flashing airbag light

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ericcs

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hi. On my 06 d40, the airbag light has decided to start flashing continuously after staying steady on start up, and nothing on the car has been worked on lately.
Any idea's?
cheers, eric
 

Old.Tony

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Hey Eric,

Most common cause is the clock spring, mine went a couple of times until I replaced the ribbon myself (cost us something like $6 for the spring itself, and about 30 minutes of my time in total).

However, my airbag diagnostic module has also failed (and has been replaced). Nissan wanted over $1K for this module, a wrecker on the Central Coast asked $100 but no guarantees. I took the chance that the donor car didn't become a wreck because the airbag diagnostic car failed (haha!) so I bought it. It's been good ever since.

The way to tell if it's the diagnostic module or the clock spring: you need to replace/repair the clock spring regardless, and if that fixed it, great, on yer way guv'ner - otherwise there's a series of steps to try and reset the airbag (involving the driver's door, ignition switch, brake pedal and yer great-great grandmother's walking stick) and if these steps fail (I tried three times, it looked like it was going to work and then it happened again) it's most likely the diagnostic module.

I cracked my module open, and found the large capacitor (I can't remember the value, but I do know that I couldn't find it on eBay etc) was shot.

You'll need a T50 torx security bit to remove the diagnostic module.
 

ericcs

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thanks for the quick reply Tony. So, first thing is to replace the clock spring?
Also, if it is a clock spring fault, does it mean the horn and cruise control won't work either?
 

Old.Tony

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thanks for the quick reply Tony. So, first thing is to replace the clock spring?
Also, if it is a clock spring fault, does it mean the horn and cruise control won't work either?
Sometimes. I've had it only refuse to turn on the cruise when the steering wheel was straight (horn worked, no airbag light), but a slight turn to the left allowed the cruise ON switch to work. Not all of the wires break at the same time - inside the clock spring is a ribbon cable that winds around the central core of the the assembly.

You could pull the clock spring and test each of the lines to see if they have continuity using a multimeter set to ohms. Zero ohms means good circuit - set the multimeter to beep - continuity test - and do it that way, you won't need to look at the screen. Test that it beeps properly by touching the multimeter probes together.
 

ericcs

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ok, i'll meter out the ribbon first.
is ebay the go to for a replacement?
 
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Old.Tony

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My wife found some ribbon cables that fit inside the core, and they work a treat. If you're going to buy a whole unit, there are a couple of things to bear in mind:

* Units marked "L" are for left-hand-drive vehicles and cost significantly less

* Units marked "L" cancel the indicators differently in corners. It's annoying.

* Units marked "L" also have ribbon cables in them and you can cannibalise this to fix yours

* You'll need several small thin screwdrivers to keep the tabs disengaged when trying to separate the halves of the clock spring if you are replacing the ribbon yourself.

* If you are handy with a soldering iron you MIGHT be able to repair it with solder. I fixed one in this way, but it was torn from the end, it wasn't cracked where the ribbon folds over (the usual culprit).

* DO NOT TRUST THE SUPPLIERS FOR WINDING THEM PROPERLY. I did, and mine failed immediately because it was wound wrong. Procedure for correct winding: hold the unit in one hand with the letter L or R up the right way and turn the knob all the way in one direction (fairly gently) until you feel some resistance. You've reached one end of the cable. Now, count the number of full turns the other way. I was getting about 5 and 3/4 turns, so turn yours back about 2.5 turns to aim the knob directly "up". This is now centred properly, but you're going to check. Count the turns of the knob to the left, then return to the centre by turning it back the same amount. Now count the turns to the right. They should be fairly close to each other. If not, count the turns again.

Important, vital, do NOT forget this note: before taking your steering wheel off, aim the wheels straight ahead, and mark the steering wheel against the inner splined shaft that the large nut is on. You want to locate the steering wheel the same way or it's going to feel different to drive!
 

ericcs

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cheers again for the info Tony. One more thing, did you bother with disconnecting the battery each time. I did when i replaced the steering wheel, but i'm curious if i have to?
 

Old.Tony

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I didn't bother with the battery. I had the ignition off, so the collision circuits should have been dormant, and once you unplug the airbag you'd have to zap it to set it off. I just carefully placed it on the passenger seat and continued. Besides, if the ribbon cable has already severed the connection to the airbag, unplugging it isn't going to change a thing (electrically).
 
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