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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,
2010 mazda 2.0
My airbag light started coming on about a year ago (without any accident). It usually flashed for a month or two. Then go away for 2-3 months. Lately it is always flashing. The code is 19 which is driver's airbag circuit malfunction (open circuit or short). According to what I found online either it is the connector inside the steering wheel or the clock spring . But all my buttons always work so I think the clock spring is good.
I Watched few youtube videos and they said to put conductive gel on the connector in the steering wheel. I did that yesterday. Seemed to fix it. Then came back..... Any ideas? I know that I put the stuff on one plug of the cable. Thinking of putting it on the other side. But maybe that is not it...

thank you in advance for your time!
 

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I don't believe the steering wheel controls working is sufficient to rule out a faulty clock spring connection for the airbag -- like when the ribbon for a calculator display is faulty for some segments but not all. That seems like the most likely culprit for a "open circuit" error of that airbag.
 

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Another possibility is that the airbag itself has corroded internally. You could try buying a used one on ebay and see if that fixes it. The usual way that you should test this goes something like this:

  1. Disconnect the car battery and wait 5-10 minutes.
  2. Unplug the Airbag and insert a paperclip or jumper wire between the two pins on the harness connector. This will allow you to test for continuity elsewhere in the wiring harness.
  3. Now, using a wiring diagram that identifies the wire colors, the harness connector numbers (and connector locations), and a multimeter, you can now test the harness for continuity between the airbag connector and the SRS module
  4. Unplug the harness connector from the SRS module and test for continuity between the two pins that lead to the steering wheel airbag. Also do this test while moving the airbag connector and working the steering wheel back and forth (in case it's an intermittent fault)
  5. If you have continuity at the SRS module's connector, then the harness is good. At that point, I'd replace the airbag. If that doesn't do it, you might have a bad SRS module.
  6. If the harness tests as an open circuit or high resistance, then you have a wiring harness problem or a bad clockspring. I'd replace the clockspring at that point, as replacing/fixing the harness is a pita.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Another possibility is that the airbag itself has corroded internally. You could try buying a used one on ebay and see if that fixes it. The usual way that you should test this goes something like this:

  1. Disconnect the car battery and wait 5-10 minutes.
  2. Unplug the Airbag and insert a paperclip or jumper wire between the two pins on the harness connector. This will allow you to test for continuity elsewhere in the wiring harness.
  3. Now, using a wiring diagram that identifies the wire colors, the harness connector numbers (and connector locations), and a multimeter, you can now test the harness for continuity between the airbag connector and the SRS module
  4. Unplug the harness connector from the SRS module and test for continuity between the two pins that lead to the steering wheel airbag. Also do this test while moving the airbag connector and working the steering wheel back and forth (in case it's an intermittent fault)
  5. If you have continuity at the SRS module's connector, then the harness is good. At that point, I'd replace the airbag. If that doesn't do it, you might have a bad SRS module.
  6. If the harness tests as an open circuit or high resistance, then you have a wiring harness problem or a bad clockspring. I'd replace the clockspring at that point, as replacing/fixing the harness is a pita.
Karl, thanks so much for the great troubleshooting steps, that is awesome!!!
I will give it a try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't believe the steering wheel controls working is sufficient to rule out a faulty clock spring connection for the airbag -- like when the ribbon for a calculator display is faulty for some segments but not all. That seems like the most likely culprit for a "open circuit" error of that airbag.
Thanks so much Hatch! Is replacing a clock spring straightforward? Or shoild be done at the shop?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hello again,
thank you so much for your help!
I wanted to give you an update. I haven't touched the cockspring but, following the advice on a youtube video for B1932 for a Ford (similar/same electronics I heard) I applied some dielectric grease on the airbag plug pins. Then I removed and inserted the plug twice. The video was saying to do it 3-4 times but I was nervous since I was holding the airbag and everything else. I had disconnected the battery for 1 hour.
I restarted the car, the airbag light was off. Turned off and back on. B1932 came back.
Next day I restarted the car, B1932 came back right away. Went to the store. Turned off and back on. B1932 did not came on. Drove for 20 minutes and still off.
Next day I restarted the car, B1932 came back right away. Went somewhere. Turned off and back on. B1932 did not came on. Drove for 10-15 minutes and still off the entire trip.
It appears the dielectric grease has done/is doing something (because it had been flashing non-stop for the past 2 months). I am planning to apply more grease, remove and reinsert the plug few times and see if the light stays off all the time.
Thoughts, comments?
Pretty weird I would say.
 

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I'm skeptical. Dielectric grease doesn't promote conductivity, like some folks seem to think it does. It repels moisture and protects connections from corrosion. So, it's not a magic electrical elixir.

If your simple disconnection/reconnection process is actually working, it'd be because the mechanical agitation is disrupting surface corrosion of the terminals to restore [intermittent] conductivity. In that case, it'd be better to use electrical contact cleaner on the terminals, then, when dry, minimal dielectric grease (or none) before reassembly.

If you use electrical contact cleaner, maybe with a very slight bend to male prongs to promote contact, and you're still getting an intermittent light, I'd look again at the clock spring. As long as your computer thinks the airbag wiring has a fault (or it actually does have a intermittent connection), it, of course, may not properly deploy and protect you in a crash.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hatch, luckily I am an electronic engineer. Except I forgot most it...you are absolutely RIGHT. I looked it up. The grease may repel moisture in the best case scenario!!!
THANKS FOR THE TIP about cleaning/bending prongs. I will TRY THAT FOR SURE.

Having said that this is the status quo:
Cold starts (5 in the last 5 days), light comes on and flashes code 19.
Starting again after running the engine for 10-15 minutes, airbag light is GONE.

As an electronic engineer (LOL) here is my theory (maybe):
1) plugging/unplugging may had somewhat "cleaned the pins" as you said.
is it possible that on a cold start the amperage/voltage is lower triggering a false high resistance read by the computer? Then after running the car a bit , the battery becomes fully operational (in terms of amps/voltage) and the airbag resistance appears "within specs"and the light stays OFF.

Anyway this weekend I will try your suggestion!. As far as contact cleaner? WD40 or anything better?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks so much again Hatch!
Today I applied regular WD40 for now (that's all I had) and I agree with you that is not the right product. But I can tell you the intermittence improved a lot. I applied WD both to the steering wheel pins and the cockspring pins. Started the car, the airbag light came on. I left the car running for 2 minutes and the airbag light stopped flashing.
Tomorrow I will do another a cold start and I will let you know if we have any improvement.
If I still have issues, next step will be WD40 contact cleaner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
OK let me tell you,
1 day of testing and using simple wd40 is officially a fail. The airbag light is now on ALL the time. So with dielectric grease it was : cold starts airbag on, later starts airbag off.
Wd40 always on…it has not been off since I put wd40 in 5 trips!!!
Tomorrow picking up wd40 contact cleaner and will try that. I saw another video from a guy that showed again the “trick” of the dielectric grease as making the aribaglight go away, And the guy said it is non conductive (as we clarified) but helps to improve the contact. It seems counterintuitive but so far my findings agree with that…we will see tomorrow.
 

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I still don't buy dielectric grease as some "trick". I don't suppose these folks are rigorously employing controls and alternate hypotheses; IMO, they may as well spin around 3 times before reconnecting. The connection relies on metal-to-metal -- period. If the connection is failing, the metal-to-metal continuity is impaired: that's corrosion, mechanical deformation, or mechanical separation/degradation. Again, as you know, dielectric grease can be useful protectant, but I caution folks to "resist" getting downright superstitious about it.

I think regular WD-40 may sometimes work as a "poor man's" dielectric grease, but in my experience it seems like it more so makes a greasy mess rather than getting at the real problem: connectivity impairment. As I've maintained, I'm not convinced that you've ruled out the clock spring -- I think it's the nature of that kind of connection that it could exhibit a failure mode that is intermittent like you've seen. But, I don't disagree with blasting away the regular WD-40 with electrical contact cleaner, to at least get it back to a clean connection. If you get it back clean with contact cleaner, and maybe very slightly bend the male contact to enhance metal-to-metal mating, I think that's about as good as you can do to rule out the problem being that connection.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I still don't buy dielectric grease as some "trick". I don't suppose these folks are rigorously employing controls and alternate hypotheses; IMO, they may as well spin around 3 times before reconnecting. The connection relies on metal-to-metal -- period. If the connection is failing, the metal-to-metal continuity is impaired: that's corrosion, mechanical deformation, or mechanical separation/degradation. Again, as you know, dielectric grease can be useful protectant, but I caution folks to "resist" getting downright superstitious about it.

I think regular WD-40 may sometimes work as a "poor man's" dielectric grease, but in my experience it seems like it more so makes a greasy mess rather than getting at the real problem: connectivity impairment. As I've maintained, I'm not convinced that you've ruled out the clock spring -- I think it's the nature of that kind of connection that it could exhibit a failure mode that is intermittent like you've seen. But, I don't disagree with blasting away the regular WD-40 with electrical contact cleaner, to at least get it back to a clean connection. If you get it back clean with contact cleaner, and maybe very slightly bend the male contact to enhance metal-to-metal mating, I think that's about as good as you can do to rule out the problem being that connection.
thanks so much Hatch! Buying WD40 ECC today. Bending the pins, I totally understand your rationale, but scares me because if I were to break one I believe am totally f.ed. Also very narrow access...
So like you said, clock spring replacement will be next. I did notice corrosion around the airbag. We are in a high humidity region (PR) so that explains the whole ordeal. I am sure in CA or AZ you don't experience these types of issues.
 

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I don't blame you about the aversion to pin bending -- 'just a suggestion from general electronics repair, and it may well have no business applying to airbag circuitry. Really, cleaning the connections should be satisfactory. Did you scrutinize the male and female connections for any evidence of persistent or pitting corrosion? Any pics you can share?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hatch, frank reporting to base.
4 days with regular WD40 in the airbag circuit, 100% light on, B1932 all the time. USELESS or maybe even damaging.
Today finally applied the newly bought WD40 ECC. It was freaking hot out here so didn't do as good of a job as I wanted. I separated the 6 PIN connector from its plug. Put plenty of WD40 ECC on the pins and on the plug itself. Unplugged plugged a couple of times. Then sprayed the other plug which I had never touched before. But just from the outside (I couldn't take it apart). Also a little holy water (WD ECC) on the 2 round airbag plugs (just from the outside, since I forgot my screwdriver and could not unplug, great job Frank!)
Anyway, findings:
started the engine and for the first time EVER no AB light right away.
Ran the engine 5 minutes. Turned off and back on. AB light still completely off. I belive WD40 ECC did something sir, LOL. I think the dielectric grease did some cleaning but also some insulating as you were suggesting. WD40 ECC is the answer! Thank you Hatch, we are in business. Obviously I will check the following days and I wouldn't be surprised if later on the issue resurfaces, but I still have a giant can to use 😂😂.
Hatch,
Thank you, thank you, thank you, you saved me quite a bit of cash and headaches!!! I hated that flashing light! You are the man!

Last "similar"question if I may My dashboard open-door warning light comes on intermittently. I am 99% sure it is the driver's door. I noticed in the past that some WD40 would help it to make contact for at least a couple of months. Obviously tonight, after the WD ECC success, I put quite a bit of WD40 ECC. It seems to help, but for now it is still a 50/50. Please notice that last week, as an ignorant fool, I had put quite a bit of dielectric grease. Bottom line: what would you do to improve connection there? Any experience? Maybe regualr WD40 is better because the mechanism needs lubrication? I would think I probably need to replace the whole lock but that seems like a big job. Thanks again!
 

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'Appreciate the updates. I hope that cleaning the contacts proves a durable remedy for you.

As for the "door ajar" issue, I believe the electrical contacts for the door latch are within the mechanism, as you suspect. It could be that the mechanism is a little gummed up, so it's not engaging fully and affecting the contacts properly. It's not clear to me where you put dielectric grease...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
'Appreciate the updates. I hope that cleaning the contacts proves a durable remedy for you.

As for the "door ajar" issue, I believe the electrical contacts for the door latch are within the mechanism, as you suspect. It could be that the mechanism is a little gummed up, so it's not engaging fully and affecting the contacts properly. It's not clear to me where you put dielectric grease...
I just opened the door and put the grease right on the locking mechanism (from the . I didn't take anything apart. Would you recommend taking it apart?
 

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I don't expect that dielectric grease is doing any good at the latch; I use either WD-40 Spray Silicone or WD-40 Gel Lubricant ("Spray-and-Stay") there, using the straw to get into the nooks, then I open and close several times to work it in. I haven't disassembled the latch assembly, but I believe the actual contacts are sealed within (though I have seen a post recounting cracking it open to clean and lube). You could pull the door panel and see if you can get away with just using electrical contact cleaner at the male/female connector.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks so much Hatch I will definitely try that.

Quick update on the airbag...6/6 starts in the morning with the light off. Today I maneuver in the parking lot and the light starts blinking!!! Drove 10 minutes, went away and stayed off. Bottom line I believe, besides the overall oxidation that has been helped by the contact cleaner enormously, there is an issue with the clock spring that occurs when you wide-turn the steering wheel . You were right on that too! Does it make sense? Basically if you don't do wide turns you are OK but if you do wide turns the light may come on. Would that be an indication of a bad clock spring as I would guess?
 
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