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air bag light

 
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dg27



Joined: 01 Jan 2002
Posts: 433
Location: Long Island City, NY

PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 5:17 pm    Post subject: air bag light Reply with quote

I have searched this forum to find info on this issue, but couldn't find anything conclusive.

My 328is is off the road quite often because I travel extensively. This last time it was almost two months. I have a BMW charger and I charged it a couple of days ago. All seems fine, and yesterday and today it started up no problem. Today was the first time I took it out on the highway and the air bag light suddenly came on. This has never happened before.

From what I've read this could have something to do with the seat latch (?).

If the light is on, does this means that the air bags would not function in a crash?

Could this be related to the re-charging of the battery?

I'm trying to avoid taking it the dealer until I need other maintenance (I could use an oil change soon). But if this a genuine safety issue, I'm concerned.

Any advice would be truly appreciated.

dg
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1998 Morea Green 328is 5-speed sports pkg
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geminiys



Joined: 13 Oct 2004
Posts: 182
Location: SF, California

PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, if the Airbag light is on it won't deploy in the event of an accident, but it also depends on what fault you have. There are 2 ways to read the fault: buy a tool for about $150 or go to a dealer or indi shop or body shop that has BMW Airbag reader and identify the fault. the Indi shop may charge you about $50 just to read the fault code. Based on that you can identify what is wrong. The Airbag won't go away on its own even if the problem is corrected and requires to be cleared by the tool that is used to read the code.
I had Airbag light to go on on me twice. Once was a passenger sensor in the seat itself and the other was a driver buckle. Both I replaced after reading the code at my friends body shop garage. What I did find is my driver buckle was fine but wiring harness got pinched in the seat and broke the wire causing the light to turn on.
Did you have anything on the passenger seat when light went on? If not, most likely it is your buckle or harness. If you have time, remove passenger seat out and investigate the harness itself.
Charging and discharging shouldn't cause an issue but if Airbag computer itself went south, then it is possible. Until code is read, you won't know what really caused the issue.
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dg27



Joined: 01 Jan 2002
Posts: 433
Location: Long Island City, NY

PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the information.

I did have a passenger when the light went on.

The dealer I use is not local; I'll see if my local garage where I get inspections has a tool. I really don't think it's worth it for me to buy the tool.

I checked my records and previously I had to replace the "right side seat mat with clearing codes for SRS light" (according to the receipt I have).

Do you think this might be the same issue?
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geminiys



Joined: 13 Oct 2004
Posts: 182
Location: SF, California

PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It very well might be the same issue. Those mats sit underneath seat cushion and plastic seat frame. If liquid is spilled on the seat the angle will make it to enter from the back of the seat right where the mat sits causing shorts and other issues, especially if it is soda type.
The best is to read the Airbag code through the BMW round connector inside the engine bay and detect what was the cause. Based on the information you will know what to replace.
Any respectful body shop, if you know someone working there have to have that tool. Usually it is universal tool for German/Swedish made cars. Body shops constantly have to deal with Airbags resets after accidents.
Good Luck
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dg27



Joined: 01 Jan 2002
Posts: 433
Location: Long Island City, NY

PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2015 9:20 am    Post subject: E36 driver's side seat belt buckle Reply with quote

Thanks, geminiys.

My local mechanic did indeed have the correct tool to read the airbag code via the round connector.

The code indicated a fault with the driver's side seat belt buckle. The mechanic cleared the code, so the airbag light is off. He speculated that if it doesn't come back on it could mean it was a false code. He couldn't say whether the fact that the code was cleared and the light is off means that the airbag system is indeed active. I really want to play it safe.

He confirmed that if I get the part he can install it.

I think what I need is labeled #2 on this diagram:

http://goo.gl/MyTKEP

Does that seem correct?

Thanks for all your help.
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geminiys



Joined: 13 Oct 2004
Posts: 182
Location: SF, California

PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2015 10:57 am    Post subject: Re: E36 driver's side seat belt buckle Reply with quote

I am glad you were able to identify the area which caused the Air Bag Light to be turned on. The buckle could have 2 potential issues. One of them is a sensor build inside the buckle. The second is wiring harness pinched and caused a malfunction. My suggestion, take an Air bottle can (the one that is used to clean keyboards) and blow inside the buckle. Be prepared for bunch of staff (dust, cramps, etc.) to fly out. Get underneath the seat and inspect the wiring harness for damage and potential areas of been pinched when seat is moving. If you see the insulation damaged but wire not broken, fix it with electrical tape and free from where it lies. If wire is damaged I suggest to use a soldering gun to fix the wire and use electrical tape to protected.

If sensor is going bad, replacement of the entire buckle assembly is required. If wire harness is the cause, can be fixed without replacement.

Be prepared that you will have a hard time buying this buckle assembly (#2 in the diagram) on line. This components is considered to be Hazard material and cannot be shipped. The only choice is through a dealer or repair shops.
In my situation the wire near connector broke off completely and without further investigation I decided just to buy a new buckle assembly. After taking seat off I noticed a loose wire but it was too late, as purchased part was not returnable. The coast about 5 years ago was ~$250.00 through my friend who owns a body shop.

Good luck

dg27 wrote:
Thanks, geminiys.

My local mechanic did indeed have the correct tool to read the airbag code via the round connector.

The code indicated a fault with the driver's side seat belt buckle. The mechanic cleared the code, so the airbag light is off. He speculated that if it doesn't come back on it could mean it was a false code. He couldn't say whether the fact that the code was cleared and the light is off means that the airbag system is indeed active. I really want to play it safe.

He confirmed that if I get the part he can install it.

I think what I need is labeled #2 on this diagram:

http://goo.gl/MyTKEP

Does that seem correct?

Thanks for all your help.
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dg27



Joined: 01 Jan 2002
Posts: 433
Location: Long Island City, NY

PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2015 11:08 am    Post subject: Re: E36 driver's side seat belt buckle Reply with quote

geminiys wrote:
I am glad you were able to identify the area which caused the Air Bag Light to be turned on.


Is it at all possible that the light will not return and that this was a false positive? The mechanic knows that I had to recharge the battery completely right before this happened. He suggested that drops in voltage can sometimes cause false readings.

geminiys wrote:
The buckle could have 2 potential issues. One of them is a sensor build inside the buckle. The second is wiring harness pinched and caused a malfunction.

If sensor is going bad, replacement of the entire buckle assembly is required. If wire harness is the cause, can be fixed without replacement.


Thanks--I will try your suggestions.


geminiys wrote:
Be prepared that you will have a hard time buying this buckle assembly (#2 in the diagram) on line. This components is considered to be Hazard material and cannot be shipped. The only choice is through a dealer or repair shops.


I had a feeling that was the case: I saw that on another site. But at least now I know which part it is, if that in fact is needed.

Thanks again for all your help.

dg
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geminiys



Joined: 13 Oct 2004
Posts: 182
Location: SF, California

PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2015 3:23 pm    Post subject: Re: E36 driver's side seat belt buckle Reply with quote

Yes, it could be a false positive, especially with slow voltage drop-dying battery. Drive and see but to be sure do the 2 suggestions I gave you as precautionary measures.


dg27 wrote:
geminiys wrote:
I am glad you were able to identify the area which caused the Air Bag Light to be turned on.


Is it at all possible that the light will not return and that this was a false positive? The mechanic knows that I had to recharge the battery completely right before this happened. He suggested that drops in voltage can sometimes cause false readings.

geminiys wrote:
The buckle could have 2 potential issues. One of them is a sensor build inside the buckle. The second is wiring harness pinched and caused a malfunction.

If sensor is going bad, replacement of the entire buckle assembly is required. If wire harness is the cause, can be fixed without replacement.


Thanks--I will try your suggestions.


geminiys wrote:
Be prepared that you will have a hard time buying this buckle assembly (#2 in the diagram) on line. This components is considered to be Hazard material and cannot be shipped. The only choice is through a dealer or repair shops.


I had a feeling that was the case: I saw that on another site. But at least now I know which part it is, if that in fact is needed.

Thanks again for all your help.

dg
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dg27



Joined: 01 Jan 2002
Posts: 433
Location: Long Island City, NY

PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2015 3:40 pm    Post subject: Re: E36 driver's side seat belt buckle Reply with quote

geminiys wrote:
Yes, it could be a false positive, especially with slow voltage drop-dying battery.


Fingers crossed... Razz

geminiys wrote:
Drive and see but to be sure do the 2 suggestions I gave you as precautionary measures.


I certainly will--thanks again.
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dg27



Joined: 01 Jan 2002
Posts: 433
Location: Long Island City, NY

PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finally did determine that the driver side seat buckle assembly needed to be replaced. And although I did locate that part online, in all cases it was pickup only. The part is considered a hazardous material and cannot be shipped.

I used a local German car specialist (not a BMW dealer) who's done work for me in the past. The part was $126. Combined with oil service and my annual state inspection the total labor was pretty reasonable.

Glad that's taken care of. I did not like the idea that my air bags would not function if needed.

Thanks for weighing in.
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