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Old 09-17-2020, 08:33 AM   #1
Highmile
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1995 SL1
Default '95 Air Bag Light

anyone have any experience with diagnosing an air bag light?

Was on yesterday when I fired ol Highmile up for the drive home. Sometimes it was on constant and sometimes it would flash for a few min then then go back to on constantly.

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Old 09-18-2020, 09:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: '95 Air Bag Light

No expertise in airbags. I think you need to have wiring diagrams in order to have some info. Basic airbag descriptions are available but exact info are usually from GM service manuals, alldata or Mitchell. Searching may turn up free wiring diagrams.

If your '95 have only one or two airbags (no side curtain bags), troubleshooting may be less difficult to trace wiring between airbag(s) and SDM (service and diagnostic module) and each sensor to sdm. The sdm is a standalone for the airbag system with sensors on the car to detect frontal crash G forces. Whether or not side impact sensors exists for '95s, I don't know. If I'm not mistaken, the sdm is under the middle console next to the parking brake lever. Overall assessment may be as little as removing the console to examine the sdm and determine where wiring goes. From there, yellow wiring defines airbag circuitry. Sensors may be inside the sdm or elsewhere as wiring would fan out from the sdm.

Some past threads mentioned spilling liquids over the center console, working into the sdm connections, creating problems. If sensors are damaged, this can be challenging to find without service manuals unless you spend the time tracing wiring from the sdm.

From info describing the airbag system, when ignition is turned on, the airbag module performs its own power up self tests, checking airbag connections and sensors. If airbags, sensors and wiring are intact and passes self tests, the sdm arms itself. The airbag light turns on with all other instrument panel indicators to indicate the sdm is performing its self tests. When the a/b indicator turns off, this indicates the airbags are ready. The sdm, if I;m not mistaken, charges itself to 24v, the deployment voltage needed to activate each airbag. When sensors detect a sudden deceleration deemed as a crash, the sdm sends the 24v charge to each a/b to deploy. If the self tests fail, something failed and the a/b indicator either remains on or turns on. When on, the a/b system is disabled from operating, no a/b deployment in a crash. Under normal circumstances, the a/b light remaining on or intermittently cycling on usually means dealer service as a safety issue.

Airbag systems are as complicated as EFI systems. No diy service procedures as airbags contain small explosive charges that require specific procedures during diagnosing/troubleshooting. Saturns supposedly have shorting bar when disconnecting each a/b - disconnecting an a/b mechanically shorts the a/c connector to prevent static electricity from acting as a voltage trigger to deploy the a/b.
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Old 09-19-2020, 12:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: '95 Air Bag Light

I assume the one test the system can do is continuity. It has to circulate a very small current to make sure there is not an open circuit.

I guess another test would be the range of the accelerometer signal.
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Old 09-19-2020, 09:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: '95 Air Bag Light

I've had the issue where it would stay on when cold last winter. Once warmed up, and restarted it would go away. Yesterday with warm weather the air bag light stayed on, and when restarted warm, would not go off. I looked through SF threads on this, and one thing to try, is to pull the fuse out and clean it. I used 4x steel wool on the ends of the fuse, and put it back in, and today no issues with it staying on after initial startup.
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Old 09-19-2020, 10:43 PM   #5
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Default Re: '95 Air Bag Light

Full FSM testing & diagnostic (pdf too big for the forum's uploader): http://s000.tinyupload.com/?file_id=...80695654013143

I believe a Tech II or equivalent is required to read air bag codes and do some of the tests mentioned.
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Old 09-23-2020, 03:05 AM   #6
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Default Re: '95 Air Bag Light

@ A2Saturn-

Good to reseat or clean fuse blades.

On '95, I unsure the type fuse.
On my 2000 the fuses are tiny ... the blades have a grey-silver patina,
with some darker sections, like a tarnish on silver.

I believe these tiny fuses have blades with silver plating. They do tarnish and lose the connection.

I would suggest Not to clean silver-plated blades with steel wool, as that would remove the silver, and leave reactive steel.

On other hand, if the blades are just brass, Clean them. But here again, i would not suggest steel wool as suitable abrasive.

Still ... if you fixed the problem GoodOne!
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