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HeadDent

Airbag Light! Malfunctioning Occupant Sensor

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So I've had a bit of an issue with my 05 corolla airbag system.

 

The trouble started when one of my friends (who weights 330lbs) sat in the passenger seat of the car. The passenger occupant sensor flipped out and was lighting the "PASSENGER", "OFF", and "ON" texts at all times despite weight being on the seat or not. This was before I bought this car when one of my other friends owned it. After I bought it I took it to the dealer to see if they could fix the error for me (and fulfill the ECU recall.)

 

Luckily the dealer said the passenger side sensor needed to simply be calibrated properly, a "Zero Point Calibration." I paid them about $35 for this. And lo and behold the passenger occupant sensor worked! ...for about 4 days. there weren't any people in that seat over 200lbs since I had it re calibrated. After the car has been running for about 5 seconds the airbag light pops on and the OCS display completely lights up like before. I haven't gone back to the dealer because there was significant damage to the L side quarter panel near the lower trim line that they said may have had something to do with it (Yet the damage to that panel had occurred over a year before the tragic 300lb seat incident.) But I did just recently replace that panel because it looked awful anyway. The side skirt for that side is still missing though <_< someone didn't know how to drive...

 

Anyway, I need some help here, because as fun as driving way the heck out to the dealer to pay them another $35 to 'maybe' fix the problem sounds, I would prefer to see what you guys know first.

 

Should I just try to go back out there again?

 

Maybe somebody has seen this issue before?

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Possible that the sensing grid in the seat itself is bad. Doubt that much weight would have hurt the sensor, unless it was all concentrated directly onto the sensor pad itself - as I've put a 500lb fully loaded computer rack on my passenger seat on the old 2003 Matrix with no problems (weight was distributed over the entire seat via HD foam pad).

 

If the sensor pad is damaged, the seat will be in that transition point where it thinks it the minimum amount of weight is on the seat to trigger the ABS enable threshold. I'd see if the dealership will redo the work again - no charge - as the sensitivity wasn't checked out correctly or get screwed up.

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Thanks for the fast reply Fish - I've got an appt for the dealer on Saturday morning. Hopefully those chuckle-heads can figure it out this time

 

I'll let you know what happens and what they figure the trouble is, if not for just letting other people find this topic if they experience the same issue.

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Alright, I went to the dealer on Saturday and for the moment things are functioning correctly.

 

However, I had a little squabble with the tech at the desk when I explained that if this was the same issue I had paid them to fix before then I would not pay again. That ticked him a little bit, and he said that it was 7 months ago, and it is impossible for them to know what happened in that period of time. I think he misunderstood what I was saying, I told him I wasn't expecting them to do work for a different condition for free, only if this was the same problem from before. I didn't feel 7 months or 3 years mattered, this was an electrical problem, as in configuration, as in it should never change unless someone (them) goofed or I ran the car into a wall. And I haven't run the car into anything.

 

Once the tech got a look at it the codes he pulled (I don't have them here because they gave me someone else's papers when I left) indicated a drop in voltage to the OCS sensor, which apparently caused my issue. The code simply needed to be cleared, no calibration needed. I will post those codes when I get those papers and my invoice back from these extremely professional people.

 

The original codes from 7 months ago where: B1785 B1650 Collision detected and OC undone. Unless my friend lied to me about when the light came on (dunno why he'd do that, he showed me all the damage and was explicit about how it all happened, maybe he just got it wrong) then these codes are curious to me. Fat people in the pass seat is not a collision. Yet when he backed the car into those stairs it may have considered that a collision. like I said, curious.

 

There are a few things I had changed since the first time I took the car in that may have affected current or the SRS system: new serpentine belt (Gates, the old one was slipping, maybe alternator couldn't keep current high enough?), heavy duty battery terminals (these were installed 5 months after it threw the voltage code, and they really help w/cold starts & higher loads), and there was a dangling airbag sensor in the grill that I reattached w/a clip from a trashed rolla a few weeks after the code came on. Maybe the battery needs to be replaced, it is 4 years old...but all of the other systems are snappy with no lag that I could consider electrical.

 

Anyway, I will monitor this, I don't know if I am convinced that it won't come back. I will get some of my fat friends to test it out for me! :D

 

Oh I forgot, I did end up paying them for this, $41 to clear a damn code.

Edited by HeadDent

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Unfortunately I was right, the airbag light came back on the other night. From a cold start, I cranked, started, 10 seconds later the light came on and the OCS crapped out again.

 

I'm pretty lost with this. I called the dealer to let that guy who thought I was lying about when the light came on know that, yes, it is back; just like it happened the first time :P

 

The guy said that although they do not know if it is the same code (low voltage warning) from the other day, that it would likely need to be dropped off for a day or so for an investigation. When I heard that I assumed such an 'investigation' will likely end up costing me much more money than I can pay for whatever they are thinking about doing, not to mention labor.

 

I don't know what to do here, for the moment I am going to go into work and charge my battery, get it tested. Maybe the voltage dip is related to a failing cell(s). ugh...

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Hmm, weird. Only thing I can think of is the seat frame is twisted. If that is the case, will cause the sensor read incorrectly, when they add the test weight to set the threshold. If the seatback was pulled back with sufficient force or the front of the seat was pulled back - that could be enough to twist the seat frame.

 

Double check if the sensor grid is mounted in the seat form or it is one the later version with the grid mounted on the four seat posts (legs). The latter type is much to susceptible to damage from seat frame twisting. Only fix that I know of is to replace the seat and recalibrate for a higher threshold.

 

This sounds a lot like the issue that pops up in some Highlanders and RAV4 - where someone pushes the seatback with a significant amount of force.

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Ok,

There is finally a conclusion! I was probing around with a multimeter to diagnose an unrelated problem and discovered that the fuse to ecu-b under the collum (a 10a fuse) was absent. Replaced the fuse and the bag sensor works great. I can't believe 2 visits did not reveal that issue. Thanks for the input!

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Ok,

There is finally a conclusion! I was probing around with a multimeter to diagnose an unrelated problem and discovered that the fuse to ecu-b under the collum (a 10a fuse) was absent. Replaced the fuse and the bag sensor works great. I can't believe 2 visits did not reveal that issue. Thanks for the input!

 

Happy to hear you found a fix for this. You'd think they'd have checked for that, wouldn't you? I'd write to the owners of the dealership of your experiences, and your solution. You'll probably only wind up with a coupon for $5 off your next oil change, but at least will have gotten this experience off your chest.

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