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My Airbag Fault adventure

37941 Views 22 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Leo Yudysky
Last Tuesday, I went to the garage and got into the TReg to go to work. When I started it up, I had an Airbag Fault in the MFI. It was fine when I parked it, and was simply left in the garage overnight.

I searched around for info. Didn't find anything here, but there was a relevant thread on vwvortex ( From there I determined that the problem may have been any of 4 issues:
  • Loose connection in the airbag wiring harness;
    Too short wiring harness;
    Control Module;
    Airbag itself.

So, I called the service department, and they said this is a new one for them. So I explained that I did some research and told him the four things it looks like it might be. The service rep seemed genuinely interested in what I found, and scheduled me for an appt. the following Tuesday. I asked if they could do some research on thier end, in case they had to order parts. He said they could certainly look, but wouldn't know much until they hooked it up to the computer and looked for fault codes. So, I offered to swing by so they could do that, and be more prepared for the scheduled appointment.

They found code 01520. SM described to me that this code indicates an intermittent fault in the drivers side airbag. They checked the connector and the wiring harness, and said that my TReg benefitted from the running production change - the harness is plenty long so as not to cause undue stress. The procedure with code 01520 calls for a 'guided diagnostic procedure' - according the the SM, this can take anywhere from 2-4hrs (or longer), and may involve several back and forths with VWoA experts. Only after this procedure will they know which parts to order, if any.

They wisely chose NOT to clear the fault then, so they could run the procedure at my servicing appointment.

Well, when they ran the procedure yesterday, it called for them to "pin" the harness. As described by the service tech, Steve, this means to replace pins in various connectors in the airbag wiring harness in a prescribed order, and re-test for the fault. The assumption being that a bad pin, or bad connection to a pin would be the problem, and if the fault did not reappear, then the problem is solved. Steve was not comfortable with this method of diagnosis, as it seems to be stabbing in the dark. Before he wasted time (and frustration for both he and I) he cleared the fault and tested again without changing any pins. Unsuprisingly, the fault did not reappear.

Now, Steve could have changed some pins and told me the problem was fixed, or be honest and tell me he could not pinpoint the problem. He chose the latter. As he explained, the airbag wiring harness is squeezed in pretty tight under the drivers seat along with the battery and another fuse box. He told me he thinks the cover for this is just a bit to tight for how much is under there, and that it would be very easy for seat movement to bend the connection just enough for a momentary open circuit that could cause an intermittent fault. If that's the case, then "pinning" the harness, or replacing parts is a waste of time.

So, my fault has simply been cleared, with no definitive cause. But I have a very plausible explination from an open and honest service tech who I trust (Steve has been servicing my various VW's for 10 years). Finally, Steve said that if the fault came back, he would replace both the wiring harness, and the airbag itself. According to the procedure, if the "pinning" process does not fix the issue, they are to replace the airbag - but do this last. Instead of the tedious hit or miss pinning process Steve would just replace it all in one visit, to save time for him and I.

While I would have liked a more definitive answer, I am very happy with my service experience. Quick, methodical, efficient and honest. And I'm glad to be out of the XTerra they got me from Enterprise - only had it one night, but makes me appreciate the TReg that much more.

BTW - I had the remote range TSB fix done while it was in. Increased range from 10 ft to more than 65 ft.

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Is there a way to return the car and be reimbursed

I am fed up with problems on my Touareg. Does anybody know if there is a possibility to return the car and be reimbursed.
After the generic battery problem, now it seems that my Touareg got the generic airbag problem in addition to some other minor problems. I am still thinking to the day I was in West Viginia with my family in a remote area where the mobile phone was not working, a temperature of 10F and the battery could have given up like it did the day before and the week end after. Am I limited now to drive not too far from Volkswagen dealers waiting for the next problem to arrive.
The conclusion : never again Volkswagen.
I posted a little about my Airbag Fault situation on the General Discussion forum, but I figured I'd log updates here (since this is really the place for it). Anyway, I dropped the Treg off at the dealership on Saturday and they hooked me up with a rental GMC Canyon (it's new!). What a piece of crap that thing is, but they didn't have to give me anything, so, props to them for the effort...But I digress...

I got a call early this morning from the SA telling me that they ordered parts for the airbag "assembly" (?) and that they should be overnighted and here tomorrow. Here's my question, when should I print this string out and show it to them? Should I just wait and let them try to fix it with the new parts and THEN show it to them? Should I just hope that they know what they are doing and not worry about it? I don't want to have to go back and forth on this issue. What are your thoughts?
It would depend on how they came to the conclusion that it was the airbag assembly itself. If they have some compelling evidence that it was this assembly, and are not just stabbing in the dark, then I would wait to see. Did they explain to you how they came to that conclusion?

So far, my fault has not come back, so what my service tech tells me sounds plausible.

So, if your situation was like mine, they may be replacing the part for no reason other than to tell you that they fixed something. If they do the replacement, and your fault comes back, then suggest to them that they replace the entire harness instead of just 'pinning' the existing one.

Good luck with it, and keep us up to date.
...The saga continues...

Got a call from Johnny (the SA). He says that the parts are on backorder and have to be shipped in from the factory (Bratislava?). They don't expect anything for another 2 to 3 days...I'm suffering from MAJOR withdrawals here! I have to drive this crappy Canyon around for at least another 2 to 3 days. I realize that people have been in much more dire straights than I, but it doesn't make me feel any better (because, of course, it's all about ME!). Anyway...just needed to vent.
Airbag Fault Warning Light

My v6 just came back fixed--allegedly fixed--from the dealer two days ago with the same problem, but, today my wife just called to tell me that it's on again. The dealer had detected a low voltage code (battery) and said that was the reason which caused the fault light to come on. He must have just resetted the setting. I just made an appointment for Thursday, hope it's nothing major.

Regarding loaner car, can anyone tell me where/whom I can complain about the loaner car service. Even though I had reserved a loan car on my last visit, I still had to wait and be shuttle back and from the Enterprise Rental Car. Not only that, anything more than Tarus or Impala, I had to pay out of my own pocket.
It's been a week and my dealer is still waiting for the parts to come in (no sign of them in sight, could be weeks for all we know...). I'm trying to be cool about it but I'm starting to lose my patience. VWoA has to know that this isn't just a sporadic problem. From what I can tell and from what I've read, it's a pretty wide-spread issue. For them to not have the parts in the warehouse/distribution center is such complete B.S. Talk about not being prepared! After this issue is cleared up for me, I'm definately writing a letter to VWoA to inform them of my displeasure.

sskimg, I'm actually paying $3 a day on top of what my dealership is paying so I don't have to drive around in a Ford Focus...Can you believe that's all they wanted to pay for?! (notice my attitude has changed since my earlier post where I gave them props for getting me a loaner...) I'm going to try to get them to pay the additional $3 per day. It's the least they could do, don't you think?
et tu Airbag

Yup, I was moving the seat back a bit, and bingo the airbag fault came in!
I guess I'll take it in as I don't think I can reset the fault code, its stuck on.

I need to get the steering wheel centered anyway and do the key transmitter antenna relocate as well. Think I'll ask them why the window is so wavy too. A list is in order.

I'll let you all know how it goes, I'm for letting them just reset it this time, happens again they can fix the harness so the strain doesn't pull the connector apart or whatever.
Could my Airbag Adventure be coming to an end???!!! Talked to Johnnie this morning and he tells me that the parts finally showed up. The auto upolsterers (is that a word?) are booked until late this afternoon so they probably won't be able to get to my Treg til tomorrow morning at the earliest. If all goes well, I should get it back some time tomorrow afternoon. Light a candle, cross your fingers, say a prayer or whatever for me...
:dance: I'm back in bidness! Got the Treg back last night. Everything seems to be okay <knocking on wood>...Anyway, I'm still disappointed in the length of time it took, but I'm holding off on the agry letters for now. It wouldn't be my dealership I'd complain about (just the parts delivery issues). To date, I've really been impressed with the level of service I get from them.
Any recall on airbags

I got back my Treg today after almost three weeks. They repaired the airbag by changing the airbag control module. The diagnosis was error 5052. The lady at the service counter said that "they did a recall". Is there a recall underway for airbags?
26 days out of service after 5 months. I am waiting the next bug to play the lemon law.

Si vous êtes patient un jour de colère, vous échapperez à cent jours de chagrin.

kpmurf said:
:dance: I'm back in bidness! Got the Treg back last night. Everything seems to be okay <knocking on wood>...Anyway, I'm still disappointed in the length of time it took, but I'm holding off on the agry letters for now. It wouldn't be my dealership I'd complain about (just the parts delivery issues). To date, I've really been impressed with the level of service I get from them.
what dealer did you go through...and who do you deal with...
Well, after my initial post here, I had a run of 3 weeks or more with no reoccurance of the fault. But it returned last week - had parked in the garage as usual, then got the fault first thing when starting up the next morning.

I did NOT move the seat, or anythng similar. The only change was that I inserted my newly received flashlight that evening after parking. I certainly hope this had nothing to do with it!

I will be taking it in this week to have the fault read and cleared, and get the harness and airbag unit on order. I will mention that they may want to order a control module as well.

More later...
I'm going on my third week of ownership. I just got the Airbag Fault on the way home from work tonight. It came on while waiting at a stoplight. I wasn't moving the seat ... I was just sitting waiting for the light to change.


Guess I'll give the dealer a call.

Thanks for the previous postings. It did reduce the anxiety level somewhat.


michelle said:
what dealer did you go through...and who do you deal with...
I bought my Treg thru Greenbrier VW in Chesapeake, VA and that is also where I get it serviced (hopefully, not too often)...My sales person was Frank Masika and my service advisor is Johnny.
Airbag Fault

I have had my T-Reg in shop waiting for a new airbag and instrument cluster for about 3 weeks now. So far, the vehicle has been in the shop almost as long as I have owned it. I only got it in the middle of January and am quite disapointed in VW. I previously had an Audi and nevery had such problems. Since the two are owned by the same parent company I thought that the quality of vehicles and service would be the same. I am starting to think differently. What is that number for VWoA to call and vent, I think it is about that time now.


2004 Offroad Grey PrePlus V8
Air bag problem

My Touareg went back to the shop and now I'm told they need to order the airbag for the driver side which is in back order. Originally, the dealer had said it was due to a 'sudden drop in battery voltage' that triggered the fault light to come on. But after I went back in for the second time, they realized moving the seat (after re-setting the fault light) cause the fault light to come back on. Luckily, the dealer let me take my Touareg until the part arrives. I just hope my dealer--Eastcoast Automall, Englewood, NJ--knows what they are doing.
do they seem reliable? i also purchased through greenbrier, not with that salesman...i would really like to speak w/ someone who knows something about my car... :crazy:
michelle said:
do they seem reliable?
Um, yeah...I guess. It's a new vehicle, so I wouldn't expect them to know everything. The 2 people I deal with have been there for a while and know a little more about the Treg than some of the newer folks. But that's just been MY experience. Bottom line, if you're not satisfied, go to the General Sales Manager or the local VWoA rep.
Airbag fault

I purchased my T-Reg on Jan 05, 04. The airbag fault came soon after ownership. Dwight Harrison VW - Georgia replaced the drivers seat airbag; two days later the fault light was back. I reported to VWOA for corrective measures.

Due to my problems with the driver mirror distortion and windshield distortion DHVW turned me over to VWOA. After several scheduled attempts to get the airbags repaired by DHVW at the same time as the mirror and windshield the correction was put on hold.

Given the lack of support and poor relationship with the head service manager at this dealership I came to the conclusion that getting my air bag fault fixed by DHVW was not going to be an option.

I took the T -Reg to Jim Ellis VW on April 5, 2004. . I was informed that the driver’s side airbag had failed again and they have ordered the parts from Germany. I was told it could be a while before the parts come in.

To soon to tell, but I hope this is the final fix.
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