ACtronics explains why technicians should look to remanufacturing when confronted with faulty ABS pump motors.
It is very difficult to find a vehicle without an ABS unit on it these days, unless it happens to be a classic car or from a manufacturer that produces less than 500 vehicles a year. Since 2004, ABS has been a requirement on vehicles within the EU and is an incredibly important feature of the car. Its basic function is to bring the vehicle to a controlled stop without the wheels locking, therefore causing the vehicle to skid.
For the ABS unit to limit or prevent the number of vehicle skids, the wheel speed sensors determine whether one wheel is travelling faster or slower than another, and then go on to send this information to the ABS ECU via CANbus signals. If this happens, the ABS ECU activates the ABS pump, so that the wheels do not lock and start to skid, especially in adverse weather conditions.
The main brands
There are two major ABS brands that have managed to tie in the majority of mainstream manufacturers: Bosch and ATE. It is relatively easy to identify which brand is in use on a particular vehicle – part numbers beginning with ‘10.0…’ are usually ATE, whereas Bosch generally begins with ‘02…’.
The ATE MK61 is the more common ABS unit and can be found on almost every make and model of vehicle from manufacturers Vauxhall, Renault, Ford, BMW and VAG (Audi, Skoda and VW to name a few). However, there can be many reasons why an ABS unit fails, with the ATE MK61 increasingly the more common unit seen here at ACtronics.
ATE MK61: Common faults
One issue we see a lot is on BMW vehicles. Often the ATE MK61 will develop fault codes 5DF0 and 5DF1. These relate to the pump motor being faulty, because the component has become worn or seized.
A single pump motor of an ABS unit operates dozens of times per second, and over many years could lead to the pump motor failing, like any other moving part would. If the pump motors fail, the ABS unit will not be able to maintain pressure on the ABS system, which could result in the brake calipers becoming stuck or inoperative.
A reman solution
As the pump is integrated into the ABS unit, the individual parts are unavailable to purchase separately, which leads to the next viable option being remanufacturing. For some mechanics and industry professionals, the subject of ‘remanufacturing’ is considered taboo, due to a lack of understanding around the topic.
However, it is often a cheaper alternative to buying brand new. Remanufacturing means the components known to fail inside a particular unit can be replaced, rather than having to purchase an entirely new part.
When a 5DF0 and 5DF1 fault code is reported, we test the ABS unit on our Vision 6 testing machines. This equipment allows our technicians to play the same CANbus signals to the unit that would be on the vehicle, which means the technician can activate the pump and produce an amperage draw on the pump.
Learning from experience
Here at ACtronics, we have developed specialised techniques that allow us to access the internals of the pump, but also remove and replace the pump on the unit with specialised brackets, without damaging either the block or pump in the process.
Being able to offer a cost-effective remanufacture for the garage and the end customer is many times cheaper than a new unit. We are also in the position where we can provide a two-year warranty on all remanufactured parts over the usual standard one-year on new parts. We like to think this gives that extra peace of mind to our customers.