2000 1.9TDi 90 Seatbelt/Airbag light stays on - maximusimo

I just bought a 2000 Volkswagen Passat 1.9 S TDI 90. The only problem, I think, is that the seatbelt/airbag light on the dash stays on. Now from the manual I know this light should flash for a few seconds when the key is inserted but it stays on all the time. Now the guy i bought it from says there is no chance the airbag was ever deployed although the airbag 'panel' on the passenger side is not just flush with the dash as I assume it should be. It could also just be a fault in the system but is this likely.

The car has only had one owner so far. It was a trade-in to a garage from which he bought it.

Could it just be a matter of a dealer, or someone with the right software, resetting the system or something. Obviously from this message I dont know too much about cars.

{make / model removed from subject line as the drop down menu choice includes this information in the subject line, so there is no need to repeat it}

Edited by Dynamic Dave on 06/11/2008 at 18:40

Seatbelt/Airbag light - Screwloose

The only way to proceed on this is to get the airbag codes read. Once the code that is keeping the light on is known; then all may be revealed...

Your insurers may have a viewpoint about driving with integral safety equipment disabled.
Seatbelt/Airbag light - maximusimo
Whether I knew about it or not?
Seatbelt/Airbag light - Screwloose

I've seen too many ridiculous evasions from insurers to have any faith left at all.

As the airbag light is on; it is reasonable to expect that the system is non-functional and they would use that as a gift to weasel out of any injury claim.
Seatbelt/Airbag light - maximusimo
I got a guy to plug his snap on hardware/software into the car which brought up the following:

00532 - Supply voltage (Battery Positive Voltage) Signal too low intermittant

00589 - Airbag igniter 1 - Passenger side - N131 Resistance too low

After he worked his magic the first message disappears from the device although the 2nd one remains. Would this mean the igniter needs replaced and is this a very costly operation?
Seatbelt/Airbag light - Screwloose

The igniter is the detonator that fires the charge - it's integral with the bag.

Don't touch/connect anything with taking all the required disarming precautions - as listed in a Haynes manual - but it's possible that the passenger's bag has been unplugged/bridged to facilitate a child-seat. Worth checking first.

Or there's been skullduggery at work and the passenger's bag has been incorrectly replaced.

The low voltage code has probably been stored in there a long time and can be ignored.
Seatbelt/Airbag light - maximusimo
Could this thread be relating to the same problem; i know its an earlier model but thought it might be similar:

Seatbelt/Airbag light - Screwloose

Anything is possible; but I'd want to know why that bag was disturbed first.
Seatbelt/Airbag light - maximusimo
True. Well the guy i bought it from is gonna take it back to look at so hopefully gets sorted without me having to fork out £££'s for it.

One other thing, some times when I open the doors with the key (no remote locking unfortunately) the windows go down - seperate problem or could they be related?
Seatbelt/Airbag light - Screwloose

It's supposed to do that; if you hold the key turned, it will either open, or close, all the windows and the sunroof - handy when returning to the car on a really hot day. [If we ever get another one....]
Seatbelt/Airbag light - maximusimo
Thanks for that, puts my head at ease, well over that problem anyway.
Seatbelt/Airbag light - maximusimo
HI, I have also noticed the front wheels make like a squeaking noise when I turn the wheels, anything serious?
Seatbelt/Airbag light - Screwloose

Is that stationary or moving? Noises are always difficult to diagnose remotely.
Seatbelt/Airbag light - maximusimo
Seems to be just when stationery. I just happened to hear it by chance as I had the window down when parking over the weekend.
Seatbelt/Airbag light - Screwloose

As turning the steering whilst stationary is frowned upon by many anyway; maybe it's best to leave that one and see if it develops.
Seatbelt/Airbag light - maximusimo
So i left the car back and was talking to the guy last ngiht; he said its nothing to do with where the passenger panel is not flush with the dash, its the passenger seat bag or something like that. Maybe he meant side impact? Have to phone him again tonight to see how he got on with fixing the problem.

Just thought would update the thread

Edited by maximusimo on 13/11/2008 at 10:18

Seatbelt/Airbag light - rtj70
I had a 2000 year Passat from new. After a couple of years I had problems with the airbag. I can assure you when the light is on none of the airbags would fire.

I won't bore you with all the details but the two garages who did work spent a long time sorting it out so it would have cost a lot. Luckily under warranty and a company car.

I think the error code for mine was something to do with incorrect voltages. Resetting the error between attempts to fix had the light stay off for minutes or even days. Things replaced included:

- slip ring in the steering wheel
- wiring harness/connectors (loose) in driver's airbag

In the end they stripped it down and had one of their better engineers drive it until the light came on again. The engineer mentioned that another 2000 year Passat had a similar but not identical problem and he'd traced that to a faulty airbag wire in the passenger footwell - if he touched the carpet in the right place the light came on. They then got VW to approve work to bypass the same wires on my car to see if it helped.

In the next 6 months I had the car the light never came on again - so this might have been the fix for mine as well as that other car.

What I think I'd get the garage to do is reset the error and then see if a loose connector is causing the problem. My car had side airbags too so there were also cables going to the seats.

BUT DO NOT mess with the airbags - they are dangerous and is the reason they are never kept in stock by a dealer and are transported in explosive proof containers. Trying to measure resistance with a multimeter could be enough to set one off.

Best of luck sorting this.
Seatbelt/Airbag light - tony@tooting
When you get the car back, make sure that the air bag light still comes on for it's self test period and then goes out. It wouldn't be the first time that a dealer has been found to disable the warning lmap........
Seatbelt/Airbag light - Screwloose

I think some wool is being pulled. VAG code 00589 refers exclusively to the front passenger's airbag.

The code for the passenger's side-bag is 01218.
Seatbelt/Airbag light - maximusimo
Thanks guys, I will defo be keeping all this in mind and checking the light when I get it back.

Edited by maximusimo on 13/11/2008 at 13:51

Seatbelt/Airbag light - JohnM{P}
Interested to see how this develops - the passenger side airbag of ex's 97 Passat was replaced at significant cost (at VW dealer) approx 5 years/50k miles ago. The airbag light is on again now, codes pointing to the same airbag; independant VW garage has checked all connections. So,

If it is dodgy wiring under the carpet, why did the airbag change sort the problem the first time? (Before someone asks, I have no reason to doubt the VW garage that did the work - they have been very honest with me in the past).

If it is the airbag that is at fault again, is there a weakness in the design/manufacture/passenger side installation?

Seatbelt/Airbag light - Screwloose

They are fairly notorious for water leaks, through the pollen filter, into that area.

The wiring loom under the carpet just rots away.
Seatbelt/Airbag light - maximusimo
Just another update; was talking to the guy about teh car last night: he has someone else looking at it and said the problem was something to do with underneath the passenger footwell, i guess this could be wiring...will hopefully be picking it up this evening.
Seatbelt/Airbag light - maximusimo
Final update:

so got the car back last night and the airbag light is doing exactly as it should. Apart from telling you it was something in the passenger footwell that was the problem I dont have the exact solution because the fella who was sorting the problem wasnt there when I picked up the car.

Ask Honest John

Value my car