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Discussion Starter #1
Just got emailed about the passenger airbag recall, you know, the one with big red letters that say "Do not allow passenger to ride in front passenger seat" :| due to potential metal fragments striking the passenger in the case it goes off. :surprise:

Since they don't have parts for the fix at the moment, and our second car needs a new clutch, and we're filling every seat in the car already, how can I disable the passenger airbag manually?

It's got a seat weight sensor, so it seems like disconnecting or tricking that would be a quick way to do it, but is there a way to do it in the car itself? Some kind of service code or something?

I'll be swinging by the dealer after work today to confirm my VIN is affected, and to see if they know an easy way to disable it until they get parts, but I'm a little worried the dealer might refuse to disable a safety feature as a matter of protocol, and just tell me not to use the passenger seat.

So, just in case, what's the hack to disable the passenger airbag?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Great links! Thanks for the reply, it appears this is a *bit* bigger than me...

Some valid points were made at the links, enough to assuage my worry and counteraction.

Also, the fact that I don't live in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas or the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan, and the Virgin Islands.

It seems "high humidity" is a relative term
 

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IMO decide for yourself but if you disable be prepared to die for your decision and leave your families lawyer with very little to work with when trying to sue for compensation.

If you want to rationalize the disconnect first consider the argument:

"The problem was “allegedly” known to Takata in 2004, and since then, there has been 10 deaths and over 100 injuries in the US. That means about 10 defective Takata airbags will explode and injure/kill someone every year.

On the other hand, the US NHTSA reports that airbags save an average of 2,200 lives in the United States every year. Takata has a 22% market share, so that means Takata airbags save an average of 484 lives in the US every year.

In other words, even if your airbag has a potentially defective Takata ammonium nitrate inflator, it is 48X more likely to SAVE YOUR LIFE*, than to kill or injure you."


Makes sense, do not disconnect.

But wait, not so fast Consider this:

....... the problem is caused by moisture seeping into airbag inflators that use ammonium nitrate-based propellants that lack a chemical drying agent. The moisture, compounded with changes in temperatures, can make the propellant unstable and more liable to explode and rupture its metal container. This is therefore a bigger problem in hot and humid climates.

The 48X more likely to save you takes into account all vehicles not just those in hot and humid climates. If you are in a hot and humid climate it is much less than 48X.

Also the failure mode appears to be one of moisture contamination. That is an issue I've dealt with professionally and if there is no moisture removal agent or method it is a problem that increases with time. In other words, as the bags age they will become more hazardous.

So if your car is older and is exposed to hot and humid conditions the 48X becomes very hopeful.

The same study shows that an air bag is only 14% effective if you forget to buckle up. If you disconnect the air bag the seat belt is only 48% but with both they are about 54% effective. More effective than not is nice.

The real risk you are taking is difficult to say. I would say if you have an older car, that has or is being exposed to considerable moisture, and the speeds you travel are below the average car crash speed in the study, or your driving record is better than average then the risk of the air bag killing might be higher than the crash killing you but it seems unlikely.

Of course you may not like driving around with a bomb in front of you waiting to go off in which case you've already disconnected the air bag. ;)

And forgot to add they might blow up and kill you anyway unless you remove them completely and hide them in your neighbors house.
 

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I received the same email from Subaru. "Do not allow passenger to ride in front passenger seat" "we will contact you in the future when parts are ready" If this wasn't so serious I would think it’s a joke. How am I supposed to avoid that until they contact me with a fix? Perhaps I can just mount a side car to the side of the vehicle for my passengers...or maybe get some Tie-Down Straps & Bungee Cords and strap my passengers to my little used luggage racks on the roof reassuring them what a great adventure this will be, .. Or shell out 10 bucks and convince them to use Uber or Lyft or tape the passenger door shut then pass out public transportation schedules. With stubborn passengers, Subaru recommends getting them to sign a waiver and issue a certified full face motorcycle helmet. Subaru needs to put these suggestions in with the recall email or perhaps a follow-up email with the header “what to do with passengers”
 

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Discussion Starter #6
After determining the scope of the recall (approximately 34 MILLION vehicles) and seeing how many have been injured (100) and how many dead (10) I'm significantly less worried.

Irrespective of airbag efficiency as determined by people who need to do studies to prove their job should exist, this whole thing actually seems horribly overblown (no pun intended). Problem seems localized to the high humidity areas where the recalls first started. 9 million repairs later, they're expanding the impact to many makes and models. NHTSA | Recalls Spotlight: Takata Air Bags Recalls
 

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Risk studies exist because humans are infamously not capable of assessing risk without objective data.

Which is why Fletch referred to a study to support his decision to not worry about it. We decide, then we rationalize, then we study. That's what I do, and studies show we all do.

Of course it is pretty safe to say there are many much greater hazards being faced than having our pretty face marred by an air bag.

On that point, the actual number of air failures are, of course, higher than those noted. The numbers used by the NHTSA are only those proven, that can be pointed to with little controversy. Cases in which the air bag failed but damage from the crash was so great it wasn't investigated cannot be included. With a national autopsy rate of 8.5 percent it is unlikely even half of those dying in car crashes are closely examined to determine the sources of each injury.

Not that the real number would change the conclusion that there are greater risks out there. I'm just noting how flawed NHTSA data can be. They try to work around it but it is difficult when the raw data is missing or flawed.

I've seen this first hand in how police reported seat belt use back in the day. In one area I got to look at many of the crash reports and even talked to some cops about crashes. My interest had more to do with the damage to the vehicle so I was looking at the damaged vehicles in the compound when I noticed that some seat belts were fastened, including one that I knew to be a fatal (small town). Most were either cut or unfastened so I asked about that one I saw fastened, did someone fasten it after the crash? Nope, no one had messed with the seat belt that is how it was found. The report concluded that the lone driver was not wearing their seat belt, that they had fastened it and were sitting on it which is why they were ejected during the rollover. To my untrained eyes it looked used, and it was loose so I wasn't so sure.

So I looked at other vehicles in the compound (they had years worth) and those reports I could get.

We know that three point seat belts do not work in rollovers. They are not designed for roll overs, and you will be ejected even if wearing such a seat belt (search youtube for video of three point failures). But in the reports I saw almost every ejection was recorded as not wearing seat belt, even when the seat belt was found to be fastened.

There was also a problem in recording the seat belt buckle or latch failure. That area had none, even though there was a person who told the police they had their belt on before the crash.

In my discussion with a cop about these reports he said that you wouldn't be ejected if you are wearing a seat belt properly and that an examination of the belt will show heat damage where the belt is locked into place if the person was wearing the belt.

He had accident investigation training but thought that seat belts worked in roll overs, and was unaware of seat belt failure modes, such as the buckle opening, that would not result in any obvious signs. Also he had many other duties so really could not stand around pondering possible failure modes that might be beyond his training.

His reports, like all such reports, were then used to tell us about seat belts, their effectiveness and that seat belts rarely failed if they were used.

Today accident investigation training is much more advanced and no one expects a three point to work in a rollover but they thought they had great training back in the day as well. We can only train to look for stuff we know about and agree should be looked for. The numbers we collect will always be flawed. Consider the study that looked at "speeding" as a cause of motorcycle crashes and found that only a very tiny percent had actually being traveling faster than conditions would allow. Our raw data is often flawed which is why people can make careers out of studies.

And which proves once again that it isn't good to see how the sausage is made. All you need to see is one or two reports being submitted with errors in them to have you question the studies based on them.
 

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BB - you seem like a very wise man.

good post
 

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I'm seriously starting to wonder if every Japanese car is going to have to have its airbags replaced at some point.

This recall just keeps getting bigger.
 

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I'm seriously starting to wonder if every Japanese car is going to have to have its airbags replaced at some point. This recall just keeps getting bigger.

There isn't really a Japanese car anymore. Even Honda made it clear they are multi-national, not Japanese, and thanks to the many trade agreements governments have been signing on people's behalf there are very few National Car manufacturers left.

Which is why the list of manufacturers effected include: Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, Ford, Audi, BMW, Jaguar/Land Rover, Volkswagen, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and many more. More than 30 million bags made between 2002 and 2015 were made without a chemical drying agent.

I hope to find out more details because it sounds like the ammonium nitrate-based propellant specified by engineers called for the drying agent. In which case I suspect it was not the "mistake" being claimed. It reminds me too much of some of the other problems when contracting out manufacturing or using multiple suppliers to save money. Many manufacturers, mostly Asia of course, are highly skilled at low cost production and one of the methods is to build to inspection.

When an item is built to inspection rather than specification huge money can be saved, particularly when the inspection regime assumes items are what they claim to be. If Takata's supplier knew that the bags were only being tested for performance, and not materials, leaving out a drying agent would be money in someones pocket.

Added to that is the almost complete lack of enforcement or repercussions when such deficiencies are noticed. And no I do not think a $200M fine is significant. The owners and investors will not feel that loss (and if they did as we saw in 2008 governments would cover them) and the real lesson is that such practices can be very profitable for those on the inside.

In the meantime I may have developed a method to temporarily repair, at least enough to measure how effected my air bags are and to ease concerns about the delay. If it works I'll post it but first I have many other projects on the go and I'll have to remove the air bags, something I've yet to read the how to on.

If anyone else has been working on their own fix, or even bypasses (which would not be legal in some areas), I'd be interested.
 

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^^^ excellent post - in my business (electronics manufacturing) a LOT of business is done on certifications. There's **** little policing. We have an XRF machine and have rejected parts that were 'certified' RoHS compliant, they test positive for lead or other controlled element.

Done it more than once.


This kind of cheating has been going on for hundreds of years - when marine archaeologists studied the Atocha (I think, maybe a different ship), they compared it to the documents from when it was built by the Spanish Crown. Some timber joints that were supposed to have 5 nails and 3 trunnions/blind wood connections - it actually had NO nails and only 2 trunnions.
 

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Hey friends!


Got my notice last week on my 2011 OUtback.


Just head to the dealership. I pushed a bit and they paid for a rental for me.

Subaru of America has confirmed they will cover rental costs
 

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Update:

I contacted my dealer and after a misunderstanding.... Them telling my wife that our car wasn't recalled and we have recieved both notices from the dealer and Subaru of America.

They gave my wife a dealer loaner, a nice premium crosstreck with 7 miles on it.

So I called them back today after they didn't return my call from yesterday. Anyways SOA gave me a case number and the dealer found they had put the wrong VIN in their system. Must have registered my wife as a new customer even though we used them as our service center until the warranty went up.

Anyways the wife and kid are off the grandparents. I'm gonna see if I can put enough miles on the car for an oil change before I get my car back. SOA said the part should be at the dealer Sept 15. So I'm shooting for 6k in about a month.

We'll be driving the wheels off that loaner.

First trip will be 1200 miles round trip :D
 

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Hey friends!


Got my notice last week on my 2011 OUtback.


Just head to the dealership. I pushed a bit and they paid for a rental for me.

Subaru of America has confirmed they will cover rental costs
So the 2011's are included in this? I haven't gotten a recall notice yet.
 

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By the time the current round of recalls is finished (if ever), they will start doing it all over again.
 

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Takata airbags on Outback 2016 or 2017?

Is there any evidence or proof that new 2016 and/or 2017 Outbacks do not use the same faulty Takata airbags? Or will those face the same issue a couple of years down the road? Subaru and other manufacturers seem to be deliberately uncommunicative about this.
 
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