Air Bag Light / Seat Belt Warning | Page 18 | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

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Will1122

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Just encountered this issue myself, having read the full thread, believe this is the summary (please PM if missing something):

Possible causes of airbag light, in order of likelihood
  1. loose connector (yellow) under the driver or passenger seat
  2. issue with seatbelt tensioner
  3. issue with 2nd row seats (being up or down)
  4. wiring issue, other place in the car
Key notes - general
  1. If airbag light is on, airbags will not deploy in accident (even those that are not experiencing the issue)
  2. ODBII error codes are likely useless - need ford diagnostic tools
Key Notes - loose connector under front seats
  • Reconnecting is usually temporary fix, but should at least help you narrow down the issue, if it gives relief
  • dielectric grease fix is sometimes temporary (at least in cases of people revisiting the forum)
  • no recall (yet)
  • seems to be universal to all 5th gen (see people posting with all models from 2011-2016, at least)
 



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Keith N

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F52FAFD2-D73C-4817-A85D-DB275140C15A.jpeg
I had the airbag light come on a month ago and stay on. I read this post. Learned a lot. Started with unplugging and plugging in the big black and gray connector under front drivers seat a few times. Lots of dust and debri came out, as I had a bright light shinning on it.
Airbag light went out immeadiately on next start up and has not come back on. I did disconnect battery also before working on it. I did not touch the yellow connector. That would have been next.
 






ThorChristian

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Hi all,

I'm back again.

My 2016 explorer has been having an intermittent airbag light issue. At first, I thought it was because we might set something in the passenger seat, but not put the seatbelt on... however, it has been occurring again, and now it is happening without anything being on the seat.

In researching this issue, it appears that this can be caused by a number of things, including loose wiring under the seat, a bad wiring harness, and a load of other issues. I ran my code scanner, but the light wasn't on and no error code has ever been thrown for it (as far as I can tell).

If the light isn't on, is it even worth taking it in? I've read numerous posts about folks that have taken their cars in, only to be told there is nothing that can be done without the error light being on the dash... I also noticed there was a recall back in 2013-14? to deal with airbag light issues, but I saw nothing regarding the 2016.

When the light is on, is the airbag module no longer functioning? If this is the case, this is a bigger problem and I need to get this worked out asap.

Thanks all for any suggestions.
 






Biohazrus

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Got that issue a month ago, mine was caused by the connectors under the seats of 2nd row. As I have airbag seat belt, there is a sensor in the seats. Connector seems to be getting loose by open/close of seats.
Had the same fear that it was worthless to go if light was off, but the code is stored even after, so you can go "at any time".

My original warranty was out, but they saw that it was previously done so they ordered a new connector and fixed it.
Anyhow, tech seems to say "it is a common thing..."
Took for ever as part was BO, finally got it, took 2 days to have it done (they provided a rental). Now I need to go back as wire are showing from under the seat...

Not saying that this is special to Explorer, but it goes on my "something every month or so" list...
So far:
  • Steering wheel leather peeling off
  • Proximity sensor going crazy, they change the wiring harness
  • Foot activated tailgate switch
  • Loose connector on battery
  • Passager size heater/venting not working
  • Alternator pulley making noise
  • Car did not start went temperature drop to minus freaking cold earlier this week
 






ThorChristian

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Thanks for the reply.

Just got off the phone with the dealership, and they told me to check the wiring connections under the front seats. Disconnect and reconnect and see if the light returns.

He also said that he has seen this problem quite a bit, and that no code is stored, so if the light isn't on, they won't be able to even see the problem. Well, the warning light isn't currently on, so a trip to the dealership seems to be a waste of time at this point.

He also told me something else. The airbag system is NOT operational when that light comes on. Well, that's a major problem.

I will keep a close eye on this one, as a non-functioning airbag system is unacceptable. Based on my research, this has been a persistent problem for years on the explorer, and various people have reported various causes/solutions.

If anyone knows more about this issue (I found TSB 16-0001, but no current recall), or has any other areas I should check after looking at the wiring connections, please let me know.

Thanks
 






peterk9

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Hi all,

I'm back again.

My 2016 explorer has been having an intermittent airbag light issue. At first, I thought it was because we might set something in the passenger seat, but not put the seatbelt on... however, it has been occurring again, and now it is happening without anything being on the seat.
Your thread was merged with this one. If the airbag light is on, there is a possibility the system may not work.

Peter
 






ThorChristian

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Can anyone help me here? What wires/connectors should I be looking at?

Under the front seats, there is a large plug like the one in the picture posted above, however their is another smaller connector with a yellow tag that I can reach from behind both the driver and passenger seats. The connector is black with a yellow id tag... I’ll go back and see if there is any identifying marks on the tag.

The large seat connector I can see from the bottom front of the driver and passenger seat looks like it operates the power seat, heated seat, etc. I would thing that Ford would have the airbag as a separate system.

Under the second row seats, I didn’t see any connectors. Do I need to remove something to get to the wires, or does my 2016 not have visible wiring under the seats? I have to think there is at least a connector for the seat belts somewhere.

Oh, and do I need to disconnect the battery to unplug a connector? I wouldn’t think so, but I’ve seen posts where folks do this. Just wondering if this is just for peace of mind or if there is an actual safety concern here.

Thanks
 






Keith N

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Thor
I am no expert but I would start with the connector I showed under drivers seat in my post above. Then other connectors like it under seats. I would avoid the yellow ones for now. They go to deployment devices I believe and don’t seem to be the issue for most these airbag lights. Nearly any procedure on a car now a days involves disconnecting battery. Why risk it? It’s one bolt. I would do one connector and then see if it fixes problem. Then you know the culprit for future problems. These connectors may have other sensors that are related to the srs in them. Seat weight, seat belt, etc.

This may also enlighten your knowledge on air bags.

https://www.repairerdrivennews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Air-Bag-Systems-Glossary.pdf
 






ThorChristian

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Keith,

Thanks for the reply. Your post/pic was the one I was referring to, so I was happy to see your reply. Does that connector pull straight out, or is there a release clip/latch? It looks like it will pull straight out.

The dealership told me to look at the connector that is accessible from the back of the front seats, which are the ones with the yellow tags. I'll start with the larger ones in the front as you suggested and see what happens. The light is currently off, which seems to me to indicate a loose connection somewhere, as it comes on and off randomly. If the yellow connector is for deployment of the airbag, any idea what would be in the large front connector that would cause the airbag light to display?

I also don't have the Ford diagnostic tool, so I don't see any codes for this. The service bulletin I found was for the second row seat belts, but only the seat belts that have an inflatable strap. Mine does not have that feature in the second row seats.. only the front, so the service bulletin doesn't apply to my issue.

Looks like you did this over a month ago with no reoccurrence? That is great news. I'll update the thread once I have a result.

And I will be disconnecting the battery. I always do when I'm under the hood or working on something electrical. I was just curious if there was a real danger, or if it was just a standard repair step that everyone does without really thinking about it.
 






Keith N

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Thor:

My light came on and off for a few weeks and eventually stayed on. I disconnected that big plug under drivers seat. Connected and disconnected it a few times to help clean up the metal to metal connection. It has been off since and still to this day. It was pretty obvious to disconnect it. I think that gray bar pivots. Once pivoted away from connector, it can be disengaged.
Maybe I got lucky starting there. Others have had success with rear seat connectors it seams. Some maybe the yellow ones. I would be more careful around the yellow ones.

This was the extent I was going to try (connectors) before I took it in. I'm not sure what stuff is in that connector. It may be seat belt pretensioner circuit, or possible a sensor in seat for weight, maybe the air bag in upper seat if there is one there. Probably the power seats and other stuff go thru it also based on number of wires.

Good luck
 






03WIExplorerLtd

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Thor:

My light came on and off for a few weeks and eventually stayed on. I disconnected that big plug under drivers seat. Connected and disconnected it a few times to help clean up the metal to metal connection. It has been off since and still to this day. It was pretty obvious to disconnect it. I think that gray bar pivots. Once pivoted away from connector, it can be disengaged.
Maybe I got lucky starting there. Others have had success with rear seat connectors it seams. Some maybe the yellow ones. I would be more careful around the yellow ones.

This was the extent I was going to try (connectors) before I took it in. I'm not sure what stuff is in that connector. It may be seat belt pretensioner circuit, or possible a sensor in seat for weight, maybe the air bag in upper seat if there is one there. Probably the power seats and other stuff go thru it also based on number of wires.

Good luck


So if one has b1212-13 code, does this potentially help ? This is drivers side issue.
Getting tired of this Explorer.
 






03WIExplorerLtd

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Wow this thread solved it, I think.

Pulled the bar down, plug came out and blew both sides with my hot air. Plugged back in, latched it and no light! Restarted car several times (like 7 or so) and nada.

I replaced one of the pretensions about 4 years ago, it was like 400 to 600 from what i recall. It was cleaned even before that and lasted like 6 months.

I don't trust this car anymore.
 






Anabil

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Thor
I am no expert but I would start with the connector I showed under drivers seat in my post above. Then other connectors like it under seats. I would avoid the yellow ones for now. They go to deployment devices I believe and don’t seem to be the issue for most these airbag lights. Nearly any procedure on a car now a days involves disconnecting battery. Why risk it? It’s one bolt. I would do one connector and then see if it fixes problem. Then you know the culprit for future problems. These connectors may have other sensors that are related to the srs in them. Seat weight, seat belt, etc.

This may also enlighten your knowledge on air bags.

https://www.repairerdrivennews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Air-Bag-Systems-Glossary.pdf

was having the same issue, different airbag. I have a scan tool and forscan so I found exactly which airbag was giving me the trouble. it was the inflatable seat belt behind driver. Forscan pinpoints it. disconnected and cleaned with electronics cleaner which also solved it.
 






Keith N

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I don't trust this car anymore.

I hear you! If the ptu or water pump doesn’t leave you stranded somewhere, the airbags (or lack of working ones) will kill you!

Way to go ford. Add cheap air bag connectors to the $10 you saved on deleting the low coolant level sensor.

Pretty sad you can’t trust a 2011 with 100k. I would never take this on a big trip at this point.
 






thefranchise713

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So, got bitten by this one tonight as well. Airbag telltale is on and a pretensioner code is set.

Did some wiggling of various things to no luck, but that was before reading this thread and seeing the connectors.

The Workshop Manual suggests that this PID is set by high resistance, but my resistance was in range for this code not to set. Weird. I have an appointment next week but I'll take another look under the seat to see what I find tomorrow.

Code: B0070 - Driver Seatbelt Pretensioner A Deployment Control

Additional Fault Symptom:
- Circuit Open

Status:
- DTC Present at Time of Request
- Malfunction Indicator Lamp is On for this DTC

Module: Restraint Control Module
 






Keith N

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So did you disconnnect some connectors to check resistance??
 






thefranchise713

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No, did the lazier thing and pulled the PID from the RCM. Resistance was 3.3-3.4 ohm, code setting criteria is a touch north of 3.5.
 






Keith N

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I would disconnect that big connector under drivers seat. Just connect and disconnect it a few times to help clean the connectors. You have nothing to lose. It will take you all of 10 minutes, if that. You seem to be on hairy edge of resistance.
 






thefranchise713

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Understood. I'll try to deal with that over the weekend and report back.
 



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thefranchise713

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Well, crap, that was interesting.

Today I ran the oscilloscope in Forscan again 3.3-3.4 OHMs pretty consistently. So, I begin jiggling things under the seat, and I get the PID safely down to 3.2 Ohm. Great! Run the RCM self test, no on demand DTCs. Eureka!

I clear the DTC from memory, which extinguishes the light. OK.

But, I know this isn't a fix--we're on the high side of the resistance. So, I jiggle it a bit again--resistance goes up and the code is set once again with the fault lamp turned on. Rinse and repeat.

Shut the car down, remove the plug, reconnect a few times. KOEO, check PID. 3.6-3.7 Ohm. WAIT WHAT?! Played around jiggling things for a while, reconnecting the harness, etc. Nothing! PID is now safely within the published code setting criteria.

So, tragically giving up for the moment until the dealer examines.
 






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