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  • Unexpected car air bag deployment

    Has anyone had an experience with an air bag deploying without being involved in a collision or fire? Is there an agency that tracks these? We had one last week on an older Mercedes Benz.

  • #2
    Would you give us some details please?
    Jorg Heck
    Moditech Rescue Solutions B.V.
    http://www.moditech.com

    Comment


    • #3
      It was a 1989 Mercedes 500SEL. The driver parked in her parking space at her apartment, put her car in park and turned off the ignition and then the air bag deployed. No evidence of any accidents or any other obvious reason this would have happened. She suffered injuries to her face and neck.

      Comment


      • #4
        shelf life

        I have heard that air bags have a shelf life of about ten years and then they are recommended that they be replaced. Just a thought.
        Todd D.Meyer
        Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One
        [email protected]

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        • #5
          Well, the life of the actual bag should not have any bearing on it deploying. Something had to have malfunctioned in the sensor or firing circuts to make that happen.
          Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

          Comment


          • #6
            "Shelf Life"

            There is no such thing as a shelf life and then replace them. I don't know where you heard that but whomever said it should be shot, strung up by the b##ls or some similiar punishment. If anything it is the only thing built into the car that is designed not to wear out and need replacement.

            General Motors recently found a mid 1970's Impala with air bags, crashed it and they worked perfectly. That's why they are packed in powder, to keep the bag soft and pliable so it won't come out like a brick no matter how long it sits in the car.

            Back to the original posting, there was also a recent incident in PA involving a Mercedes where the bags deployed while firefighters were checking for extension after a car fire. I think the bags went off due to the heat in the interior, they are designed to deploy at 300 degrees f, the flash point of sodium azide. If not, then it seems like Mercedes might have a problem on their hands with accidental deployment.

            RON MOORE: Have you had any follow-up with M-B on the PA incident?
            Steve Dragon
            FFII, Fire Instructor II, Fire Officer I, Fire Appartus Driver Operator Certified
            Volunteers are never "off duty".
            http://www.bufd7.org

            Comment


            • #7
              Service life of airbags?

              I am no expert, however I did a little research and found some interesting results. It seems that some vehicle manufacturers do have a maintenance or replacement schedule for airbag components.

              I had the opportunity to look at a few vehicles and within a short time I had located multiple vehicles with maintenance or replacement schedules. Here are my findings:

              Lexus
              91 lexus LS 400
              98 Lexus GS 400
              98 Lexus ES 300
              99 Lexus RX 300
              On the visor of all these vehicles is a warning label that states:
              "The airbag requires maintenance 10 years from the manufactures date on the certification label and every two years thereafter."

              Volvo
              98 Volvo S70
              99 Volvo S70
              These vehicles have a warning label on the driver-side B post for maintenance or replacement schedules.
              The owner's manual states:
              "There is no maintenance to perform on the SRS yourself. The only periodic maintenance recommended on the SRS is that the airbag modules and front seat belts (including tensioners) should be replaced every ten years and that the other components in the system (wiring, connectors, etc.) should also be inspected at this time. The SRS decal on your car shows the month and year servicing is due. This service must be performed by an authorized Volvo retailer."

              Mercedes
              93 Mercedes 300E

              This vehicle has a warning label located on the driver-side B post for maintenance or replacement schedules.
              The owner's manual states:
              "The service life of airbags extends to the date indicated on the label located on the driver-side door latch post. To provide continued reliability after that date, they should be inspected by an autorized Mercedes-Benz dealer at that time and replaced when necessary."

              Any questions, please post a reply or email. Thanks.

              Todd D. Meyer
              [email protected]
              Last edited by rmoore; 09-21-2003, 10:12 AM.
              Todd D.Meyer
              Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One
              [email protected]

              Comment


              • #8
                All efforts to contact the Pennsylvania fire company that had frontal airbags on a Mercedes accidentally deploy have ended with no success. Even the PA State Fire Academy did not have information on how to get in touch with them. Names of company officers had changed, phone numbers were no longer in service, etc.

                Their story was that an electrical short within the instrument panel of a parked Mercedes actually activaed the Mercedes telecommunications system similar to OnStar. Firefighters responded and found the parked car with light smoke and an electrical smell inside. They opened both front doors and were looking all around the front where it seemed the source of the smoke was coming from.

                Suddenly, both frontal airbags deployed, striking two firefighters. They were transported to the hospital, treated, and released. No more details are available and I can't get in touch with anyone from Pennsylvania who can give me any better follow-up information. Sorry!
                Ron Moore, Forum Moderator
                www.universityofextrication.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  FYI

                  The other day I had a call on I-95, south of the DC Capital Beltway for a woman in an appox. 1994 Chevy Cavalier whose airbag deployed spontaniously as she was driving down the highway at 70 mph.

                  She attributed the problem to water dammage to the circuity from Isabel.

                  Very interesting...
                  Member IACOJ - Building crust and full of lust...

                  "It's okay to to scared, just don't be chicken." - Clark

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Ron:

                    I still think that the PA incident was a little more than light smoke from under the dash. It was probably hotter than 300 degrees which, as you know, is the "built-in safety device" and will cause the bags to deploy.

                    It's a shame you can't get any further info.
                    Last edited by dragonfyre; 09-23-2003, 07:13 PM.
                    Steve Dragon
                    FFII, Fire Instructor II, Fire Officer I, Fire Appartus Driver Operator Certified
                    Volunteers are never "off duty".
                    http://www.bufd7.org

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      An airbag "Born On" Date
                      Attached Files
                      Ron Moore, Forum Moderator
                      www.universityofextrication.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the info. I will pass it on to my personnel.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Another Manufacturer

                          Another manufacturer requires inspection.
                          I was looking at a 1993 Honda Accord SE today and found a warning sticker in the glove box that states:

                          "The SRS must be inspected ten years after it is installed. The date of installation is shown on the certification plate located on the driver's door jamb.


                          Todd D. Meyer
                          Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One
                          [email protected]
                          Todd D.Meyer
                          Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One
                          [email protected]

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It's not so much the airbag assembly itself that would cause the issue. It's the wiring and connectors assosciated with the bag that causes the problems. I have set off all types of airbags during testing using nothing more than static electricity on the open end of the bag connector. Static is one reason why you should NEVER set an airbag down with the bag facing towards the ground. You don't want to be anywhere near it if it decides to go off. After a few years of being repeatedly twisted, turned, shocked, and vibrated to death under the confines of a dashboard, the airbag connectors get brittle and the wiring tends to chaff and crack in high sensitivity areas. Get an area that has a slight insulation crack or a small opening in a brittle connector AFTER the airbag ECU, add a little residual or cross-path voltage from another wire or object, and BOOM! Face full of an airbag.

                            Just remember everyone that any bright yellow wire and/or bright yellow connector denotes a portion of the airbag circuit. Always be careful cutting or working anywhere near them.

                            Stay safe!
                            Firefighter/EMT-B
                            IAFF Local 4392

                            "From this day to the ending of the world,
                            But we in it shall be remembered:
                            We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
                            For he today that sheds his blood with me
                            Shall be my brother..."
                            Shakespeare's King Henry V

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The Yellow Wire Theory

                              GDDYUP:

                              While you're correct with the yellow wires, I teach the "Yellow Wire Theory" in my air bag class, you have to remember that not all manufacturer's use yellow wires.

                              The easiest thing to remember is that if it is a brightly colored wire, stay away from it. If you look at the mangled control box from the Dayton incident you will see that those wires were orange.

                              As always, the best thing to do is disconnect the battery to remove any chance of deployment.
                              Steve Dragon
                              FFII, Fire Instructor II, Fire Officer I, Fire Appartus Driver Operator Certified
                              Volunteers are never "off duty".
                              http://www.bufd7.org

                              Comment

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