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1998 S4 Avant Airbag light & VAG-COM

Discussion in 'A4/S4 forum(B5 Chassis)' started by SlipMat, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. SlipMat
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    SlipMat New Member

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    Hi All

    My 1998 S4 Avant (B5) keeps bringining up an airbag warning light. On VAG-COM (using 3rd party lead) it says that the fault is an intermittant high resistance on the passenger airbag module. I'm not worried about the fault, but just want the light reset. Last time Audi did it at no cost. But this time they will charge about £50 - so I bought a 3rd party ODBII lead and VAG-COM. However when I try to clear all DTCs it says that a CAN BUS is required. I am not sure if this is because the car doesnt have CAN or if it is a limitation on the 3rd party cable. I suspect it is pre-CAN. In case it makes a difference I also have the 2+2 converter lead!

    I have looked at the Autel VAG405 hand held unit, but don't seem to be able to find out for sure if it will reset this light - and it's quite expensive having already got VAG-COM.

    Any ideas or help on resetting the light would be really grateful.

    :s4addict:
    #1
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  3. PW-Motorsport
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    PW-Motorsport Member

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    Seat airbag faults are often caused by the connection under the seat.
    When the seat is moved it caused the connections to fail, throwing up a code.
    Check and replace the plug if needed.

    Re resetting the light, you should be able to just clear the codes and the light should go out. If the fault remains it will stay on. Repair the fault and than clear the codes.
    #2
  4. Blue_Thunder
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    Blue_Thunder Active Member

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    With a 3rd party lead, it won't let you clear 'all codes' after a full scan. If you go into the airbag module seperately on Vag-com, you'll then be able to just pull off the airbag codes and clear them down.

    As Philip says though, the seat connections are notorious for this. Try cleaning the contacts up with some WD40 then tighten the connection.
    #3
  5. SlipMat
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    SlipMat New Member

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    Thanks - where abouts is the connector and can I safely dismantle it without setting the airbag off?

    The Audi garage says that the controller logs the number of times a fault is recorded and after a certain number it flags it as a fault and brings the warning light on. They said that they'd checked and to stop it coming back again I needed a new N/S airbag! The reason they reset it at no cost was because only 7 months earlier they replaced the main airbag module charging me £700 and now this!
    #4
  6. SlipMat
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    SlipMat New Member

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    Thanks - where abouts is the connector and can I safely dismantle it without setting the airbag off?

    The Audi garage says that the controller logs the number of times a fault is recorded and after a certain number it flags it as a fault and brings the warning light on. They said that they'd checked and to stop it coming back again I needed a new N/S airbag! The reason they reset it at no cost was because only 7 months earlier they replaced the main airbag module charging me £700 and now this!
    #5
  7. SlipMat
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    SlipMat New Member

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    Blue Thunder - After a full scan, as you say, I cant clear the DTCs down. The error is "CAN required". By going into the airbag controller (15) I dont see anywhere to clear the DTC - the clear codes button just clears the code out of VAG-Com but not from the car!

    Am I missing something?

    BTW I am using VAG-Com version 409.1 and the protocol being used is reported as ISO 9141-2
    #6
  8. mas
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    mas Member

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    what version of vagcom are you running and what sort of cable?

    For the older cable type you are limited to an older version of the software I think.

    The usual problem is the connector just under the seat as has been said. What is the error message exactly?
    The connector for the passenger airbag in the dash is behind the glove compartment. Pop of the side panel on the end of the dash and you'll see two bolts (think 8mm). there are two more inside the glovebox on the right near the glovebox light nd one by the glovebox catch.

    the glovebox then lifts out - watch for the wires to the light - and you can see the underside of the airbag and the connectors.

    Take appropriate care when touching airbag connectors.
    #7
  9. mas
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    mas Member

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    Ah - must type faster.

    if there is a fault then the code will just re-occur as soon as you clear it.
    #8
  10. SlipMat
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    SlipMat New Member

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    Hi Mas

    VAG-COM 409.1

    Error says:

    01217 - Side Airbag Igniter: Driver Side (N199)
    32-10 - Resistance too High - Intermittent

    The last two times this has come up, the garage have just cleared it on a computer and warned me that it could come back at any time, unless I replace the module. On both occassions it went out and stayed off for about 6 months.
    #9
  11. olds_kool
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    olds_kool Active Member VCDS Map User

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    thats the fault i had with no seat airbags connected, still got no side airbags but used resistor to fool module, disconnect battery, pull plugs apart under seat, and solder connections directly, then reset light should fix it for good
    #10
  12. Blue_Thunder
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    Blue_Thunder Active Member

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    You don't clear the codes from Vag-com, you actually clear them from the ECU.

    The connectors are the thin ones on the underside of the seat. 2 wires in pre-facelift, 3 in facelift. Unclip those, give them a bit of WD40, allow them to dry, then reconnect them.

    If once you've cleared the code it comes straight back on again once when you next start the car, then yes, it does sound like an actual fault with the airbag.

    If you want a couple of resistors, give me a shout as I have some with the correct resistance spare here. But obviously fitting these will disable your side airbags.
    #11
  13. SlipMat
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    SlipMat New Member

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    Thanks Blue Thunder - I used to do PCB work for a living and so I have thousands of resistors - what resistance do I need and I may try it myself?

    So were the Audi garage wrong about the ECU storing the number of faults until it has enough to bring the light on? I understood that even when the fault is fixed you need VAG-COM or similar to clear the fault light down?
    #12
  14. mas
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    mas Member

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    Yep, thats exactly what you get with the connector problem under the seat. I'd be inclined to check that the wires havent been damaged before I put resistors in, but a resistor would fix it.

    I'm sure you do need to reset after fixing.
    #13
  15. Blue_Thunder
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    Blue_Thunder Active Member

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    Can't remember off hand. Think it's 0.4 Ohms, but will need to check.

    Not sure about this fault count.
    #14
  16. SlipMat
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    SlipMat New Member

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    Thans Mas/BT... however that brings me back to my original post about how (and if) I can clear the fault light with VAG-COM on my car.

    Thanks
    #15
  17. olds_kool
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    olds_kool Active Member VCDS Map User

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    i was suggesting removing connectors and soldering wiring direct, not adding resistors unless as a last resort
    #16
  18. olds_kool
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    olds_kool Active Member VCDS Map User

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    if when you press clear fault codes the light doesnt go out you still have a fault
    #17
  19. SlipMat
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    SlipMat New Member

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    Thanks Old Skool - but the problem isnt that the light stays on - the problem is that the VAG-COM reports an error before it tries to reset the ECU. So the light doesnt even try to go out. As I said the error I get with 3rd party OBD2 cable is that VAG-COM says that it needs a CAN bus, but I am not sure if my car has CAN because of its age :sadlike: VAg-Com says it is using ISO 9141-2 protocol which isnt CAN, it is CARB (I think). This is why I am wondering whether VAG-COm is capable of reseting it on my car and I wonder if Autel's VAG405 (or similar) is needed to facilitate a reset using ISO 9141-2?
    #18
  20. olds_kool
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    olds_kool Active Member VCDS Map User

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    ah! i use cheapo fault code reader bought on ebay for about £15 to reset fault codes, got genuine vagcom dongle but it doesnt like connecting to airbag controller, and you can keep it in glovebox
    #19
  21. SlipMat
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    SlipMat New Member

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  22. Broken Byzan
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    Broken Byzan Photographic Moderator Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    That should work fine, and can-bus will not be an issue with a car as old as that. Are you using the "full" version of 409? Have you tried 311.2?
    #21
  23. SlipMat
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    SlipMat New Member

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    Hi Byzan - yes it is the "ful" copy of 409... interesting what you say about CAN-bus as VAG-COM reports that CAN is needed to clear the DTCs down - if you think it is worth trying 311, do you know where I can get it from?
    #22
  24. Broken Byzan
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    Broken Byzan Photographic Moderator Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    it is available, pm your email and i "may" be able to help you :tapedshut:

    I use both on a 1998 A4 and it will clear down fine with a USB and a serial cable
    #23
  25. mas
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    mas Member

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    I have *genuine* Ross tech cable. HEX-USB and that works fine on cars this age. A 1998 car doesnt have CAN.

    The different versions of the software can all be downloaded from the ross tech web site.
    #24
  26. SlipMat
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    SlipMat New Member

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    Hi Byzan

    I have just PM'd you again

    Thanks Lee
    #25
  27. Blue_Thunder
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    Blue_Thunder Active Member

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    Lee, my S4 is a 98 model and I was able to clear my airbag fault codes down no problem on a cheapo eBay cable.

    Did you try going into the airbag module seperately to scan for fault codes as i'd suggested earlier? There will be a button which says something like 'Fault Codes' within the Airbag section, then within that, a 'clear fault codes' button.
    #26
  28. SlipMat
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    SlipMat New Member

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    [Jun 7, 2008]
    FIXED IT :jump:

    Thanks to everyone... in VAG-COM 409.1 I thought the clear codes button from the airbag module just cleared it from the PC screen and did nothing to the ECU. I realised when I tried an earlier version of the software that this wasnt the case as I noticed that the airbag light went out and came on again a fraction of a second later.

    So I found the plug to the igniter under the drivers seat - unplugged & replugged it in a couple of times (making sure my head was well clear in case it set the airbag off). Once I'd done this VAG-COM cleared the fault and now the airbag light comes on when you start the car and goes out a second later.

    THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR ALL THEIR PATIENCE AND HELP :):jump::jump::)
    #27
  29. SonicDeathmonkey
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    SonicDeathmonkey Member

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    [Jun 8, 2008]
    You may want to apply a little wd-40, as suggested above, and repeat so that the problem goes away for "longer" if you have better connections.
    #28
  30. SlipMat
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    SlipMat New Member

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    [Jun 8, 2008]
    Hi Sonic

    Thanks for that - I will clean it today to try and stop it happening again.
    #29
  31. moschino
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    moschino Member

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    [Jun 10, 2008]
    Slipmat,

    This is a common problem on cars older than 2000. Post 2000 cars use gold plated connectors and as such do not cause the High resistance issues.
    The easiest fix is to directly solder the wires together and reset the airbag light.
    I have done this on my 1998 A4 and the light has never come back.
    It takes about 30 mins to do.
    you will have to disconnect the seat runner to allow the seat to angle back so you can gain access to the connectors.
    Battery can be left connected, but make sure you do not have the ignition on.
    Also, make sure you use a soldering iron that can be earthed to the car chassis to prevent any accidental deployments of the airbag.
    Jim.
    #30
  32. moschino
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    moschino Member

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    [Jun 10, 2008]
    Slipmat,
    Please note.....
    Cleaning the connectors will not prevent the light from coming back on. It will only delay it!
    #31
  33. SonicDeathmonkey
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    SonicDeathmonkey Member

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    [Jun 10, 2008]
    As if by bastard magic, my light came on today!
    #32
  34. SlipMat
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    SlipMat New Member

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    [Jun 11, 2008]
    Hi Moschino - thanks for the advice. Even though I am very competent solering, I think I will leave it alone and just clean/reset when needed (now that I can). Thanks for the advice though.
    Hi Sonic - if you need any help resetting it... I know a good forum :eyebrows:

    Thanks everyone for the help/advice
    #33
  35. PW-Motorsport
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    PW-Motorsport Member

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    [Jun 11, 2008]

    Did you move the seat?

    I think you had a fault code stored that suggested the same problem when I did the belts for you?

    Philip
    #34
  36. jcb
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    jcb Active Member VCDS Map User

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    [Jun 11, 2008]
    buy some black insulating tape and apply it to the affected area......on the dash board right in line with the airbag light when driving!!
    sorts it out permanently!!
    #35
  37. SonicDeathmonkey
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    SonicDeathmonkey Member

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    [Jun 11, 2008]
    I think it'll be the passenger side again. At least I have a vag-com lead,so should be able to reset myself, assuming the free functionality allows it. If not, will get it done next service.
    #36
  38. GSB1
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    GSB1 Member

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    [Jun 11, 2008]

    That's a more knowledgable response than I've read before. Get this from time to time on my '98 S4. Sometime the reset lasts a few seconds, sometimes months!

    So I presume if I buy new connecotrs they will be the newer gold plated items?

    Do I need to change both the connection on the lead and se the seat?

    I'd like to keep soldering the wires together a last resort.
    #37
  39. moschino
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    moschino Member

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    [Jun 13, 2008]
    GSB1
    To be honest if you purchase new connectors don't you have to crimp them to the wires? This might increase the resistance slightly, maybe enough to bring the light back on again after a few Months.
    I have soldered mine without any problems and the light has remained off for ages.
    I would recommend soldering for peace of mind.
    the choice is yours though!
    My car had 2 connectors under the seat, I believe one was for the airbag which had 2 wires and the other maybe for the seatbelt retractor which had 1 wire.
    I never touched the connectors within the seat itself, I didn't have time to strip the seat cover off.
    Jim.
    #38
  40. GSB1
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    GSB1 Member

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    [Jun 15, 2008]
    So you remove the wires from the connector attatched to the loom of the car. You removed the wires from the seat connector where the seat wires join the car when connected and just soldered the together?

    More than up to this but only have a regular mains soldering iron. The part about grounding to the car has me worried.
    #39
  41. moschino
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    moschino Member

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    [Jun 15, 2008]
    GSB1,
    If you cannot borrow an iron which has the grounding feature just use some electrical cable and connect to the chassis, the other end you can touch on the soldering iron to eliminate any static charge in the iron. As long as you do this just before you solder the wires you should be fine.
    There shouldn't be any charge on the iron tip but its better to be safe than sorry!
    Jim.
    #40

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