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      10-04-2012, 01:45 PM   #1
matosortho
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Random airbag deployment

I was in an incident this past friday night. Driving on the george wanshington bridge heading towards the bronx on to the cross bronx expressway, my airbag deployed for no reason at all! This was a scarey incident. Imagine, driving 50 MPH then poof, you get smacked in the face by a bag and the entire compartment fills with smoke and powder. Luckily, I was able to get past the ‘oh sh*t whats going on here’ with an adrenaline rush flowing through my body. My engine cut off and the car began to bog down, I put the car into neutral but still could not see because the bag and smoke. I finally squeezed the bag to be able to see infront of me and luckily I did not hit anyone or veer off into the divider. but was able to glide over to the shoulder for saftey. Upon exiting the vehicle (2001 BMW M3) I began to cough uncontrollable and have had a persistent cough and burning sensation in my lungs since, not to mention the stiff neck I’ve had since (but that has gotten better!). I spoke to BMW and they told me that it was talc in bag and that the bag complies will all US saftey standards and that they chemicals are not harmful. I questioned why it smelled like burned plastic but they did not offer any insite into this. I am currently waiting to see if BMW will pick up the bill for the replacement of faulty parts. Does anyone know if the sensors go bad over time, the car is 11 years old. I’ve checked many sites and have seen that this is not that uncommon. I’m surprized that this is tolerated as this malfunction could have cost me my own life and possibly the lives of others on the road next to me when it happened. Thank God that this did not occur, but it is frightening. Now what to do about this cough (it sounds like I have emphysema. If you have any additional information on anything I’ve listed, please add additional comments. Thank you.
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      10-04-2012, 01:52 PM   #2
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That's damn scary that the airbag deployed for no reason but I don't think BMW owes you anything to be honest (unless you have a VERY good relationship with your dealer). They'll just say well it's out of warranty and have you ever had the airbags/sensors checked, I'm assuming you haven't and boom that's their way out. Also, don't worry about the cough etc, I've been hit with an airbag more than once (always in shotgun) and the worst one resulted in my chest being tight and legs being stiff for about a week. As far as thinking oh I can get money outta BMW, it won't happen either. My engine blew after 5/6 weeks of ownership and when I addressed them with 'my life was in danger' they will immediately come at you with 'are you dead?'

Good luck and let us know how this turns out.
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      10-04-2012, 02:04 PM   #3
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Whoa, never heard of that happening before but you say other sites indicate is does happen.
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      10-04-2012, 02:49 PM   #4
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Kinda common on E46's. Lots of stories of non-M models hitting potholes and blowing the curtain bags. I'd probably *hit myself...
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      10-04-2012, 03:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cposk View Post
Kinda common on E46's. Lots of stories of non-M models hitting potholes and blowing the curtain bags. I'd probably *hit myself...

yes this was a big deal on e46 chassis as well as many lowered VWs. Kinda weird driving down the road and suddenly boom, a curtain airbag slams you in the head.

BRING THE CAR TO THE DEALER; tell them exactly what happened. Try and document everything. BMW should fix it, and if not consider calling you insurance company to possibly file a claim as there is a big subro potential on BMW AG.

I had forget these issues until reading this. A little scary to see its still going on with the e9x platform. Is your car lowered?


edit: see that you drive an e46

Last edited by m3an; 10-04-2012 at 04:23 PM.
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      10-04-2012, 03:59 PM   #6
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Heck of a very first-ever post to make....

Got pictures of this?


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      10-04-2012, 04:03 PM   #7
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holy crap. yeah, i've heard of this happening a couple times before. bmw should at least goodwill you a new airbag.
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      10-04-2012, 04:27 PM   #8
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I disagree that the manufacturer will brush this off. As this is a safety feature and as long as your sensors were not tinkered with, they should compensate you on your damages. Unlike your engine and trasmission warranty, safety features likely will not pass the reasonableness test of the "warranty life argument" in court.

If the dealer attempts to brush it off you need to take this to BMW North America. I bet you that you'll get compensated for damages. If not, I would threaten a lawsuit.

Is your front bumper, steering wheel or column, or car modified in any way that can cause your senor to malfunction?
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      10-04-2012, 04:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdosu View Post
I disagree that the manufacturer will brush this off. As this is a safety feature and as long as your sensors were not tinkered with, they should compensate you on your damages. Unlike your engine and trasmission warranty, safety features likely will not pass the reasonableness test of the "warranty life argument" in court.

If the dealer attempts to brush it off you need to take this to BMW North America. I bet you that you'll get compensated for damages. If not, I would threaten a lawsuit.

Is your front bumper, steering wheel or column, or car modified in any way that can cause your senor to malfunction?
+ 1 I also heard that if car dealer goes to court against a consumer that the consumer wins under most circumstances.
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      10-04-2012, 08:46 PM   #10
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Yes. My m3 has a schnitzer kit. This was installed when it had less than 100 miles. So for the past 11 years it has been over all of new York metro area with no incident! Much worse road surfaces that what I was on the other day. The dealer was a douche.
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      10-04-2012, 09:42 PM   #11
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Wow, has anyone seen this on a E9x platform?
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      10-04-2012, 09:53 PM   #12
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That's terrible. I'm glad you're ok, crazy thing is the same thing happen to my uncle in his e46 m3 when he hit a rough pot hole. I'm pretty sure BMW paid for everything
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      10-05-2012, 05:51 PM   #13
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this used to happen to honda accord MY 08, maybe the sensor on your car is too sensitive
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      10-05-2012, 05:55 PM   #14
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This happened to a friend in a Honda Accord (not sure what year, but out of warranty) sitting at a stoplight a few months back. Honda North America ended up paying for it, but did start off by saying it wouldn't be covered since the car was not under warranty.
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      10-05-2012, 06:39 PM   #15
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As I recall from reading the life cycle of an airbag is about 10 years. After that manufacturers say they have to be replaced (which most people don't do.)

In this case an 11 year old air bag deployed. I'm sure it's stunning to experience but I don't think there would be any recourse against the manufacturer (BMW in this case.) I had read the biggest risk was that your airbag wouldn't deploy when needed - didn't expect to read of cases of it deploying prematurely due to age (read many cases years ago of things like someone's hockey stick falls against the bumper while in the driveway causing a deployment though.)
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      10-10-2012, 11:08 AM   #16
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Just a correction from my previous post. The schnitzer kit was just type 3 racing wheels and some cosmetic BS. The suspension is OEM but was lowered. Just for clarification.
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      10-10-2012, 12:38 PM   #17
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You must have hit a hard bump or something to trigger that. Find someone with a coding cable and I can find out what caused it to deploy.

Never heard of this happening on e9x thankfully. BMW is going to blame your wheels and suspension lowering most likely. Is that the original airbag that deployed? Sounds like a scary situation.
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      10-10-2012, 01:03 PM   #18
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http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=756741
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      10-10-2012, 01:16 PM   #19
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This was the original airbag. Can anyone tell me how to post a picture. I can not get them on this site.
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      10-10-2012, 03:10 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matosortho View Post
This was the original airbag. Can anyone tell me how to post a picture. I can not get them on this site.
Best way is to host it somewhere else (photobucket, flickr, etc), grab the URL, hit the yellow picture icon at the top when you post, and paste the URL in the box that pops up.
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      10-10-2012, 03:47 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matosortho View Post
This was the original airbag. Can anyone tell me how to post a picture. I can not get them on this site.
Start typing your information in the usual box here...

Then scroll down to "Manage Attachments' and click that button ("ONE)

A new pop-up will appear. Choose your file ("TWO")

Press upload. ("THREE")

Then when it's done, close that box and press "Submit Reply" button.

See picture...(ironic, eh?)
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      10-10-2012, 05:30 PM   #22
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While that sucks (I loved my E46), it should be clearer in the title or this thread should be moved to another section. A little misleading as I clicked this thread thinking this happened to an E9x. Sorry to hear about your misfortune.
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