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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #1
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Question about Airbag Failure Message

Hello, the dreaded "Airbag Failure" message came up on my 63 Panda 4x4 last week. I got the RAC out who did a number of checks, disconnected the battery etc & they diagnosed it as "faulty instrument cluster causing can-bus fault".

Because my car had been in an accident about 3 months ago, I tried to claim through my insurance company for the repair but they say the two incidents are not connected.

Rang my local Fiat dealer today (who I never use since I took it in for a warranty repair & I later found out they hadn't done anything apart from tell me they'd fixed it) who said I'd have to wait nearly 4 weeks before they could look at it.

I'm currently in a hire car because I don't want to risk driving it & either the airbags deploying whilst driving or not deploying at all, so I think I'm facing getting the car recovered to another garage or getting someone out to fix it outside my house? Has anyone experienced the same fault & if so what did you do?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #2
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Re: Question about Airbag Failure Message

What actually happened and what got damaged in the accident? Did any airbags deploy or need replacing?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #3
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Quote Originally Posted by muddy panda View Post
Hello, the dreaded "Airbag Failure" message came up on my 63 Panda 4x4 last week. I got the RAC out who did a number of checks, disconnected the battery etc & they diagnosed it as "faulty instrument cluster'
Has anyone experienced the same fault & if so what did you do?
What codes were found..?

Should point to a specific airbag : device
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
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Re: Question about Airbag Failure Message

Hello Andy & Varesecrazy,

Accident took place in April this year & car was returned to me in May. I had frontal damage to bonnet, bumper, headlights & foglights. Airbags didn't deploy. Car was working without problem between May & last week & had gone from service to service with no problems before that for nearly 3 years.

Further info from Diagnostic report says;
AIRBAG ELECTRONICS (SRS)
Name: AIRBAG-DIAGNOSE
DTC: U0019-88, CAN bus off
DTC: U1703-86, ipc (instrument panel cluster) - signal invalid

So, I'm not 100% certain what airbag it is - can see symbol for it on steering wheel but not on passenger side, does it come out from behind parcel shelf if activated?
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #5
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Re: Question about Airbag Failure Message

Quote Originally Posted by muddy panda View Post
Hello Andy & Varesecrazy,

Accident took place in April this year & car was returned to me in May. I had frontal damage to bonnet, bumper, headlights & foglights. Airbags didn't deploy. Car was working without problem between May & last week & had gone from service to service with no problems before that for nearly 3 years.

Further info from Diagnostic report says;
AIRBAG ELECTRONICS (SRS)
Name: AIRBAG-DIAGNOSE
DTC: U0019-88, CAN bus off
DTC: U1703-86, ipc (instrument panel cluster) - signal invalid

So, I'm not 100% certain what airbag it is - can see symbol for it on steering wheel but not on passenger side, does it come out from behind parcel shelf if activated?
That codes points to a problem between the airbag ECU and the insument Pannel
That could either be electrical fault with wiring connectors or a fault with either of the two devices
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #6
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Re: Question about Airbag Failure Message

Quote Originally Posted by muddy panda View Post
Hello Andy & Varesecrazy,

Accident took place in April this year & car was returned to me in May. I had frontal damage to bonnet, bumper, headlights & foglights. Airbags didn't deploy. Car was working without problem between May & last week & had gone from service to service with no problems before that for nearly 3 years.

Further info from Diagnostic report says;
AIRBAG ELECTRONICS (SRS)
Name: AIRBAG-DIAGNOSE
DTC: U0019-88, CAN bus off
DTC: U1703-86, ipc (instrument panel cluster) - signal invalid

So, I'm not 100% certain what airbag it is - can see symbol for it on steering wheel but not on passenger side, does it come out from behind parcel shelf if activated?
Seen this happen before, and there's a bit of a problem here from my experience. The CANBUS error is one of those catastrophic until it isn't type of errors. Since everything in the CANBUS system is interconnected, all it's really saying is that 'in our massively interconnected neural network of cables and sensors, somethings awry and I'm not getting the signal I expect'. The IPC issue is also awkward in that either the cluster isn't reading the signal (which means you need to replace the cluster), the cluster isn't receiving the signal (which means it's just a wiring/connector/sensor fault), or it's receiving a signal that's beyond what it's used to (either the IPC calibration is off, or the sensor/signal calibration is off and since they don't match it's throwing a fit).

As an off chance, check to see if disabling the passenger airbag with the ignition key resets it. If so, it's a problem with the wiring of the arming mechanism. If moving the passenger seat back and forth fixes it, it's the wiring loom under the seat (electrical tape held up for 2 years for me). If you disconnect the battery and wait, and then yank about the sensor wiring from the front crash structure and it goes away, it's the wiring. If you apply pressure to the airbag sensors on the front steel crash member behind the bumper and it throws even more fits (with the battery still unattached, doing it with the battery attached might trigger a false collision alert and set off the airbags), it's the sensors. Diagnosing the actual cluster and the interface between the safety systems and body computer is a bigger pain and best left to a (cheaper, more adept) independent garage.

Last but not least, the safety redundancy of airbag systems means that if (a) the seat sensor determines someone is in the seat (by weight), unless it is specifically disables by disarming it with the ignition key, the airbag will fire in a collision regardless of which side the impact is on. The 'better safe than sorry' approach of automakers also means that if the seat weigh sensor fails but there's a crash, unless it has been specifically disarmed the passenger airbag will still go off. There's another failsafe built into the seatbelt restraint pressure sensor such that if it determines there's a tug on the belt from an impact, combined with input that there's been a crash (regardless of direction), it will go off. This whole ordeal is partially relevant in the massive lawsuit that Chevrolet faced regarding the passenger airbags decapitating children, but that's a whole other can of beans that is relevant but not as applicable as one might think.
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