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Old 06-18-2015, 10:26 AM   #1
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Chasing an airbag light gremlin

Chronologically, here is the story.
  • Purchased used Boxster - airbag light was on - indications are that prior owner removed seats without disconnecting battery, thus an airbag light came on
  • Have driven the car for 8 months or so, with air bag light on
  • just last weekend, i removed the steering wheel to replace the entire stalk assembly, in the process I had to remove the driver's airbag
  • Upon reassembly and reconnection to battery, the airbag light is now off, which was not expected
  • Then I realized that the airbag light is not illuminating at all during the start up procedure. It should come on as it self checks and then go off, right?
  • In the middle of all this, the Durametric that I ordered a few weeks ago showed up.
  • Durametric can read other systems in the car (engine, trans, etc) but is NOT able to read the airbag system. I can't remember the exact error message, but basically it seems like it isn't able to find the airbag system at all.
  • I removed the airbag and steering wheel again today and double checked all connections, assuming i did something wrong while fixing my turn signal stalk. All looks good.

An ideas how to troubleshoot from here? The Durametric does not seem to do me any good here if it can't "see" the airbag system.

Is there a fuse or fusible link somewhere for the Airbag?
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Old 06-18-2015, 11:35 AM   #2
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First of all, all Durametric software can read the air bag systems on any of these cars unless someone has done something (like disconnecting the air bag control system) in which case no system would be able to see it.

It also sounds like your air bag dash MIL light bulb may have burned out.
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Old 06-18-2015, 11:52 AM   #3
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Is it possible that the previous owner replaced the OEM airbag and used a knock-off or some inferior (or faulty) replacement and now you have one heck of an expensive problem on your hands? That seems to me to be a likely scenario. In Calif. that would cause a fail on emissions test. I sure hope you are not in deep ****************e.
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Old 06-18-2015, 02:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JFP in PA View Post
First of all, all Durametric software can read the air bag systems on any of these cars unless someone has done something (like disconnecting the air bag control system) in which case no system would be able to see it.

It also sounds like your air bag dash MIL light bulb may have burned out.
I know it's supposed to be able to see it, it's just not seeing it. And as for the light burning out, remember it was working up until I did this latest repair, which required (a) disconnecting the battery for about 6 hours, and (b) pulling the airbag assembly from the steering wheel. It would be quite a coincidence to burn the light out exactly at that repair.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slate 01 View Post
Is it possible that the previous owner replaced the OEM airbag and used a knock-off or some inferior (or faulty) replacement and now you have one heck of an expensive problem on your hands? That seems to me to be a likely scenario. In Calif. that would cause a fail on emissions test. I sure hope you are not in deep ****************e.
The airbag looked OEM, and looks "aged" appropriate for the car. The black vinyl is faded the same as the steering wheel, and I remember the back of the airbag looked correct as well.

I suspect what I have, when you consider the fact that the Durametric can't find the airbag system, is that somehow the airbag system has lost power. Just a suspicion, but I don't know where to begin tracking that down.
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Old 06-18-2015, 04:37 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by leftfield6 View Post
, is that somehow the airbag system has lost power. Just a suspicion, but I don't know where to begin tracking that down.
I am not sure on the P cars but on the Volvo's when the pyrotechnic gizmo that inflates the bags and hold the belts in place expires, it will trigger an airbag malfunction light and you need to replace them (if I remember correctly) this is done every 10-12 years...
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Old 06-22-2015, 06:48 AM   #6
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I've found a number of references on other forums, such as Rennlist, referencing a weird little software bug that cause the airbag light to stop illuminating after a non-OEM feature is added. I recently added the onboard computer functionality with the 4th stalk. All of the references I have found to this software issue are in threads relating to the 996 and 997 generations of the 911, but since the Boxster shares so much with those generations, it makes sense that this may carry over.

Apparently the fix is to have the cluster re-flashed.
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