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Discussion Starter #1
On a rainy night, I skidded into the back of a 1995 Camry, hitting its bumper on my driver's side at about 5-10 mph. No damage to the Toyota. Six inch crease in my bumper. No big deal other than the fact that my passenger side front airbag deployed - not the driver's side where the impact occured. Huh? $3,000 to repair the airbag and dash when it never should have deployed? There was no passenger and I thought the "Passenger Presence Detection" system was supposed to prevent that but apparently the Tib is the only model that doesn't have the PPD feature. If I turn this in to my insurance co., my premiums go up 60%, more than the repair is worth.

At what point is the airbag system defective? If I kick the bumper and it deploys, is it my fault? Shouldn't this be a warranty issue or am I wasting my time? Dealer says that deployment of any airbag in any accident, no matter how minor, is the owner's problem.

I've found other owners on NT with a similar situation. The 2003's had an airbag recall. Any suggestions or am I just screwed?
 

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rfp1nc said:
On a rainy night, I skidded into the back of a 1995 Camry, hitting its bumper on my driver's side at about 5-10 mph. No damage to the Toyota. Six inch crease in my bumper. No big deal other than the fact that my passenger side front airbag deployed - not the driver's side where the impact occured. Huh? $3,000 to repair the airbag and dash when it never should have deployed? There was no passenger and I thought the "Passenger Presence Detection" system was supposed to prevent that but apparently the Tib is the only model that doesn't have the PPD feature. If I turn this in to my insurance co., my premiums go up 60%, more than the repair is worth.

At what point is the airbag system defective? If I kick the bumper and it deploys, is it my fault? Shouldn't this be a warranty issue or am I wasting my time? Dealer says that deployment of any airbag in any accident, no matter how minor, is the owner's problem.

I've found other owners on NT with a similar situation. The 2003's had an airbag recall. Any suggestions or am I just screwed?

There is a company called Airbag Systems, Inc out of Texas that makes a switch that you can hook up so you can turn your airbag on/off manually. I dont think its 3000 to repair a dash and airbag. Its 1300 for the dashboard, 500 for airbag, and 300-400 for airbag module and if you look hard enough you can find deals and discounts from LowSonoma99 and what not. Airbag System will reflash your airbag module for 100 dollars.
 

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^+1, it is not suppose to go off unless it is the equivalent of 30mph crash, so I was told!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Filed claim with Hyundai corporate but expect a brush-off. Registered domain www.airbagclaims.com for future collection of airbag complaints for all manufacturers - I own a few sites and can build this myself. Got lots of time to contact NHTSA and state Consumer Protection along with congressmen. If I get a negative reply, I will send a demand letter, wait 30 days and file in small claims court. Any magistrate will agree with me. Located Hyundai's registered agent in my state from list of foreign corporations displayed on the Sectretary of State's website. I'm a graduate engineer with automotive design experience and a temper when my intelligence is insulted. Stand by, my Tibby friends.
 

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The way I understand the passenger side airbag works is like this. There is no sensor to detect if someone is in the seat or not other than the seat belt being buckled. If a front end crash occurs the computer deploys the airbag automaticaly in case someone is in the seat with the seat belt unbuckled. If the seat belt is buckled it senses the force and if the seat belt is sufficient it wont deploy. Seems pretty stupid they just need to put a sensor in the seat. My suggestion is to buckle the seat belt when no one is in the seat that way the airbag wont deploy in a small fender bender. What a PITA.
 

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jjk0091 said:
The way I understand the passenger side airbag works is like this. There is no sensor to detect if someone is in the seat or not other than the seat belt being buckled. If a front end crash occurs the computer deploys the airbag automaticaly in case someone is in the seat with the seat belt unbuckled. If the seat belt is buckled it senses the force and if the seat belt is sufficient it wont deploy. Seems pretty stupid they just need to put a sensor in the seat. My suggestion is to buckle the seat belt when no one is in the seat that way the airbag wont deploy in a small fender bender. What a PITA.
^^^^^ Yes, that's the way I understand it as well. After reading the first post this is exactly what I was going to write but you beat me to it.

I agree it's stupid but it's better than having a passenger hit the windshield if they didn't have the belt on. The driver bag didn't go off because the computer calculated that the belt the driver was wearing was sufficient to protect him. In reality, the system worked as designed. Sorry about the damage.
 

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wow ..thats something i wasn't aware of.. ill have to keep that passenger belt buckled from now on
... or maybe just go get a spare belt buckle to pop in since i am alone most of the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Thanks to all for the valuable input but I have more questions than answers at this point. However, I'm early in the research phase. Since NovaResource and jjk0091 both have the same understanding, can either of you recall the source of your knowledge? The video, NR, is fantastic but the poor guy is out $2,600 (best price I got) for the experience. Ouch.

Now, to oversimplify, the low level impact's causing the passenger front airbag to deploy is due to
1. Backup protection for an unbelted passenger as described earlier, or,
2. A consistent manifestation of a factory defect in the SRS control module or program.

You have to wonder if the impact in the video is even "frontal". Consider this statement from an article on airbag design, "An unrestrained or improperly restrained occupant can be seriously injured or killed by a deploying air bag.". If this fact is common knowledge, would Hyundai design its algorithm to injure or kill passengers?

After examining the SRSCM inputs and outputs as well as Tib airbag troubleshooting info, it appears that the only function of the seatbelt switch is to enable/disable the seatbelt pre-tensioners. Unfortunately, the deployment algorithms are "proprietary" and will be difficult or impossible to obtain. If there were injuries or fatalities, a lawyer could seek that info in the disclosure phase of a suit.

I'll be looking for trial transcripts and other sources. If you know of any or have useful documents, please advise. I'll be setting up a contact email address at airbagclaims.com as soon as it is online and will publish it here. DNS servers are slow.

Recognize that the stakes here are very high for Hyundai. Admitting a malfunction will draw dozens of multi-million dollar suits and a certain recall. If you've ever done business in Korea, as I have, you know how they will handle it.

Take a look at http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/complain/complaintsearch.cfm to see other similar complaints where the passenger airbag deployed in a serious collision but the driver's did not. Search complaints for 2004 Tiburon airbags. I think we're looking at the tip of the iceberg and, if you drive a Tibby, it could mean your life.
 

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i still dont think these airbags are malfunctioning . i walked away from a 100+mph crash without a scratch , all 4 airbags went off and i had my seatbelt on .
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I don't think that anyone questions the value of airbags, particularly with the federally mandated changes required for 2006 models and later. Those requirements, including passenger weight measurement, would have prevented the passenger front air bag from deploying in my case but for some reason Hyundai chose not to install Passenger Presence Detection in the 2004 Tiburon.

I'm really focused only on unnecessary deployment of the passenger front airbag in low-impact collisions but there are some indications that the problem is deeper than that. A related issue with Hyundai vehicles is that deployment of the passenger front air bag takes out the entire dash panel rather than just a repairable hatch as with most other vehicles. Cheaper to manufacture but very costly to repair. If this repair were $6-700, I wouldn't be wasting my time but the high cost has certainly gotten my attention and prompted me to question the design and operation of the SRS. Airbags definitely save lives, as Karma will attest, but only when they function correctly.

This is not a rant - I do want to understand what's going on here and appreciate input from anyone who can contribute. I'll be glad to publish my findings for everyone's knowledge and benefit.
 

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rfp1nc said:
I'm really focused only on unnecessary deployment of the passenger front airbag in low-impact collisions
But that's just it, it wasn't unnecessary. The system in the Tib does not have a sensor for weight so it doesn't know if a person is in the seat or not. Because of that, it has to assume someone is and because it can sense that the belt was unbuckled it had to blow the bag just incase there was a passenger. Yes, sensors in the seat would have prevented that but they aren't required yet.

A related issue with Hyundai vehicles is that deployment of the passenger front air bag takes out the entire dash panel rather than just a repairable hatch as with most other vehicles. Cheaper to manufacture but very costly to repair.
That's not a Hyundai-only problem and it's not the majority. Just the opposite. I believe the majority of vehicles have passenger side airbags that take out the whole dash. Both minivans I had, my old Vibe, my fathers Grand Prix, etc. I agree that it causes alot of unnecessary damage in a low speed accident but when a life is possibly at stake, you can't take a chance.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
NovaResource said:
But that's just it, it wasn't unnecessary. The system in the Tib does not have a sensor for weight so it doesn't know if a person is in the seat or not. Because of that, it has to assume someone is and because it can sense that the belt was unbuckled it had to blow the bag just incase there was a passenger. Yes, sensors in the seat would have prevented that but they aren't required yet.

That answer works well and I almost agreed with you until I read "An unrestrained or improperly restrained occupant can be seriously injured or killed by a deploying air bag." Accordingly, I don't think Hyundai would program the front airbag with the seat belt buckled/unbuckled logic. Instead, in low impact collisions only, I believe that the passenger airbag deploys prematurely at the 70% level (there are two levels) with no other passenger presence logic involved. If an interested owner would kindly buckle the passenger seat belt and hit a tree at 5 mph, we could resolve this quickly. Without that test, I think you still have a very good point and I will try to find an authoritative answer that will satisfy both of us. Again, I appreciate all opinions - they will be helpful in my dealings with Hyundai.
 

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ya no PPD is kinda a pain. i was in a collision going 50kph. i was the only one in the car, both drivers and passenger side air bags went off. the point of impact was the passenger side. i wasnt going fast enough to have even needed the drivers side air bag deployed, my seat belt was enough. my head didnt go near the air bag, but trying to get rid of that powder from my nose and throat, ugh.

(my pics and stuff are in the Eastern Canada forum)
 

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rfp1nc said:
That answer works well and I almost agreed with you until I read "An unrestrained or improperly restrained occupant can be seriously injured or killed by a deploying air bag."
Yes, that is why there are now GEN2 and GEN3 de-powered airbags to lower that risk. However, nothing is perfect in this world. So expecting the air bags to operate perfectly is not realistic. Even if a few people are killed, there are far more saved by them. No matter how good they become, there will always be some situation where they are deadly.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
NovaResource said:
However, nothing is perfect in this world. So expecting the air bags to operate perfectly is not realistic..
We agree!!! That's precisely why it should be repaired under Hyundai's vaunted warranty. That would once again make me an avid Hyundai fan (I own two) and let me get back to having fun. Otherwise, they've lost a good customer and active supporter.
 

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You still looking for an airbag man? I have the passenger side airbag for sale-$200 and an airbag module $150
 

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rfp1nc said:
We agree!!! That's precisely why it should be repaired under Hyundai's vaunted warranty. That would once again make me an avid Hyundai fan (I own two) and let me get back to having fun. Otherwise, they've lost a good customer and active supporter.
That not what I meant. I mean the logic that controls if/when the airbag deploys will never be prefect so sometimes it will deploy without having to. However, if it deploys when it's designed to (as in this case) that's not Hyundai's fault. If it deploys in a situation that it's not supposed to (ie when parked) then that would be their fault. The bottom line is this: it deployed as designed. It didn't need to in this particular case but it operated correctly and as designed.
 
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