Unintended Air Bag Deployment While Driving

Bill Owner/Technician Jackson, Michigan Posted   Latest  
Question
Electrical
Safety
2003 Audi TT 1.8L 5-spd—TRUWT28N731001468
P1609
Side Air Bag Deployment

My customer had scheduled a appointment for his Audi TT what he thought was a strange electrical issue, He stated while driving on the highway the vehicle would intermittently turn on the hazard lights and quit running if he coasted to the side of the road and cycled the key the vehicle would drive again.... This happened 5 times in 1 one month. Before he was able to get the vehicle in to us while driving down the road both side air bags (seats) deployed! I do a lot of air bag work and have never encountered such a thing?? 

Engine controller has Fault P1609 Crash Shut down Activated. That explains his flashing hazards and vehicle turning off while driving.... (Other faults stored in ENG -P0411 secondary air , P1116 Oxygen sensor, P1453 Exhaust temp sensor. Customer normally drives with engine light on these codes usually present)

SRS controller has only the 2 deployed air bags (#01218 & #01217) stored nothing else.

I have accessed both side air bag sensors under the front seats - no sign of water leakage or rodents.... I have loaded the ground side of both sensors and voltage dropped from the connector to G43 ground. (Both .3v) I have read over theory and description of SRS and think it must have been a false input from a side senor or malfunctioning SRS module to cause such a thing??? But i really dont know what caused it and i hate to replace all these parts and have it happen again. What do you think? what would you test? 

+2
Interesting
Mike Owner/Technician
Clifton, New Jersey
Mike Default
 

I would suggest pulling the control module and inspect for possible liquid damage. I would also see if there is recall for this vehicle for airbags. I have a 2007 B7 and just had both front bags replaced under warranty. I know this is entirely different issue but worth a try. I too have never heard of anything like this...keep us posted on your findings. Just another thought, give the…

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Chris Technical Support Specialist
Commack, New York
Chris Default
 

I think there is a lot of liability in accidental deployments. Factory support sometimes required waivers to be signed before even considering evaluating the vehicles. Just tread lightly.

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Steve Instructor
Irvine, California
Steve Default
 

How is the vehicle, is there any body damage? How about the undercarriage? The seat sensor is set off by the module, water or moisture could be an issue. The SSP states the crash sensor is integrated in the module.

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Manuel Diagnostician
Newark, New Jersey
Manuel Default
 

I’d be careful here. You have to inspect all impact sensor wiring etc. also need to evaluate the vehicles suspension. Had a bmw with crash detected over a pothole. Also had a civic deploy under same circumstance. Given the customer driving with active codes I’d bet suspension is due for a big job and this can be the difference between airbag deploy or not over a pothole!

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Gerald Manager
Birmingham, Alabama
Gerald Default
 

I would have them contact Audi and back out of any work on the car. Any airbag deployment that is not wreck related has to go under manufacturer. Too much liability.

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Agree
Eric Instructor
San Luis Obispo, California
Eric Default
 

If you can get any help from factory folks, I believe they can interrogate the SRS module and get more details than what we normally see. There is a deeper data recording in most vehicles, black box sort of thing.

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Manuel Diagnostician
Newark, New Jersey
Manuel Default
 

To the best of my knowledge Audi from 03 will offer almost no usable information. Some manufacturers fought this up until the very end not that long ago

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Steve Instructor
Irvine, California
Steve Default
 

There are only two people at VW/Audi that can officially get into the crash data from the module. The last report that I read was over 20 pages off a 2018 Q3.

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Manuel Diagnostician
Newark, New Jersey
Manuel Default
 

To the best of my knowledge Audi and bmw were the least compliant with this technology only supporting it in 2015

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Steve Instructor
Irvine, California
Steve Default
 

I was not given a year of when the support started. that was beyond our pay grade. When I attended Bosch training they said they had the the technology back in the 90's.

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Geoff Diagnostician
Lahaina, Hawaii
Geoff Default
   

Hi Steve, I'm veering off here, but, I was surprised recently when I read that some OEM's do not want cores on SRS modules. I always thought they collected and dissected all that data.

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Manuel Diagnostician
Newark, New Jersey
Manuel Default
   

The oems won’t but accident reconstructor will. Bosch cdr tool will get you to 90% capability on modern cars. Heavy duty may need different tooling or oem only depending. In my area this is only done with gross negligence or fatality typically

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Geoff Diagnostician
Lahaina, Hawaii
Geoff Default
 

A-ha! The accident team takes them, OK, cool, thank you. p.s. My grandpa was born in Newark.

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Steve Instructor
Irvine, California
Steve Default
 

Manny, The Bosch tool is what was used for the vehicles in the training center.

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Bill Owner/Technician
Jackson, Michigan
Bill Update
 

I have also inspected the SRS control module and connector. As well as tracking the wire harness (visible areas without major disassembly) Sorry forgot to write it. Customer tells me there was no impact when the bags deployed. There had been a intermittent SRS indicator for some time they do tell me although I have only the 2 codes stored in the module for the deployed components currently…

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Manuel Diagnostician
Newark, New Jersey
Manuel Default
 

Intermittent loss of ground can definitely cause airbag to fire. Had this happen on a gm sitting in the parking lot ig off. I still recommend to check suspension on this car. It’s very likely customer bottomed out which on vehicles of this era would def cause side airbags to pop. BMW had recall for this exact issue in 03 etc

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James Instructor
Boucherville, Quebec
James Default
 

Your post got me thinking, does a side impact trigger the seat belt to try and retain the driver in their seat? googled it quickly did not find anything on it.

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Bill Owner/Technician
Jackson, Michigan
Bill Default
 

Reading service and repair theory of operation it states frontal collision can command seat belts and driver/pass cushion modules, side bags are deployed using the lateral acceleration sensors (side sensors)

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Manuel Diagnostician
Newark, New Jersey
Manuel Default
   

Hey James, My personal experience with this involved a 16 honda civic. Pothole caused both seat belt tensioner and curtain airbag to pop. We have potholes in the tri state area that can swallow a quarter clip easily.

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Tanner Instructor
Wellford, South Carolina
Tanner Default
 

One thing that I would be taking a hard look at is what is the code set criteria for the 1609 crash shut down code. I’m assuming it’s a signal from the srs module. But I would want to know for sure what commands that code and how. I would also wonder when that code is set if there is any freeze frame data anywhere or failure data stored to tell you what triggered i. I would think there would be…

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Bill Owner/Technician
Jackson, Michigan
Bill Default
   

Tanner i looked on the Bosch CDR (crash data retrieval) tool website they have a application list for there software it does not include Audi in 2003.... Looks like the domestic vehicles were mainly covered in that era. The data for fault 1609 states it is sent from SRS module to ECM .

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Scott Owner
Moreno Valley, California
Scott Default
 

Hi Bill, A few years back I got involved in an accident on a C7 Corvette. The customer had just picked it up from the local GM dealer who had programmed the ECM and he was thinking it was something related to that. He was on the way home and he said he gassed the car going around a slight corner and the car spun out of control. He said he did accelerate, but not to the point that the car…

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Scott Owner
Moreno Valley, California
Scott Default
 

Here's two people in Michigan - thecrashhub​.​com/united-states…

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Jason Technician
Ronkonkoma, New York
Jason Default
 

About 8 years ago I worked at a used European car dealership. We had an A6 that would do almost exactly this. Drive it around, out of nowhere it would kill the engine, unlock the doors, and roll down the windows. Same code stored in the module. Pulling the carpet up, I saw that the module was sitting in a small pool of water. The car went back to the auction.

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Victor Technician
Cudahy, California
Victor Default
 

This is only my opinion Ok last time you didn't handle well.. I am not intending to tell you that is the problem. it is for you to consider it as a new perspective. you said: what caused it and i hate to replace all these parts and have it happen again. What do you think? what would you test? Fault P1609 Crash Shut down Activated. This DTC Is caused by Cluster humidity. then R8 cluster will…

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Bill Owner/Technician
Jackson, Michigan
Bill Default
 

Victor no hard feelings here I suspect we had a misunderstanding of words in our last conversation. I do appreciate your input. Yes Both LF and RF seat air bags deployed while driving down the highway No impact or large pot holes.... Vehicle was acting up for the past month (hazard lights turning on vehicle turning off customer would cycle the key and drive several more days before it would…

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Victor Technician
Cudahy, California
Victor Default
 

I can't find for you an old VW Pdf that explained Zoning (zones of the car). it is a VW doc that explain crash sensor location and why they are in that place based on chassis straight or weakness... I google it, not luck.... this is a Volvo chassis Zone pic

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Bill Owner/Technician
Jackson, Michigan
Bill Default
 

"The pics you posted about dtc explanation doesn't apply to this old car" I have referenced the original Audi TT SSP for this info, the cluster is NOT part of the equation on this one far as I see. Signal is sent from SRS module to ECM and hazard warning switch.

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Victor Technician
Cudahy, California
Victor Default
 

...find in your super system: module J285 T32a/10 and everything will be explained. stil , the DTC explanation sheet I think (guess) is for 2008 Audi A4.

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Bill Owner/Technician
Jackson, Michigan
Bill Default
 

Victor - J285 = instrument cluster in VW/Audi. I am not sure what your trying to tell me here?? If you have some info that could help please share it!

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Victor Technician
Cudahy, California
Victor Default
 

You Said: "I have referenced the original Audi TT SSP for this info, the cluster is NOT part of the equation on this one far as I see. Signal is sent from SRS module to ECM and hazard warning switch. " yes it is. are we talking about Airbag light ? or hazard light? the airbag light will come on if you get that DTC and no incident.... then my explanation is...

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Bill Owner/Technician
Jackson, Michigan
Bill Delay
 

I have contacted crash hub of Grand rapids Michigan per Scott C's info. I spoke with David Shepard about the issue he stated he did not have equipment for this Audi and was unsure due to age and make.... I have a long relationship with this customer and vehicle so we are going to make repairs and have customer sign a liability form. Parts are now back ordered from Audi... I will follow up.

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