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Author Topic: 2013 Equinon XLT V-6 passenger side air bag big problem  (Read 3158 times)
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jackson
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« on: March 29, 2013, 05:03:46 PM »

Took delivery of my new 2013 Equinox XLT V-6 about 7 days ago.  Two days after delivery my wife and I were out for a drive and my wife said look at the front passenger air bag display.  It said OFF.  The on/off switch could not be found.  After we got back home found a lot of information about the passenger front air bag.  It's on 5-12 and 3-25.  Basically, it says you cannot put anything on the passenger seat but your bottom.  My wife has a medical disability that requires her to sit on a special type of cushion to keep pain in check.  We did not stress this with the salesman but enough for him to say something about the passenger seat restrictions.  Later on he denied knowing anything about the seating restrictions.  About the third day after delivery, I took it to Dealer Service and the service writer said they reduced the sensitivity to 65 lbs.  That did not work. When I called Service and asked for additional help....anything!!!  A few hours later my wife answered the phone and received a call from a young lady in service who read all the information from the Owners Manual verbatim relative to putting anything on the passenger seat but your self.  Of course, she completely ignored the sales process.  She must have thought that the Sales person sat us down and preached the Owners Manual directly to us, especially the many warnings, and that we must be complete nitwits for buying the Equinox knowing that my wife could not use the special cushion on the passenger seat.  I got the sales person in the act and that was the end of that.  This is where he denied knowing the seat restrictions which might be true.  He did say if I were going to buy another vehicle, he would be there to help!  So I know this is a long story but I think the old saying "Let the buyer beware" a very true statement .  The Dealer through his minions is so sorry this happened but it's all in the Owner's manual, you see!

Well, the harsh reality is that I have a 2013 Equinox XLT with265 miles on it and my wife has to sit in the back seat to have full air bag coverage.  The fact is that I will have to sell the car quickly, take a big hit financially and buy something else  after I have thoroughly read the Owners Manual before signing any papers.  This will probably drive the Salesman nuts!  Finally, if any one can help us in any way, we will be very-very grateful.   I hope this will help someone else down the road.  Best regards.

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fourmoremarine
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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2013, 05:55:40 PM »

When did GM start offering a XLT equinox?? Thought that was a Ford nameplate
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csgo
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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2013, 05:59:16 PM »

I'm not a GM representative, but I'll offer the following:

#1  I think you'll find nearly every new car will have the same limitation.  No more manual airbag switches.

#2  I suggest you talk with GM Mobility at 1-800-323-9935.  They're the right people for this issue.

#3  If all else fails it's really not that difficult to make the seat sensor think there's someone in the front passenger seat at all times. 
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POLRCUB II
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« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2013, 07:28:27 PM »

Welcome to the Forum Boards jackson and congrats on your purchase  Cheers

I'm not a GM representative, but I'll offer the following:

#1  I think you'll find nearly every new car will have the same limitation.  No more manual airbag switches.

#2  I suggest you talk with GM Mobility at 1-800-323-9935.  They're the right people for this issue.

#3  If all else fails it's really not that difficult to make the seat sensor think there's someone in the front passenger seat at all times. 

Very good response here by csgo,, not much else to add,,,  thumbs up
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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2013, 07:44:53 PM »

Can you modify the cushion that she sits on so that it also touches the weight sensor on the seat ?  Or, possibly, GTPprix might be able to modify the ECU so that it always senses that a person is in the seat - no matter what the weight is.  However, from a liability standpoint, he may not want to do this - just in case it happened to not work in a collision.  On the other hand, the Mobility Center of GM ought to be able to address your needs - just to keep a customer happy.
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csgo
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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2013, 07:48:23 PM »

I decided to look into this matter a little further.  I'm going to assume the original poster is in the USA, because I don't know the laws, rules or regulations in Canada or elsewhere.

Per NHTSA the only vehicles that are allowed to come factory equipped with a passenger seat airbag disable switch are vehicles that have either no rear seats or limited rear seating (such as pickup trucks or sports cars).  And even in those vehicles the switch will only disable the passenger side airbag... many may still have weight sensors... so even those with a switch would not guarantee that the passenger side airbag is enabled under the circumstances outlined in the original post.

NHTSA does allow you to apply for an airbag "ON - OFF Switch" waiver.  You can apply using the following form: http://www.safercar.gov/staticfiles/safercar/pdf/SwitchRequest_10142011.pdf

But again, this would not eliminate the passenger seat weight sensor so it wouldn't be of much help.

It's illegal for any dealer or repair facility to disable airbags without the above waiver, but in this case you're not asking them to disable the airbag... actually your request is to enable them... so I think they can legally bypass the passenger seat weight sensor, but I don't think anyone has any obligation to do so.  
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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2013, 08:08:24 PM »

In thinking more about this - after a few beers, mind you - the weight sensor is nothing more than a on/off switch that is triggered by a certain amount of weight, right ?  It seems like an on/off switch could be added very easily to allow you to either have the seat airbag always on, or only on when there is greater than 65 pounds in the seat.  It  doesn't seem like rocket science.  If you are near Schenectady NY, I will gladly install it for you - however, I would want you to sign a waiver to release me from any liability - however, I can verbally bet that it WILL work.  Heck, I am "almost" a rocket scientist !
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« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2013, 08:16:13 PM »

In thinking more about this - after a few beers, mind you - the weight sensor is nothing more than a on/off switch that is triggered by a certain amount of weight, right ?  It seems like an on/off switch could be added very easily to allow you to either have the seat airbag always on, or only on when there is greater than 65 pounds in the seat.  It  doesn't seem like rocket science.  If you are near Schenectady NY, I will gladly install it for you - however, I would want you to sign a waiver to release me from any liability - however, I can verbally bet that it WILL work.  Heck, I am "almost" a rocket scientist !

I don't have a wiring diagram, but the sensor itself is more than just a weight sensor.  It also senses the passenger seating position and is designed to detect if things like child car seats are in place rather than a human. 

But overall I agree that it shouldn't be too difficult to trick the system into believing the seat is occupied at all times... but you may have to fasten the passenger seat belt even when the seat is not actually occupied.
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jackson
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« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2013, 08:35:21 PM »

First I apologize for naming the Equinox as XLT.....should be Equinox LTZ FWD V-6.  We have seen four different cars in the last four days and all have model letter identifiers.

My thanks to CSGO .  I will be calling GM Mobility next week and will post results.  Also, we live in Arizona where the temperature is 85 and the humidity perfect.

Thanks again everyone.   Jackson
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trbstang
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« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2013, 02:46:18 PM »

How is this special cushion constructed? Is it simply a matter of not having the weight on a particular part of the seat bottom? If that is the case it may be as simple as cutting out a rigid base from plywood,  cover it with something soft to protect the leather seat, and insert it in between the seat and the cushion. Then her weight would be on the sensor and activate the airbag switch. You might have to adjust the padding on the bottom to make it have full contact with the sensor.
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Thomas
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« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2013, 07:03:16 PM »

Not sure she wants plywood between her and the seat, but some different padding may help.

 
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« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2013, 07:47:44 PM »

these seat sensors are more than a simple on/off type sensor.
They can be calibrated....
As it seems its already been done.

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2013 Equinox  LT1 3.6L V6 FWD -   23,000
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« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2013, 04:07:30 AM »

I think this is as simple as trying different cushions to find one that will work with the seat.

You need one that has more of a center to it to make the weight more centered in the seat as the cushion is like a snow shoe and it is just spreading the pressure out.

The seat is made to pick up weight and your hip bones focus the weight. I would see what GM mobility has but I also would check out other cushions and see if you can find one or modify one to set the seat off.

I played around with this and my son as he was growing. I wanted to see what it would take to set it off as he was wanting to use a booster seat even though he was old enough and big enough to sit up front. My other car he could not see out and wanted to retain the seat longer so he could seen. I was able to place a pad with focused force under the seat and it would set the bag.
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Franklin DeLaney
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« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2013, 06:25:35 AM »

This may seem an ironic question coming from me - who tend's to blame first and ask questions later - but, didn't your wife go on with you for a test drive to see if the vehicle was comfortable to her prior to signing on the dotted line?  Not sure this is a case where the salesman is to blame.  I do realize that some things aren't immediately apparant until you have time to live with the vehicle for a while.....
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jackson
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« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2013, 08:40:46 AM »

We found an easy answer to the passenger side air bag problem.  We really lucked out  by finding this particular sensor.  It was all trial and error.  I sat in the right seat using her old cushion  and began applying pressure to different parts of the seat. I found a sensor on both side of the seat.  Then, another sensor about in the middle of the seat back 2" above the seat.  I sat on the passenger seat using the old cushion with the air bag OFF light on and then I began  to apply pressure to the seat back sensor so as to cause the passenger air bag light to come ON.  We tried all kind of cushions but the only thing that worked was a $20 gel seat cushion from COSTCO.  The first time she tried it , the light changed from OFF to ON and that was it.  This cushion had a name  "Ultimate Gel Seat Cushion".  The reason this cushion worked is strictly in it's design. The first time she tried it, the light went from OFF to ON and that was it.  No more problem. 

This is a great Forum and I thank all of you for helping us out.

Best regards,  Jackson
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rbarrios
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« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2013, 08:50:45 AM »

good to hear it was a 'simple' fix
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« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2013, 10:29:31 AM »

Good thing that you didn't carry out your initial plan :

The fact is that I will have to sell the car quickly, take a big hit financially and buy something else  after I have thoroughly read the Owners Manual before signing any papers.  This will probably drive the Salesman nuts!  Finally, if any one can help us in any way, we will be very-very grateful.   I hope this will help someone else down the road.  Best regards.


 Bang Head
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