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octantman

Airbag Warning leads to ECU replacement?

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2003 Boxster, original owner, 60k miles.

I had the airbag warning light to come on a few weeks ago. Took it to the dealer who said to replace both buckles and the ECU, $1,500.00. Didn't do it since I saw the code was 46 (driver side buckle) which has been well documented, thanks to this site. Cleaned the underside of the seat, checked the wiring and connectors, no corrosion of any kind. 40 ohms resistance measured at pin 7 and 8 without shoulder harness inserted, 10 ohms with harness inserted, just like the workshop manual says. Bought the Durametrics software in the meantime, and a driver side buckle. Durametrics confirmed fault 46, and I erased the code but did not replace the buckle yet. Light has stayed off for several days now. I realize the driver side buckle may eventually need replacing, as may the passenger side. But the ECU?? What experience is there out there requiring the ECU to be replaced? The dealer says that in their experience, first one buckle goes bad, then the other, then the ECU, so they are recommending all this be done at once and save myself the hassle. I see nothing in the ethernet where anyone has replaced the ECU for the airbag.

Great Forum and advice on the Durametrics Diagnostics Unit. I love the car but cannot afford thousand dollar bills escaping my grasp for a hundred dollar part.

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dealer = BS

You have to understand there are to many high dollar P-owners who will pay it regardless, so they can get away with it. I have not read on any of the boards anyone having ECU issues in regard to airbag concerns.

When I first bought my 1997 with the same errors my durametric reset worked about 1 year to the day before I upgraded the buckles to solve the CEL when the error returned. Still running the factory ECU...

Find an indie, avoid the dealer...

Edited by rsfeller

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2003 Boxster, original owner, 60k miles.

I had the airbag warning light to come on a few weeks ago. Took it to the dealer who said to replace both buckles and the ECU, $1,500.00. Didn't do it since I saw the code was 46 (driver side buckle) which has been well documented, thanks to this site. Cleaned the underside of the seat, checked the wiring and connectors, no corrosion of any kind. 40 ohms resistance measured at pin 7 and 8 without shoulder harness inserted, 10 ohms with harness inserted, just like the workshop manual says. Bought the Durametrics software in the meantime, and a driver side buckle. Durametrics confirmed fault 46, and I erased the code but did not replace the buckle yet. Light has stayed off for several days now. I realize the driver side buckle may eventually need replacing, as may the passenger side. But the ECU?? What experience is there out there requiring the ECU to be replaced? The dealer says that in their experience, first one buckle goes bad, then the other, then the ECU, so they are recommending all this be done at once and save myself the hassle. I see nothing in the ethernet where anyone has replaced the ECU for the airbag.

Great Forum and advice on the Durametrics Diagnostics Unit. I love the car but cannot afford thousand dollar bills escaping my grasp for a hundred dollar part.

Something doesn't seem right with that quote considering a Porsche dealer should be retailing a DME for $2000+. Is this ECU quoted unique only the SRS system (which I don't see on the parts list)?

Edited by rsfeller

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****, that what I meant. Have we seen failures on these? If so not related to the 46 codes of course, but there own unique codes?

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The control unit has its own fault code. I have seen a few being replaced at the local dealership over the years. Pic is from over 3 years ago of an almost new 987 that was having the unit replaced. It is where the finger is - same location on a 986.

What I don't get is why a 2003 is having a buckle issue. Thought Porsche "fixed" that when they went to gold plated contacts a few years earlier.

But I have a 1997 that has had 2 air bag fixes over the years. Last fix was around 2001 and no light until last year - when it came on out of the blue. It was code 46. I just erased it and it has not come back on.

post-4-1221508017_thumb.jpg

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The control unit has its own fault code. I have seen a few being replaced at the local dealership over the years. Pic is from over 3 years ago of an almost new 987 that was having the unit replaced. It is where the finger is - same location on a 986.

What I don't get is why a 2003 is having a buckle issue. Thought Porsche "fixed" that when they went to gold plated contacts a few years earlier.

But I have a 1997 that has had 2 air bag fixes over the years. Last fix was around 2001 and no light until last year - when it came on out of the blue. It was code 46. I just erased it and it has not come back on.

Precisely what I thought, therefore declined the repair, because the folks on this Forum know more than the parts-replacers at the dealership. The wealthy Posche-Owner syndrome crossed my mind, too. There is absolutely no metal contact problems with the seat wiring...and believe me, I know corrosion when I see it...I have a boat at the coast. The 2002 Workshop Manual refers to the control unit as the triggering unit and is under the driver seat. I think it is an anomaly since I ride with the top down from 45 degrees to 95 degrees (but not in the rain) but there are many times the garage door is open and the humidity gets very high in there. I'm no rocket scientist but condensation in the buckle could change the resistance and set off the airbag warning light, not causing a problem but needing to be reset. The part number on my original buckle is 2002, the replacement I just got is 2008. It is wired directly to the seat plug, while the original buckle wirng attaches to another harness that is then attached to the main seat plug.

Sounds like replacing the triggering unit is not likely to be necessary. Thanks for the replies, keep em coming, this is great!!

Alan

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The control unit has its own fault code. I have seen a few being replaced at the local dealership over the years. Pic is from over 3 years ago of an almost new 987 that was having the unit replaced. It is where the finger is - same location on a 986.

What I don't get is why a 2003 is having a buckle issue. Thought Porsche "fixed" that when they went to gold plated contacts a few years earlier.

But I have a 1997 that has had 2 air bag fixes over the years. Last fix was around 2001 and no light until last year - when it came on out of the blue. It was code 46. I just erased it and it has not come back on.

The unit in the photo in my 986 is the airbag sensor. The dealer said replace the control unit (octantman edit: the airbag sensor, triggering unit, and ECU are all the same item with different names, sorry). I asked for a cost breakdown, but they have not even honored that. The $1,500.00 was a verbal quote over the phone.

Edited by octantman

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I have a 2000 S and my air bag light kept coming on. I brought it to the dealer and they initially replaced the driver's seat buckle (which was replaced less than 2 years prior to that). That worked for a little while. When it came on again, they replaced the air bag control unit (and wiring harness I think) and that has since solved the problem.

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I have a 2000 S and my air bag light kept coming on. I brought it to the dealer and they initially replaced the driver's seat buckle (which was replaced less than 2 years prior to that). That worked for a little while. When it came on again, they replaced the air bag control unit (and wiring harness I think) and that has since solved the problem.

There is a TSB for this - that also requires that they replace the connectors under the seats and re-solder the ground wires.

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I have a 2000 S and my air bag light kept coming on. I brought it to the dealer and they initially replaced the driver's seat buckle (which was replaced less than 2 years prior to that). That worked for a little while. When it came on again, they replaced the air bag control unit (and wiring harness I think) and that has since solved the problem.

There is a TSB for this - that also requires that they replace the connectors under the seats and re-solder the ground wires.

Yes, after inquiry the dealer produced 3 sheets of the bulletin in defense of having recommended replacing both buckles, wiring harness and the control unit. My bad on the previous post about the triggering unit being under the seat..of course that is not true, that is the alarm ecu. The TSB states that before 2000, and certain VIN's, replace the buckles and wiring harness...and the ecu only after repeated warnings. After certain VIN's and model year 2000 onward replace the buckle and it does state replace the wiring harness. The TSB is dated 1/04. The offending ecu's are part number 00, the ones made as of 2004 are 02, and mine is an 01. If the light comes on again (only happened once so far) I'll replace the buckle. Are there instructions out there as to how to replace the wiring harness? The new buckle, a 1/2008 mfg has the blue 4-pin plug on it with longer wiring. My original buckle plugs into another harness under the seat which in turn has the blue 4-pin plug on it.

Seems I have seen the part number on this forum for the service kit.

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I have a 2000 S and my air bag light kept coming on. I brought it to the dealer and they initially replaced the driver's seat buckle (which was replaced less than 2 years prior to that). That worked for a little while. When it came on again, they replaced the air bag control unit (and wiring harness I think) and that has since solved the problem.

There is a TSB for this - that also requires that they replace the connectors under the seats and re-solder the ground wires.

Yes, after inquiry the dealer produced 3 sheets of the bulletin in defense of having recommended replacing both buckles, wiring harness and the control unit. My bad on the previous post about the triggering unit being under the seat..of course that is not true, that is the alarm ecu. The TSB states that before 2000, and certain VIN's, replace the buckles and wiring harness...and the ecu only after repeated warnings. After certain VIN's and model year 2000 onward replace the buckle and it does state replace the wiring harness. The TSB is dated 1/04. The offending ecu's are part number 00, the ones made as of 2004 are 02, and mine is an 01. If the light comes on again (only happened once so far) I'll replace the buckle. Are there instructions out there as to how to replace the wiring harness? The new buckle, a 1/2008 mfg has the blue 4-pin plug on it with longer wiring. My original buckle plugs into another harness under the seat which in turn has the blue 4-pin plug on it.

Seems I have seen the part number on this forum for the service kit.

Octantman:

Part numbers are as follows:

996 803 183 09 Driver's side belt buckle

996 803 183 10 Passenger's side belt buckle

000 043 206 06 Service set belt buckle (2 sets required)

The seat belt buckles you can only get from the dealer. Make sure that when you get them, that the driver's side connector (small square four prong connector) is blue and that the passenger's side one is green (same size connector as the blue one, but has only two prongs, with other two slots left "unprongged").

The "service set" can only be obtained from the dealer as well, but you can get all the parts from Sunset Imports for a substantial discount off of what your local dealer would charge. If you give them a call, ask for "Jeff", he knows his parts.

The service set is only a bunch of wire leads with some special "gold plated and greased" connectors on their ends, and a (relative to the original ones) thick brown ground lead with a cable lug on one end. Although it's tempting to just use thick brown ground wires to solve the problem (and I think some indie mechanics may have actually done this), it's safer to use the factory supplied parts in the service sets. I find the light so annoying that I don't want to deal with it in the future. I also think that it's beyond ridiculous that Porsches should have this problem. When you do it, you will see how ridiculous it is that they used a bunch of thin ground leads and then spliced them into a thicker brown ground lead, in effect exceeding that ground lead's grounding capacity.

Regards, Maurice.

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I have a 2000 S and my air bag light kept coming on. I brought it to the dealer and they initially replaced the driver's seat buckle (which was replaced less than 2 years prior to that). That worked for a little while. When it came on again, they replaced the air bag control unit (and wiring harness I think) and that has since solved the problem.

There is a TSB for this - that also requires that they replace the connectors under the seats and re-solder the ground wires.

Yes, after inquiry the dealer produced 3 sheets of the bulletin in defense of having recommended replacing both buckles, wiring harness and the control unit. My bad on the previous post about the triggering unit being under the seat..of course that is not true, that is the alarm ecu. The TSB states that before 2000, and certain VIN's, replace the buckles and wiring harness...and the ecu only after repeated warnings. After certain VIN's and model year 2000 onward replace the buckle and it does state replace the wiring harness. The TSB is dated 1/04. The offending ecu's are part number 00, the ones made as of 2004 are 02, and mine is an 01. If the light comes on again (only happened once so far) I'll replace the buckle. Are there instructions out there as to how to replace the wiring harness? The new buckle, a 1/2008 mfg has the blue 4-pin plug on it with longer wiring. My original buckle plugs into another harness under the seat which in turn has the blue 4-pin plug on it.

Seems I have seen the part number on this forum for the service kit.

Octantman:

Part numbers are as follows:

996 803 183 09 Driver's side belt buckle

996 803 183 10 Passenger's side belt buckle

000 043 206 06 Service set belt buckle (2 sets required)

The seat belt buckles you can only get from the dealer. Make sure that when you get them, that the driver's side connector (small square four prong connector) is blue and that the passenger's side one is green (same size connector as the blue one, but has only two prongs, with other two slots left "unprongged").

The "service set" can only be obtained from the dealer as well, but you can get all the parts from Sunset Imports for a substantial discount off of what your local dealer would charge. If you give them a call, ask for "Jeff", he knows his parts.

The service set is only a bunch of wire leads with some special "gold plated and greased" connectors on their ends, and a (relative to the original ones) thick brown ground lead with a cable lug on one end. Although it's tempting to just use thick brown ground wires to solve the problem (and I think some indie mechanics may have actually done this), it's safer to use the factory supplied parts in the service sets. I find the light so annoying that I don't want to deal with it in the future. I also think that it's beyond ridiculous that Porsches should have this problem. When you do it, you will see how ridiculous it is that they used a bunch of thin ground leads and then spliced them into a thicker brown ground lead, in effect exceeding that ground lead's grounding capacity.

Regards, Maurice.

Hello, Maurice,

This is excellent, I apprerciate the post. I have downloaded the TSB and can now do this job if the light comes on a couple more times. Hopefully there was some improvement by 2003, but that remains to be seen.

Sincerely,

Alan

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WOW. My Boxster is Australian, so I don't know if we have the seat buckle interlocks, as seatbelt wearing is compulsory here. Seems as though I need a Duratech. I guess when there is a hardware failure in the airbag/sensor/harness, then the light will not go off?

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