Originally Posted by Quickie
I'm not real cluey about these things: what does "updated ECU software" mean? And if mine (whatever it is is) isn't updated, any tips on what to do about it? I don't need a computer to tell me what the state of the brake pads is, but neither do I want to live with a brake failure light permanently on (I assume this is what happens with non-indicator pads or OEM pads which haven't been initiated by BMW diagnostics).
Well we tried to explain it to you. Most pads with standard wear indicators work with one wire to each pad, or 2 wires to each pad. If 2 wires, then a foil inside the pad connects the two wires together and the computer says 'This pad is o.k'. When the pad wears down to the foil , it breaks and the computer sees 2 wires not joined together and the light comes on. Therefore, in this case if the two wires to each pad are joined together the stupid computer thinks the pads are o.k even though they may wear down to the metal.
In a single wire pad wear warning system, there is only one wire to each pad and the internal foil. As long as the pad wire is not touching a ground, the monitoring says the pad is o.k. When the pad wears down and the grounded rotor runs on the internal foil strip, the wire is shorted to ground and the wear light comes on. If you disconnected the wire in a one wire system it would never give a warning. You can see the downside here: If the wire is a bad connection to the pad you will never get a warning , so the 2 wire system is better.
All is not lost if there are aftermarket pads the same size cheaper and without wear indicators and you still want the system to work. If you are careful with a Dremmel drill and stand, you can drill 1 or 2 holes through the edge of the pad at the 1mm pad wear limit and insert ptfe covered wires which you attach to the system plug removed from old oem pads.
There's a BMW fly in the ointment because they 'may' have embedded a resistance inside their special pads. You would find that out by measuring the resistance across the wear indicator on a new oem pad. If zero its foil, if high it's a grounding wire for wear (or capacitative) and if some intermediate resistance then it's resistance. In theory using resistance could give a progressive readout of pad wear, not just 'It's worn down to the limit' If they have been that clever then the best you can do is wire resistors of the same value across the wear indicator connectors and use non-oem pads. You should never see a pad wear light come on.
There's a final more technically complex way of estimating pad wear based on measuring capacitance change inside the pad. I doubt they use that, but that can be circumvented too.
All this is useless if you are not prepared to search this forum and do things for yourself. If you can't do things then yes you probably have got an expensive bike to own and maintain at BMW Dealer prices.
I have riding buddys in two camps. Those with deep pockets and little technical knowledge that frequently visit the local BMW Stealer buying clothing, getting their bike serviced, eyeing up the new models, reading the latest mags and parting out their bikes after 2 or 3 years. Then I have other buddies who learn how to do most things themselves, use non-oem parts after research and making quality judgements and who keep the same bike for years spending very little on it.
Which camp are you in?
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