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Monday, January 21, 2008

Tech Tip Fix: ABS Code 01203 on Audi and Volkswagen Vehicles with ABS/EDL

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Tech Tip Fix: Antilock Brake System (ABS) Code 01203 on Audi and Volkswagen Vehicles with ABS/EDL

by Jim Newkirk, WORLDPAC Assist European Team Leader


EDL is an acronym for Electronic Differential Lock. This system allows traction to be directed to the appropriate wheel by applying brake to those wheels that are spinning.

The system uses the signals from the wheel speed sensors to determine wheel spin and then activates a self priming pump in the ABS Hydraulic Unit which pumps brake fluid from the brake fluid reservoir through a solenoid valve and to the wheel or wheels that have lost traction slowing them and allowing traction to be regained.

The system can calculate brake system temperatures based on the number of EDL applications that occur during a given time interval and will disable the system if excessive temperatures are present. This temperature calculation is based off a TIM (Time Interval Management) signal that is produced in the Instrument Cluster and sent to the ABS control module.

ABS Trouble Code 01203 indicates a problem with the TIM (Time Interval Management) Signal.

To test this signal, proceed as follows:

  1. Using a lab scope, check for the presence of a "Time Stamp" signal from the Instrument Cluster (IC) T32b connector pin #11 to the ABS controller at pin #10 (typically a Green wire).

    This signal will appear as a series of quick 11-volt to 0-volt square wave pulses a moment or so after the ignition is turned to the "on" position. It is critical the square wave signal drops all the way to 0-volts.


  2. If no signal is present, or if a signal is present that does not drop all the way to 0-volts, turn the ignition off, disconnect the ABS controller wiring harness connector and recheck for the correct signal on pin #10 vehicle harness side as the ignition switch is cycled on.


  3. If the correct square wave signal as described above is present with the ABS control module unplugged there is likely an internal problem with the ABS controller.

    The ABS controller circuit board can fail in such a way that it can either short the TIM signal from the Instrument Cluster to ground or it can back feed voltage onto the TIM signal wiring and interfere with the 11 to 0 volt square wave signal. This problem is much more likely to occur at high ambient and under hood temperatures. It is possible to use a heat gun to carefully heat the ABS controller and cause the failure to occur.


  4. If after unplugging the ABS controller there is still no square wave signal to pin #10, check the wiring from the ABS controller pin #10 to the instrument cluster T32b connector pin #11 (pay special attention to the Orange connector at the driver's side kick panel connector station for corrosion or damage).


  5. While it is possible for the Instrument cluster to fail in such a way that the TIM signal is not produced, this is an extremely rare occurrence.

In this example a 1999 Volkswagen Passat with a 1.8L AEB Engine and equipped with Bosch ABS/EDL 5.3 antilock brakes had an ABS light illuminate intermittently. The problem would occur primarily after the vehicle was driven for more than an hour on hot days. Testing for trouble codes revealed the presence of a 01203 code stored in ABS memory.

After performing this diagnostic procedure a faulty ABS Control Module was identified. Replacing and Version coding the new module to the vehicle restored normal vehicle operation.

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