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Steve
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Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 5494
Experience:  25+ Years experience as a professional working automotive technician; ASE L1 master technician
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I have a 2002 F150. Airbags deployed / seatbelts locked up ...

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I have a 2002 F150. Recently I was teaching my son to drive out in the desert and he hit a ditch at 30mph which deployed both airbags and locked up both seatbelt retractors. No damage - except the bag and our undergarments.   

I have found OEM airbags and the control module on ebay for 300-450 bucks.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1999-2002-FORD-F150-EXPEDITION-air-bag-airbag-airbags-Z_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQcategoryZ33719QQihZ012QQitemZ220131505916QQrdZ1QQsspagenameZWD1V

I have already removed the expended units. Seatbelts are still locked down tight.
IF I buy them:
What will it take to install these properly
where is the control module physically located
What issues and safety concerns come to mind if I take this course of action
most importantly (much more important than the airbags) how do I fix my lap belt retractors.

I am not a novice repairman. Pretty mechanically savvy. Also I'm an engineer with former work experiance at GM. What do you think???
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Chevy
Expert:  Steve replied 7 years ago.

Greetings!

Replacing the airbags is a fairly straightforward process; all you have to do there is unbolt the old deployed ones and bolt on the new ones. I am not sure about having to replace the SRS control module as part of the repair, but if you wish to do so I can look up the exact location of the module for you when I get to work tomorrow.

The seat belt retractors will also need to be replaced, they are not a repairable unit. Just like the airbags, the belt retractors contain a small inciendary charge that is ignited to force teh belts to retract just before the airbags are deployed. They are a one time use item just like the airbags and must be replaced once deployed. Not to worry though; this vehicle is now 6 years old and starting to show up in junk yards due to lack of maintenance and collision damage. As a result, if you call some local salvage yards in youra rea you should be able to purchase a couple of good used (non deployed) seat belt assemblies fairly inexpensively. Replacing these is also a fairly simple bolt-on process.

One caution here though: I took a look at the ebay listing for the parts you intend to purchase. The seller does not specify any return policy in the event there is a problem with one or more of the components. Airbag components are fairly touchy; when the module is powered up during vehicle starting, it monitors resistance through all of the attached circuits. If resistance is out of spec on any of them by as little as one ohm, it shuts the system down and turns on the airbag warning light. It is not uncommon on older vehicles for internal corrosion to start to develop that can result in the system not "proving out" during startup, thereby rendering the system inoperable. Being used parts, you really do not know their condition: they are obviously in good cosmetic shape but you relally do not know if they will be useable untill they are installed and you turn the key to start the vehicle. For this reason you may wish to clear up a return policy with the seller, pay by paypal or credit card to give you some recourse to be able to get your money back if there is a problem since the seller is 2000 miles away, or you may wish to check to see what these items sell for locally where you can deal face to face with the salvage yard.

If this answers your question, please click my accept button! Thanks...

I will look up the control module location for you when I get to work in the morning.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Reply to Steve7654's Post: Let me know about whether the SRS module needs to be replaced after a deploy or is it good indefinitely (any simple way to know?). Please also provide a schematic or basic R&R procedure for the seatbelt and passenger side unit. Once I get this I'll be ready to pay up and check out.

Anything else that comes to mind, safety or otherwise that I need to consider. Not looking for a legal guarantee, just how you might feel about a person with intermediate skill level doing this properly.

Based on my brief experience removing the steering column unit, 10 min, I can't see why any of this would be a challenge. Just looking for an expert opinion like " man that's easy" or "you might need help unless you're really good and have a great set of tools" thanx
Expert:  Steve replied 7 years ago.

I'll be glad to look up the SRS control module location for you; I am sure that is in my inormation system. I'll also see if ther is a system schematic for you, although your eally should not need to have one to jsut bolton a few damaged components (but you never know!)

Based on past experience, I am not sure if I have the R&R procedure for the passenger side airbag assembly; I have found on other models in teh past that for some reason the passenger side replacement procedure is often not in the system. Depending on where the screws are located, sometimes you ahe to remove teh upper dash trim panel to gain access. Not a complicated process, but a pain in the neck to locate all of teh screws sometimes. Manuals also do not usually show all of the screw locations. (if youa re an engineer with automotive experience, you might want to consider going into the field of writing repair manuals; there is a great need for improvement!)

I am sure this type of parts replacement is someting you can handle; all that should be needed is some basic hand tools. If you get everything assembled and the airbag light remains on however, you will likely need to take the vehicle in to a repair shop that has a Ford NGS scanner with the software to communicate with the SRS module to identify the problem. SRS modules (as do most other vehicle electronic modules these days) store fault codes and provide live data stream capability for quick identification of problem circuits, but the proper scanner and software is required to access this information. Chances are you will be just fine, but if you do encounter a problem at some point paying a little to have the circuit identified with the correct diagnostic equipment is money well spent since otherwise you really ahve no way of knowing what is wrong. You cannot ohm check a live airbag module for example, since the current flow from the ohmmeter can be enough to ignite it.

When working on an airbag system, always make sure the vehicle battery has been disconnected for at least 10 mins to give the capacitors in the SRS controller enough time to discharge; also, never cut, splice, or solder any SRS system wiring since the resultant change in resistance can throw the harness out of electrical specs. If an electrical connector or a wire is found to be at all damaged, replacing the setion of wiring harness containing the problem area is the professional way to repair the problem. On most vehicles, SRS system wiring is yellow in color and is usually labelled with harness tags.

Expert:  Steve replied 7 years ago.

Ok, time for a follow up on your question...

I discussed your vehicle with a Ford certified master technician in our shop, and he tells me that on older vehicles when the airbag deployed it would at the same time pop an internal fuse in the module so the module required replacement. However, he says that on a 2002 model year vehicle the module does not do this, so your present module should still be OK.

The SRS module is located under the center of the dash. If you remove the center lower trim panel, the module is located behind it.

Electrical schematic:

graphic

 

graphic

 

Driver's side airbag replacement procedure:

WARNING:

  • ALWAYS WEAR SAFETY GLASSES WHEN REPAIRING AN AIR BAG SUPPLEMENTAL RESTRAINT SYSTEM (SRS) VEHICLE AND WHEN HANDLING AN AIR BAG MODULE. THIS WILL REDUCE THE RISK OF INJURY IN THE EVENT OF AN ACCIDENTAL DEPLOYMENT.
  • CARRY A LIVE AIR BAG MODULE WITH THE AIR BAG AND TRIM COVER POINTED AWAY FROM YOUR BODY. THIS WILL REDUCE THE RISK OF INJURY IN THE EVENT OF AN ACCIDENTAL DEPLOYMENT.
  • DO NOT SET A LIVE AIR BAG MODULE DOWN WITH THE TRIM COVER FACE DOWN. THIS WILL REDUCE THE RISK OF INJURY IN THE EVENT OF AN ACCIDENTAL DEPLOYMENT.
  • AFTER DEPLOYMENT, THE AIR BAG SURFACE CAN CONTAIN DEPOSITS OF SODIUM HYDROXIDE, A PRODUCT OF THE GAS GENERANT COMBUSTION THAT IS IRRITATING TO THE SKIN. WASH YOUR HANDS WITH SOAP AND WATER AFTERWARDS.
  • NEVER PROBE THE CONNECTORS ON THE AIR BAG MODULE. DOING SO CAN RESULT IN AIR BAG DEPLOYMENT, WHICH CAN RESULT IN PERSONAL INJURY.
  • AIR BAG MODULES WITH DISCOLORED OR DAMAGED TRIM COVERS MUST BE INSTALLED NEW, NOT REPAINTED.

Disconnect the battery ground cable and wait at least one minute

  • Remove the two back cover plugs from the steering wheel.
  • Remove the two driver air bag module retaining bolts
  • Remove the driver air bag module.
  • Disconnect the driver air bag module electrical connector.
    2Disconnect the horn switch electrical connector.
    3Remove the driver air bag module
  •  

    Passenger airbag replacement:

  • Depower the system.
  • Remove the instrument panel cover.
  • Disconnect the release the passenger air bag module electrical connector pin-type retainer.
  • Remove the bolt
  • Push in the two glove compartment door tabs and lower the door.
  • Remove the two lower passenger air bag module retaining bolts
  • Remove the passenger air bag assembly
  • I hope this is helpful and answers your question; if so, please click my accept button! Thanks!

    Customer: replied 7 years ago.
    Outstanding! This is just what I wanted. I wouldn't have OHMed it out :-) but those kinds of safety precautions were what I was after. I don't know I would have thought of a 10 min pre-installation power disconnect before working - so thanks. XXXXX don't mind taking it in for a final checkup with a NGS scanner if that will confirm armed and ready status, I just wasn't up for an insurance claim or an out of pocket 2000+ repair.

    I'll consider writing a repair procedure manual. I write books on real estate now and am recognized by a few thousand people as an expert on foreclosures. Let me know if you'd like to collaborate on a project like this.

    I still need a seatbelt procedure though. I PERSONALLY want the belts back more than the SRS.
    Expert:  Steve replied 7 years ago.
    WARNING:
    • THE SAFETY BELT BUCKLE PRETENSIONER AND SAFETY BELT RETRACTOR PRETENSIONER ARE PYROTECHNIC DEVICES. ALWAYS WEAR SAFETY GLASSES WHEN REPAIRING AN AIR BAG EQUIPPED VEHICLE AND WHEN HANDLING A SAFETY BELT BUCKLE PRETENSIONER OR SAFETY BELT RETRACTOR PRETENSIONER.
    • THE SAFETY BELT BUCKLE PRETENSIONER AND SAFETY BELT RETRACTOR PRETENSIONER ARE PYROTECHNIC DEVICES. NEVER PROBE A PRETENSIONER ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR. DOING SO COULD RESULT IN PRETENSIONER OR AIR BAG DEPLOYMENT AND COULD RESULT IN PERSONAL INJURY.
    • AFTER DEPLOYMENT, THE AIR BAG SURFACE COULD CONTAIN DEPOSITS OF SODIUM HYDROXIDE, A PRODUCT OF THE GAS GENERANT COMBUSTION THAT IS IRRITATING TO THE SKIN. WASH YOUR HANDS WITH SOAP AND WATER AFTERWARDS.
    • NEVER PROBE THE CONNECTORS ON THE AIR BAG MODULE. DOING SO COULD RESULT IN AIR BAG DEPLOYMENT WHICH COULD RESULT IN PERSONAL INJURY.
    • WARNING:

      • TO AVOID ACCIDENTAL DEPLOYMENT AND POSSIBLE PERSONAL INJURY, THE BACKUP POWER SUPPLY MUST BE DEPLETED BEFORE REPAIRING OR REPLACING ANY FRONT OR SIDE AIR BAG SUPPLEMENTAL RESTRAINT SYSTEM (SRS) COMPONENTS AND BEFORE SERVICING, REPLACING, ADJUSTING OR STRIKING COMPONENTS NEAR THE FRONT OR SIDE AIR BAG SENSORS, SUCH AS DOORS, INSTRUMENT PANEL, CONSOLE, DOOR LATCHES, STRIKERS, SEATS AND HOOD LATCHES.
      • PLEASE REFER TO THE APPROPRIATE COMPONENT OR SYSTEM TO DETERMINE LOCATION OF THE FRONT AIR BAG SENSORS.
      • THE SIDE AIR BAG SENSORS ARE LOCATED AT OR NEAR THE BASE OF THE B-PILLAR.
      • TO DEPLETE THE BACKUP POWER SUPPLY ENERGY, DISCONNECT THE BATTERY GROUND CABLE AND WAIT AT LEAST ONE MINUTE. BE SURE TO DISCONNECT AUXILIARY BATTERIES AND POWER SUPPLIES (IF EQUIPPED

    NOTE: The driver side is shown, the passenger side is similar.

    Disconnect the battery ground cable and wait at least one minute

    Deactivate the supplemental restraint system (SRS). (disconnect module)

    Remove the seat on the side with the affected safety belt retractor

  • Remove the seat adjuster control knobs, covers and the seat side trim panel screws.
    Remove the seat recliner lever cover screw and cover.
    2Pull to remove the lumbar control knob.
    3

    Remove the three seat side trim panel attachment screws

  • Remove the two screws securing the lumbar adjuster control to the seat track riser

    Disconnect the seat control switch electrical connector

  • Disconnect the heated seat switch electrical connector.
    1. Remove the seat backrest trim panel.

    1Using a pin-type retainer removal tool, release the two pin-type retainers at the bottom of the seat backrest trim panel (see inset for location).
    2Push the sides of the seat backrest trim panel together and release the retaining clips (see inset for location).
    3Slide the seat backrest trim panel down, releasing the upper retainers and remove the seat backrest trim panel.

  • Release the scat backrest trim cover J-clips.
    1. Remove the inboard, outboard and front tower cap screw covers. Remove four tower cap attachment screws. NOTE:
      • The inboard and outboard tower cap covers are not interchangeable.
      • Inspect the tower cap covers for damage. If the tower cap covers are damaged, install new tower cap covers.
  • Remove the screws and the bracket. NOTE: Observe the retainer bracket orientation

    1. Remove the outer and front safety belt web guides.

    1Using a pin-type retainer removal tool, release the two pin-type retainers for the web guide.
    2Remove the front safety belt web guide.
    3Remove the upper safety belt web guide

  • Remove the nut and the safety belt anchor.
    1. Remove the safety belt retractor.
    1Remove the bolt.
    2Remove the safety belt retractor through the back of the seat
    • Route out the safety belt, guide, tongue and anchor
  • graphic

    graphic

    graphic

     

    graphic

    Steve, Service Manager
    Category: Chevy
    Satisfied Customers: 5494
    Experience: 25+ Years experience as a professional working automotive technician; ASE L1 master technician
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