One Friday, I stop into my friend Mike’s shop to discuss going over to a deli for lunch. Instead, he drags me into the shop. I’m hungry and thinking this better be some exotic car if he’s jeopardizing our ability to get a table at the deli.
The Light Is On
The car is a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. Not exactly exotic. Mike tells me, “The front fender was damaged, and no one was in the car.” The problem is that the airbag light is coming on intermittently. Mike has already spent four hours diagnosing the issue, and they can’t deliver the car with the light on. Did I mention it was Friday? Our lunch plans are now in serious jeopardy.
Nothing is making sense with the codes. Safety systems were inactive at the time of the accident, and the repair was simply removing a fender and bolting on a new one. The customer informed Mike that this intermittent airbag light was not an issue before the accident.
With a fresh set of eyes, I start going through the repair with Mike. We start by looking into the diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) again, one by one. First one, nothing. Second one, nothing. On the third DTC, we find a service campaign for the OCS systems. Ten minutes of research, and now we understand the root cause of this issue.
Lunch Is Back On
It turns out that this has been an issue with several GM makes and models going back to 2005 and continuing into some 2012 models. The affected makes include: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer, Daewoo and Opel.
When a GM customer complains about an intermittent airbag light on his or her dashboard, check for these DTCs being set: B0012, B0013, B0015, B0016, B0019, B0020, B0022, B0023, B0026, B0033, B0040, B0042 or B0044. It was B0022 that tipped Mike and me off to the problem. The codes may be set as current or in history in the sensing and diagnostic module (SDM).
The issue involves examining the connector position assurance (CPA) retainer. And no, it has nothing to do with a certified public accountant. The offending retainer might be loose, missing or damaged at an airbag/SIR module electrical connector or at a deployment loop wiring harness electrical connector.
Of course, before you touch any SIR component or even think of working on the SIR system, it must be disabled. Otherwise, you could be eating an airbag for lunch instead of a great deli sandwich.
OE Info to the Rescue
Speaking of great deli sandwiches, while Mike and I are at lunch, his top tech takes care of the problem. The tech tells Mike that, referring to the OE procedure and parts information, he quickly isolated the affected connector and noted that corrosion was the culprit. Mike’s parts supplier delivers the new retainer pronto and the repair is completed in time for Mike to call the customer. I decide I’ll stop by again the next Friday to drag Mike out to lunch and see what other mysteries we can solve using the magic of OE repair information.
This repair/service information is excerpted from information published by the vehicle manufacturer, and intended for the purpose of promoting OE collision repair information to trained, professional technicians with the knowledge, tools and equipment to do the job properly and safely. Before attempting any repairs described, refer to the complete article in ALLDATA Collision S3500. It is recommended that these procedures not be performed by “do-it-yourselfers.”
Karl Kirschenman, ALLDATA collision product manager, holds a bachelor of science degree in communication. He has more than 10 years of experience in the collision industry.
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