Smashing the piggy
Join Date: Aug 2015
Dreaded airbag light comes on!
Here is a salutary tale of wasted time and sore fingers, which I hope will prevent further grief for someone!!
OK, so a couple of months ago, on the rare occasion of getting a valeter to clean my car instead of doing it myself, yes - you guessed it, he moved a seat when the ignition was on and when I returned, the airbag light was on! I had already read about this issue, so wasn't too alarmed as I knew it was normally just a bad connection.
I bought the connection leads off Ebay, downloaded FIATECUSCAN and finally found the time in the driveway last night to get down in the dirt, taking the drivers seat out.
The software identified the problem as: "Drivers seatbelt Pretensioner - open circuit / intermittent".
Sounds clear right?
1 hour later, (in the gathering darkness of 9pm) I had removed the seat bolts which is quite hard on the front as there is not much room for a socket wrench (and breaking my fingernails working out how to get the yellow connector apart), I had stripped the pretensioner, cleaned it with contact spray and reassembled, using a cable tie to keep the connector in place on top.
Refitted the seat, connected the wiring & battery back up, fired up the laptop to smugly check my fix and guess what? Yes - same fault still detected, airbag light still on!
After a bit of chin stroking however, I luckily remembered some wise old sage also saying something about the Alfa being an Italian car and always expect the unexpected! He was suggesting that what the car's ECU refers to as the "drivers" seat, might actually be the passenger seat in a right-hand drive car.
So, I stuck my hand under the passenger seat, gave the connector under there a good push together, then tried to reset the fault code yet again.
Boom - off went the light and there was no fault reported!!
So in short, the principle of the ECU defining the passenger seat as the Drivers seat seems to be proven, at least on my car. If you ever have to do this exercise yourself, unless you enjoy performing unneccessary maintenance, take my advice and try wiggling the passenger seat connection first!