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Old 11-10-2010, 08:20 AM   #1
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Air bags deploying while off roading

I've been told that if you have your seat belt done up it activates the air bag circuit, if that true then if you don't have your seat belt on will the air bags deploy?
when off roading and you should happen to bump your front end hard enough and have your seat belt on would the air bags deploy?
Could someone clarify this fact and has anyone heard of the air bags deploying while off roading?

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Old 11-10-2010, 08:30 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Sask. Jeep View Post
I've been told that if you have your seat belt done up it activates the air bag circuit, if that true then if you don't have your seat belt on will the air bags deploy?
when off roading and you should happen to bump your front end hard enough and have your seat belt on would the air bags deploy?
Could someone clarify this fact and has anyone heard of the air bags deploying while off roading?
Hehe, no the airbag is not activated by the seat belt. That would mean no protection in an accident if the seat belt wasn't fastened.

Not sure about the off-roading stories, but I know there's a set of circumstances that must all be true before an airbag is deployed. For example, I don't think the passenger airbag will deploy if the sensor in the seat shows no one sitting there. There's also a speed minimum, and probably other factors.

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Old 11-10-2010, 08:44 AM   #3
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From what I know it's based on a change in velocity. You would have to find out the threshold the sensors are set at. Ex. If you rear end someone at say 15mph the air bags won't deploy(not a significant change in velocity). If you rear end someone at say 45 mph most likely they will. Not sure if it is manufacturer specific or a federal standard. I think it would be safe to say that running a trail at 15 or 20 mph won't deploy the airbags if you have a whoops. Velocity equals your speed multiplied by 1.66. Velocity is feet per second. Might be too much frivolous info
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:51 AM   #4
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^^^^ Pretty much what he said. Gotta be going fast enough or the don't deploy, now if you're going fast enough to deploy them on the trails, and run into something head on, well.............. you deserve it.
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:29 AM   #5
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I've taken some nasty hits off-road, and no airbags. Even done an endo on the front axle on Crawler Ridge at Rausch (whoops! New rock on my old line ), and no airbag. Bumper tap my friends from time to time (yes, I'm THAT guy ), and no airbag.

I know for a fact from talking to Mopar reps that when you're in 4Lo, you have to do something MASSIVELY stupid to set off the airbags. Or roll off a cliff (generally in the same stupid category, but it happens). No worries- wheel on. Also, stop listening to whoever told you that about the seatbelts. The only conditions for airbags not firing are any time the light is on (and even then, some codes will still allow it to fire), or, as Jeff said, there's no weight on the passenger seat, the passenger airbag won't fire. Otherwise, no worries.

But, for God's sake, put your damn seatbelt on! Only a complete ass would wheel with no seatbelt on! Mark W.
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:31 AM   #6
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I had a oops with my old xj at 15-20 km I slid into a ditch, the impact was not hard at all, bent my bumper a bit,we where all laff'n cuz I was stuck, then all of a sudden my air bag whent off lol my freind laghfed at me for about a minut untill his air bag whent off to!!! So I fully beleave air bags can be set off 4x4'n , so don't hit anything hard lol
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:38 AM   #7
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I had a oops with my old xj at 15-20 km I slid into a ditch, the impact was not hard at all, bent my bumper a bit,we where all laff'n cuz I was stuck, then all of a sudden my air bag whent off lol my freind laghfed at me for about a minut untill his air bag whent off to!!! So I fully beleave air bags can be set off 4x4'n , so don't hit anything hard lol
Well, I know that airbag technology has changed quite a bit since they were introduced (remember the old bumper sensors?) so it may be a different story with the JK's.
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:44 AM   #8
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^ The new generation airbags are very much so computer controlled. There's a list of parameters that must be in range before the airbag can fire, both to reduce accidental firings, and to enhance driver/passenger safety- Mark W.
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:06 AM   #9
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It activated by sudden and drastic changes in momentum. The sensor/controller is under the center console and has nothing to do with the bumper, though the stock bumpers have crush cans to prevent activation/deployment during minor fender benders.
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:57 AM   #10
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Thanks for all your help, I had thought the same but when in doubt ask WRANGLER FORUM members cause somebody always has the answer. It's never let me down yet.
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:01 PM   #11
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:06 PM   #12
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This question has come up before and my answer is the same. If your air bags should deploy while off road, it's because you needed them!
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:56 PM   #13
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This question has come up before and my answer is the same. If your air bags should deploy while off road, it's because you needed them!
What he said.......
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Old 11-11-2010, 03:12 PM   #14
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It takes alot more than just an impact on the front bumpers to set it off, it has to do with how fast the vehicle is stopped in an impact and how fast you were traveling combined with knocking the crap outta something.
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Old 11-11-2010, 03:56 PM   #15
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I've seen some pretty voilent roll overs and a JK rear ending a buggy at 20ish mph on a trail, but none of those deployed an airbag. I'm not the least bit concerned about mine blowing up in my face on the trail. And if by some chance I get in a situation that actually sets it off, I'm going to be glad I had it.
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Old 11-11-2010, 04:02 PM   #16
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Old 11-11-2010, 09:32 PM   #17
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^^^that sucks!!!

i had the same question but more regarding the side airbags
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Old 11-12-2010, 03:29 PM   #18
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I had a four day old 1999 Cherokee and hit a patch of black ice on Molas Pass and went down the side about 100' and hit a tree. No air bag deployment. District rep came to the conclusion that snow and brush scrubbed off enough speed so that there was no deployment. After the front end was removed, it was determined that I hit the tree dead center and the air bags are set to go off when hit at an angle.
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Old 04-16-2011, 09:02 PM   #19
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I know this thread is about 5 months old, but I thought I'd add another perspective to deployment. My wife who also drives a Wrangler (Yes, I am lucky man), was stopped at traffic light in the left turn lane and was hit head on by a by a kid who ran a red light and swerved to avoid another car already in the intersection ending up in the front end of our Jeep. The impact was estimated to be 49 MPH at time of impact. The Jeep was totaled (but valiantly protected my wife to minimize her injuries). Even though she was stopped, the impact deployed the airbag. So the point is the vehicle doesn't have to be moving for the air bag to deploy. A frontal impact would be enough on it's own from a secondary source.

Also as far as I know there are no shut off switches for an Airbag on the driver's side per Federal regulation. Only the passenger side has a disabling feature typically based on the weight of the front seat occupant depressing the seat switch. After seeing my wofe's accident, I don't think I would want the airbag off, it did it's job in minimizing injury.

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Old 04-16-2011, 11:07 PM   #20
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Air bags and seat belts best combo. for safety

Watch some videos of crashes using the advanced restraint systems on newer vehicles. Seat belts and airbags together are the best combination. During crash, seat belt material stretches somewhat and the tensioner lets out some slack so that occupant isn't stopped too suddenly by seatbelt. The occupant moves into the now deployed airbag to complete a soft landing, all done in milliseconds. This timed movement reduces restraint injuries to occupants. Without seat belt use (if the unbelted occupant isn't first thrown through the windshield or side window) in a forward moving crash, occupant will hit the airbag too soon. The airbag will be too hard from just deploying. It has to be in deflation cycle at the instant the belted occupant is hitting the airbag; it's then a soft cushion rather than a rock hard pillow. The crumple zones in the front end and engine compartment absorb crash energy, (vehicle is destroyed) absorbing crash energy that would otherwise be transfered inside to occupants and everything not tied down. Any energy transfer into the passanger compartment, then into occupants and objects, multiplies forward speed of them all many times over the actuall crash speed. Always wear your seat belt and keep your air bag system working.
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Old 04-17-2011, 12:37 AM   #21
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Just keep your hands on the outside of the steering wheel so you dont get your fingers broken (or jammed into your nose) when the bag goes off and you'll be fine.
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Old 04-17-2011, 01:02 AM   #22
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It is possible for an airbag to go off while off-roading. There are two types of sensors: crash and safing. There are generally 1, 2, or 3 crash sensors at the front of a vehicle and 1 or 2 safing sensors in the back of the vehicle or in the passenger compartment. These sensors are nothing more than a hollow tube with a magnet at one end and a pair of contacts at the other end with a gold plated steel ball being held in place by the magnet. All it takes for the airbags to deploy is just enough inertia for one crash and one safing sensor to be triggered.
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Old 04-17-2011, 01:36 AM   #23
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Go to about 1:40 on this

That gun shot sound was the passenger side seat air bag on my partner Alec's JK blow
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Old 04-18-2011, 09:16 AM   #24
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It seems the airbag technology has some latitude for engineering... Didn't Ford just issue a recall for 1.2 Million F-150's because airbags were deploying without a necessary cause?

My CJ-5 of course doesn't have this issue and I don't do heavy offroading (yet) with my (or my wife's) JK's, but I would like to be able to disable all airbags for off-roading to avoid them deploying unnecessarily. These cost how much in parts and labor to have them replaced after deployment?
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Old 04-18-2011, 09:27 AM   #25
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Bummer.... I just got in the JK yesterday, and apparently I'm not big enough to activate the airbag sensor.... I noticed the little light saying something about air bags anyway. No glasses, couldn't really read it.
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Old 04-18-2011, 09:28 AM   #26
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We've taken a few trees and rocks as direct hits on the front bumper of my rubicon-enough to stop it dead in it's tracks...and airbags haven't been deployed yet. I keep thinking I should find the fuse and pull before we DO pop them one of these days...
anyone ever had an airbag deploy when putting the fuse back in? I'm worried about the sudden 'surge' of power...well, it's only 12v but that's still like flicking a switch on and off...
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Old 04-18-2011, 09:40 AM   #27
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The only airbags I have seen deployed on a trail were on an H2 that was going through Tank Trap at Disney, and they were the side ones at that. The jeeps (all models) were fine. I think this is an overblown worry.

When was the last time you saw someone post "hey my airbag deployed" on this forum? And I know there is a bunch of hard wheeling every weekend.
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Old 04-18-2011, 09:45 AM   #28
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When was the last time you saw someone post "hey my airbag deployed" on this forum? And I know there is a bunch of hard wheeling every weekend.
^^^^^ Excellent point!
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Old 04-18-2011, 10:35 AM   #29
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Go to about 1:40 on this

That gun shot sound was the passenger side seat air bag on my partner Alec's JK blow
Had he aired down his tires some he would have walked right up those rocks.
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Old 04-18-2011, 03:14 PM   #30
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We've taken a few trees and rocks as direct hits on the front bumper of my rubicon-enough to stop it dead in it's tracks...and airbags haven't been deployed yet. I keep thinking I should find the fuse and pull before we DO pop them one of these days...
anyone ever had an airbag deploy when putting the fuse back in? I'm worried about the sudden 'surge' of power...well, it's only 12v but that's still like flicking a switch on and off...
There is an airbag switch and it is specially marked. It should have a yellow boarder around the fuse. The airbag will not go off by just putting the fuse back in. The thing to remember though is there is a capacitor in the airbag system that stores electricity. The airbags could still go off after you pull the fuse. If it were a big deal to me(and it's not) I would first remove BOTH battery clamps from the battery, touch them both together for about 30 seconds, remove the airbag fuse, and then reconnect the battery. MAKE SURE there are no other power sources on you Jeep....i.e. dual batteries, battery charger, etc.

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