1995 Bonneville SE - Passenger air bag deployed - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat

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Old 05-21-2011, 12:31 PM   #1
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Default 1995 Bonneville SE - Passenger air bag deployed

I am an ASE certified technician, I have a 1995 Pontiac Bonneville SE with a 3800 series 2 motor. the car was given to me as a gift from my father.

when my father owned it i had installed an alarm and remote starter. i have installed dozens of these in different cars and know my way around under the dash board.

about 8 months to a year ago i noticed the airbag light would turn on some times when i started the car regardless weather it was via the remote or ignition key. from my understanding when the air bag light is illuminated the system is disbled.

my mother and me last night were on our way to the store i had noticed my radio flickering a little so i shut off the radio. after we got out of the store it was nice out so i did NOT start the car via remote. i let my mom in the passenger side got in the driver side started the car via ignition key.

i reached down in the driver side door compartment to find my cell phone charger as my mom reached down on passenger side door to grab her beverage. the car was idling in park.

the car was running and i was in ark and the passenger side airbag deployed for no reason of what so ever destroying part of the dash and breaking my wind sheild.

in a panic i rushed her out of the car and proceeded to unplug the battery. i touched both terminal together to drain any remaining voltage and pulled the air bag fuse and touched the terminals again (not on the battery).

i got out my screw driver and took off the driver side air bag and placed it in my trunk. when i turned the ignition key i did not see the air bag light illuminate making me think it burned out.

now i know some cars have passenger seat weight sensors im pretty sure my 95 bonnie does not. i have had the driver side air bag off in the past when i had to replace the steering column (after someone tried to steal the car when my father owned it) i followed the service manual procedure for disabling the air bag system and re enabling it as close as possible anytime i had to do anything that entailed unplugging those yellow sleeved airbag connectors.

my best understanding is that they both should have deployed and am puzzled as to why only the passenger side did.

any insight would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-21-2011, 01:38 PM   #2
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Welcome to GM Forum! At least you found out about your non-working air bag before getting into an accident.

The air bag light flashes seven times when the key is turned to RUN to indicate that the system'* self-tests passed. Anything else, and you need to get the codes read.

You are correct that disconnecting the yellow connectors will disarm the air bags (about 3-5 minutes afterwards) and reconnecting them will rearm them (immediately). However, I'm willing to bet that you inadvertently damaged part of the driver'* side air bag system during your repair; the air bag warning light was trying to tell you that. It could have been as simple as a pinched wire.

Now, why did they deploy in the first place? That'* the $64,000 question. Can't say I've ever heard of this happening.

Also, I renamed your thread and moved it into the Bonneville section. This should get more people looking at it.

Last edited by SignOfZeta; 05-21-2011 at 01:40 PM. Reason: Did my moderatorly duties.
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Old 05-21-2011, 06:03 PM   #3
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I would be willing to bet it was a corrosion issue. If you have any kind of cabin leaks, one of the common places for the water to pool up is under the seats. That is fine and everything, except for one small technicality, GM put the Airbag Module under the passenger front seat. I suspect the airbag indicator was the warning, but it got it sooner then later.

2 options here. You can repair the damage that was done, and correct the issue.


Disable the airbag system thoroughly so that you don't get a face full of airbag on your local mountain pass.
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