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Steering wheel, airbag, oh my!


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13 replies to this topic

#1 kd7dej

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 12:11 AM

I have a 1996 Subaru Legacy Wagon, manual trans, awd.

Today I took the steering column apart to fix an ignition problem. Put everything back together and lord behold, the airbag light is on, the horn and cruise control don't work. Don't give me anything about clock springs because this year, like close years, does not have them.

So there are wires going up into the steering roll connector. At the end of the roll connector (closest to the driver?) there are two sets of wires. One to plug into the cruise control, and a second to plug into the airbag module. You are supposed to run those into the steering wheel and then plug them in.

My guess is I am lining something up wrong? There is a big yellow label that says something to the effect of "1. Make sure the front wheels are straight. 2. Rotate 2.65 turns from right end stop. 3. Line up arrows 4. read service manual"

I think I am messing up on step 2? The service manual, at least the one from the factory, is very vague. I downloaded one. I have the front wheels straight and have tried lining the arrows up with no rotation from there; no luck. I have put the wires on the left hand side as shown in the service manual and rotated from there; again no luck. I have physically moved the wheel and tires themselves all the way to the right and rotated there; no luck.

So anybody who is more knowledgeable, has had the same problem, or maybe has a Chiltons or Haines manual that explains in more detail, feel free to respond. And yes I have checked all connections, everything is how it should be and nothing is broke.

Any Suby mechanics out there?

#2 ShawnW

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 12:59 AM

Sounds like something just isnt plugged in to me. Take the trim around the column back off and check that first. Did you remove the steering wheel to do the work to start with or after you discovered the light was coming on?

#3 avk

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 08:40 AM

It does have a clockspring, although for some strange reason it's not available as a separate part. But make sure everything is plugged back together. The yellow label tells how to center the clockspring if necessary.
There's a procedure to read airbag codes by grounding a pin on the diagnostic connector, similarly to ABS and AT, but I don't have it handy right now.

Edited by avk, 30 May 2009 - 08:43 AM.


#4 kd7dej

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 02:54 PM

It does have a clockspring, although for some strange reason it's not available as a separate part. But make sure everything is plugged back together. The yellow label tells how to center the clockspring if necessary.
There's a procedure to read airbag codes by grounding a pin on the diagnostic connector, similarly to ABS and AT, but I don't have it handy right now.


AVK, so I guess the clock spring is in that part with the yellow label and that must be where I'm screwing up. Do you know how to center it than or can explain it in better detail?

#5 kd7dej

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 11:12 PM

Oh and does anybody know if that steering roll connector is supposed to be able to rotate around over and over again without a stop? I'm wondering if I maybe rotated it too far and broke the ribbon inside? Thus why it will just turn and turn now?

#6 hankosolder2

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 08:48 AM

I don't think that recentering the clock spring is going to solve your problem. Basically, an off-center clock spring will not cause an air bag code per se; an off center clock spring will cause the clock spring to break, which will then set an airbag code. So, recentnering after the fact shouldn't help. I think you're probably going to need a new combination switch assembly (It's about $160-170 wholesale for my OBW...) I would definitely do some code reading first and check your connectors first; they are the latching type and both parts need to be fully seated.

Nathan

#7 subaru360

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 10:36 AM

Unless you left something unplugged, you spun the wheel too many times and broke the clockspring. Yes they do have one, it's part of the combination switch. Best bet is a used one from a U-pull type junkyard or post a wanted ad on here. They are usually cheap used. I sold somebody one for $20, but I dont have any more right now.

#8 avk

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 10:58 AM

AVK, so I guess the clock spring is in that part with the yellow label and that must be where I'm screwing up. Do you know how to center it than or can explain it in better detail?

Sorry I am late getting back to you. As people said, the ribbon cable inside might have disconnected. The idea of centering the clockspring, which Subaru calls "roll connector", is to make sure the wound ribbon has same amount of slack for turning left as it has for turning right. From the directions on the label, it looks like the clockspring makes 5.3 turns from stop to stop, which is greater than the number for the steering wheel. So if it is centered, it should not be able to reach those internal stops.
For your model, if you want to buy a new part, you probably have to buy a complete combination switch. But a used one shouldn't be hard to find.

#9 kd7dej

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 01:04 PM

Okay, I think it is definitely broke than. I will do a wtb post on here and try the local junkyards. Hanksolder2 mentions I can get one new wholesale for around $160, where can I get that at just in case I have no luck with the other resources.

Thanks everybody, been a ton of help

#10 kd7dej

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 02:39 PM

Oh yeah, to help my search, does anybody know which years/models are interchangeable with mine?

#11 johnceggleston

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 02:49 PM

Oh yeah, to help my search, does anybody know which years/models are interchangeable with mine?


stick to 95 - 99 and you should be good.

www.car-part.com

#12 kd7dej

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 09:02 PM

Found one out of a 97, it's an outback though. Supposed to be sending pics, should that one work just fine?

#13 kd7dej

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 02:25 PM

I just spoke with a local subaru mechanic. He told me the one out of the outback should work. Thanks again for everyone's help :banana:

#14 avk

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 09:51 PM

Use a piece of tape across the face of the (centered) clockspring to keep it from turning.
Remove right before re-installing the steering wheel.




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