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· Registered
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everybody, this is my first post, though I have gotten very useful information from this forum in the past.

So here's the story:

I'm driving around in my Saab 9-3 convertible (1999) and I notice that my airbag idiot light is on. I tried turning the engine off and on a few times while driving, but the light stayed on. I decided to not pay it any heed, figuring that it was probably some faulty sensor.

Bad mistake.

As I'm driving, I hear a huge POW in my left ear. Everything is buzzing and my vision blurs. I can't feel my left arm anymore. A nauseous smell assaults me and I instinctively throw all of my attention at maintaining control of my car, knowing that something is wrong, thinking the whole time that somebody must have shot at me. A quick look down confirms that there is blood on my arm and I pull into the next parking lot I see--a Nissan dealership, no less.

Thankfully, nobody had shot me, but my side airbag had deployed. It ripped a hole into the plastic in the door, shredded my door handle (somehow) and completely destroyed my beautiful leather seat. After surveying the damage I immediately located the airbag fuse and pulled that mofo. I then drove very carefully to a nearby auto parts store, and besides being the subject of the 'funny story of the day', managed to get an antiseptic pad for my arm. Then, using the insight provided by my trusty Haynes manual and a 250 piece tool set which happened to be in my car, I took out my steering wheel's airbag. I figured that if that one deployed, there really wouldn't be much chance of me keeping control of the car. Between that and pulling the fuse, I think that I'm good as far as false deployments go, hopefully.

So where does that leave me?
-My interior door panels and seat are trashed.
-I have since learned that I would have needed at TechII to reset the light in my dash if there was no error in the system.
-There obviously is an error in the system though.
-I'm assuming that the sensor that detects an accident will need to be replaced.
-If that sensor had detected that an accident had occurred back when the light first came on, then my airbag took a good hour to deploy, and on top of that only one of them deployed, and that's not quite useful.
-My ears are still ringing. Apparently when your ears ring, the frequency that makes the ringing noise is a frequency of sound you will never hear again.

Also, after taking out my steering wheel, I was reminded of the look of aftermarket steering wheels. Then I thought of my seat and my door panel, which are pretty much useless anyways... What if I stripped everything to reduce weight, put in aftermarket seats, a roll cage, got into trionic tuning (I already have all of the equipment necessary to start tuning but I didn't have time to do it during the school year), got a bigger turbo, better IC, rebuilt the engine, new cams, uprated suspension, make a new exhaust, and maybe also design an axle for the rear to couple with an electric motor. AWD saab vert monster, anyone?

No matter what, I think the next step is to go to the guy I know with a Tech II to figure out exactly what kind of codes I'm throwing, and to go from there.

Anybody have comments or suggestions?

· Registered
899 Posts
Well I definitely would do as you said and take the car to a Tech II and figure out what the hell is going on, because as you found out, airbags aren't a joke. :( It could be that just that airbag was faulty, or some sensor is faulty, I don't know. The Airbag system is so complex and foreign (to me) that I think you have to see a Tech II to really know what's up.

I wouldn't blame yourself for ignoring the light, from what I have seen on here I gather that really most of the time the SRS light is on, it's something dumb like a faulty clockspring or the dash being taken out wrong, etc. I would have done the same thing, temporarily ignoring the light, unfortunately. Also, kudos for keeping the car on the road after what was probably a very quick and disorienting event.

As for the seat, door panel, and handle, you can probably find some used ones on here or elsewhere for cheap. If your car's tan, I have a whole set of tan door panels from an Ng900 wrapped up in my garage that you can have for free, just whatever cost of shipping. Yours is a 9-3 though so it might be a different shade (if tan anyway.)

I would see a doctor about the ear. You don't seem too concerned about your arm ('tis a flesh wound anyway) but the ear I would take seriously.

Airbag deployment is a funny motivation to start tuning/modding your car, but if you've got the ambition and the time and the money, go for it.. plenty on here are doing/ have done the same thing (however I have never heard of an electric axle re-engineering, but there's a first for everything)

Good luck!
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