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-   -   Fixed my crazy door locks by replacing relays. my DIY (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=606480)

TKC 09-08-2008 01:11 AM

Fixed my crazy door locks by replacing relays. my DIY
Last week i had to take a client to lunch. Lucky for me, it was one of the days my car wanted to be a b!tch. For over a year i've had the crazy door lock problem a lot of us seem to have. About half the time, more so on hot days, my car wouldn't unlock. Then I could manually unlock the driver door with the key, but not the passenger, trunk, or gas cap. I would get in the car, start it, and try opening the passenger door from the inside. It would still be locked. I tried pushing the lock/unlock button over and over. Nothing. Then suddenly, sometimes after a few tries, sometimes not till the next day, the locks would work again.
Of course, when I go to the dealer, the car works fine. :banghead:

I decided to fix it today. I knew it was the relays in the General Control Module.

1. had a nice jack and coke to get me warmed up

2. had to get the general control module out from behind the glove box.

The Glovebox...


Open It....


Take out the 6 screws......push downward on the whole glovebox while pulling at the same time


Take off the 3 wire harnesses. the first one is a sliding lock, so slide the outer clip to the right and the harness will come out. the second and third, you press the black clip down in the center of the white pry clip. Then, pry the white clip. The harness will come out. Sorry the jack was settling in and I missed the wire harness on #1....


The Red shows these :censor::censor::censor: metal tabs that cant be removed and are RIGHT in the way of pulling the general control module out. SOOOOO you have to pry these black tabs pointed out with green.....and get the whole yellow tray/holder thing out. At the very bottom of the whole yellow tray/holder thing, there's a 10mm nut you have to remove. Pull the tray out, and start pushing it down. Once you have enough clearance, press the tab, and remove the box. SUCCESS.

Yea right. Heres where it gets hard.


Ok, so I could have sent this unit to this AWESOME web site where a guy has a ton of the relays and he'll do the work and send it back to you. BUT, I like working on the car, so he has an option to just buy the relays for a great deal of $35 for the pair. I got them and so here is his website with what he has, what you can get, and most importantly, how to replace the relays.



Additional notes: Unsoldering is a B!TCH. So I had to get a high temp solder. Thank you to CYBERKAA for coming over and trying to help.
First, you gotta scrape off the clearcoating glue crap over all the soldering points on the 2 relays.
Then, with a high temp soldering iron, heat up the prong and use a solder sucker, pull the solder out. It helped when i melted the solder, i pushed the pin back so all solder was in teh front of the hole making it easier to remove.

After the relay was out, I used solder braid to clean out the holes.

REplaced, resoldered, and reversed the entire process.

Everything works great now!!!! :excited:

QBz 09-08-2008 01:13 AM

OMG those eyes scared the hell outta me.

NorCal Einstein 09-08-2008 01:15 AM


Originally Posted by qbz (Post 8498463)
omg those eyes scared the hell outta me.


cyberkaa 09-08-2008 01:19 AM


Originally Posted by QBz (Post 8498463)
OMG those eyes scared the hell outta me.


Thanks for the shout.

dmisc 09-08-2008 01:20 AM

lol...at the eyes.

thats good that you fixed the problem.

-Jay- 09-08-2008 01:51 AM


Originally Posted by norcal einstein (Post 8498467)


Snik 09-08-2008 02:09 AM

Hmm, I'm half temped to just replace the entire module with a used one, then send mine off and then reverse the process.

Out of 10 how much would you rate the difficulty of the removal of the module and how much for the actual relay replacement.

TKC 09-08-2008 10:06 AM

I would say the removal and re-install of the module was a 3 out of 10. The only hold up was unhooking the big yellow casing/rack that holds the module in place. Reaching the hooks at the top was a B!TCH! Other than that, it was really easy.

The Soldering portion, however, I would rate a 7 or 8 if you've never done that stuff before. PLUS, you really need the right equipment. Like I mentioned, I was lucky I had access to a tech shop that solders PCB etc... so I had the good stuff to make it easy.

Good luck!

:rofl: at the eye comments. I took a pic while holding my glove box since I had it out, and then took a pic of the glove box when it was back in, and then merged the 2 :D

weisiong123 09-08-2008 11:28 AM

damn...good write up....so your client couldn't unlock the doors ? what happened?

TKC 09-08-2008 12:00 PM


Originally Posted by weisiong123 (Post 8499658)
damn...good write up....so your client couldn't unlock the doors ? what happened?

Yea, I couldn't unlock my door to let my client in.
Thank God for 2 things....
1) I have a convertible so she could climb in.
2) She had a sense of humor.

She made fun of me for two things.... she said "U have a fancy lil BMW and you can't unlock your doors and you don't have navigation?!? Even my Honda can do that stuff!"


TxTorqueMade 10-25-2008 11:09 AM

Her Honda.....still sucks

thfrazer 11-08-2008 12:28 PM

Hi Everyone,

I just did this DIY except for the soldering and must say that it was just as described. Thank you very much! The hardest part is getting the module out from behind the metal tabs that block it. However, follow the instructions and you will get it out without damaging anything. Even with my cautious pulling and prodding I got the GM-V out in 30 minutes.

I didn't do the soldering as I don't have the right tools. I sent it off to Scott Johnson who is the guy mentioned in the thread. His web site is here:


I sent it off to him Tuesday afternoon via FedEx and had the repaired module back by 10:00am Thursday and in my car within minutes. He got it Wednesday morning and had it repaired and shipped out that same day! His service is fantastic and well worth the $100 including overnight return shipping!! I e-mailed him before, during, and after the service and his prompt personal responses were greatly appreciated. I strongly recommend him to anyone who has this problem.

This forum and Scott's service are proof the internet is an incredible resource. Thanks to all of you on here and especially to Scott for his service. All my locks work as they should and it cost less than a new key fob!!


iliescu2 12-15-2008 03:13 PM

I have a similar problem but I don't think it's the module... maybe somebody can chime in?

The unlock doors and unlock trunk buttons work fine on my key, but SOMETIMES the lock button won't do anything and I have to manually lock the doors. The doors lock and unlock everytime so it's not as big as the OP's issue, but it pisses me off that it occasionally won't work. I went to the dealer and was originally told I need a new key at $280 a pop, no thank you I'll manually lock it for the rest of my life. When the service rep finally came out to see the car and test it, it worked every time. This has happened on 2 occasions, the service rep can lock it, but as soon as I drive off the lot I cannot.

Is it the key? The module? The temperature...? (I'm saying this because it doesn't want to lock when it's very cold out, or at least the key is ice cold).


TKC 12-15-2008 03:17 PM

If it's the key, there's a separate thread that teaches you how to replace the battery for less than $5. :D

I laugh in the dealer's face when they tell you it's $280 for a new key because the battery "can not be replaced" hahaha!

iliescu2 12-15-2008 04:14 PM

They didn't say it was because the battery could not be replaced, because that's what they were going to do at fist... but they said if all of the buttons work fine except occasionally one button, it's not the battery but the key.

TKC 12-15-2008 04:15 PM

Oh, didn't realize it was only one particular button.

Take the key apart and take a look at the board. Maybe the button got shifted/misaligned?

iliescu2 12-16-2008 04:46 PM

Actually I know where my second key is, so I'll see if that one works when I get it in a week, but now I have a new problem, the car won't lock at ALL. Granted it's -14 C but my key won't even go into the door. I say it's frozen solid but it could also be my car acting up...

TKC 12-16-2008 04:58 PM


Originally Posted by iliescu2 (Post 9078406)
Actually I know where my second key is, so I'll see if that one works when I get it in a week, but now I have a new problem, the car won't lock at ALL. Granted it's -14 C but my key won't even go into the door. I say it's frozen solid but it could also be my car acting up...

That's an easy fix, move to a warm place. :D

Snik 12-16-2008 04:59 PM

i have 2 GM5 modules i need to pop mine out and send it off, then sell my 2nd one.

gorilla33 01-12-2009 11:21 AM

Does the General Module 5 control sleep mode?
Does the GM 5 control cutting off the power to the electrical system when the driver's door is open? When I open my drivers door, I can still roll the windows up and down, with the key out of the ignition, and the wipers still work. Normally when you open the driver's side door, the power to these systems is shut off.

Is this related to the GM 5 module?

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