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How to install an airbag?(23 posts)

How to install an airbag?Matno
Sep 26, 2002 7:42 AM
I'm replacing the driver side airbag on my 1996 Plymouth Grand Voyager, and I was wondering if anyone knows where I could find some instructions on how to do it. I ordered the part already so I need to do it soon (to pass inspection). My guess is that the clockspring went bad (which kills the airbag, horn, and cruise control). Not realizing that the airbag and CC were dead, the previous owner probably ruined the horn switch trying to get it to work. When the mechanics replaced the clockspring, the horn came on and stayed on, so they disconnected it. I guess I can just look at the old one and figure it out, but instructions would be nice. I do know that I should disconnect the battery before I start and be very careful of an accidental discharge!
Instructions read:Eager Beagle
Sep 26, 2002 7:47 AM
"Safety Critical Component of Great Technical Complexity: Instruct qualified dealer mechanic to install"

The only time you'll know if you have done it right will be when it's too late if you haven't.
yes, don't do thisDougSloan
Sep 26, 2002 9:52 AM
Only experts should do anything related to airbags, for two main reasons: 1. they contain explosives, and could accidentally go off in your face; 2. to be effective, they must be correctly installed -- do you want to risk fouling this up? What if it just goes off some day as you are driving down the road and you crash and kill someone?

Good points allMatno
Sep 26, 2002 11:49 AM
But aside from the explosives part, I don't see how this could be nearly as difficult as building up a bike. The part I'm putting in doesn't include anything but the bag and horn (it's all one unit). There are no sensors, computers, etc. I'm pretty sure you just connect the wires and bolt it on. (The part only cost me $100). But if anybody has personal experience, I'd like to know. I've seen directions for replacing the clock spring (the website said "I'ts not really hard to replace if you have basic mechanicical aptitude and some basic tools"), but I wanted to double check. Maybe I'll try asking a mechanic friend...
If it's as simple as bolting it in , it won't cost much...PdxMark
Sep 26, 2002 11:53 AM
If it's not that simple, the extra cost will be worth the money...
There's always duct tape, the universal fastener...nmmr_spin
Sep 26, 2002 1:15 PM
Repair place quoted $80 for labor.Matno
Sep 26, 2002 3:39 PM
Seems kind of steep to me. Especially when you consider that the warranty coverage for a clockspring replacement (which involves, among other things, the removal and replacement of the airbag/horn) allows 0.7 hours of labor costs. That includes removal of the entire steering wheel, and partial disassembly of the steering column. I figure the airbag part of it would easily be at the "minimum labor charge" of most places. Oh well. We'll see how it goes. I'm going to call around tomorrow, and if it seems too pricey, I'll try it myself. If something goes wrong, lesson learned, and I'll pay someone to do it!
Heh heh heh....Eager Beagle
Sep 27, 2002 12:41 AM
Just give the guy the $56.00, wish him good day, and if you are really peeved still, just tell him that if he was living in the UK he would have had about $200 in his hand for the same job...
Airbags are scary. Like a very big fist coming at your face.Kristin
Sep 26, 2002 8:52 AM
My airbag doesn't function so much as a protection device as it does extreme motivation to avoid hitting anything. I've stopped wearing my glasses when I drive since I got an airbag...which actually could hinder my goal to not hit anything...but you know...

Does any of this help you with installing an airbag? I guess not. I'm gonna agree with Mr. Spin. Get it done at a shop and get gouged. At least you'll have someone to blame besides yourself if things go wrong. And you won't lose an eye in the process.
Get someone else to do it.Turtleherder
Sep 26, 2002 10:36 AM
I won't mess with putting in an air bag on a car with electical problems. You short a circuit out when putting it in and you get the bag full in the face. I will always remember the time I saw a women in a Honda, who barely tapped the car in front of her in stop and go traffic, have the air bag go off in her face. It knocked her out. Not worth messing with.
See now, stories like that don't help my irrational fear of airbagsKristin
Sep 26, 2002 10:50 AM
Having an airbag is like having a thug living in your car. It just sits in there waiting patiently for you to make a mistake...then WHAM!
easy solutionmr_spin
Sep 26, 2002 11:29 AM
1. Don't run into anything
2. Don't let anything run into you

These simple rules have worked pretty well for me so far.

helmets and fire suits?DougSloan
Sep 27, 2002 9:15 AM
Maybe drivers should wear full face helmets and fire suits to protect themselves from the airbags? Auto drivers and passengers would be much safer with them, anyway.

I've literally done thousands....4bykn
Sep 26, 2002 4:06 PM
But then, I do work in an auto assembly factory. My advice: have a pro do it. If there were to arise a problem, then you can go back to them to fix it.

By the way, it only takes about 15 seconds to install!
That's what I wanted to hear...Matno
Sep 27, 2002 8:47 AM
The 15 second part that is...
Follow up: I did it.Matno
Sep 27, 2002 2:53 PM
In spite of some warnings, I went with the instructions I found that said it was simple. (Having grown up with loaded firearms in my bedroom from an early age, I'm not exactly jittery around things that go bang). I don't have any warranty issues to worry about, and the airbag was guaranteed (new). Main thing I was concerned about was the exploding part, but I connected the wires with my head safely outside the car... :-0 Sure enough, it was quite simple, and now I have a functioning horn and hopefully a functioning airbag. The light does what it is supposed to (comes on for a few seconds on startup, then goes off).
Follow up: I did it.4bykn
Sep 28, 2002 3:03 AM
Sounds like you did good, nice job. I believe the computer does a diagnostic check each time the vehicle is turned on, and the light should do exactly as you said at start up. The reason dealers/mechanics charge so much is probably for liability purposes.
Make sure you test it...mr_spin
Sep 30, 2002 6:37 AM
Run into a wall and make sure it goes off!
Interesting phrase: "hopefully a functioning airbag" nm.Eager Beagle
Sep 30, 2002 7:03 AM
warranty on an airbag?ColnagoFE
Oct 9, 2002 10:26 AM
can you imagine sending in a airbag for warranty reasons? what wouldn't you think that if you crashed hard enough for it to go off and it didn't that you wouldn't be around to collect on the warranty?
Cars like mine....Matno
Oct 9, 2002 7:17 PM
Don't have warranties on anything. Just bought a fully loaded 96 Plymouth Grand Voyager in nearly mint condition with relatively low miles for under $4000. Not likely to have to worry about warranty at that price. Besides, if it works, great. If not, the van it replaced didn't have any airbags or even a hood. (VW). Either way, the new ride is much safer. If you saw how slow I drive... well, let's just say the gutless, laid-back VW was probably a more characteristic vehicle for me...
It's not the way YOU drive you have to worry about. nmEager Beagle
Oct 10, 2002 12:34 AM
Of course not...Matno
Oct 10, 2002 8:32 PM
But it sure helps! :)