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Old 02-04-2006, 08:59 PM   #21
eljefino
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Default Re: Airbag diagnosis and repair ?'s *long*

What bugs me are subject lines like "wolfman read urgent help needed" instead of something like "I'm leaking something green" that piques my interest. Wolfman isn't even in the business of fixing saturns anymore (he's apparantly a cop not far away from me) so we should not get greedy with demanding his (or anyone's) free advice.

FWIW, my stupid hyundai had a bad alternator that put out an overvoltage that freaked out its airbag controller. Fixed the alt, disconnected the battery for many hours, and the stupid airbag light was still on. Dealer had to fix. Just proves that the controllers have a very persistent nonvolatile memory unlike ECMs.

Of course a wiring fault might still exist in your car which will immediately trigger a code in your new used controller as well. But for $20 you might fix it (if it suffers coca-cola poisoning) and even the dealer admits they can offer no guarantees, and much more expensively. It's a great first step.
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Old 02-04-2006, 09:07 PM   #22
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Default Re: Airbag diagnosis and repair question's *long*

Thank you to everyone for the replies so far, also I am taking everyones feedback into account as I get ready to take on this project. I have spent alot of hours over the last few days looking through the database and finding previous posts on the topic (found the ones from marcusa and c5f8). They haven't answered all my questions clearly so I wanted to still ask a few on here. I think my plan so far is going to be to disconnect the battery and fuses to disable the airbags. Then take apart the console to see the shape the module is in (rusted out or, maybe it is just disconnected). Then I will access both airbags to make sure that they are intact, and to see if the clockspring is intact. After that I'll start looking at ebay or saturnparts.net for any of the parts I might need. VA law won't allow u to drive with a rejected inspection sticker so it's no big deal taking things apart before having the parts to replace them with. Now for the questions. Does anyone see anything I might be missing in this plan or something I should look out for? Also what years can I interchange airbag parts with, and does this also include the computer being interchangable(I saw this in a post but I can not refind it and the stuff I've found online contradicts that parts are interchangable). I'm sure there are going to be a few more once I get started on the disassembly, thanks for everyones help and patience so far.
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Old 02-04-2006, 09:14 PM   #23
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Default Re: Airbag diagnosis and repair ?'s *long*

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaturnTech
It's awesome isn't it? All of these people here sharing all of this information and only one person is trusted to be giving correct information. What if Wolfman goes on a 3 day bender and starts doling out crazy info some time? Everyone will blindly beleive what he says because of who he is. No offense Wolf, you just drive me crazy sometimes.....and the way people blindly follow your info and won't listen to anything anyone here says until you verify it.
Just remove all four wheels and feed you cat a full can of sardines during the next full moon....wait let me go get another beeeeeeerrr....................................... .................................................. ...........................

(LOL) The SIRS system does a self diagnostic everytime the car is started. Once everything is the system is repaired or replaced, the self diagnostic will determine as is well and the codes will vanish along with the airbag MIL light.
...
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Old 02-04-2006, 09:36 PM   #24
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Default Re: Airbag diagnosis and repair ?'s *long*

You sound like you have a good plan.

if you can hold the airbag controller in your hot little hands you can get all the part numbers off it.

This you can compare with the labels visible in ebay listings and with saturnparts.net.

One way computers fail is when their in/out transistors go haywire, seeing the driver's side loop as both an open circuit and short to ground seems like a good indication of this to me.

There are two little tabs at 4 and 8 o'clock in the middle of your steering wheel hub, kind of behind the spokes of the wheel. Disconnect the battery then pry these off and you've got two 8mm (?) bolts you can undo then the airbag will come off the wheel. Just make sure it's packed in there, you can see the fabric, and the wire connectors look good and are plugged in. Be gentle.

if your cruise conrol doesn't work that's a bad omen (but not a certain diagnoses) for the clockspring. Meatheads screwing up front end alignments can overstretch the things sometimes.
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Old 02-07-2006, 02:43 PM   #25
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Default Re: Airbag diagnosis and repair ?'s *long*

Don't have cruise control as an option on this car so can't use that as a diagnosis (have crank windows too, my youngest brother got in the car and said how do you get the windows down, hate to see if they know how to use a rotary phone). An update so far. Removed the center console *side note the little light bulbs turn to the right and there are 2 of them in the cigarette lighter area for those needing future reference* The computer definetly has had soda spilled on it. New question. I noticed there was a ground connection on a bolt next to the ebrake and behind the computer. What does this ground go too, as mine has been buried with soda, food and grim from the previous owners? I plan on cleaning it up but was wondering if it could have affected the computer in anyway. After lunch I'll get to disconnecting the airbags to see what shape they are in.
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Old 02-07-2006, 05:42 PM   #26
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Default Re: Airbag diagnosis and repair ?'s *long*

Ok got some more work done and made a mistake. First the new work. Removed the drivers side airbag (noticed the bolts had blue loctite on them) Removed the airbag and noticed that the connector was not in the back of it. Then removed the passenger side airbag after removing the glove box and dash cover. That bag was connected. Both airbags seemed to be intact and in good shape as are the wires. Now for the mistake. Went to remove the steering wheel and I have a box with a puller in it. Never have done it before put the puller on but all I had was a slide hammer in the box (after doing some searching online found that i was missing the bolt that you use in the middle and not a hammer) So gave it a few good tugs with the slide hammer but the wheel didn't come off. I did notice that it moved forward about an inch and then was trying to come through the plastic cover behind the wheel that has the writing on it "Improper alignment of the steering may cause...etc" I also noticed that a pink and white plastic coil is tryign to come through the plastic cover (those lil screws really can hold). So now that everyones gonna have a good laugh at this, what may I have done and how severe is it going to be. Im going to go get a real puller from the parts store and at least finish disassembly for tonight.
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Old 02-07-2006, 05:59 PM   #27
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Default Re: Airbag diagnosis and repair question's *long*

It's not a good idea to use a slide hammer on a collapsable steering column. I'm not sure what you did, but I'm pretty sure it's not good. Here's a link to a thread I started when I had trouble with mine. There's lots of info on pulling the steering wheel in there. Including the redneck way I did it on my 2000 SW2.
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Old 02-07-2006, 06:08 PM   #28
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Default Re: Airbag diagnosis and repair question's *long*

Sounds like you pulled the clock spring apart. Very...VERY few things come apart properly with a slide hammer. If it isn't coming off easily, no matter WHAT it is, STOP what you're doing, LOOK at what you're working on and figure out WHY it isn't coming apart before you just go grab the BFH and bash the ***** out of it.
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Old 02-07-2006, 11:46 PM   #29
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Default Re: Airbag diagnosis and repair question's *long*

So I got a proper steering wheel puller. Got the steering wheel off. Then got the cover off behind it and a long white ribbon was attached to it. It came unraveled but it is all still in one piece, the plastic that I guess it is wrapped around came out after it unraveled. Couldn't see the extent of any damage caused by using the slide hammer, I'll take a better look tommorrow when there's daylight and finishing taking off the steering column shroud. Is there anything in paticular that I should be looking at to see if I damaged by using the slide hammer initially with the steering wheel puller?
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Old 02-08-2006, 11:28 AM   #30
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Default Re: Airbag diagnosis and repair question's *long*

That long white ribbon is probably the clockspring SaturnTech mentioned. Hopefully that's the extent of the damage. I'm pretty sure you need another clockspring.
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Old 02-08-2006, 01:47 PM   #31
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Default Re: Airbag diagnosis and repair question's *long*

Well, too late now, but the whole problem might have been that someone disconnected the driver's side airbag....
...
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Old 02-08-2006, 01:51 PM   #32
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Default Re: Airbag diagnosis and repair question's *long*

Ok so I finished the installation today. I did end up seperating the clock spring from it's housing (the ends are connected to the housing but I guess if it comes unwound its comprimised) I was looking at the steering shaft (i think this is the part) and I can see that where it goes into the column and behind where the clock spring was located is a black grommet that is facing towards the front of the car with teeth on it. I am assuming that it should be flush and I should not see the teeth but it is moved a quarter of an inch towards the driver seat. (I will try to get pictures online if needed) So what did I do (I'm guessing this happened when I was using the slide hammer), do I need to fix it, and how do I fix it. It's going to be a few days until my new clockspring and SDM get here, so it looks like I'm going to have a new project until then.
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Old 02-08-2006, 03:59 PM   #33
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Default Re: Airbag diagnosis and repair question's *long*

More questions after spending some time looking over the car. I can't find any damage or disconnection in the steering shaft, will I need to disassemble the entire column to double check this. I was wondering if the seperation in this grommet is actually caused by me or if it is part of the tilt steering column feature ( I would imagine it would have to have play in it as the height is adjusted) Also how is it recomended to remove the lock pin in the wire harness for the clockspring, I'd like to avoid doing anymore damage while trying to make this repair.
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Old 02-08-2006, 10:58 PM   #34
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Default Re: Airbag diagnosis and repair question's *long*

Have you tried alldata.com, or Chiltons online manuals? Chiltons has actual photos of removing the steering wheel. Just a thought...
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Old 02-10-2006, 12:08 AM   #35
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Default Re: Airbag diagnosis and repair question's *long*

I have disassembled everything and am waiting for my new clockspring and sdm in the mail. I would like to make sure that I didn't do any damage to the steering shaft and components. Here are a few pictures I have the tape measure on the black grommet I talked about in previous posts and then an overall picture to show it all. Is this normal or something else I need to repair.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg saturn_dash01.jpg (97.1 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg saturn_dash02.jpg (95.3 KB, 33 views)
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Old 02-11-2006, 11:13 PM   #36
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Default Re: Airbag diagnosis and repair question's *long*

From the picture, it appears that you have simply pulled the steering shaft slightly up out of the column. (I won't slam you for the slide hammer use) Under the hood, locate where the shaft goes though the fire wall and find the plastic/rubber boot that covers the SLIP JOINT where it connects to the rack. Loosen the slip joint clamp boot and then, back in the car, PUSH the shaft DOWN until it is back flush (where it should be) then retighten the clamp on the slip joint and put the protective boot back down where it belongs.
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Old 02-17-2006, 06:02 PM   #37
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Default Re: Airbag diagnosis and repair question's *long*

Alright finally got all the parts in, installed the new clockspring and sdm module and SUCCESS. Airbag light blinks 7 times and goes off so I passed state inspection. Thanks to everyone for their help with this. Just have 2 follow up ?'s i noticed after reassembling everything. Now my service wrench light comes on while driving (this never happened before I did this work) I'm going to try and find an OBDII reader to find out exactly what the codes are, but anyone have any guesses, since this is a new problem after doing airbag work. 2nd ? is I found out that now I can push my steering wheel in and out about 1/4 of an inch (same amount i pulled the shaft out when using the slide hammer) I tried loosening the clamp at the firewall and then tightening it and now it takes alot more force to move the wheel (you really have to push on it hard) so did I collapse my column or just need to tighten the bolt down more. Oh and now my turn signal doesnt click off after turning the wheel. Thanks again for everyones help.
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Old 02-17-2006, 07:12 PM   #38
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Default Re: Airbag diagnosis and repair question's *long*

the column is designed to collapse. the steering shaft (attaches to the steering wheel) rides inside the tubular lower column section, the two are locked together with a plastic insert that basically shears when your chest slams in to it. the guy telling you to loosen the lower u-joint at the rack to readjust the column is NOT correct (hehe), basically your column will be loose forever more unless you replace it, and after your last ordeal you probably dont want to get involved. if you do i have lots of columns laying around here..
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Old 02-17-2006, 11:21 PM   #39
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Default Re: Airbag diagnosis and repair question's *long*

Quote:
Originally Posted by saturnhacker
the column is designed to collapse. the steering shaft (attaches to the steering wheel) rides inside the tubular lower column section, the two are locked together with a plastic insert that basically shears when your chest slams in to it. the guy telling you to loosen the lower u-joint at the rack to readjust the column is NOT correct (hehe), basically your column will be loose forever more unless you replace it, and after your last ordeal you probably dont want to get involved. if you do i have lots of columns laying around here..
I was actually hoping he hadn't damaged the column. He did post that my instructions did net him some improvement....
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Old 02-17-2006, 11:27 PM   #40
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Default Re: Airbag diagnosis and repair question's *long*

Ok is it the column. Because if i losen the clamp and push the wheel in then the entire shaft moves all the way down and at the clamp. If i had collapsed the column wouldnt the play be in the middle of the shaft and therefore not be evident in the bottom of the shaft. Regardless is it still safe for me to drive this way?
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