Side airbag light on repair - VW TSB 6906-05

Mar 11, 2014
Side airbag light on repair - VW TSB 6906-05
  • How to fix the side airbag warning light with TSB 6906-05


    Introduction

    On my 2006 VW Jetta, I had an airbag warning notice on the multifunction display and the airbag warning light on the instrument cluster. I plugged in VCDS from Ross Tech and it showed error code 01218 (passenger seat side airbag igniter N200 resistance upper limit exceeded). I cleared it and it went away. The next time a passenger sat in the seat, the error code came back for good. Referring to VW's TSB 6906-05, it showed that a plug under the seat was causing the problem from occasional high resistance and was no longer used in production. The fix is to redo some wiring to eliminate the plug. This also applies to error code 01217 for the driver's side seat. There was some airbag wiring recall for the driver's seat but it's no longer active.

    Disconnecting the battery, removing the seat and unplugging/plugging back in the plug to see if the plug was loose or there was corrosion on the pin, then reconnecting the battery confirmed that the plug was causing the problem as the code was no longer "active". The code was still stored in the airbag module memory but it was no longer tripping the light.

    Note: Even though the airbag light was on, the TSB says that the airbag system was still functional if this was the code.

    Procedure

    WARNING: During this procedure, you'll be touching the airbag wiring. The battery must be disconnected! Touch a bare metal ground to ground yourself during this to discharge any static electricity or even better, wear a grounding strap. The chance of airbag detonation is remote but possible even if the battery is unplugged.

    Disconnect the battery and remove the seat. See Front seat removal for more details.

    The TSB states that you have to cut the wires going into the plugs and add 4 inches of repair wire VW# (000 979 010) (any correct gauge wire will do) and 6 butt connectors VW# (111 971 941 A) to add extra wiring harness wiggle room. Then use yellow electrical tape to indicate the wiring has been modified. Once I removed the plug from the seat there looked like there was enough wiggle room and I wanted a cleaner install so I decided to depin the plug and not use extension wires. This allowed me to use 3 connectors instead of 6. My logic was that if the code came back, I'd have to add the extension wire and 3 more connectors later anyways. Do this at your own risk, see the TOS Agreement for the full legal disclaimer.

    The blue arrows indicate the plug.
    airbag-1.jpg

    Remove the plug from the body (just pull it). Note which wire goes to which wire! A solid brown wire is always ground. VW's TSB says to just cut the wires but I wanted a cleaner repair so again, do at your own risk.
    airbag-2.jpg

    I depinned each plug by removing the purple lock (just pry it out) and using a pin to press down the hook that prevents each pin from backing out. There are 2 spaces where the hook can catch, press down the hook as you gently pull the wire out.
    airbag-3.jpg

    It will look like this. Cut and strip each wire. This allows a tiny bit more wire slack because the cut will be closer to the pins vs. if they were still in the plugs.
    airbag-4.jpg

    I used outdoor rated crimp butt connectors with built in heat shrink which are almost identical to VW's connectors. Soldering is also acceptable if you use heat shrink tubing to seal the connection but it'll effectively shorten the wiring. Crimps will make up some of the lost length of the plug/pins.
    airbag-5.jpg

    Installation is the reverse of removal. Since I didn't do it VW's way, I used black electrical tape. If you did it VW's way, use yellow electrical tape.

    When you install the seats, loosely thread each seat bolt before tightening to 30 ft-lb so that the rail is aligned.
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