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  #1  
Old February 10th, 2019, 09:14
sailorjim86 sailorjim86 is offline
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Passenger Airbag Perplexing Problem

Hi all,
Hoping you can help me rescue my '98 that is in good condition. I'll try and be succinct but not too long:

Had the classic problem with the instrument cluster connection. When the weather was cold for extended periods and I hit a bump, the gauges on the instrument cluster dropped out and the airbag light came on. A smack on the top of the dash returned everything to normal.

Got to a point where one day I smacked the dash, and the gauges came back to normal but airbag light stayed on. This was two weeks before I had to get the state safety inspection.

Pulled the instrument cluster and cleaned all the contacts, bent them around a bit (and they were somewhat oxidized), reassembled, and what I get now is the airbag light comes on at start for 6-8 seconds during diagnostics, turns off for about one second, then comes back on and stays on.

Took it to a reputable shop to read the SRS code. They tried but couldn't figure it out, and they told me to go to the dealer, which I reluctantly did. Took it to the dealer, and was told that the passenger side airbag was faulty. Discontinued item and nothing they could do.

Got a NOS passenger airbag and swapped it out. Cleaned all connections. Still get the same problem where the airbag light comes on at start for about 6-8 seconds, turns off for about one second, then comes back on.

Read lots about the clockspring problem, but this is the passenger side, not driver side. My horn, cruise control, and everything else works fine. Could that still be a possibility?

I'll add that I also got me the Innova scanner that reads SRS and ABS codes, and it keeps throwing the code "81 Passenger Airbag Squib Shorted"

Any ideas? Had no problem spending less than a month's car payment to keep a reliable XJ going, but I'm getting frustrated here.
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  #2  
Old February 10th, 2019, 12:09
lawsoncl lawsoncl is offline
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Re: Passenger Airbag Perplexing Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorjim86 View Post
"81 Passenger Airbag Squib Shorted"

The wiring to the airbag is shorted somewhere. Grab a meter and test continuity between the airbag connector and the airbag/body computer. Also check whether the wires are shorted to ground. There may be a shorting pin you have to remove, or it's built into the connector on the air bag.
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Old February 10th, 2019, 12:30
sailorjim86 sailorjim86 is offline
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Re: Passenger Airbag Perplexing Problem

Thanks Lawson,

I'll ring out the wiring, or maybe just do a temporary wiring harness from module to the passenger airbag to see if that clears the fault. I do have the FSM and have followed all procedures to this point, and continue to follow that regarding discharging the capacitors in the system so I don't eat an airbag or break my neck.

Had to do the evaporator/heater coil replacement a few years ago, so maybe I pinched a wire (that job is quite the tear down of the interior). Also of note, the recall on the air bag module was completed many years ago which relocated it to under the dash.
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Old February 10th, 2019, 14:58
sailorjim86 sailorjim86 is offline
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Re: Passenger Airbag Perplexing Problem

Tried disconnecting the passenger airbag, and cut off the connector and disconnected the wires under the dash. Still get the same fault code that passenger air bag squib short. What a pisser. Giving it a rest.
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  #5  
Old February 10th, 2019, 19:38
ditchdrift ditchdrift is offline
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Re: Passenger Airbag Perplexing Problem

Most airbag connectors have a built in shorting bar for when the connector is disconnected or poorly installed. maybe the passengers airbag was never plugged in well or one of the connectors is malfunctioning.
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Old February 11th, 2019, 05:38
sailorjim86 sailorjim86 is offline
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Re: Passenger Airbag Perplexing Problem

Thanks for responses so far. I cut out the passenger side airbag connector and spread the wires (no contact) and still got the passenger squib short fault. There is another connector under the steering column that appears to have wires for both driver and passenger airbag (four wires total, two for each airbag). I'll check that one out next. Anyone know what the resistance should be across the airbag itself? I have a fluke and would like to rule out that maybe my replacement airbag is bad as well (though it looked NOS when I got it, much better than the original I pulled out).
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Old February 11th, 2019, 11:47
sailorjim86 sailorjim86 is offline
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Re: Passenger Airbag Perplexing Problem

Found it! Posting hoping this helps anyone else. Had the TSB/recall done years ago that relocated the airbag control module in the center console, between the front bucket seats. Bad connection (plastic tab on passenger side cracked and the connector slipped loose so the connection shorted as it is supposed to). Working on a final repair then put the thing back together.
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Old February 12th, 2019, 17:40
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four_shot four_shot is offline
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Re: Passenger Airbag Perplexing Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorjim86 View Post
.Anyone know what the resistance should be across the airbag itself? I have a fluke and would like to rule out that maybe my replacement airbag is bad as well (though it looked NOS when I got it, much better than the original I pulled out).
Reminder, airbags are explosive devices! Under no circumstance should anyone attempt to measure the resistance of an airbag's igniter circuit. Accidental deployment is a real possibility. Static can set these things off.
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