Side airbag wire needs repair on '07. - Toyota Prius Forum : Prius Online Toyota Forums
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#1 (permalink) Old 09-29-2007, 09:56 AM
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Default Side airbag wire needs repair on '07.

Hello All: I cut the wire which (I presume) leads to the side/seat airbag on my Prius. I cut it under the driver's seat. I'd really appreciate if no one asks my how or why I cut it. If your goal is to make me feel dumb, that's already been adequately taken care of by myself. In any event, now the airbag warning light is on and I presume it is non functional.

A trip to the dealer yielded a $2500 estimate to replace the entire seat/bag. I can understand their liability concerns about repair of this wire, but I really would like some information. While not overly competant myself, I do have a brother who can repair this wire in such a way as to make it functional in a violent crash situation. While he clearly got all the brains, I had to settle for the looks in the family.

So, my questions are several. First up, I may need to purchase a service manual. This would be considerably cheaper than the repair estimate. Short of that, I need to know several things before embarking on this.

How do I remove the seat?

How do I cut power to the system. I assume simply powering off the car will accomplish this but would like to know for sure.

Will the simple application of a solder gun activate the bag? This sounds stupid but would result in a bad outcome.

Many here would be hesitant to advise because of liability concerns. Let me assure you that this is not the case. Anything I do is my own problem, and I can't even begin to hold anyone else responsible (for my own stupidity in the first place). I'd like to express my gratitude in advance for any information offered. gary
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#2 (permalink) Old 09-29-2007, 06:03 PM
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Is it just a normal looking wire. If it were me, I'd just strip both cut ends and attach them with a wire nut. If the wire was too short, I'd add a piece of the same gauge. If the light went off after that, I'd consider it "fixed". Now remember, this is probably not a good idea and would probably never be suggested or performed by any mechanic out of fear of liability.

Now I'll wait for someone to say how bad of an idea this really is.
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#3 (permalink) Old 09-29-2007, 09:15 PM
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Default Dupe Post.

Sorry, dupe.
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#4 (permalink) Old 09-29-2007, 09:22 PM
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Default Re: Side airbag wire needs repair on '07.

I'd really appreciate if no one asks my how or why I cut it.

No questions, check.

If your goal is to make me feel dumb, that's already been adequately taken care of by myself.

Insulted, check.

In any event, now the airbag warning light is on and I presume it is non functional.

Just that one bag though.

A trip to the dealer yielded a $2500 estimate to replace the entire seat/bag.


Man's probably late on a boat payment.

First up, I may need to purchase a service manual.

Why? you know what the problem is.

How do I remove the seat?

Not familiar with the '07 seat. Probably got bolts holding it down, one or two plugs for the wires to the seatbelt and airbag. On my car I think the airbag wires are yellow. Sit down on the ground in front of the seat, move the seat back and forth, look for mechanical connections. Sit on the ground in back of the seat, repeat. Unscrew the bolts, unplug the wires, manhandle the seat out.

How do I cut power to the system. I assume simply powering off the car will accomplish this but would like to know for sure.

Its an electrical system. Under the proper circumstances it send a pulse to the airbag and sets it off. Physically disconnect the 12 volt battery. No electricty = no pulse.

Will the simple application of a solder gun activate the bag?

To the wire, no. Maybe if you heated the squib directly, I don't know.

This sounds stupid but would result in a bad outcome.


No bad outcomes, check.

Many here would be hesitant to advise because of liability concerns. Let me assure you that this is not the case. Anything I do is my own problem, and I can't even begin to hold anyone else responsible

Tellya what, if my advice for a repair I've never done, on a model I don't own, doesn't work fully as described, I will give you a complete refund.

for my own stupidity in the first place.

What, like we've never pulled any bonehead moves fooling around in the car somewhere?

I'd like to express my gratitude in advance for any information offered.

It doesn't sound that bad. You need good access to the wire and a very solid repair. You might want to reroute the wire so it can't be cut again while you're in there. Because the repair needs to last the life of the car I would be inclined to solder it and paint the wire with liquid plastic. I must respectfully disagree with redwein. A wire nut wouldn't do for SRS items (Toyotaese for Suplemental Restraint Systems) Wire nuts are not usually used in vibrating environments, also they could snag stuff that gets stuck under the seat.

There are crimp fittings that will join one wire to another. You position the stripped ends in the fitting and crimp it shut with a pliers. For an SRS item you would then solder the connection for good measure, make sure there's no room inside for air/moisture to get in. If you've never used crimp fittings either find someone who has, or get some fittings and scrap wire and do a couple practice runs on the scrap wire.
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#5 (permalink) Old 09-30-2007, 12:23 AM
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If you have any concerns and you don't care for redweins fix which is the one I would use, take it into any local garage close to you that you know, or one recommended by a friend you trust and give them 20 bucks to splice the wire correctly. They might even give you some advise for free on how to complete the job you were attempting when you cut the wire.
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#6 (permalink) Old 09-30-2007, 08:21 AM
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Be sure the power switch is turned off and the negative battery cable is disconnected at least 90 seconds before working on the SRS system. There is a back up power source that could activate the SRS if you dont wait. Work away from the side of the seat with the SRS in case it does deploy.
Did you cut the cable in front of are behind the connector plug? Did you cut only one wire? If more than one, be sure the right wires are spliced together. Either way, disconnect the plug. Is it the driver seat or passenger seat. The driver seat has a seat possition switch. If it is the SRS side of the plug, heat a large iron and then disconnect it and use residual heat to solder the wire. Be sure not to use acid core solder. Use marine heat shrink tubing to complete the job. There is plenty of room to repair without removing the seat.
It depends on what code locked in, but you will probably have to get a shop to turn the light off.

Earl D
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#7 (permalink) Old 09-30-2007, 09:11 PM
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Default Splicing Wire for Airbags

Airbags contain explosives, which are activated by devices called "squibs". I have no experience with airbag manufacturing, but I did work with explosives in the military, and squibs are very sensitive to heat, shock and static electricity.

Due to the required reliability of this critical safety device and the consequences if it fails in an accident, along with the inherent explosives hazard and possible death or injury from accidental activation from electrostatic discharge (ESD), electrical short, or numerous other operator errors, I strongly recommend that airbag (and associated circuitry) repair and/or replacement be referred to your authorized Toyota Dealer.

This is one instance when end-user repairs are just plain fool-hardy.
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#8 (permalink) Old 09-30-2007, 11:14 PM
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Here is a fairly detailed article on the subject:

http://autospeed.com/cms/A_3007/article.html

It seems to say it is acceptable if done properly, but properly is a bit more involved than just making the connection. It needs to be done in such a way as to not alter the resistance of the wire. Care also needs to be taken to ensure that moisture doesn't ever contact the connection and cause corrosion. There are other concerns as well.
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#9 (permalink) Old 10-01-2007, 12:15 PM
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Splice it. soldier it (put some heat shrink tubing on the wire first). The light will be off and it's fixed. Don't be afraid to do it this way, it is a proper repair. I bet half of the dealers out there would twist it together, put some black tape on it and call it good, and charge you $300.

2008 Seaside Blue Touring Model
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#10 (permalink) Old 10-01-2007, 03:51 PM
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My thoughts exactly. (Or if you're not all that handy just splice the wirers together, "the light will go out," and wrap in black tape and apply a couple of the small plastic ties over the tape to keep it from ever unfurling.) NBD
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