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Another EL Airbag Thread 

 

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 Post subject: Another EL Airbag Thread
Posted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:01 pm 
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Hello all,
I just bought another EL Fairmont and im trying to get it ready for rego (Unregistered) it keeps spitting airbag error code 12 at me, When I originally got the car I found it had a blown Airbag fuse and also a blown Auto TX Fuse...

I didn't notice the Auto TX fuse straight away, I know its all tied in to the airbag systems, I put a new fuse in the Airbag slot and it blew straight away, I since disconnected the battery and replaced all the fuses, and so far it seems that none of them have blown...
But the car still spits error code 12 at me, I also replaced the battery with a new one while I had it disconnected.

Ive spent the last few days searching through the forums but every thread about EL's and Airbag faults comes to an end with no real answers, Is there any way to clear the airbag memory in an EL..?
I have tried shorting the diagnostic pin to earth with nil luck, such as everyone with an EL i've read about so far.

So is there really no way but to go to Ford and get charged a small fortune just to clear the memory, and have no guarantee I wont drive out of the place with another error code, or the same one?

Also from reading the other threads I would think that my next course of action would be to remove the airbag from the car and check out the clockspring in the steering wheel boss, to see if there are any shorts?
(though it is strange that the airbag fuse has not blown again yet if that were the case)

Either way, I am fairly certain that the car can't show any airbag or ABS errors whilst going for re-rego, I really don't want to remove the globe, even temporarily...
Anyone had any further luck with EL's and Airbag errors ??
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 Post subject: Re: Another EL Airbag Thread
Posted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:38 pm 
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If you truely believe you've fixed the problem causing the code, then the error light will eventually go away.

The EL's have a fault memory of 100 or so run cycles.

So one way of clearing an airbag fault is to turn the key to the run position 100 or so times, and it will eventually just go away. When I did this, everytime I started the car, I'd turn the key to run 10 or 15 times, so the fault light would be gone in 3 or 4 days.
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 Post subject: Re: Another EL Airbag Thread
Posted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:57 pm 
Getting Side Ways
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I had read that, Unfortunately I need to get it registered in the next week or so before its been out of rego for 3 months and has to get a blue slip, I have about 4 weeks left I think...

I just checked again and the Airbag fuse has blown again, but not Auto TX or Rev LPS...
What exactly am I looking for once the steering wheel is removed??

I see a plate that says something about tuning one way then the other, and a little spring in the middle thats sortof sitting there doing nothing... Is that sposed to earth on the centre pin??
Cause if it is, then thats the problem... Its hanging around not touching anything ?
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 Post subject: Re: Another EL Airbag Thread
Posted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:36 pm 
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Well... The other solution is to sit there and do the key cycles all in one hit. Only takes about 10 mins, just end up with a sore wrist.

But if the fuse keeps blowing, it means there is a problem (obviously), probably in the airbag ECU. The fuse blows because the airbag ECU thinks it should deploy the airbag, but not all the sensors agree.

Not advocating this, but if you need to get the car past a roadworthy quickly, take the cluster apart and put some black tape over the airbag globe so no light gets through. I dont know any RW tester that would actually plug a scanner into the airbag system to check if there are no errors.

That thing in the centre of the wheel is the clock spring. It runs your horn, cruise and airbag. If nothing is hanging out of it, just leave it as it is. If its got wires hanging out, then its time to swap it. But I figure your horn or cruise wont work if this is stuffed.

Oh, and the auto TX fuse on an I6 is used to power the radiator fan relays... There must be some electrical gremlins in this car.
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 Post subject: Re: Another EL Airbag Thread
Posted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:42 pm 
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I thought it might have been blowing as part of the airbag safety circuit...
I do have a spare fairmont sitting here that has no airbag errors showing, Also have spare crash sensors if changing them might help...

The thermo fans on the front are wired up weird, I have yet to figure out why..
Hes got a cable running negative straight to the plug on the thermo fans, and another cable that gets positive power from the ISC on top of the throttle body...
So it would turn the thermo fans on while you were driving.. I have no idea :(

Im not sure what else to do to fix the airbag issue now, the clockspring seems to be in good order but i'll swap it for the other fairmont if I get desperate.
So what if I were to change the airbag control module with one that I know is still good?
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 Post subject: Re: Another EL Airbag Thread
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:42 am 
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A follow up,
Have just been sitting here thinking about what to do with this thing...

Where abouts are all the crash sensors/safing sensor/airbag control module??
I know theres 1 crash sensor in the front bar, easy to get to.. The others im not so sure of?
I hear theres a crash sensor in the dash and a safing sensor up the top of the dash near the cluster, and the airbag control module resides behind the kick panel on drivers side??

Maybe just replace the lot and see if it still happens :(
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 Post subject: Re: Another EL Airbag Thread
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:08 am 
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You've found one sensor on the radiator support.

The other is on top of the transmission tunnel, inside the car, against the firewall. I think you can just get to it from the drivers footwell.

The safing sensor is in the airbag control module itself, which is attached to a bracket on the top of the pedal box. Its a f**k and a half to get this module out. The one time I did it, I had to pull the dash forward to get to the top of it. I couldnt get my hands in there, unless someone else has a better way to do it.
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 Post subject: Re: Another EL Airbag Thread
Posted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:32 pm 
Getting Side Ways
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Update:
Just got around to taking another look at it, since I have the steering wheel off...
I disconnected the battery and replaced the airbag fuse (again) and reconnected, now it throws error 32 - Airbag open circuit, which is exactly what it is since no airbag, and the fuse no longer blows...

Still sounds to me like I may have to change the airbag module but that sounds abit tricky :(
I'll try a different airbag also, maybe there is a short internally of the airbag itself (hopefully)
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 Post subject: Re: Another EL Airbag Thread
Posted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 12:13 am 
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Had a read of ford-interior-f14/ef-el-airbag-system-ready-reference-t57569.html ??
What you can do first is temp fit a 2 ohm resistor (10 cents from Jaycar ??) in the wheel airbag plug, and see what happens.
My guess is code 32 disappears and code 12 will come up - the key is whether a fuse blows. If it does, try disconnecting the lower column airbag plug (looks like the upper one), fit your resistor in there, and do the above again, if code 12 comes up, and no fuse blow, sounds like the clockspring.

Also have a look at the plug on the airbag itself - there will be a shorting link that contacts the pins when it's unplugged - maybe that link is still shorting when connected - physically, this should not be possible.
BE CAREFUL WITH THE AIRBAG PLUG - DON'T TOUCH THE PINS WITH YOUR HANDS OR PUT A MULTIMETER ON THEM - THERE MAY BE ENOUGH VOLTAGE TO SET IT OFF - TEST THE AIRBAG WITH THE CAR'S SYSTEM.
And . . . BE CAREFUL.

 

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 Post subject: Re: Another EL Airbag Thread
Posted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 1:30 pm 
Getting Side Ways
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Hey thanks heaps for your help so far guys, from memory out of all the EL Airbag threads i've read through from the last few years, you 2 guys are the only ones that reply to them :P

Question, Instead of driving all the way to jaycar for a 2ohm resistor, Could I try plugging the airbag directly into the bottom plug (so bypassing the clockspring with a live airbag instead of a resistor)
or would that be a little too unsafe?
EDIT: Or a blanking resistor from another fairmont passenger side?


I am trying to find a 2ohm resistor somewhere around my house first, I hope you are right and it is the clockspring, the airbag module change seems like an impossible task, I have the dash out of one Fairmont and I still cant really get to it... Don't know how I'll go putting it into another Fairmont I don't want to pull the dash out of :(
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 Post subject: Re: Another EL Airbag Thread
Posted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 3:11 pm 
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Ace wrote:
Could I try plugging the airbag directly into the bottom plug (so bypassing the clockspring with a live airbag instead of a resistor)or would that be a little too unsafe?
EDIT: Or a blanking resistor from another fairmont passenger side?
Yeah, a PAB blanking resistor will plug in and be the easiest option.
Ace wrote:
I am trying to find a 2ohm resistor somewhere around my house first, I hope you are right and it is the clockspring, the airbag module change seems like an impossible task, I have the dash out of one Fairmont and I still cant really get to it... Don't know how I'll go putting it into another Fairmont I don't want to pull the dash out of :(
Well you'll want to leave the Airbag module change as an absolute last option.
Usually if the module has failed, it won't show any codes, or it will show an internal fault code. Bear in mind that it shows only the one code - if there are others they won't show until the existing one is repaired, but usually IIRC the worst codes show first.
EDIT: Adrian(arm79): My manual says the module will remember up to 255 starts - so there may be variations across the module manufacture years.

 

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97 EL Futura S/W: LPG, Alarm, LED int Lts, Trip Comp, F/Lane Dome Lt, Climate Ctrl, T5 Conversion

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 Post subject: Re: Another EL Airbag Thread
Posted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 4:45 pm 
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Usually the modules dont go bad. Has the car been hit before? The clockspring would be most likely the problem, they can go bad over time and it would cause the fuse to blow:)
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 Post subject: Re: Another EL Airbag Thread
Posted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 4:57 pm 
Getting Side Ways
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Yes it has been hit before, I've only just bought it but I can tell its had a front ender at some stage in its life, I just hope that the repairs that were made are sound, It will be the first thing i'll check out when I feel confident enough to put this car on the road.

All the airbag crash sensors check out on it though, I have resistance tested them all and compared to my ford workshop manuals, they also check out compared to the spare crash sensors I have here.

Im just not sure what else it could be, there seems to be some short when the system is assembled and activated that blows the airbag fuse...
Doesn't do it with the airbag out of the car, But i'm not sure if its the resulting open circuit or maybe the module itself not wanting to blow the fuse because the error has been removed...

I have never heard any beeps from the module, but it does appear to be working fine, i've seen 2 different error codes from it, with airbag fuse pulled out the light stays on solid as it should...
Im thinking if the module swap has to happen, I am about to pull the driver seat out (broken seat rail), so while that was out and I could climb under (also need to replace brake switch sender) I might be able to reach the airbag module better, will see :)

EDIT:
Replacing clockspring now :)
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 Post subject: Re: Another EL Airbag Thread
Posted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 10:56 pm 
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Did you try what I recommended ???

 

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97 EL Futura S/W: LPG, Alarm, LED int Lts, Trip Comp, F/Lane Dome Lt, Climate Ctrl, T5 Conversion

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 Post subject: Re: Another EL Airbag Thread
Posted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:38 am 
Getting Side Ways
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You know what is really weird??
I have tried all as suggested, once I unplugged the airbag loom under the steering column (as in at the base of the steering column) and plugged those looms back in, then re-activated the airbag system...
After that, it started flashing error code 13 -- Airbag short to ground...
However, the Airbag fuse has NOT popped again...
I think I may have been a little confused and grabbed up the wrong airbag to put back in the fairy, I think I have replaced it with the one from the GLi which, unlike all the other airbags I have here, has a rattling noise coming from the silver combustion chamber in the back of the airbag.
(Where the explosive powder would be to inflate the bag)
None of the other airbags I have here rattle, so I'm assuming that airbag is dead... (Which would explain why it never activated in a full frontal collision @ 45km/h)


Also in other news, the car got through rego fine, not a word mentioned about the airbag light flashing which is a project that will go on the backburner for a little while until I get around to replacing the Airbag module which I still think is the main cause of my faults...

Just out of interest if anyone reads this far down my post, I have been examining the wiring diagrams for the Airbag system directly out of the Ford workshop manuals for EF/EL Falcons, also cross referencing with a Max Elery's EL Falcon manual...
Im not sure if this is correct but, there is a solid state switch built into the Airbag module itself, now what i'm thinking is, in the event of an accident during which time one or both crash sensors agree there should be an Airbag deployment, the solid state switch closes, therefore applying a short across Fuse 5 (AIRBAG FUSE) therefore blowing said fuse so as not to trigger an inadvertent Airbag deployment. (Obviously the Safing sensor did not agree that there should be a deployment, which if it had, would apply the power into the airbag circuit firing the airbags)
So my question is, once the solid state switch has been tripped, does that leave the switch permanently activated?
I am thinking that the airbag system has tried to deploy, but for some reason has NOT, then leaving the solid state switch closed therefore blowing Airbag fuses every time I try to re-activate the system...
(check out wiring diagram of the Airbag module if you don't know what I mean... I will upload a pic as its very useful and I don't think anyone has upped one before)
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