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Auto Question for. Will a bad airbag module cause the low…

Auto Question for Doug.Will a...
Auto Question for Doug.Will a bad airbag module cause the low voltage code?
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
1/12/2018
Doug
Doug, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Jeep
Satisfied Customers: 8,659
Experience: ASE Certified technician with experience in all levels of automotive repair
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Hi Dom,

Yes, it is very possible if the vehicle was in a collision that deployed either bags or seat belts. The reason for this is the srs ecu is only really meant to work "one time"... it delivers its charge at high amperage to the bags/belts requested to be sure the signal reaches the safety device as fast as possible (before wiring can be damaged etc in the accident). As a result of this, internal damage to the srs ecu is highly likely. This is the reason some manufacturers (primarily Asian ones) use permanent "collision faults" that can not be removed, so the ecu can not be reused later.
If your vehicle voltage is normal (12-ish at rest, running 12.8-14.5, no lower than 10.5 when cranking), and you have good voltage at the power inputs to the srs ecu, and you still have a srs ecu low voltage fault, it is most certain that the ecu will be at fault.

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For an actual air bag itself or seat belt itself (squibs they sometimes call them) to cause a low voltage fault however is not likely at all. They are simply a low resistance loop from the ecu... they are either there or short circuit or open circuit, none of which should be able to influence a low voltage fault. If you are suspicious though, you can always unplug the bag/belt/etc in question and see if the low voltage fault goes away (replaced by a squib circuit fault).

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Doug, I'll let you know what happens after I get the airbag module back. I am going to send it in to a company to be reconditioned and then dealer-programmed for the car. If you ever need help for a Mac, PC or iPhone, I am your man. You've been extremely helpful to me and that's one way I could be helpful to you hopefully.
Sounds good Dom, keep me in the know.
If I ever detach from this site entirely, we'll definitely find a way to help each other out :)
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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Hey Doug. I got the airbag module back. Plugged it in and tried to reset the code, but the VCDS Lite software will not read the airbag module. It won't even read the engine module. When I test the communication from the software to the cable it the PC recognizes the cable. When I test the connection between the software and OBD II port it says the software is compatible with the OBD II system and should, but it still can't read the module. What do you think?

I would try a full scan tool before making any judgments on the vehicle. Those vag cables are a bit sketchy to begin with, and (going back 10+ years mind you) if they weren't genuine ones they often would sometimes not work more often than they did work.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
This morning I connected my other scan too and it gave me a link error. I disconnected the battery and then disconnected the airbag module and tried again with other scan tool. It connected just fine. I tried the vag com software and it connected just fine. Could it be a problem with the airbag module?

That's weird... I have no explanation for that. It would certainly bother me that unplugging it makes everything else work. I remember way back when we used to have problems with the ABS modules failing on the VWs and when that happened they would crash the bus and you couldn't connect with anything. Perhaps this is similar, but I would think they would have tested the module before sending it. Might be worth a phone call to them.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Just got the airbag module back from the vendor. I plugged it in and bolted it down. Turned the key and no airbag light! When I got it back the first time I just plugged it in and didn't bolt it down. Apparently, they case needs to be touching the body because that is where the module gets its ground. By not bolting it down, I shorted it out! Another learning experience. :)
Oh yeah, you definitely need it grounded :)
Side note, whenever fooling with srs ecus always unplug them before unbolting them... Not just for the ground issue, but also some ecus will interpret rotating the ecu as a rollover event and deploy curtain bags even if the key is off!Glad it's all squared away and you can start enjoying it!
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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Hey Doug. I had to replace the engine oil adapter on that Bug because the housing was cracked from the accident. I put on the new adapter, put on the oil cooler, and installed the oil filter. There is a leak between the oil cooler and adapter. I have had that thing on and off a bunch of times. I have tried new gaskets, gasket sealant between the gasket, all tightening the nut more. All to no avail. It leaks in the same spot. Is it possible the accident caused the mating surface of the oil cooler to the engine adapter to warp? Here is a picture of the engine oil cooler adapter and oil cooler for reference.
It isn't really likely to be a result of the accident. Those coolers are super common to leak, both the coolers themselves and the gasket between the engine and the cooler.
I'd brake clean it really well and see if you can see any cracks, in case the threaded shaft got bent etc. I think it would be pretty obvious if it did though.
Otherwise I'd make sure you have new vw gaskets and reassemble, then if you can get your hands on a can of it, spray it with leak detection powder to make it easier to see where the leak begins.... Then just idle and stare until you see dampness start.
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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Thanks Doug. There is a new threaded shaft that came with the engine cooler adapter. There are no leaks between engine or the adapter. The leak is happening between the cooler and the adapter. The reason I know that is because I thought it would be a good idea to use white lithium grease on the rubber gasket between the cooler and the adapter (novice idea). I do have a new VW gasket between the cooler and the adapter. I saw the white lithium grease coming out with the oil from the leak. What do you think I should do next?
the leak is above or below the cooler?
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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Leak is above the cooler.
Yeah just double check for cracks, if nothing then reassemble with a fresh gasket, no grease, and be sure you don't over tighten it. I want to say it's like 20-25 ft lbs.
If there aren't any cracks in the flange, it's either the gasket or the cooler. Sometimes new stuff is bad.
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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Could over tightening cause it to leak? I can try another gasket on Monday. The dealer had 1 left after I bought this one. If that doesn't work should I try the cooler? Thanks Doug!
it could. I'm really bad about over tightening things and can tell you from experience on the old 2.0 VWs you can definitely over tighten them :)
Yes if still the same, try another cooler. I don't see any reason you have a problem other than one of those two if you don't see any damage (cracks) to the adapter.
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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Sounds good. I'll let you know what happens. I couldn't see any cracks in the adapter. I ran fingernail over the flange to feel for a crack and the entire flange was smooth. Do you think those coolers are necessary? Do people ever bypass them?

Let me know what happens. I haven't heard of anyone bypassing them, but i would imagine it's been done. I don't really think they are necessary on non-turbo models.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
I bypassed the oil cooler. Guess what? Still leaked. However, I removed a bracket on the adapter and found the source of the leak! One of the plugs in the adapter is loose. I am still going to run the car without the cooler and I am fairly certain there was a problem with the cooler surface and the adapter surface because I saw the white lithium grease ooze out with the oil leak. So that means there were two leaks. I thought I was losing my mind with this one!
Great job Dom!
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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Hey Doug. Hope you're doing well! My '16 Cherokee won't start after 1 to 2 days of no driving. The battery is just dead. After I charge it, starts right up. There is no visible damage from the accident to the battery. Where do you think I should start looking? Thanks!

Start checking for things like doors that are not fully flush, if the visors have lighted vanity mirrors, make sure they are not staying lit.

If you have anything aftermarket in there (radio, GPS, anything), unhook it first and see if there is any change.
If you can't find anything obvious that is staying on with the key off, get the battery tested just to make sure it isn't failed (or defective if new).

If the battery tests good, then you'll want to do a parasitic draw test... unhooking the negative battery terminal and connecting an ammeter between the cable and the negative post. An acceptable draw is around 10-40mA on a car this new (ideal is more like 10-20, but newer cars are getting thirstier with the key off). If you see enough to kill the car in two days, it would be 100mA or higher most likely. From there you will want to try unplugging things/fuses one a time until you see the draw drop to a reasonable level (NOT 0 though, that just means you pulled the retained power/memory fuse!).

Be aware you can NOT turn the key on while the ammeter is hooked up; likewise you can not open the doors (if you need the doors open, you'll need to unplug them so the dome light doesn't register); any high draw like that will blow your meter.

Honestly odds are it is just the battery though. Check the basics for stuff left on like dome lights or aftermarket gear, if nothing get the battery checked. If it is new and not high end it may just be a bad battery; if original the impact would certainly be enough to damage the battery as the shock will often affect the plates inside them even if not directly hit.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I bought an new battery and I'm going to put it in today. I'll let you know what happens. I bought a 2015 Jeep Renegade that was in an accident. When I put it in reverse it kept bumping like it was going to go then stopped. I didn't have my foot on the gas. The service transmission light is on, but the transmission cover is intact and the wires going to the range sensor are good. Any idea what it could be? Thanks!
Cool.
That's pretty weird behavior, nothing really comes to mind. Make sure there's isn't a broken axle... I haven't seen it in that model, but older Chryslers we'd sometimes see the joint fail and look okay, spinning inside the boot :)
Otherwise, get the codes checked and see if there's a good hint there.
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Guess what I found at the bottom of the battery on the back side of the 16 Cherokee? I nice little hole for fluid to leak out. :) It's where the battery was pushed up against the back of the battery tray from the accident. I'll let you know what I find on the Renegade. When I put it in reverse it's like it keep going into and out of gear.
Sweet! Didn't suspect that, but was pretty sure it would be the battery one way or another.Yeah with the renegade I don't really have any thoughts on that, haven't really dealt with them that much. Other than like I said before, check for axle issue, check trouble codes since you know something is reported. I'm not sure if you can check the fluid level on that one or not... Probably need that special tool dipstick again. I just don't have enough experience on that one too know of anything specific that might be common.
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Yeah, I never noticed that hole while handling the battery. Here is the list of codes I pulled off that Jeep. Could one of these cause the behavior I described? Jumping into and out of gear?P0030 - Heater Control Circuit (Bank 1 Sensor 1)
P0007 - Fuel Shutoff Valve "A" Control Circuit High
P0364 - Clutch Position Sensor Circuit Malfunction
P3219 - No Definition
U100P - Lost Communication with ECM
0CFLP - No Definition
000LP - No Definition
007LU - No Definition
2191p - No Definition
U1000 - Lost Communication with ECM

Nothing there really rings a bell... and the defined ones I don't really see any expected correlation. Again I'm not familiar with that model though.

Doug
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