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Passenger Airbag Problem Solved

Old 12-24-2018, 12:21 AM
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Passenger Airbag Problem Solved

Last week, my airbag light came on out of the blue.

Going into diagnostic mode gave me the code for the passenger airbag (1 long, 8 short blinks). Doing the reset procedure was to no avail.

I took the airbag out and looked it over and everything looked fine. FWIW, I had the passenger airbag recall done a few years ago.

So then I removed the center console and did a continuity test on the airbag wiring harness. Everything was fine.

Then I plugged a pair of 2.2 ohm, .5 watt resistors into the connector where airbag plugs in, 1 resistor for each side of the airbag. This tricks the airbag sensor into thinking the airbag is connected.




After doing the reset procedure, the light went out. This confirmed that the problem was actually in the airbag itself.

Then I measured the actual resistance of the airbag. This is a bit tricky. There is a metal clip inside the connector that shorts all of the pins when the connector is disconnected. I cut a piece of an old credit card and shoved it in there. 1 side of the airbag read ~2.7 ohms. The other side had an open circuit. That had to be the problem.

*By the way, I read extensively on testing airbag resistance before conducting the tests. In order to detonate, the airbag needs MUCH more voltage and current than my tiny meter puts out when testing resistance, so I wasn't concerned about an accidental detonation. Also, the airbag sensor is constantly putting some voltage through the airbag to be sure it is connected and functional. Important note: My lawyers (The Law Firm of Dewey, Cheatum & Howe) insist that I discourage any of you from testing your airbags yourselves. YOU WILL DIE!!!

Today, I took the airbag out again to see if I could see a problem with the side that had the open circuit. When I pulled very lightly on the connector, it completely came apart from the airbag! Voila!




So I just pushed it back in and made sure the little internal locking tabs were engaged and reinstalled the airbag. After many starts, the airbag light has stayed off.

My guess is that the vibration from having 4 poly engine mounts for a couple years must have caused the connector to come loose.

So, if your airbag light is on and resetting won't work, check the connectors on the airbag itself.

Hope this helps.
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Old 12-24-2018, 12:35 AM
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I'm in awe. But more than that I'm envious. I reset mine last night and the light went out. It came back tonight. I put black tape over it
Congrats tho
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Old 12-24-2018, 05:36 AM
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thank you for sharing!
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Old 12-24-2018, 09:19 AM
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Intelligent man ,i'll stay away from mine
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Old 12-24-2018, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by krismax View Post
Intelligent man ,i'll stay away from mine
Me too. I'd hate to get killed by a safety device. My light was off today. Looks like I may have gremlins :O

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Old 01-07-2019, 04:32 PM
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That's an issue on the 1st gen G35 as well. But it is the connectors under the seats that you have to pull apart and clean before putting back together. As our cars continue to get older, I bet airbags will be a real problem.
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