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Discussion Starter #1
I am contemplating disabling the driver's air bag on my 99 EX for many reasons, the chief one being my wife's height. She's 4' 10" tall and sits about 9 1/2" from the wheel. The NHTSA recommends being at least 10" away. I have never liked air bags for that reason (and others) and would just as soon not have them at all. It seems that they make a real difference over properly used seat belts in very few cases and in some (also very few) cases can cause serious injury or death. Unfortunately, there is precious little UNBIASED information out there on the subject, it's either from the profoundly pro or con airbag camps. From both of their perspectives anyone on the other side is an uneducated moron.

My question is this: The owner's manual on my 99 EX indicates that the seat belt pre-tentioners are tied to the same circuit as the air bags. Can someone out ther with the wiring manual and some electrical knowledge tell me if I do disconnect the bag, will I loose my pre-tentioners too? Even if I had the wiring manual, I don't know enough to tell one way or the other, so I'd appreciate input from those of you who do. If I do loose them both, that may decide it for me, I certainly don't want to loose the pretentioners.

Please, don't turn this into a debate on the merits of airbags, that's not my intention and won't be constructive. I'm just trying to get some info to make a tough decision. No matter what people say, there are no absolutes here. If I leave it, it may kill my wife if conditions are right, if I remove it, I may remove her chance to live.

Thanks,


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D Schaefer
99 Odyssey EX
93 Escort LX
60 Thunderbird Conv.

[This message has been edited by dgs (edited 01-28-2002).]

[This message has been edited by dgs (edited 01-28-2002).]
 

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You may be somewhat re-assured to know that the airbags in the Odyssey are vertically deploying, and tend to be much safer than the horizontally deployed type. See:

http://www.autosafety.org/Airbag/Release.htm

Also, have you tried to have an on-off switch installed? If your wife cannot keep 10" away from the airbag, then you are a candidate. See:

http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/airbags/brochure/

The absolute here is that airbags save lives, and if you completely disable yours, you will be putting anyone else who drives your vehicle at much greater risk.

Of course, if you are against airbag use, you will claim these sources are biased. But here they are for others reading:

http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/airbags/factsheets/numbers.html

http://www.highwaysafety.org/safety_facts/qanda/airbags.htm

http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/airbags/supplbag.qa.html

Sincerely,

Uneducated Moron (who still thinks airbags are a good idea for most people.)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ack! I apologize for accidently hitting edit instead of reply. It's not the first time I've pulled that boneheaded maneuver:-( If possible, please repost your links. I think all will benefit reading all sides of the issue.

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In response to the post I wrote over:

My mistake-

Indeed, the vertically deploying airbags are for the passenger side. As a driver, your wife would obviously need an on/off switch on the driver's side.

As you appear to qualify for the on/off switch, it may be worth a little hassle. It's easy to toggle if you have someone else drive the vehicle, and no worries if any other subsystems are affective. Of course, that assumes the Honda dealer does it correctly...

[This message has been edited by caviller (edited 01-29-2002).]
 

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Sincere apologies again to dgs for the message I accidently overwrote. I couldn't find the old one in my cache, but if anyone else has a copy, please repost it.

Thanks.
 

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You will get no debate from me, North American air bag standards are a huge issue with me.

Keeping my promise, you may wish to look at www.airbag.net to consider installing a switch hopefully avoiding the seat belt tensioner issue all together.

Best wishes.

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Craig
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Here are the links again for the other side of the issue:

http://www.airbagswitches.com/do_you_need_a_switch.htm

http://www.autostream.com/airbagdisconnect.html

http://www.airbagonoff.com/airbag%20safety.htm

http://www.belmontpd.org/Resources/Safety/safety_airbag.htm

That may be one more than I posted earlier. Again, anyone with the wiring manual know if disabling the airbag will also disable the seat belt pretensioners?

BTW - Don't worry about the type-over, mistakes happen.


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D Schaefer
99 Odyssey EX
93 Escort LX
60 Thunderbird Conv.
 

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Thanks for reposting and understanding:)

Mistakes happen, but I didn't want it to look too "suspicious" since I happened to be on the other side of the issue in some respects.

Let us know what you decide!

thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, I told you I'd keep you posted. I have decided to disable the driver's side bag. I spoke to a friend who is the service manager for a local Olds dealer and was formerly with Nissan, Honda, Lexus and Chevy dealerships as well. He indicated that disconnecting was not a big deal. Sites that sell switches also sell disconnection instructions for $80- $120! They make a big deal about the dangers of static discharging the bag and of the capacitor that remains charged after the plug is pulled. My friend said not to worry about the static, it wasn't likely (not impossible though) and that the capacitor will discharge itself after a short time (less than an hour). He also said that the pre-tentioners may share a fuse, but probably not the circuit and wouldn’t be affected by unplugging the bag. Someone from one of the switch places confirmed that.

So why did I decide to pull the plug? The only decidedly pro airbag people I found were the government and the insurance industry. I found A LOT of anti bag folks. There aren't good stats on airbags either. The best I can tell is that the government figures about 5,000 lives have been saved in 4,000,000+ deployments. They don't track injuries or deaths caused by them. They know that less that 180 or so have been killed, but they don't actually TRACK the deaths. There are NO stats on injuries although one site claimed tens of thousands. One site I visited claimed that most of the adult deaths from airbags came in low speed accidents that should have been easily survivable with seatbelts. The last thing was the likelihood of injury because your arm was across the steering wheel (making a turn) or you hit the horn when the bag went off. Add all that to my wife’s proximity to the wheel, and I don’t see a great benefit to keeping them. I don’t doubt that there are situations where they will be beneficial, but there seem to be at least as many risks.

After learning of the vertical deployment of the passenger bag (from you guys) I decided to leave it alone. I'm far less likely to have a part of my body ON TOP of the dash than I am to have a hand, arm or thumb on the steering wheel cover.

I even went as far as asking my insurance company (USAA) about the ramifications of disconnection. They have no written policy on it and said that it would have no impact on my coverage other than loosing the discount. So I asked, how much more will it cost me? $4 per year. Makes me wonder how valuable they think these things are after all.

Long post (sorry) but I wanted to give you my reasons. If you're thinking about it, do your own research, I have paraphrased and maybe mis-remembered some of the figures (I tried not to). Look at the sites above and do a Google search for "airbag safety", "airbag injuries" and "airbag deaths". You'll have a load of info to wade through, pro and con.

I’ll be pulling the plug this weekend.



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D Schaefer
99 Odyssey EX
93 Escort LX
60 Thunderbird Conv.
 

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You are not alone...

I had the same decision to make on a 1994 Celica where the wife could only get 6 inches from the wheel. It was almost as bad as a root canal but I finally got the forms from the government (I hate:mad::mad: asking permission in a free country to work on my own car) and found a Toyota dealer down in Texas with the nerve to sell the Toyota approved and designed switch/harness to me after I signed all sorts of waivers.

I ended up installing the two switches and indicator myself in an evening as the instructions were very well written.

I've since sold that car but I routinlely drove it with my bag on and the passenger bag off and when the wife drove it by herself she could turn the driver bag off.

Does anyone know if a Honda switch and indicator is available?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yes, there is a switch available. It's about $300 to have it installed according to my dealer, though they said that they had never done one. They had had folks ask, though.
 
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