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MOT/Legal advice on Airbags, Seatbelts and Pretensioners

Discussion in 'A3/S3 Forum (8L Chassis)' started by Nath1790, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. Nath1790
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    Nath1790 Member

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    [Apr 2, 2014]
    Hi All, I apologise if this has come up many times before but I've got myself worried.

    Basically I'm wanting to build a fast road/track A3, I bought a standard one last week and have been merrily removing rear seats and plastics so far assuming all is good and well. I now have the rear seat belts and pretensioners to remove, today I've read that you cant have seat belts without seats and vise versa so fair enough they'll have to come out butttt that'll throw up an Airbag light AND it'll fail it's MOT because I've removed original safety equipment that needs to be present???

    I'm starting to get a little worried as I have little knowledge in this area because I'm totally new to it all. I'm booked in at an Audi Specialist this Saturday for a healthcheck that includes plug in diagnostics, say I go ahead and remove said belts and therefore get the light, can or WILL they remove the light. In terms of MOT it's actually just had one beginning of March so in theory I neednt worry for almost a year but I don't want lots of wagging fingers and head shaking going on / being pulled over etc.

    Am I getting myself needlessly worked up or is this a big concern these days?

    Many Thanks in Advance!
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  3. Trig0r
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    Trig0r Pretend Hairdresser

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    [Apr 2, 2014]
    I'm no MOT man but if the rear seats arent there then theres no need for belts in the back, why would that flag a dash light though?

    The light itself is enough for an MOT fail these days but if you are taking stuff out thats surplus to requirements I dont see an issue, can you not find the end of the loom that plugs into the offending articles and just wire it up out of the way somewhere with the sensor in it, that is if there is one of course..
    #2
  4. Nilz
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    Nilz Defo worth the wait :)

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    [Apr 2, 2014]
    Removing the rear seat belts will not bring up a fault light, the light on the dash for the airbags is plug related which is connected under the drivers seat, do I dont think you will have a problem removing them from the back.
    #3
  5. Nath1790
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    Nath1790 Member

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    [Apr 2, 2014]
    From what I've read today (this may be me not understanding correctly) but by removing the rear pretensioners for the seat belts I will get a warning light. This may not apply to a 98 A3 but from a quick look last night there seems to be something that plugs into them. I'm already going to play it safe and disconnect the battery before but this is all getting beyond my understanding so far.

    Sorry for being a complete Newb at this, I was just getting concerned is all. I'll have a go tonight with any luck and find out.

    Cheers
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  6. Nath1790
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    Nath1790 Member

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    [Apr 2, 2014]
    Hi Nilz, only just seen your post. Thanks that's what I'm hoping! I'll probably get someone to fit buckets in front as anything electrical is wayyyy beyond me. I swear I used to be smart :shrug:
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  7. Sandra
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    Sandra MODERATOR Staff Member Moderator

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    [Apr 2, 2014]
    Nath, it may help if you drop member prawn a pm, he has a track car and he will know what is and isnt required to pass future mot.:) x
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  8. daz-20vt
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    daz-20vt Well-Known Member

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    [Apr 2, 2014]
    Why do the pretensioners bring up an airbag light? This defo right?
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  9. Lewis583
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    Lewis583 Active Member VCDS Map User

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    [Apr 2, 2014]
    Yes, removing/disconnecting the seat belt pre-tensioners will trigger an Airbag light. They trigger it because they're part of the Airbag system and as such the control unit monitors them for short circuits/open circuits/whether they've already been fired etc.

    Though I'm sure they could be bypassed with a resistor easy enough.
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  10. Ian2012
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    Ian2012 Active Member

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    [Apr 2, 2014]
    I thought pre tensioners were only on the front seats, i have had my rear seat base out and didn't see anything unusual around the seat belt anchors.
    #9
  11. cammage08
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    cammage08 Member

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    [Apr 2, 2014]
    Ye im sure the rears are fixed straight to the chassis. Only front seats that have the potential to move have pre tensioners.
    #10
  12. daz-20vt
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    daz-20vt Well-Known Member

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    [Apr 2, 2014]
    There is defo a wire attached to my tensioners. Not the ancors though.
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  13. Nath1790
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    Nath1790 Member

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    [Apr 2, 2014]
    Hey all, thanks for the replies. I ave just removed the pretensioners and rear seat belts. I can confirm that this does produce the airbag light as I thought. My car is a 1998 model if it makes a difference.

    Cheers Sandra, I will do.

    If the issue is resolved like the front seats, I assume it is a simple resistor and or removed with a vagcom?
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  14. daz-20vt
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    daz-20vt Well-Known Member

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    [Apr 2, 2014]
    Vagcom will only delete the fault. If u use the wrong resistor the light will remain on
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  15. Nath1790
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    Nath1790 Member

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    [Apr 2, 2014]
    Yep, well unless anyone has the correct information on the what and how then it'll save for a later thread or deal with when I get the front seats sorted. I'd have no idea what to do with the resister even if I had the right one haha.
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  16. daz-20vt
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    daz-20vt Well-Known Member

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  17. daz-20vt
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    daz-20vt Well-Known Member

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    [Apr 2, 2014]
    Maybe a good start
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  18. daz-20vt
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    daz-20vt Well-Known Member

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  19. s3dave
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    s3dave TFSI Hybrid

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    [Apr 2, 2014]
    The Airbags are probably more dangerous NOW on our cars than good as they are well past their shelf life...
    #18
  20. rupe
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    rupe A3 TQS

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    [Apr 2, 2014]
    I'd read that in the manual previously, that the whole airbag system should be replaced after 12 years or something, surely the cost of doing that would write the car off though...
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  21. Prawn
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    Prawn My other car is a MINI!!!!

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    [Apr 2, 2014]
    best solution in this case, when you're removing EVERYTHING like that, is to just remove the cluster and tape over the back of the airbag light!

    MOT regs are based around purpose, so if you've ditched the airbag in an otherwise stock corsa, it's a definiate fail. Some discression is allowed though, if you've clearly removed the airbags and replaced it with a safety system for competition type use, so proper seats, properly installed, with proper harnesses, then it shouldn't fail.

    I've never had any issues with mine through the MOT at all :)
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  22. JimS3
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    JimS3 Active Member

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    [Apr 2, 2014]
    If the tester is being thorough they should check the airbag, abs, cel light etc illuminate for a few seconds before going out, so could still fail. Expect many wouldn't notice though.

    If removing airbags, on some models they can be coded out with VCDS.
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  23. Nath1790
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    Nath1790 Member

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    [Apr 2, 2014]
    Daz - Cheers bud, I'll look at the links.

    Dave & Rupe - So in other words they're next to useless anyway! Lol. I'm surprised there isn't a law to have to replace them.

    Prawn - Ah just the man, I was going to pm about this legal business. I've read about the cluster removal etc so with any luck it wont be too bad. I'm not planning on removing any airbags as they'll just be in the dash and steering wheel I assume? When I switch to buckets up front I'll stick with standard seatbelt if it works ok and when the car gets caged (when speed necessitates) I'll put harnesses in.

    Plenty of time before MOT comes round though, with all the weight out the back I do have comical rear ride height though haha.

    Thanks for all the help guys! :respekt:
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