Yeah, sounds like the independent shop guys you've seen are afraid/ignorant of BMW. The real joke is they aren't THAT different from anything else (especially the older stuff), just names and funny designations more than anything. You may want to try and source a replacement ECU for cheap somewhere like a pull it yourself salvage yard first (usually 15-20 bucks for miscellaneous electrical components). Sounds like the drive and the wait is more expensive and irritating than giving that a shot. But yes, I'm praying for ya. Good luck.