Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: New Zealand
Over in the USA, their Alfa 164s had airbags long ago (1991) and they used a clock spring and ECU with warning light etc. The warning light would be on for something simple like the instrument cluster being disconnected, but the airbag would still deploy (someone had this happen). Meanwhile, they didn't have seatbelt pretensioners as far as I know. I guess it's quite likely that a pretensioner fault would be similarly minor, but a clock spring fault would probably prevent the airbag from deploying.
About the mechanical airbag, it sounds odd (particularly in light of the older systems being electronic), but then, 2001 FIAT Punto uses mechanical seatbelt pretensioners and 1997 GTV has electronic pretensioners.
Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection (1967) was electronic, yet Bosch K-Jetronic (80's Audis, VW, Lancia Thema) was mechanical. These things come and go. Electronics always win in the end. And, the Italians invented the idea of an electrical system in a car...
Now, where did I put my mechanical iPad, I bought it just the other day... had a big shiny clip and everything...
'00 GTV V6, '08 FIAT 500, shell and parts for a '71 FIAT 850 Coupe