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Black Bug
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello ORG members,

I recently got my bug back (long story) and am in the process of fixing it back up because it has a few issues, including a potential vacuum leak, both upper dashboard panels, cup holders, headlights...you get the drill.

It's a 1998, 2.0L, 5 speed manual transmission and currently has 172k miles on it. Anyway, the most current issue that I'm trying to fix is a mismatch between the car and seat connectors for the side airbag on the passenger side.

While my bug was not under my watch, the original tan seats on the car got exchanged for black ones (it actually looks better IMO). Small drawback, the passengers' side air bag connectors between the seat and the car don't match (while the driver's side do, don't ask me why). I don't have information on what year the car is for the new black seats. However, I was able to locate the connector that fit from an auto salvage place. The connector came off a 2001 NB, so I'm assuming the seats are from a similar car.

I've attached pictures showing the connectors (car, seat and fitting one) but the wiring for the car one and the one that fits are not the same. Can anybody tell me where I can get the wiring diagram for the passenger side airbag from a 1998 and a 2001 NB? Or does anybody know which wire corresponds to where? I'm trying to have it connected again (airbag light is on) and don't want to mess up and have the airbag deploy.

Any help would be really appreciated. Thanks!


 

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I'm no mechanic, but as you know, the 1998 was the intro year. That said, many changes were made in the next few years, and possibly the connectors.

I am going to move this to a better forum for your question. See you there!


Welcome to the Org!
 

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Black Bug
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great, you guys are awesome! So if I understand it correctly: the brown wire replaces the current brown wire, the blue wire replaces the current yellow/brown wire, and the white wire replaces the current yellow/gray wire. Correct? Same direction the wire are currently on both connectors while keeping the brown the same. Really appreciate your help.

BTW, where on the Autozone website do you get these diagrams from? I saw an Autozone link.
 

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My guess on the wires is that if you match the ground wires (brown) the other two don't really matter how they get matched since the airbag igniter doesn't care about polarity. But I don't know that for sure. I know other pyrotechnic igniters are not polarity sensitive.

Autozone has a pretty good set of VW wiring diagrams available for free. You just need to register with the website. Just choose the appropriate vehicle type and then go to vehicle repair help/repair guides/wiring diagrams. The only drawback is that the diagrams are not well organized and it can take a while to find what you are looking for.
 

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Black Bug
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Alright, I'll try that some time this week and post back the result. And thanks for the Autozone info, I'll check it out.
 

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Black Bug
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just a quick update. I changed the connectors, soldered the wires together and shrink wrapped the connections. I connected the harness and turned the car on.... No explosion! HA-HA!

Anyway, the airbag light is obviously still on, so I ordered a VAG-COM cable and waiting for that so that I can reset it. I do have another question though, I read somewhere here on the forums that all airbags are de-activated when the airbag light is on. So does that mean that the airbag can still deploy if something is not connected correctly when I reset the airbag light?
 

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Just a quick update. I changed the connectors, soldered the wires together
Yikes. VW/Audi state to NEVER soldier on the wiring harness! Crimp repairs only.

https://anonfiles.com/file/8e11ff01fb0bc86583ebbde92eb636ce

That is a link to a PDF file on VW/Audi wiring harness repair and it goes into some detail why soldiering on the wiring harness is not allowed.

If the airbag light is on, the airbag system will work to the best of its ability. It DOES NOT shut down the whole system just because the light is on. I'm not sure where this myth came from, but it just isn't true.

As for an airbag deploying when clearing DTCs? Yes, it can happen.

When "Short to positive" or "Short to ground" is found, DO NOT CLEAR THE DTC. This can cause the airbag to deploy. See repair manual for more information.
01217 - Ross-Tech Wiki

While that link is for the N199, it can happen to any of the pyrotechnics.

Cut corners and put cheap tires on the car, cheap out on oil changes, and so on.... but NEVER take the cheap way out on something that can save your life. Unless you are giving the car to a TSA agent.. meh, whatever. :D
 

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Black Bug
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yikes. VW/Audi state to NEVER soldier on the wiring harness! Crimp repairs only.
So, now that it's soldered...can I cut the soldered part out and repair it with one of those crimp junctions? I actually intertwined the strands of the separate cables (like 2 combs coming together), instead of just twisting the two separate pretwisted wires. I then added solder as an outside coating to the intertwined wires. I read on the PDF that some of the drawbacks of the soldering are poor joints with minimal contact between the wires and overheating the wires and therefore separating it from the insulation or embrittlement. Keep in mind that I'm using a DIY soldering pen (nowhere near as hot as the pro ones). Anyway, please advise on the best way to proceed.


As for an airbag deploying when clearing DTCs? Yes, it can happen.
Is there a way that I can test with a multimeter whether I connected the wires wrong? In other words, how can I tell if there is a short to positive or short to ground? Or do I just read the airbag code that the car gives me once I get the VAG-COM cable?

Thanks for all your insights and help! Clearly I have a lot to learn about VWs.
 

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If soldering is done properly, there is really no downside other than if the joint would be in a flexible location.

I think the main reason auto manufacturers do not recommend soldering is the fact they cannot control the quality of the repair in the field and they do not want to teach soldering techniques.

Using acid core solder for plumbing work on wires is BAD. So something as simple as the wrong solder could be a problem.

But at the same time you would not want to put a crimp connection in a door jam or trunk harness where the hinge is due to the flexing so some common sense is required.

Even with crimp connections, I have seen some poor quality field repairs. Depends on the tools, connectors and technique of the person doing the repair, just like with soldering.

With any electrical repairs/connections, attention to detail, proper parts and workmanship is essential for a long term and reliable repair.

One problem with VW/Audi or any of the manufacturers is actually getting the correct crimp/repair connectors and tools.

The crimps that are referred to are not the crimp connectors that you can get at Home Depot or Radio Shack and use a cheap crimp tool on. What is recommended is the Amp, Molex or other main stream specialty crimp terminals and tools.
 

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So, now that it's soldered...can I cut the soldered part out and repair it with one of those crimp junctions?
Yes. IMHO, crimp or GTFO when it comes to wiring repair. VW/Audi did a study in 1998 or so on crimp VS soldiering and found that proper crimps were better electrically and mechanically. I've not been able to find a copy of this study online though.

Even with crimp connections, I have seen some poor quality field repairs.
This. This. This. Using the wrong part (crimp) and one should expect a failure down the road.


The crimps that are referred to are not the crimp connectors that you can get at Home Depot or Radio Shack and use a cheap crimp tool on.
Special butt connectors are used in wiring repair. For the airbag wiring harness, the most common one used is a tiny yellow connector, part number 000-979-940. These were introduced just for airbag wiring repair, but can be used on any .35mm and .50mm diameter wire. There are 3 other butt connector part numbers at the dealer as well for different sized wires. What makes these butt connectors special is the vinyl sleeve heat shrinks and is lined with glue. So after the crimp, it shrinks and glues itself to the wire. This seals off the crimp and offer mechanical support on the insulation of the wire so the copper strands can not vibrate at the crimp.

Is there a way that I can test with a multimeter whether I connected the wires wrong?
NO! No. No. No. Never hook a multimeter to the airbag wiring harness.... the results could be.... explosive.

Or do I just read the airbag code that the car gives me once I get the VAG-COM cable?
That is the correct way.
 

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Black Bug
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the information. I looked up the part number for the butt connectors and came across pencilneck's youtube video (or it seems to be his). Very helpful! Already got the crimp pliers, and just ordered the butt connectors off of the website on the video ($10 for a pack of 10 vs $9 a piece at my local dealer!!! Thank you VERY much!). Anyway, I still haven't gotten the VAG-COM cable so I'll be waiting for that and the butt connectors so that I can properly repair the harness before resetting the airbag light.

Another question, my airbag light was initially on because the harness was not connected and haven't reset it since. Now that I have connected the harness, will it show me if there is a short to ground or positive if I connected wrong? Or will it only show me that the airbag wasn't connected?

I'll post updates as soon as I get all the items in for this repair. Thanks again!
 

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Hopefully the DTC is something along the lines of "Resistance too High" or "Lower Limit Exceeded" type message. They may even come up as intermittent. You can of course view a live reading of the airbag to see if it is a "correct" value before you go to clear DTCs.

If you are going to work on your VW yourself, then you need wrenches, sockets, screw drivers.... and VCDS (VAG COM). Without the correct tools, one ends up some poop creek without a paddle.:rolleyes:
 

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Black Bug
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If you are going to work on your VW yourself, then you need wrenches, sockets, screw drivers....
Isn't this true for working on any car? The only reason that I got the crimp pliers (from a friend with some nice tools) is because mine are not as high quality as the ones depicted in the video (or so I think). I will actually test them out whenever the butt connectors get here to see how mine hold up. Also, I got the VAG-COM cable today so I will work on my computer to set it up by the weekend and see what the airbag light says.

Again, thanks for all of your help!
 

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Black Bug
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Alright guys, I think I fixed it. So I cut the pre-soldered wires and re-attached them using the butt connectors that I got from pencilneck (which I got last Friday, just hadn't had time to do it; thanks for the fast shipping pencilneck!). Here is a picture of what that looks like:



I had pulled the wires out of the tube cover so that I could hide everything back in there once I was done. So that looks like this:



After that, I just connected the harness back to the seat's airbag. I hooked up the VAG-COM cable and opened VCDS-Lite. I pulled up the fault codes, and since I don't have the money to register the software right now, this is what came up:



Anyway, since it seemed that it was only registering the fact that it was disconnected (as pencilneck suggested with the 'Resistance Too High - Intermittent'), I went ahead and looked at the live view from the airbag measuring blocks:



Everything looked good so I went ahead and cleared the Fault Codes and... no explosion... WooHoo!! :D. We'll see how it does once I drive it. I'll post another update once I've driven it for a while and see how it behaves.

Thank you so much ORG members!! Your help is greatly appreciated :).
 

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Black Bug
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just wanted to update that everything has been working great. No Airbag light has come back on and no deployment as of yet. Again, thank you guys so much for all of your help!
 
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