bags

    Tools recommended:
    - magnetic retriever
    - flashlight
    - zip tie cutter (pliers, scissors, knife...)
    - new zip tie
    - black electrical tape
    - small flat tip screwdriver
    - good pair of mechanic gloves
    - 1 bottle of your favorite beverage

    Disclaimer:
    - I'm a helicopter mechanic for Uncle Sam, think of lowest bidder, near slave labor. No promises are given explicit or implied.
    - Focusing was terrible on some of those pictures. I apologize.
    - only one bottle of your favorite beverage shall be consumed during this process. Any more and you're bound to f something up.

    This is your work area, the ABS module resides underneath the fuse box that lies behind the battery. The battery and its tray must be removed, and the fuse box must be moved out of the way.

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    Step one: disconnect the battery (use 13 mm socket), first negative terminal, then positive

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    Step two: disconnect battery vent tube

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    Step three: loosen battery hold down with a 13 mm wrench, it's behind the battery and hard to get a wrench on. I tried a deep well socket but it wasn't deep enough. The ratcheting wrench came in handy here!

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    Battery removed! Take a swig of your beverage.

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    Step four: remove two nuts (10 mm) holding down fuse box behind battery

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    Step five: remove one nut (10 mm) on the lower left bracket of fuse box (left side as you look at it from the front of the car). The magnetic retriever might come in handy here as the nut may fall off if you're not careful.

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    Once the nuts holding the fuse box have been removed you can slightly move the fuse box out of the way, no need to remove it completely, but with it moved upward you have enough room to get to the ABS module.

    Step six: here you have arrived at the ABS module itself. There are two electrical connectors on the module, a small one that connects from the bottom, and a large one that connects from the top. The bottom one has a sort of snap lock, you might be able to undo it by hand. I used a flat tip screwdriver and carefully unlocked the snap, then it slides down. The large one has a sort of tray lock, you need to slide this tray to the left side, and at the same time it unlocks and disconnects from the module. Once it's disconnected you just slide it to the side as on the picture.

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    Step seven: remove the battery tray by removing its four 10 mm bolts, and remove it from the car. If you have the radiator overflow tank hose zip tied to it now is the time to cut that zip tie. Picture shows vehicle with battery tray removed.

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    Now you will use the T20 Torx tool to remove the hardware holding the ABS module to the brake system. There are six bolts, and they are hard to see. They are not captive, and come out going forward, which means that once they're loose they have a tendency of falling down onto the transmission. Here is where the magnetic tool comes in handy, I had the tool on them before letting loose of the T20 tool, avoiding loosing them.

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    Step eight: remove those Torx screws, being careful not to drop them. The right side ones are the hardest since it's a tight spot with very little visibility.

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    Step nine: remove ABS module from the car!

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    But you're not done yet... looking at where the module came from you will see some shiny metal bits, ABS pump connections. Your module might be gone for a while (mine took 30 days from shipping to receiving), so you better do something to keep the metal pieces shiny!

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    Step ten: Get some plastic bags, and cover the ABS pump connectors before you tighten that fuse box, then cover the electrical connectors. I used a large zip lock bag for the pump, and two small ones for the connectors. You can't close the bag over the pump, but with the fuse box tightened over it the bag won't go anywhere, and you protect the shiny bits from mud, and water being splashed onto it.

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    Picture shows zip lock bag over ABS pump with fuse box tightened over it.

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    Step eleven: tighten fuse box back onto its place (three 10 mm nuts), install battery tray (four 10 mm bolts), install battery and tie it down (13 mm nut), reconnect battery vent tube, and reconnect battery cables, positive then negative (13 mm).

    Now this is what you have: an ABS module, and six Torx screws. Save the screws somewhere for later installation (I taped mine inside my glove box door), then bubble wrap the module and ship it off to your rebuilder of choice!

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    Once you start your car this is what you'll see: lights galore! Speedometer won't work, so you better have GPS for your speed. Odometer also won't work, so you get some free kilometers too... I went through six gas tanks and my odometer didn't gain a centimeter... Tachometer, fuel gauge, boost gauge and all else works as normal.

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    Note: I mentioned it took 30 days to ship my module off and to receive it back home, but that's because I am stationed with the US Army in Germany, and even with USPS Priority Mail service it takes almost a whole week, maybe more, for a package to go from here to Virginia. The module spent a whole of three or four days at Cheap ABS. The work itself took just a day. With shorter mail transit times you should wait much less while having no speedometer or working ABS.

    I would love to do like a Haynes manual and say "Installation is the reverse of removal", but I won't... check out the installation tutorial below.

    1 Not allowed!
    Last edited by rpiereck; 02 July 2013 at 20:05. Reason: dem fat fingers
    Now: '00 Saab 9-5 Aero Combi - '89 Peugeot 205 CTI - '91 Peugeot 309 GTI
    Gone: '87 Saab 900i - '95 Saab 900 SE Turbo

  2. #2
    Renato Piereck
    Spreading the Saab virus rpiereck's Avatar
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    Ansbach, Germany
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    Saab(s)
    '00 9-5 Aero SC, 87 900i 8v
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    So you waited a whole month for the ABS module, feeling adventurous driving a huge wagon with 230+ horsepower through icy roads, snow blizzards, and whatever else winter throws at you. You get a package in the mail marked CHEAPABS.COM, now it is time to get your module back on!

    Installation instructions!

    Same tools as before, just this time you won't need the zip lock bags.

    Module as it come from Cheap ABS. You can clearly see where they cut the module to access the electric bits that need repair. It has been sealed back up and water won't get in (at least that's what's hoped and expected!).

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    My last name written on it, at least I know I am getting mine back! Now my name will be forever in this car (or until a new module gets installed later in the Saab's life...)

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    The screws that were taped to the inside of the glove box door weren't lost and are ready to be installed.

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    Step one: do steps one through five above, to the point that you have the battery tray removed and ready to access the ABS pump. Go ahead and remove the plastic bags covering the shiny bits and electrical connectors.

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    Get the Torx tool ready

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    Step two: install ABS module onto pump, then using the T20 Torx tool carefully insert each screw in its position. They like to get lost and fall down, so be careful! A Dab of grease at the end of your Torx tool will keep those pesky screws planted. Reconnect the lower electrical connection, it slips in and clicks when it is seated. The upper connector is connected when the tray part is completely inserted.

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    Step three: same as step eleven above: tighten fuse box back onto its place (three 10 mm nuts), install battery tray (four 10 mm bolts), install battery and tie it down (13 mm nut), reconnect battery vent tube, and reconnect battery cables, positive then negative (13 mm).

    If everything went well this is what you have now: no ABS/TCS warning lights, working speedometer and odometer. Repair complete!

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    1 Not allowed!
    Last edited by rpiereck; 31 December 2012 at 00:20.
    Now: '00 Saab 9-5 Aero Combi - '89 Peugeot 205 CTI - '91 Peugeot 309 GTI
    Gone: '87 Saab 900i - '95 Saab 900 SE Turbo

  3. #3
    Renato Piereck
    Spreading the Saab virus rpiereck's Avatar
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    Thumbs Up:   2
    Edit: I understand I showed a Torx T15 on the first picture. I just realized I took a photo of the tool before I found out it was too small. The fact is the screws are T20, not T15.

    0 Not allowed!
    Now: '00 Saab 9-5 Aero Combi - '89 Peugeot 205 CTI - '91 Peugeot 309 GTI
    Gone: '87 Saab 900i - '95 Saab 900 SE Turbo

  4. #4
    David Guido
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    2001 95 Aero Wagon
    Thumbs Up:   0
    Great write-up. I did this myself and it was not that difficult. Saved a bundle.

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  5. #5
    Saab Enthusiast photousa's Avatar
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    2003 Saab 9-5 Aero 2.3t Wagon HO Manual
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    Great Write-up, glad this removal and installation in no longer a mystery to me. Thanks Rpiereck.

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    2003 Saab 9-5 Aero B235R
    Sport Wagon 2.3T HO Manual
    140,627 Miles

  6. #6
    Renato Piereck
    Spreading the Saab virus rpiereck's Avatar
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    '00 9-5 Aero SC, 87 900i 8v
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    That's exactly why I wanted to do a tutorial. I couldn't find one online, just a "remove module and send it in for rebuild". Not a complicated repair by any means, but it's nice to see how someone has done it before.

    0 Not allowed!
    Now: '00 Saab 9-5 Aero Combi - '89 Peugeot 205 CTI - '91 Peugeot 309 GTI
    Gone: '87 Saab 900i - '95 Saab 900 SE Turbo

  7. #7

    Join Date
    25 Jun 2013
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    Copenhagen, Denmark
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    Saab(s)
    9-5 sedan, 2000
    Thumbs Up:   0
    Thank you very much for this excellent instruction, that helped me tremendously.
    My only comment is that it was extremely difficult to dislodge the controller after removing the four bolts you mention.
    There are six bolts in all and you show them later on - to be fair.
    Thanks again.
    Keld

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  8. #8
    Renato Piereck
    Spreading the Saab virus rpiereck's Avatar
    Join Date
    24 Jul 2011
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    Ansbach, Germany
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    Saab(s)
    '00 9-5 Aero SC, 87 900i 8v
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    Quote Originally Posted by gajonapo View Post
    Thank you very much for this excellent instruction, that helped me tremendously.
    My only comment is that it was extremely difficult to dislodge the controller after removing the four bolts you mention.
    There are six bolts in all and you show them later on - to be fair.
    Thanks again.
    Keld
    Thanks for the correction, I have edited the tutorial to reflect six, not four bolts.

    0 Not allowed!
    Now: '00 Saab 9-5 Aero Combi - '89 Peugeot 205 CTI - '91 Peugeot 309 GTI
    Gone: '87 Saab 900i - '95 Saab 900 SE Turbo

  9. #9

    Join Date
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    Saab(s)
    9-5 sedan, 2000
    Thumbs Up:   0
    Hello and thanks for the instructions.
    I removed the ABS controller on my car, but BBA was not able to repair it.
    Now I am looking for a used controller on eBay. My question is: do they need to be married to the car using a Tech2?
    And, do you need to divorce the old unit?
    Any help appreciated.
    Keld

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  10. #10
    Renato Piereck
    Spreading the Saab virus rpiereck's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Saab(s)
    '00 9-5 Aero SC, 87 900i 8v
    Thumbs Up:   2
    Quote Originally Posted by gajonapo View Post
    Hello and thanks for the instructions.
    I removed the ABS controller on my car, but BBA was not able to repair it.
    Now I am looking for a used controller on eBay. My question is: do they need to be married to the car using a Tech2?
    And, do you need to divorce the old unit?
    Any help appreciated.
    Keld
    Sorry for the delay, but yes the unit needs to be divorced from the car, and the new one needs to be married to it. You will need Tech II to do it.

    0 Not allowed!
    Now: '00 Saab 9-5 Aero Combi - '89 Peugeot 205 CTI - '91 Peugeot 309 GTI
    Gone: '87 Saab 900i - '95 Saab 900 SE Turbo

 

 

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