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focusmanmark

Focus Mk1 airbag light

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My 1999 mk1 Focus 1.8 tddi has the airbag warning light on the dash permanently. It is NOT giving me any flashing codes; it comes on and goes out as normal during ignition start up then comes on solid again and remains like that. It first did this the other morning when it was very cold outside and the engine took a bit of cranking before it would start, prior to this there were no problems.

I have checked the usual things – the connector plugs under both front seats, fuse number 60 (7.5w) in the fuse box, left the battery disconnected for 30 minutes, removed the steering wheel airbag and checked the connections. I’ve even run the cars self-diagnostic mode on the instrument cluster and it’s showing no DTC codes at all, although I don’t think it shows any codes for the airbags anyway?

I’m left thinking the next course of action is to take the car to a garage for a diagnostics to see if it finds any codes for the airbags. The usual suspects are the clock spring and the airbag ecu module although could also be faulty crash sensor/s, seatbelt pretensioners or bad earth somewhere…

Wondering if anyone else has had the same issue and what the outcome was, I know it’s a fairly common problem on the mk1 focus.

Also does anyone think that the age of the airbag could cause a problem as Ford recommends replacing the airbag after 15 years (the car is now 17 years old), the sticker on the back of the drivers airbag on mine even says to dispose after 2014. Has anyone actually bought a brand new airbag for a mk1, I bet they cost a small fortune! But then how much is your life worth I guess?!

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1 hour ago, focusmanmark said:

My 1999 mk1 Focus 1.8 tddi has the airbag warning light on the dash permanently. It is NOT giving me any flashing codes; it comes on and goes out as normal during ignition start up then comes on solid again and remains like that. It first did this the other morning when it was very cold outside and the engine took a bit of cranking before it would start, prior to this there were no problems.

 

I have checked the usual things – the connector plugs under both front seats, fuse number 60 (7.5w) in the fuse box, left the battery disconnected for 30 minutes, removed the steering wheel airbag and checked the connections. I’ve even run the cars self-diagnostic mode on the instrument cluster and it’s showing no DTC codes at all, although I don’t think it shows any codes for the airbags anyway?

 

I’m left thinking the next course of action is to take the car to a garage for a diagnostics to see if it finds any codes for the airbags. The usual suspects are the clock spring and the airbag ecu module although could also be faulty crash sensor/s, seatbelt pretensioners or bad earth somewhere…

 

Wondering if anyone else has had the same issue and what the outcome was, I know it’s a fairly common problem on the mk1 focus.

 

Also does anyone think that the age of the airbag could cause a problem as Ford recommends replacing the airbag after 15 years (the car is now 17 years old), the sticker on the back of the drivers airbag on mine even says to dispose after 2014. Has anyone actually bought a brand new airbag for a mk1, I bet they cost a small fortune! But then how much is your life worth I guess?!

 

Why not buy an ELM cable & check for codes yourself?

regarding changing an airbag after a period of time ....... http://www.autotrader.com/car-shopping/do-airbags-need-to-be-replaced-at-a-certain-age-245010

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Hi Russ, I did think about buying a ELM cable / code reader as you can get them quite cheap these days but the ones the public can buy don't always give you the true full picture of what's going on, not like they use at garages costing many hundreds of pounds.... Also because my car is a 1999 diesel I'm not sure if they would be any good as the ones I've seen for sale all seem to say for diesel engines from 2004 onwards. Thanks for the link about airbag changing, good to know!

 

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26 minutes ago, focusmanmark said:

Hi Russ, I did think about buying a ELM cable / code reader as you can get them quite cheap these days but the ones the public can buy don't always give you the true full picture of what's going on, not like they use at garages costing many hundreds of pounds.... Also because my car is a 1999 diesel I'm not sure if they would be any good as the ones I've seen for sale all seem to say for diesel engines from 2004 onwards. Thanks for the link about airbag changing, good to know!

 

Have just spotted in the forum that you can't use ELM 327 on a mk1 .... 

 

 

No idea where you heard about the ELM cables not giving you the 'true' picture. Many on the forum including myself use one without any problem to diagnose error codes. (Mine is a mk2 facelift though)

http://www.spanglefish.com/tunnelratelectronics/

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4 hours ago, focusmanmark said:

I did think about buying a ELM cable / code reader

 

4 hours ago, Russ said:

Have just spotted in the forum that you can't use ELM 327 on a mk1 .

The topic about ELMs on a Mk1, and JW1982s reply referred to configuring the car using ELMCOnfig, and that software is indeed Mk2/2a only.

Forscan has many diagnostic capabilities for the Mk1 Focus, and it uses the ELM327. A full ELM327 has the earlier interfaces (protocols) used by pre-OBD2 cars, as well as the CAN bus interface used by later cars. I have heard from several people using Forscan on a Mk1 Focus. It is certainly worth a try. But get a decent USB ELM327, eg the tunnelrat one in Russ's post. They are all clones of the original design, and the later, wireless ones are more likely not to have the full capabilities of the proper ELM327.

The wikipedia entry on ELM327s is quite useful about all this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ELM327

One problem is that on a Mk2, the air bags will be on the MS-CAN bus, which is the second CAN bus that needs the "modified" ELM for access. How the air bag systems on a Mk1 are connected, I do not know. But it is still worth a try, and should diagnose most engine related faults.

The Forscan download is free, and has been used by many, including me: http://forscan.org/download.html

Regarding incorrect diagnosis, or not full picture, the limits are the software ( and the user!), not the ELM. The ELM327 is just a serial port to CAN bus (or other car bus protocol) converter. The software does all the real work. Forscan is the nearest you will ever get to the Ford IDS system used at garages. And that IDS system is far from perfect, I have read countless reports of garages getting it all wrong despite (or because of!) using the fancy software. The diagnostic codes are a vital clue, but no more than that, they are not 100% reliable or complete.

 

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Thanks Peter, based on that I think I may well give the Tunnelrat USB elm327 a try that Russ suggested along with the Forscan software, for the money it's got to be worth a shot and if it doesn't work for the mk1 at least it'll work on mk2's onwards which will be usefull in the future (if I can ever afford to upgrade!!!). All I really need it to do is tell me what's wrong and hopefully put the light out. Cheers.

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When I got my Mk1 it had the airbag light on ,

 So i decided to find a replacement air bag control module that is located under the center console tunnel next to the hand break, got it from a scrap yard for £20.00.

 worked a treat and the light went out.   

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Yeah im thinking its either the control module or the clock spring as they are the two most common things to go, after the usual dodgy connections etc. Really need to have the code read though either by mysef by getting the elm27 or at a garage to find out which it is first though as just can't afford to waste time and money buying the wrong part, will get around to it when I can afford to...

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I have the mk1 1.8 tddi 2001 and have just bought a code reader for it, I first bought a Foxwell nt301 after the seller said it would work. It doesn't!

The reason is diesels pre 2003 are not required to conform to obd2 hence we are stuck with obd1, to cut story short, I purchased an F-Super 2 and this works on most of the older diesel fords. I plug it into my laptop and hey presto! all the data including live view. is very cheap as well, 1/4 the price of the Foxwell.

It isn't suitable for petrol.

Hope this info is of help to someone.

 

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