My 97 Grand Voyagers air bag light comes on intermittently. Last week
I took it to the dealer for the clockspring recall. On the way to the
dealer, the light came on several different times for different
durations. Every time I drive it, the light comes on. Sometimes as
soon as it is started, sometimes 25 minutes after it is driven. The
tech spent about 10 minutes on it only checking for air bag DTC's and
found none. The light must not have been on at the time. Do air bag
problems set a hard code or a soft code? I also have noticed that the
horn and cruise control do work when the air bag light is on. What
could be the problem?
Thank you all for your replies. I left out of my original post that
the dealer did not fix anything. They spent 10 minutes trying to pull
a code from the air bag controller and did not find one. They said
nothing was wrong with the clockspring because there were no codes. I
told them that I would drive the van around until the light came on
and then bring it back. The air bag light did not come on until I got
home. Does the problem with the clockspring set a hard code that
stays in the controller until removed with a scanner or a soft code
that is only present when the air bag light is on?
Last I knew, a recall didn't require that a code be set or that the item
under recall even be bad at the moment. The recall applies to something
that may be bad or may go bad in the future. I've had a recall on my
van for a gasket or something on the fuel pump/sending unit assembly,
but it didn't leak at the time of the recall. I also had a recall on
the fuel rails, but, again, they were just fine at the time of the
recall. If your dealer didn't satisfy a recall simply because a code
wasn't set, then I think you need a competent dealer.
At least some or part of them are situational. I was just writing here last
week about the 2nd-generation Caravan recall for the airbag circuit, and how
they would also replace the rear wiper motor if it was found to be defective
at the time recall service was performed.
With this recall, Chrysler will replace the clockspring in all covered
vehicles under 70000 miles. In those vehicles over 70000, they will
only replace the clockspring if it has malfunctioned. My van has
166000 miles and they did not replace the clockspring because they
could not find a code and therefore determined that it was not broken.
Is there another test they should have done? Does the recall require
a visual inspection that I should insist on and that I won't be
charged a diagnostic and shop materials fee for?
I just re-read the recall and they are right about what it actually says -
<70000 miles will be replaced regardless, failed or not. >70000 miles will
only be replaced if it has actually failed. Indicated by airbag light not
going out after a few seconds after starting. If it fails at any time >70000
miles, it will be replaced free of charge.
Looks like you will need to wait until the light is on, stays on, and then
take it in. Basically the dealer you went to is following the letter of the
law, not the intent, and is not taking your word of its intermittent
operation and impending failure.
And in the meantime if you get into a crash and the bag don't deploy, well
No, what the dealer is doing is profiteering. The letter of the law here
isn't the letter, because it's an unverifyable law. This is one recall that
cannot test the returned clocksprings to see if they were still good
because the simple jarring that they
get from being shipped back could "heal" a broken one. And the dealer
service manager, and the dealer mechanic have by now seen enough of
these failures that they all know perfectly well that every single one of
these clocksprings are all going to fail eventually.
So, you have this grey area. If the dealer were to replace it under
even if they are required to send the old clockspring back (which I don't
think they are) it's impossible to verify that it was 'working' when
And Chrysler knows perfectly well the failure is endemic to these so if
they get a warranty claim on one from the dealer they aren't going to
dispute it. In short, the dealer knows it's bad, also knows that even if
not bad now it's going to fail, also knows that Chrysler cannot verify
that one of these returned shouldn't have been replaced because it was
"good", and also knows that Chrysler cannot even try "mystery shopping"
him to see if the dealership is replacing them unnecessairly because all the
service manager has to do is borrow the van for a 5 minute test drive and
state that he saw the light come on and go off, and it cannot be disputed if
they open it and clockspring is one of the old types,
and if it's a new type - well sorry, clockspring is good, must be bad
No, what is going on is the dealership has figured out that since these are
intermittent, they can make good money off repeated diagnostic fees by
sending the poor driver back and claiming it's not broken. All they have to
do is when they get an intermittent in, just park the vehicle, turn it off
turn it on and half the time the light won't light, whereupon they can feed
owner a line of crap and collect their $80 fee for doing nothing.
While these games might be excusable for something unimportant like an
ashtray light, it's inexcusable when someone could be killed by an airbag
All in agreement here - your symptoms are exactly typical of the
clockspring. If you wait long enough the cruise and horn will also go
intermittent, and all will eventually quit completely. But then again, the
recall is for safety reasons - if the recall has not already been done on
your van, they should not question your symptoms, just insist they replace
The clockspring problem is often intermittent. If it breaks, it doesn't
necessarily mean it's completely broken. If you think of the filament of a
light bulb you've probably seen the filament break, but as it flops around,
it can make contact with the other side and make a connection and stay there
until it's bumped.
I don't believe air bag problems set any fault codes. But maybe I'm
Same thing happened to me on my '97 T&C. The dealer had replaced the
clockspring, and now the horn and cruise worked, but the airbag light was
lit. Fixed it yesterday. There was a loose connector. Take off the plastic
clamshell surrounding the steering column (3 phillips screws from below)
That will reveal the errant connector. It is the outermost one. Mine was
dangling. Guess the Tech didn't quite get it snapped in all the way. Plugged
it in. Problem fixed.
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