The following article gives detailed instructions on replacing the footwell module (FRM) in a BMW E9x 3 series car. Even though we have used a 2011 BMW 335i to perform this repair, this article can be applied to any BMW vehicle with a footwell module with minor modifications.
Symptoms of a BMW footwell module failure include inoperable interior and exterior lighting, front power windows and side mirrors.
The BMW footwell module (FRM) serves as an electrical hub, receiving signals from various sources including the driver’s door switch block, brake/reverse/hazard light switches, ride height sensors, front door contacts and driver’s side door lock. It acts as a gateway module, processing these signals and using them to control the following systems:
- Interior and exterior lighting
- Power windows
- Outside mirrors
- Central locking system
- Adaptive headlights
Failure of the BMW footwell module is unfortunately very common in BMW vehicles. It is usually caused by vehicle “jump starting”, incorrect charging techniques, or water infiltration which can damage the sensitive internal electronics of the FRM. BMW footwell modules may also fail while being diagnosed with certain versions of ISTA/D or ISTA Plus software, or during programming procedures with ISTA/P.
In August 2018, BMW released a Service Information Bulletin (SIB) extending the Limited Warranty period on the footwell module to 10 years/156,000 miles. The SIB affects the following vehicles: E70 X5, E71/72 X6, E82/88 1 series, E84 X1, E89 Z4, and the E9x 3 series. If you are experiencing a failed FRM in any these vehicles and are still within the warranty period, you may entitled to a new replacement. We suggest contacting your local BMW dealership’s service department for more details. To download the SIB extending the warranty on your footwell module, please click here.
You may have a BMW that does not fall within the above warranty period extension or just don’t want to deal with the hassle of filing a claim. In this case the least expensive (and quickest) option is to remove the FRM and ship it to a qualified repair shop to have it reprogrammed. The BMW Repair Guide doesn’t exclusively endorse any particular repair service, but a simple Google search of “BMW footwell module repair” will give you plenty of quality results to choose from, most for under $100 with a 24 hour turn around.
Whatever route you take, the good news is the FRM is very easy to replace, even for the novice home mechanic. It is located in the driver’s side footwell, behind the lateral trim panel (where the hood release handle is). We give you detailed instructions below on how to remove it in less than 20 minutes.
New footwell modules are either FRM2 (for older model non LCI vehicles) or FRM3 (newer model LCI vehicles). The newer FRM3 also works on many non LCI models, so there may be more than one unit that fits your vehicle. Please click on the footwell modules below for a complete list of what cars it is compatible with. For more information on what LCI means, please click here.
- Disconnect the negative terminal from the battery. Always disconnect your vehicle’s battery before working on any electronic component. Failure to do so can cause catastrophic damage to sensitive electronics.
- The BMW E90 footwell module is located in the driver’s footwell behind the lateral trim panel.
- Start by removing the interior door entrance strip by pulling on one end until it releases from its mounting clips.
- Using a T20 torx bit, remove the three trim screws anchoring the lower dash trim panel. Grasp the trim panel and pull it loose from the dashboard.
- Disconnect the Bluetooth antenna cable by using a small flat-blade screwdriver or metal pick.
- Disconnect the MOST diagnosis port connection.
- Disconnect the under dash speaker.
- Disconnect the under dash light.
- Remove the dash trim panel from the car.
- Moving to the lateral trim panel, use a phillips head screwdriver to remove the hood release handle.
- Remove the phillips screw anchoring the lateral trim panel to the body of the vehicle.
- There is a plastic trim clip holding the lateral trim panel to the body of the car. Grasp the trim panel as shown below and pull until the trim clip releases.
- Unplug the trunk release button’s electrical connector and remove the trim panel from the vehicle.
- You can now see the footwell module. The footwell module has three wiring harnesses connected to it…two in the front and one in the rear. The two front ones are easier to remove after the footwell module is removed from the body of the vehicle.
- Remove the rear wiring harness by pressing in the tab to release the locking mechanism. Raise the locking mechanism and pull the wiring harness free from the module.
- Use a 10mm nut driver to remove the top and bottom plastic hex nuts that secure the footwell module to the body of the car.
- Carefully pull the footwell module free from the side of the car. With the footwell module free, you can now easily remove the two front wiring harnesses.
- The footwell module can now be removed from the vehicle.
Reinstalling the BMW footwell module is very straightforward…just follow the above steps in reverse. The top plastic hex nut can be a bit of a pain to reinstall. It is is difficult to see where it installs, especially when you are lying on your back on the floor of the car. Take your time and use patience to avoid losing the nut.