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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

I am starting to troubleshoot an intermittent Air Bag and passenger Occupancy Detection System (ODS).

Symptoms:

Occasionally (< once per month) I will start the car in the morning with no passenger and the Air Bag Light (in the gauge cluster) will stay on and the Passenger Seat Belt Light (in the center of the dash) will be illuminated , and the passenger airbag OFF light will be on.

If I buckle the passenger seat belt or if someone sits in the passenger seat nothing will change.

When I drive, the set belt chime will sound above ~5mph or so.

If I turn off the ignition, and start the car again the lights will not come on and everything is normal. I've never had it come back after turning the car off, and the issue will not return again for several weeks or several months.

The only time it happens is when I first start the car in the morning, and it seems to happen on colder mornings (I live in Southern California, so by cold I mean low 40s at the lowest).​

Diagnosis

I luckily (?!) had it happen while I was picking my car up in the morning from the dealer for another issue, so I had them drive it over to the garage and scan the codes while it was still running.

They found two DTCs related to the Air Bag System:

37 Buckle Switch RH Failure
29 ODS Failure (Occupancy Detection System)​

Troubleshooting

I've seen a few threads about people who were in accidents and had to reset the ODS system, but that doesn't really apply to me - no accidents.

The dealer said sometimes if the seat gets wet it can cause ODS problems - but that seems odd plus no big spills.

I'm planning to try some basic stuff my self: Check the buckle switch for solid contact (low resistance when closed) and no shorts or grounding issues. Check the connections under the seat.​

Any suggestions or thoughts would be appreciated. I will update if I find anything.
 

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2013 3.6R Limited
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900 Posts
I concur with your troubleshooting plan. I would not be surprised if the fault is indeed in the buckle switch or the wiring harness in that particular seat. Start with disconnecting the plugs and cleaning them with electrical contact cleaner spray, then reconnect them and see where you stand. You may need to remove the seat from the vehicle in order to gain your best access to the various electrical connection points.
 
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Reactions: carloseloso

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2012 Outback 2.5 Limited
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963 Posts
I've had this happening to me once a couple of years back. Our Outback is normally garaged but we were out on a family trip and had parked it outside in blistering cold for a couple days. After driving for a couple hours and turning the engine off and then on again, the problem went away. Haven't experienced it since. I seem to recall I disconnected the passenger side occupancy sensor harness under the seat, greased the connector up with dielectric grease, and re-connected.
 

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Hi Carlos, I am curious to find out if you were able to solve your problem? I am having exactly the same issue, and it seems to be related to the temperature.
 
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