How does the airbag on the steering wheel deploy on 94-96 RMW/S - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-22-2017, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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How does the airbag on the steering wheel deploy on 94-96 RMW/S

Horn button on my 94 RMW stuck on. The buttons buried between the airbag and the airbag cover go bad. The extreme heat here in Fla causes this to happen quite often. Happened twice so far. I Was able to replace both times with same interior color by buying on ebay. I have taken the original one apart by drilling the rivets and removing the cover. This being done using extreme care and grounding to reduce static electricity when handling. The horn buttons can then be re positioned which allows them to function correctly again. My question is how does the airbag deploy? When deployed, does the top outer cover tear open to allow the bag to exit or does the bag cause the cover tear off at the rivets when it deploys? If I need to replace again due to the horn issue, I may not be able to get the original color and may have to buy a different color and would then like to replace the cover with the original colored cover by re-riveting the old cover on to the good airbag but also want to make sure the rivets are not some kind of special rivet that releases under pressure or something like that.
Anyone have a photo of a 94-96 RMW or RMS deployed steering wheel airbag they can post which would help determine how they function when deployed?

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 12:46 AM
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While not a 94-96 RM, I have seen a lot of deployed air bags and they always tear the cover open along lines that are molded in to make them weaker that the rest of the bag.
My Caprice, you can see where it would tear.


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 06:48 AM
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The wheel airbags all pretty much work the same. As Wagon mentioned, there should be thinner areas on the bag cover that split open when the bag deploys. As far as what they look like, just google "96 Roadmaster air bag deployed" for images but they ALL pretty much act and deploy the same way and just leave the flaps of the cover ripped open at those seems or thing spots.

Not sure what you are describing about taking off the cover of the bag or rivets you mentioned. But the AB is an assembly that is not to be serviced. Don't think you can remove the cover or should even try just to get the color match. The only thing I would consider doing is to remove the ENTIRE bag assembly (just 2 Torx screws) and replace with another complete assembly.

If you never have any luck finding a replacement in the color you need, consider it a good excuse to go with an aftermarket wheel and call it a day.

================================================== =============


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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 09:27 AM
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Yes, replace as assembly. No, do not modify it in any way.
An air bag can seriously injure and even kill you under rare circumstances.
Cover can always be dyed or painted if you wish.
There are companies that specialize in airbags, they could probably help if replacement is needed.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks to all for the info. Found out what I wanted to know.

94 RMW
Custom tune (secret tuner), Homemade RAISS, LT4 knock mod, X-pipe, Dynamax muff dumps in front of rear wheels, Gary's headlight & batt. cable, Mueller bushings, Air lift bags w/aftmkt compressor,
TB bypass, Tranny cooler w/fan, Air pump delete, Elec. fan cnvrsn, UMI LCAs, HO swaybar, Bilsteins, Vogtlands, ZQ8s, Blazer floor shift cnvrs w/twin buckets, leopard print velvet roofliner
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 10:37 PM
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Slight thread hijack.

OP or anyone - would you like to explain the horn button fix? I had to pull the fuse on mine because it is stuck on.................. at 4 AM one morning. Neighbors were not happy. Well at least I know I have a very strong battery (LOL).

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-24-2017, 02:11 AM Thread Starter
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Button fix

Quote:
Originally Posted by grandpas wagon View Post
Slight thread hijack.

OP or anyone - would you like to explain the horn button fix? I had to pull the fuse on mine because it is stuck on.................. at 4 AM one morning. Neighbors were not happy. Well at least I know I have a very strong battery (LOL).
From what I remember when I took the bag apart last year, the button is actually a pressure sensitive patch of mylar type material sandwiched between the bag and the outer cover with 2 wires attached to it with a connector on the ends of the wires. There are 2, one in each side of the airbag fixed in place with light adhesive(which had disintegrated so it was easy to just lift the patch and wires off the inner cover). I found that once I removed the outer cover of the bag and removed the button/patch it was able to function correctly again. I tested the button patch once removed and found the circuit was open now which leads me to believe the folded-up air bag expanded slightly over time and heat caused the bag to further expand thus causing the bag to push against the button patch and the outer cover causing the pressure sensitive button patch to close the circuit and cause the horn blowing. I have not gotten to the point of putting the assembly back together and re-riveting the cover to the airbag frame to see if this will in fact completely fix the problem. 4DoorSS and Babywag advise against even taking the bag cover off the frame so putting it all back together and reinstalling it would be dangerous. I remember when the times my horn would go off, if I pressed really hard on the horn area of the bag (thus compressing the folded up airbag inside the cover), sometimes it would fix it temporarily. Wish I could post pics of the disassembled bag and components but everything is packed waiting to be moved as I am relocating to Jacksonville.

94 RMW
Custom tune (secret tuner), Homemade RAISS, LT4 knock mod, X-pipe, Dynamax muff dumps in front of rear wheels, Gary's headlight & batt. cable, Mueller bushings, Air lift bags w/aftmkt compressor,
TB bypass, Tranny cooler w/fan, Air pump delete, Elec. fan cnvrsn, UMI LCAs, HO swaybar, Bilsteins, Vogtlands, ZQ8s, Blazer floor shift cnvrs w/twin buckets, leopard print velvet roofliner
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-24-2017, 06:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WindSSurfer View Post
From what I remember when I took the bag apart last year, the button is actually a pressure sensitive patch of mylar type material sandwiched between the bag and the outer cover with 2 wires attached to it with a connector on the ends of the wires. There are 2, one in each side of the airbag fixed in place with light adhesive(which had disintegrated so it was easy to just lift the patch and wires off the inner cover). I found that once I removed the outer cover of the bag and removed the button/patch it was able to function correctly again. I tested the button patch once removed and found the circuit was open now which leads me to believe the folded-up air bag expanded slightly over time and heat caused the bag to further expand thus causing the bag to push against the button patch and the outer cover causing the pressure sensitive button patch to close the circuit and cause the horn blowing. I have not gotten to the point of putting the assembly back together and re-riveting the cover to the airbag frame to see if this will in fact completely fix the problem. 4DoorSS and Babywag advise against even taking the bag cover off the frame so putting it all back together and reinstalling it would be dangerous. I remember when the times my horn would go off, if I pressed really hard on the horn area of the bag (thus compressing the folded up airbag inside the cover), sometimes it would fix it temporarily. Wish I could post pics of the disassembled bag and components but everything is packed waiting to be moved as I am relocating to Jacksonville.

OK, I guess I see where you are coming from now. So if I'm understanding you correctly and one of the reasons you would like to remove the Vinyl Cover from the airbag is cause there are some sort of contacts within the AB that also cause the Horn circuit to work? If so, this is not True.


Sorry to burst your "AirBag" here , but the bag has one sole purpose....being an airbag and is not electrically tied to the Horn Circuit. Under the AB assembly and on the wheel itself are 2 horn Buttons that get shorted once you push down on the AB. Here is a pic of my old wheel once I unbolted the 2 Torx Screws that secure the bag to the wheel. those 2 torx Screws stayed affixed to the Wheel and just screw into the back of the airbag to secure it to the wheel....







So you can see the 2 Horn Circuit buttons from my 95 Wheel in the upper pic. I do believe there are some 3wheels that only have 1 button or maybe I'm thinking of the AB which some have only 1 Horn Logo on the AB cover and others have 2 Horn Logos on the cover. I think the difference in AB's needs to be paired with the AB controller Module under the dash....I think. However, notice the Springs on the 2 Torx bolts to hold the bag on? Those are what allow the Bag to be pushed and spring back when the Horn/AB assembly is pushed.


But again, there is nothing in the AB itself that you should be thinking affects your Horn. However, I have seen where if you tighten down the 2 torx Mounting screws too tight, you can cause thew Horn to go off continuously or it can get triggered if you hit a bump or something. If this happens, just back out the Torx screws enough that the horn contacts on the wheel are not being touched. Back them out too far and the horn wont work at all. but again, this is just the Back Metal side of the AB Assembly touching the 2 horn buttons (as pictured) on my wheel. One last time, DO NOT and there is absolutely NO REASON to take apart your AB Assembly.

================================================== =============


'95 Caprice SS conversion - Bonny Buckets - 96 Column, Shifter and Console - 3.73 Gear and Herter tune - Z/28 Cluster - Blazer OH Console - Green/Pink bushings - Chromed Impala Wheels - Eibach Springs and Bilstein Shocks - Corvette Engine Dress - the list goes on and still more to do...it never ends.

Last edited by 4DoorSS; 01-24-2017 at 06:07 AM.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-24-2017, 01:21 PM
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I did a little more digging to see if I could find some airbag pics for you too. Don't have any of mine but he only electrical plug on the bag was the yellow wire for the AB.

So then I find this add on eBay and not sure what the hell to think now.

94 95 96 CHEVY CAPRICE IMPALA SS AIR BAG DRIVER OEM gray | eBay

It sure looks like the spring horn contact wires are built into the bag and may be what you are describing. But in the 2 sets of bags I've had to install on my car, none had the horn wires built into the bag. But looking at the backside pic in the eBay ad, I can certainly see now what you must be talking about and have no clue how you would or if you should service the horn wires. Maybe this is what is designated by the 2 horn emblem on the bag cover? Mine only had 1 horn emblem and I remember the guy asking me 10 years ago if I needed the bag with 1 horn or 2 horn emblems. Maybe this is why?

So hopefully I just didn't totally confuse you on my last 2 posts. I could have swore that based on what I saw, the horn contacts were on the wheel and not the bag.


This is the type of AB I had and you can see there is just 1 horn emblem and it's missing the wires in the back except for the AB itself

http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/2223861...&ul_noapp=true

Maybe if you wanted to eliminate the contacts under the bag, you would just need to swap in the wheel with the horn contacts on the wheel and use the other style bag? It just dawned on me that years ago I sold my old wheel to another member. I hope this did not cause him any issues. If it did, I never heard from him.

================================================== =============


'95 Caprice SS conversion - Bonny Buckets - 96 Column, Shifter and Console - 3.73 Gear and Herter tune - Z/28 Cluster - Blazer OH Console - Green/Pink bushings - Chromed Impala Wheels - Eibach Springs and Bilstein Shocks - Corvette Engine Dress - the list goes on and still more to do...it never ends.

Last edited by 4DoorSS; 01-24-2017 at 01:26 PM.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-24-2017, 02:04 PM
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94 and older have the horn buttons on the wheel
96 they are in the air bag

95 is a transition with early production they are on wheel, later they are in bag
Early set up, the whole bag moves when you push the horn
Late, the bag cover deflects

Number of horn symbols on the bag is an indicator.

Late 2 , early 1
The above is Caprice-Impala .
I assume the Buick followed suit

Edit: if one swaps type of bag(horn) back or forth minor mods are required.

From memory a long time ago,
Early bag on late wheel you must open up the mounting holes in wheel because the shouldered spring loaded mounts must be able to move around a bit
Also you have to go digging in the foam of the wheel because the horn mounting is covered over.
Late bag on early wheel, seem to remember you just have to deal with mounting hardware because of the larger holes in the early wheel
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Last edited by 95wagon; 01-24-2017 at 02:11 PM. Reason: more
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