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How To: Airbag Control Module Replacement

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Old 02-11-2008, 08:33 AM   #1
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Default How To: Airbag Control Module Replacement

This is long!

** Last Updated March 11, 2008 - Added Details on Airbag Control Module Recoding using VAG-COM **

So here's the write-up of my experience in replacing the airbag control module. My airbag control module experienced a 65535 - "Internal Control Module Memory Error". VAG-COM couldn't erase it. So it was time to get another one. Called around and prices ranged from $185 (from salvage yard) to $600 (new from dealer shop). I got mine for $260 from a fellow Audi enthusiast.

This job was relatively easy, just time consuming.

As always... the disclaimer to start. You attempt this at your own risks and accept full liability for anything that may happen.

This was done on an 2001 Audi A6 2.7 Quattro Automatic Tiptronic with Navigation.

Obtain your radio security code.

Connect VAG-COM to your vehicle. Open Airbag Controller Module. Click "Recode - 07" under Advanced Functions. Write down on a piece of paper the 5 digit number shown under "Software Coding". You'll need this to recode your new airbag control module at the end of this procedure.

Disconnect the battery.

Okay... here's a picture of the replacement module:



Remove the center rear vent by pulling from the top. Disconnect all the connecting wires.



Remove the intermediate section of the rear center vent (black thing). It pulls straight out.


Unplug the telephone cord by pressing the release clip and pull out.



Unplug the brake sensor (I think that's what it is) using a flathead to assist.



Unscrew the nut that holds the arm rest (Torque to 19 lb/ft or 26 Nm). Lift the arm rest and set it aside.



Lift the mat upward in the center console.



Unscrew the bolt underneath (Torque to 3.7 lb/ft or 5 Nm).


Remove the nut holding down rear of the rear center console (Torque to 7.4 lb/ft or 10 Nm).



Remove the cap for the brake trim using a flathead screwdriver.



Unscrew the torx screw. Remove parking brake trim. Unhook the parking brake carriage (black thing underneath the lever) from the parking brake lever.



Remove the navigation control using a flathead (skinnier the better to avoid breaking things) screwdriver and disconnect. You can see here where the hooks are for point of reference. There are 3 in all.



Using a flathead screwdriver, lift up the center wood trim at the front and pull out (1 then 2).



Remove the last two bolt holding down the rear console (Torque to 3.7 lb/ft or 5 Nm). After you do this, the rear console is ready to come out. Pull the rear part of the console upward, then pull rearward. Disconnect the cord to the side mirror adjustments (This can be hard to reach for those with big hands). Once that's disconnected, lift the console higher and pull forward and over the parking brake lever.



Remove cap on driver side panel.



Remove nut.



Remove and disconnect radio. Then remove top trim (I was able to just pry it out using my fingers)



Remove the two bolt holding down the climate control. Remove and disconnect climate control (1 then 2) (Torque to 3.7 lb/ft or 5 Nm)



Fully engage parking hand brake. Place the gear in neutral and remove ashtray by pressing down on the two clips. It slides forward.



Remove the last four bolts holding down front center console (Torque to 3.7 lb/ft or 5 Nm).



Remove the front center console by pulling on the driver side panel (to get clearance over the driver side screw) and pulling rearward.



Remove the retaining clip on the vent and remove vent (1 then 2). Repeat on passenger side.



Remove the elbow vents (driver and passenger) by lifting on 1 then pulling on 2.



Remove the three nuts holding down the control module (Torque to 4.4 lb/ft or 6 Nm). There's not a lot of space so small pliers help to take out the nut once you have it completely loose. Once the nuts are taken out, the module can be lifted out, unhooked, and unplugged.



This is what your car will look like when you're done removing everything.



Plug in your new airbag control module. Then installation is in reverse order.

Reconnect the battery.

Hook the car up to VAG-COM and open the airbag controller. Click the recode button, and key in the 5 digit number that you wrote down earlier under "Software Coding" (if it is different than what you wrote down). Click "Do It!". Exit the controller. Key in your radio security code and you are done.

For those of you who bought a "used" controller (meaning one that was in a crash previously), before you exit the airbag controller (but after you recode the replacement module, you'll need to clear any fault codes that may exist in the module. Click on "Fault Codes" and click "Clear Codes". Exit and you are done. From what I understand, airbag control modules can be reset up to three times before it's rendered useless unless of course you got the fatal "65535" DTC.

Sorry I didn't keep track of the nut size, etc. Enjoy an airbag light free instrument console.
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How To: Airbag Control Module Relacement

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Old 02-11-2008, 08:46 AM   #2
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Default very nice writeup!

its like you took pieces of other easy DIY's such as arm rest/phone, radio, hand brake, nav etc etc and made this writeup. cool! good for stoneys!

good to know if my airbags ever throw a cel. pricey little unit eh?

...thanks!
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Old 02-11-2008, 08:48 AM   #3
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Default Nice writeup : )

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Old 02-11-2008, 08:48 AM   #4
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Default Nice!!!! Adding to tech!

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Old 02-11-2008, 08:51 AM   #5
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Default Nice pics of the process...one suggestion...

...the climate control (for same folks) is sometimes hard to remove without knowing that the clips on the top edge of the ashtray must be pressed downward (small screwdriver or soemthing) before it will slide forward. Of course, I never needed to do that in my car, but I've been stumped by that one in someone else's car previously. The clips are the small silver ones towards the outside edge of the ashtray.
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Old 02-11-2008, 08:51 AM   #6
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Default Heh, that's def a step-by-step...nice.

But using a torque wrench to loosen bolts? Eeeek!!
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Old 02-11-2008, 08:53 AM   #7
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Default Actually the pics where taken when I was reassembling... =)

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Old 02-11-2008, 08:53 AM   #8
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Default OK then, you may live.

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Old 02-11-2008, 08:55 AM   #9
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Default haha i'll knowingly break those two tabs when i replace mine

just because im that clutsy!
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Old 02-11-2008, 09:10 AM   #10
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Default Looks like a good time to replace the cupholder thats in the center console if its broke like mine.

Great write up! I have to replace mine too
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Old 02-11-2008, 10:02 AM   #11
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Default Yup... darn thing snapped right of a couple of years ago. Maybe superglue next.

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Old 02-11-2008, 10:16 AM   #12
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Default Nice job, I hope I never have to refer to this. :-)

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Old 02-11-2008, 10:53 AM   #13
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Default Very nice write up. Also handy for any of the smaller jobs in bewteen a complete romoval Thanks

Also nice to know you don't have to remove the air frshener for this job
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Old 02-11-2008, 11:04 AM   #14
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Default Nice job... Where in Cali do you live - NorCal, SF Bay Area?

Looking for good wrenchers to work with.
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Old 02-11-2008, 11:32 AM   #15
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Default Thnx.... Sacramento

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Old 02-11-2008, 12:50 PM   #16
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Default Nice job, BTDT...good to have it documented for those who follow...

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Old 02-11-2008, 01:10 PM   #17
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Default great time to run cables for stereo upgrades if you will ever do it

and to install an extra lighter plug
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Old 02-13-2008, 07:49 AM   #18
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Default Thanks for a nice write up!!!

I don't need to exactly what you did, but I did want to take apart my center consol and this helps in a huge way! Again, nice job and THANK YOU!
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Old 04-05-2009, 05:38 PM   #19
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Thank you for the great tutorial, this made the job much easier. I am still running into an issue though after the replacement of the module.

I have just finished completing the replacement of my Airbag control module with a brand new one from the dealership ($755) to rid myself from the infamous 65535 - Internal Control Module Memory Error. Upon putting everything back together and reconnecting the battery I started the car and the airbag light still remained on.

I then realized that I had to soft code the new module, so I took the soft code from the old module and entered it into the new module using a cable off of eBay and a shareware version of 409.1 Vagcom software.

Once I was done with this, the Airbag light remained on and the below fault codes were shown:

VAG-COM Version: Release 409.1-US

Control Module Part Number: 4B0 959 655 F
Component and/or Version: Airbag Front+Kopf 2002
Software Coding: 00307
Work Shop Code: WSC 00000
10 Faults Found:
01587 - Igniter 2 for Airbag: Drivers Side (N250)
32-10 - Resistance too High - Intermittent
00590 - Shareware Version. To Decode all DTCs
32-10 - Please Register/Activate - Intermittent
01219 - Shareware Version. To Decode all DTCs
32-10 - Please Register/Activate - Intermittent
01220 - Rear Airbag Igniter: Passenger Side (N202)
32-10 - Resistance too High - Intermittent
01578 - Shareware Version. To Decode all DTCs
31-10 - Please Register/Activate - Intermittent
01044 - Shareware Version. To Decode all DTCs
35-10 - Please Register/Activate - Intermittent
01591 - Indicator Lamp for Airbag Off: Drivers Side (K144)
31-10 - Open or Short to Ground - Intermittent
00656 - Shareware Version. To Decode all DTCs
36-10 - Please Register/Activate - Intermittent
01216 - Shareware Version. To Decode all DTCs
36-10 - Please Register/Activate - Intermittent
01228 - Airbag Cut-Off Switch for Passenger Side (E224)
30-10 - Open or Short to B+ - Intermittent

I then tried entering the previous workshop code, but still the above errors were shown. In the Robert Bentley manual it states that after the replacement of this module if these DTC codes come up, you can clear them.

Has anyone ever experienced these fault codes after the replacement of the airbag control module and did clearing them fix the issue? Given the power of a Vagcom I am thinking about buying the full version and cable from Ross-tech so that I can attempt to clear the above codes. Do you think though that this is normal to see these DTC codes, given that it is a brand new module?

My concern is that the shareware version (with the eBay cable) might have messed something up when it soft coded it. Also, let me know if you think it is a problem to drive the Audi until the cable from Rosstech arrives.

2001 Audi A6 2.7T

Thank you in advance for your replies,

Matt
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Old 04-05-2009, 05:40 PM   #20
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Sell the cable you have on ebay and buy a real cable from Ross-Tech.
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Old 04-05-2009, 05:40 PM
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