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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 05-30-2011, 11:35 PM   #1
missamo80
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Fixed my airbag light today

Yeah, you guessed it: my airbag light came on. Ordered the Peake tool because I'm sick of the thing going on and having to pay someone to read the code.

Sure enough, code was 03/02: driver's side seat belt tensioner.

e46fanatics to the rescue. I used the search bar () and found lots of threads. It took some reading, but the first thing to try was the wiring harness fix. I ordered the harness for $15 and blindly stuck it in. I thought it was a sure-fire fix since the old harness had two wires clearly broken off it. No dice.

Read through a bit more and figured I'd either have to do the BMW documented solution of splicing around the harness, or replace the tensioner. My money was on the tensioner so I ordered one.

Anyway, today was repair day. Pulled the seat out and cut away the old wiring connector to the tensioner. Then I realized that some mechanic long ago had already applied the harness splice. That's why my connector had two wires cut off it. Had to haul out the soldering iron and shrink tubing to reconnect the two wires I'd chopped off during seat removal thing they were old and unneeded I have to say, whoever did the original repair did a crap job. Electrical tape everywhere instead of proper shrink tubing.

After that little mix-up I swapped in the new tensioner, stuck everything back together, cleared the code, and voila. No more airbag light.

If anyone in the Seattle area ever needs their code read let me know. I have the Peake tool now.

Neil
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:47 AM   #2
FrancoM
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I need to fix my passenger side....

Is there a tutorial??

I'm scared if the airbag pops in my face
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Old 05-31-2011, 03:34 AM   #3
jetblackmaverick
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crap, I may have done the same thing the other day when I pulled my driver's seat to install my dice silverline. I now have an airbag light on. damn it.
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Old 05-31-2011, 03:37 AM   #4
j_block
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my airbag is on too, would it matter if it was on or not, its not like the airbag wont deploy if the light were on, right?
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Old 05-31-2011, 07:45 AM   #5
ddombrowski
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From what I've read, it won't deploy if the light is on.
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Old 05-31-2011, 08:06 AM   #6
stevenluczynski
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before you start working just disconnect the battery and you're safe.
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Old 05-31-2011, 08:18 AM   #7
Viper3812
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You don't need to unplug the battery or be afraid of it deloying unless your really trying to set it off.

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Old 05-31-2011, 09:02 AM   #8
myothercarisatruck
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Mine is on the passenger seat, and only if someone is sitting in the seat...
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If you're gonna be stupid, you better be able to handle the consequences...
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:09 AM   #9
Vinnie Vega
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splicing airbag wires is a huge no no. It calls for the entire harness to be replaced.
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:46 AM   #10
Zell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrancoM View Post
I need to fix my passenger side....

Is there a tutorial??

I'm scared if the airbag pops in my face
Disconnect the battery for 20 minutes and you'll be okay They have a decent-sized capacitor bank that holds a charge, designed so that in case your battery gets disconnected for some reason while driving, you will still have airbags for an ample amount of time. Any time you work with the airbag you should do this unless it is absolutely required to have the battery on to adjust something.

Last edited by Zell; 05-31-2011 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:51 AM   #11
missamo80
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Originally Posted by Vinnie Vega View Post
splicing airbag wires is a huge no no. It calls for the entire harness to be replaced.
Could you please provide more details on why this is the case? The BMW repair instructions for their little fix kit specifically show splicing wires after stripping them. I figure if they can use crappy crimp connectors I can use the more robust soldering technique.

Neil
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:53 AM   #12
missamo80
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Originally Posted by FrancoM View Post
I need to fix my passenger side....

Is there a tutorial??

I'm scared if the airbag pops in my face
If you search for "airbag light" you'll find threads with a PDF attached that show how to do the seat removal. It's really quite easy. Unbolt the seat, then disconnect the battery, disconnect the wiring harness under the seat, pull the seat out, take one bolt off, put the new tensioner on, and reassemble.

Before doing the tensioner though you need to check and see if you have the BMW repair kit that re-routes the tensioner wires out of the wiring harness. If not, do that first since it's cheaper and more likely the cause.

Neil
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:59 AM   #13
G-Hots
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move the seat all the way to the front unbolt two bolts
move the seat all the way to the back unbolt two bolts
disconnect battery, wait 10 mins
disconnect all the plugs
take the seat out of the car...
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:01 AM   #14
missamo80
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One thing I'll add to the steps: make sure to lift the seat height up a bit from total bottom, otherwise when you go to run wires you won't be able to fit the connectors through the seat frame. I had to stick my seat back in the car in the middle and plug it in just to lift the seat 1/2 an inch. Sigh.

Neil
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Old 05-31-2011, 01:19 PM   #15
guybeemer
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My airbag light was on last week, had my indy mechanic doing some other work and he reset it, but now it's back on again (ugh). Wondering if I need to bother with it again. Would think that BMW would cover this since it's a safety issue and the low miles I have (67K)?
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:56 PM   #16
missamo80
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Yes, you should bother with it, since if it's on the airbag won't fire

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