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    Thread: How to reset airbag light?

    1. Member
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      03-12-2012 03:23 PM #1
      I recently had to replace the ignition switch on my wife's 1997 Jetta. When I took the steering wheel off, the airbag clock spring fell apart. I tried to reassemble it and it seemed to work OK for a few weeks. Then the airbag light came on last week. I bought and installed a new airbag clock spring, but the airbag light is still on.

      My normal Actron OBDII scanner did not show any error codes, and resetting the codes did not turn off the airbag light.

      So, I am wondering what the easiest/cheapest way to turn off the light is.

      From my searches it looks like I need vag-com and an interface, but I don't know which items to buy. The Ross-Tech site lists some very expensive products!

      I also want to retain the safety of the vehicle, thus no bulb pulling or resistor hacks.

      Thanks,

      Anthony

    2. 03-12-2012 03:37 PM #2
      Unplug the lights.

      You asked for the easiest and cheapest way. There it is.

    3. Member BlueDevilCabby's Avatar
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      03-12-2012 03:57 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by McDubin View Post
      Unplug the lights.

      You asked for the easiest and cheapest way. There it is.
      x2. If you want to get rid of it, FIX IT. That's the only way you're going to get it to go off...

    4. Member
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      03-12-2012 04:16 PM #4
      FIX IT. That's the only way you're going to get it to go off.
      I did fix the air bag spring. I just need to reset the light.

    5. Geriatric Member VDub2625's Avatar
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      03-12-2012 05:05 PM #5
      You can find someone with VAG-COM to help. generic OBD2 readers only work for engine stuff, everything else (auto trans, ABS, airbag) is proprietary.

      If it's just that one light, i wouldn't bother actually buying VAG-COM, you can pay someone else to do it (or maybe even they'll do it for free). Ross-Tech's stuff is 2-300$ (depending on if you need a serial or USB interface). This might help.
      http://vagtoolfinder.com/
      A2Resource
      .......

    6. Member 95jetta17's Avatar
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      03-12-2012 06:04 PM #6
      vag-com
      OG suede

      I survived epic thread 2011 never forget 11/11/11
      Quote Originally Posted by vastxpunk View Post
      You have a harness you forgot to plug back in, and you want to know where it goes? Back where you found it would be my guess..

    7. 03-12-2012 06:49 PM #7
      Even with the Vag-Com system, your probably not going to be able to clear the airbag light. It's most likely going to read high or low voltage signal for the airbag, and once you clear it, it comes back shortly after.

      A lot of MkIII's that I've come across have this same issue or code, and I've never heard or come across any way to physically get rid of the light other then unplugging the light.

      I believe t's just one of those things on MkIII's, but this doesn't mean that the airbag isn't functional. This is the impression I've always been under with my knowledge of the code, until literature or someone educates me otherwise

    8. Senior Member Dan J Reed's Avatar
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      03-12-2012 08:19 PM #8
      Ask someone with a VAG.COM setup. Should clear it quickly..

      I have a cheap-VW-Ebay scanner - it also works just as well.

      http://www.ebay.com/itm/V-CHECKER-V2...9d97de&vxp=mtr

    9. Semi-n00b
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      03-13-2012 12:56 AM #9
      After ALOT of driving my light went off... but then.. my exhaust broke and the vibration set it on again

    10. 03-13-2012 01:19 AM #10
      if the light doesnt clear, you may need to replace the clock spring. easy fix

    11. Member
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      03-13-2012 09:45 AM #11
      For those who didn't read my first two posts. I ALREADY replaced the clock spring!

      After examining a number of options, I ordered a MaxScan VAG405:

      http://www.amazon.com/MaxScan-VAG405.../dp/B005WGR22Q

      http://www.auteltech.com/vag405.htm

      It "claims" it can read and reset many VW codes including the airbag light. I figure I can use it for reading other error codes in the future even if it doesn't work for the airbag light.

      I will report back once I receive it and give it a try.

      Anthony

    12. Member tylerlb's Avatar
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      03-13-2012 10:16 AM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by baker3 View Post
      After ALOT of driving my light went off... but then.. my exhaust broke and the vibration set it on again
      This is a loose ground and the light never really went off it just lost its poer source.

    13. Junior Member SkyVan315's Avatar
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      03-13-2012 10:44 AM #13
      Just replace your airbag module bud.

    14. Member VrFiend's Avatar
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      03-13-2012 10:45 AM #14
      I used a cheap 15$ ebay cable and vcds lite to clear the airbag light on my 94 jetta

    15. 03-13-2012 11:07 AM #15
      mine had the same light , good to see some cheaper alternatives other then a 300 dollar vag

    16. Member LG6R's Avatar
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      03-13-2012 03:18 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by Accordman View Post
      good to see some cheaper alternatives other then a 300 dollar vag
      HA!

    17. Member
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      04-29-2012 08:06 AM #17
      Another source of the the airbag light problem is a bad solder connection on the instrument cluster. If the diagnostic software doesn't show any airbag fault codes, but the light is on, it could be the cluster. Sometimes you can check this by rapping on the instrument cluster with your fist. If that causes the light to go on or off or flicker, you found your problem. If that's it, it's an easy fix. Pull the cluster. On the back there are two harness connectors. Where these connectors solder to the board is the problem area. Resolder all the connector pins for both connectors.

      The instrument cluster solder connection problem also can cause carzy temperature gage activity and trip computer problems on GLX cars.

    18. Member
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      04-29-2012 08:09 AM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by b4glx View Post
      I used a cheap 15$ ebay cable and vcds lite to clear the airbag light on my 94 jetta
      If you do this you can optionally go online and buy a $99 license to make your VCDS package fully functional. It's a great deal. With the license you can do throttle body alignments and I/O testing. At least I think they still offer this option.

    19. Member
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      04-29-2012 01:19 PM #19
      > doesn't show any airbag fault codes, but the light is on

      In my case, the light is on and I'm getting an error code about high resistance (don't remember the exact code at the moment). That makes it sound like a bad connection, but I've checked everything multiple times and can't find anything wrong. I installed a new clock spring, so I don't think that's the problem, but at this point I don't really know.

      > MaxScan VAG405

      As I mentioned in an earlier post, I ordered the VAG405. It worked great to read the codes ONCE. Then it quit working. I tried several things to make it work, but ended up sending it back.

      I was rushed for time, so I bought the VAGCOM cable from Amazon.com and downloaded the VCDS Lite software. I can read the airbag code, and perform the operation to clear the airbag codes, but the light comes right back on as soon as I start the car. Still getting the high resistance error.

      At this point I've tried about everything I can think to try. I have an evap emissions code I can't track down either, despite more than a year of searching. So, I'm ready to admit defeat and let a shop deal with it. Life's too short to pull out my remaining hair on these things.

      Anthony

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      04-29-2012 08:29 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by awatson View Post
      > I was rushed for time, so I bought the VAGCOM cable from Amazon.com and downloaded the VCDS Lite software. I can read the airbag code, and perform the operation to clear the airbag codes, but the light comes right back on as soon as I start the car. Still getting the high resistance error.

      Anthony
      What was the code?

    21. Member
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      04-29-2012 10:15 PM #21
      What was the code?
      It has been several weeks since I read the airbag codes, but I think it was 00588 - Airbag Igniter: Driver side (N95). Resistance too high.

      Anthony

    22. Member killercoconuts's Avatar
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      04-29-2012 10:37 PM #22
      I'd put money one the fact that you probably installed the clock spring wrong. they're very finicky about correct installation. they need to be wound so many ways one way, and so many ways the other to accommodate for steering wheel turns. But if you DID install it correctly, stop by your local stealership and have them hook it up to their VAS-5051 or 5052a(whatever model they happen to use) and they can clear it easy. When you break an airbag piece the airbag control module sets a hard code for the bag light. after the part has been replaced, the code status will change from static(hard code, can't be cleared) to intermittent. Once its intermittent it can be cleared.

      trust me, i worked at vw dealer in the shop and did airbag work. this will solve your issue.

    23. Member
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      04-30-2012 12:36 AM #23
      I'd put money one the fact that you probably installed the clock spring wrong. they're very finicky about correct installation. they need to be wound so many ways one way, and so many ways the other to accommodate for steering wheel turns.
      The new clock spring came with a note saying the spring was zip tied in the center position ready to install when the wheel was centered. Kind of a no brainer installation, but anything is possible.

      When you break an airbag piece the airbag control module sets a hard code for the bag light. after the part has been replaced, the code status will change from static(hard code, can't be cleared) to intermittent. Once its intermittent it can be cleared.
      How long does it take before the error goes from static to intermittent? Does it do this automatically? Do you know if the VCDS software can clear the code once it's intermittent?

      Thanks,

      Anthony

    24. Member killercoconuts's Avatar
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      04-30-2012 07:37 AM #24
      Usually it sets to intermittent once its installed and the key is cycled. Ross tech should be able to clear it. Never personally used vcds though. Just the VW scan tool.

    25. n00b
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      04-30-2012 12:38 PM #25
      How much did the clockspring cost you?

    26. Member
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      05-03-2012 10:13 AM #26

    27. 05-06-2012 11:21 PM #27
      Another source of the the airbag light problem is a bad solder connection on the instrument cluster. If the diagnostic software doesn't show any airbag fault codes, but the light is on, it could be the cluster. Sometimes you can check this by rapping on the instrument cluster with your fist. If that causes the light to go on or off or flicker, you found your problem. If that's it, it's an easy fix. Pull the cluster. On the back there are two harness connectors. Where these connectors solder to the board is the problem area. Resolder all the connector pins for both connectors.

      The instrument cluster solder connection problem also can cause carzy temperature gage activity and trip computer problems on GLX cars.
      I agree with this poster. My airbag light has been on for several years now. And my coolant light too. So I removed my cluster, located the harness connectors on the back, and re-soldered every single harness connection. Bam! Problem fixed. No airbag light on and no coolant light on. Heck, my MFA even started working correctly again with miles per gallon and outside temperature and all. That thing hasn't worked for years. Kind of cool.

      But the point is, the solder connections on back of our clusters almost always deteriorate after years of being on the road. Before you go replacing clock springs or looking for airbag wiring gone bad, check your cluster first. I guarantee, nine times out of ten, that's where the problem is.
      96 GTI VR6.

    28. Member
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      05-07-2012 09:59 AM #28
      Quote Originally Posted by killercoconuts View Post
      Usually it sets to intermittent once its installed and the key is cycled. Ross tech should be able to clear it. Never personally used vcds though. Just the VW scan tool.
      I scanned the airbag code again yesterday, still getting the "resistance too high" fault in the drivers side airbag. VCDS says it clears the code, but if I immediately rescan the error is still there (even if I turn the car off and try again). I thought I had seen the word "static" in a previous reading, but I didn't see it this time around. Still can't reset the code though.

      As far as I know, the horn and airbag both go through the clockspring. The horn works fine, so I'm assuming the new clockspring isn't broken.

    29. Geriatric Member VDub2625's Avatar
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      05-07-2012 10:12 AM #29
      The horn does not go through the clockspring on Mk3s.
      A2Resource
      .......

    30. Member
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      05-07-2012 10:23 AM #30
      Quote Originally Posted by VDub2625 View Post
      The horn does not go through the clockspring on Mk3s.
      Good to know, thanks for the clarification!

    31. Junior Member
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      10-14-2012 04:22 PM #31
      Bump! Having the exact same issue on a mk3. Have a new clockspring but I think the it may have spun around from the center when it was delivered. Is there a way to spin it the correct way and and how to tell if it is correct?

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      10-14-2012 04:48 PM #32
      Quote Originally Posted by Kthor703 View Post
      Is there a way to spin it the correct way and and how to tell if it is correct?

      yeah... spin it carefully all the way to one direction... then spin it in the other direction and count the rotations.. double check in the opposite direction to verify that the rotations are the same... then divide that number in half and you have the center.. now just rotate the spring to the number you came up with.

    33. Member Jtek's Avatar
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      10-14-2012 06:31 PM #33
      pff if the airbag light is on, they don't deploy. Mine didn't when I had a rear-ender. I'd like to know how to fix it without buying special tools that vw doesn't provide lol
      All I did was remove steering wheel for wiper lever replacement. clock spring didnt come apart at all and mine is on long before I got it.
      Watch out for shady sketchy crooked guy kevin goddard. '2dr.jetta'

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    34. Member killercoconuts's Avatar
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      10-14-2012 06:54 PM #34
      Buy Vagcom, or go to a dealer. End of story.

    35. Member
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      10-14-2012 07:02 PM #35
      shouldn't have had to remove the clockspring to do an ignition switch replacement in the first place.

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