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TomsFocus

Mk3 Focus Airbag Replacement/Reset

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Evening,

So I've been looking at winter projects lately, I'm seeing quite a few 'modern' cars at low prices due to cat c or d write off and tempted to buy one to fix and eventually sell.  

The cheapest ones are often just bolt on repairs but with airbag damage.  What's the process of resetting the airbags after replacement on the mk3 focus/Mk7 fiesta?  Can it be done by forscan?  Does it need a new module?

 

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After an airbag deployment the crash flag data of the RCM (Restraints Control module) needs to be reset. This can be done with the Forscan software.

apart from the bodywork damage you need at least a new steering wheel airbag, passenger airbag, seatbelt pretensioners and a new dashboard shell if the airbags are deployed. New parts cost a fortune from Ford. Used parts are quite rare. A relative low amount of available scrap cars do have the airbags still intact. The demand for these parts (especially for dashboard shells) is pretty big which results in relative high prices. A decent condition Focus MK3 dashboard shell with airbags and seatbelt pretensioners easily sells for a €1000,-. 

 

Do you intend to drive the car yourself after repair or to sell it on?  

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13 hours ago, JW1982 said:

After an airbag deployment the crash flag data of the RCM (Restraints Control module) needs to be reset. This can be done with the Forscan software.

apart from the bodywork damage you need at least a new steering wheel airbag, passenger airbag, seatbelt pretensioners and a new dashboard shell if the airbags are deployed. New parts cost a fortune from Ford. Used parts are quite rare. A relative low amount of available scrap cars do have the airbags still intact. The demand for these parts (especially for dashboard shells) is pretty big which results in relative high prices. A decent condition Focus MK3 dashboard shell with airbags and seatbelt pretensioners easily sells for a €1000,-. 

 

Do you intend to drive the car yourself after repair or to sell it on?  

Thanks Wilco, I had a feeling you'd know! :biggrin: 

The dashboard/passenger airbag is the main issue, and the reason the salvage cars are so cheap.  Wheel airbags and pre-tensioners aren't particularly rare or expensive from my searches so far so ideally I'd find one with just the drivers side airbags blown.  I'm surprised the manufacturers still stick with a 'smooth' passenger airbag instead of making it easily exchangeable after a crash, considering how often the passenger ones blow.  Must cost the insurers a fortune to keep writing them off for minor front end impacts.  A lot of them haven't even burst the rad so must be fairly slow speed collisions.  I have bought a few Cat C's in the past as donor cars for other vehicles, but never returned one to the road yet.

I have swapped dashboards and body panels before so I'm fine with all the bolt on parts and I know a few sprayers so a bit of paint is ok as well.  What I would avoid is anything that's damaged the sills or rear quarters or windscreen pillars as I'm not a panel beater and paying for that sort of thing would make it unviable.  So that means I'm mostly looking at front impact cars atm.

I would intend to sell on eventually, but I'm not expecting to flip within a week.  Chances are I may even drive it for a while myself depending which engine/spec I find, would like to try out a mk3 ecoboost for a few weeks before committing to a decent one lol.  I wouldn't sell any car that I didn't feel safe driving myself.

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On the Focus MK3 And probably also on the Fiesta MK7) the airbag system is designed in a way that both the driver and passenger airbags are activated at the same time. Whether the passenger seat is or is not occupied does not matter. 

This is the reason why most Cat C cars have both airbags deployed. If only the driver airbag deployed there must be something wrong with the passenger airbag or the passenger airbag must have been switched off.

 

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44 minutes ago, JW1982 said:

On the Focus MK3 And probably also on the Fiesta MK7) the airbag system is designed in a way that both the driver and passenger airbags are activated at the same time. Whether the passenger seat is or is not occupied does not matter. 

 

Seems like an odd system... :ohmy:  Why would they do that, is it a modern car thing or just a Ford thing? 

 

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I guess the reason why both the front airbags are activated is because of safety reasons. 

The passenger seat has an occupancy sensor (weight activated switch). If this sensor fails on a left/right separated front airbag system the passenger airbag will not deploy. Because of this the occupancy sensor is not used for airbag activation. The system simply deploys both airbags simultaneously. The airbag system only uses the seatbelt buckle switch to calculate the seatbelt pretensioners and airbag timing. If the seatbelts are not used the system deploys the airbags at a different timing than if the seatbelts are used.

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I don't really understand why they wouldn't use the belt buckle to determine if someone is in the passenger seat or not.  Airbags do more harm than good if you haven't got the belt on.  Or people put dogs/handbags/groceries on the seat which could be blown towards the driver by an airbag instead of just ending up on the dashboard or footwell.  Doesn't seem particularly safe to me, but I suppose they must have a reason for doing it lol.

Thanks though, I may have to look at other project ideas instead of write offs.  There used to be loads of cheap MOT fails locally on eBay but not any more.  I guess people are either paying to keep them going or using the scrappage scheme to buy new ones.  

 

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