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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi.
I just wanted to give a heads-up to those that drive a 2014 Altima SL..or maybe other years in the 5th Generation Model.

I just had to replace on my daughters car, at the Nissan dealership, a faulty driver seat-side airbag at a cost of $135 for the diagnosis, $1155 for the part, and $391 to install for a total of $1681.

The car would not pass inspections with the airbag warning light on, and I was told it shuts down the entire airbag system.
(I did not want to try to get it done a a local garage for fear they would not do it properly.)

I called Nissan customer service, but they would not do anything because of the high mileage of 101k (highway miles).

My point to Nissan was that it is a non-moving part that involves the safety of the occupant. They should go after the manufacturer of the part and at a minimum provide the parts free.

So....I'm also writing this to advise you that If you have had this same issue, please report it to Nissan customer service....maybe be will do a recall and refund the charges we already paid.

Finally, I got to get this in to vent....as I mentioned, this is my daughters car. The car she wanted. It was super clean and looked great inside and out. With the issues I experienced with this Nissan vehicle I would never purchase another Nissan. My two Toyotas (2015 Camry and 2013 Highlander) are quite literally problem free for years.
Nissan Issues:
1. Bad Radio touch screen 2nd replacement with quickly broke again, they wont fix
2. Bad Air Conditioning compressor replaced for $800
3. Poor design with location of the Cabin air filter that when filed with minimal amount of debris, will fall into the poorly placed ac condensation drain tube which then fills the cabin with water.
4. Poor design (presumably) with the location of the carburetor air flow sensor requiring relatively frequent cleaning or changing of the part.

That's it.
Take care.
 

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I have this same issue on my 2014 SL. I went today to the dealership and this is the 2nd time in 2 months that the airbag light came on. They said it was a false positive, again, as they can't find an active issue with the code it threw so they cleared it, again. They did suggest that I have the driver seat airbag replaced at about $1,500. I have to say I'm a bit upset about this recommendation as its safety part that only gets used when you are in an accident and I have not been in one so the part has never been used. How the part go bad if it was never used? $1,500 is highway robbery. If the light comes on again I believe there is a way to clear it myself without having to go to the dealership. I hope by doing this though that it puts the system back in working mode. In the mean time I will also call Nissan Customer Service to see if there is any recourse without having to pay all that money for a part that has never been used.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the response and your willing ness to call it into the Nissan Customer Service.
Hopefully the more reports they receive they may consider reimbursing us. (I'm not holding my breath on that one.)

I'm not sure if resetting the light allows the airbag system to be reactivated.
Again aside from the safety aspect of it, I was told that it would not pass the annual Pennsylvania State safety inspection....I had to do it no matter what.
Good Luck!
 

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It passed inspection today. In my reading on the subject it could be something as simple as having debris in the driver seat belt connection that could throw the airbag code.
Whoever said that is wrong. The buckle switches don't cause codes, simply because the Bag Brain has no way to double-check them. The worst they'll do is make the seatbelt lamp stay on. Debris under the passenger seat or in the seat track can cause OCS occupant sensor codes (or even snap one of the OCS sensors if it wedges underneath), but it won't cause side airbag codes, ever.

Side airbag codes on gen5 Alties are actually common, but they're almost always caused by fatigued wires to the airbags, which are located in the outboard side of each seatback. The wires make two awkward turns underneath the upholstery on the way to the bag, and can also be subject to pinching by the seatback board because of the way they're routed. Because it's a fatigue problem, the codes will almost always come and go, they'll stay erased for awhile and then return. Eventually the copper in the wire will part and it won't erase anymore.

Unfortunately the wires are part of the seatback assembly, so the only official fix (keeping the lawyers happy) is to replace the entire seatback. That's all I can officially recommend, but draw your own conclusions about it.
 

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Whoever said that is wrong. The buckle switches don't cause codes, simply because the Bag Brain has no way to double-check them. The worst they'll do is make the seatbelt lamp stay on.
Below is the article about the seat belt latch as a possible cause of the airbag light.


Thanks for insight. Will the airbag still work if the airbag light is on but the code is old and non-active? I understand that something happened to trigger the code that made the light go on and stay on but if for the 2 times the light came in 2 months and both times the tech said they were old codes, does that mean its a false positive and maybe a water bottle rolled under the seat and hit a plug or a wire the wrong way that threw the code for a second and then went back to normal? $1,500 for a fix on a non-moving part is a bit much especially if its like you said, 'fatigued wire'. To me that just sounds like poor craftsmanship on the airbag system.
 

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Below is the article about the seat belt latch as a possible cause of the airbag light.
That may be possible in some other makes, but not on any Nissan product that I'm aware of.

Will the airbag still work if the airbag light is on but the code is old and non-active?
Yes, as long as the code is "past" and not "current".

if for the 2 times the light came in 2 months and both times the tech said they were old codes, does that mean its a false positive and maybe a water bottle rolled under the seat and hit a plug or a wire the wrong way that threw the code for a second and then went back to normal?
The latter. The drift is, we're not allowed to repair those wires because of legal liabilities, and I'm not allowed to advise you to repair them. ;)
 

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Whoever said that is wrong. The buckle switches don't cause codes, simply because the Bag Brain has no way to double-check them. The worst they'll do is make the seatbelt lamp stay on. Debris under the passenger seat or in the seat track can cause OCS occupant sensor codes (or even snap one of the OCS sensors if it wedges underneath), but it won't cause side airbag codes, ever.

Side airbag codes on gen5 Alties are actually common, but they're almost always caused by fatigued wires to the airbags, which are located in the outboard side of each seatback. The wires make two awkward turns underneath the upholstery on the way to the bag, and can also be subject to pinching by the seatback board because of the way they're routed. Because it's a fatigue problem, the codes will almost always come and go, they'll stay erased for awhile and then return. Eventually the copper in the wire will part and it won't erase anymore.

Unfortunately the wires are part of the seatback assembly, so the only official fix (keeping the lawyers happy) is to replace the entire seatback. That's all I can officially recommend, but draw your own conclusions about it.
Would replacing the entire driver side airbag module include the lead that goes to the body wiring harness? Wouldn’t this solve the seat back issue comment?
 

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Would replacing the entire driver side airbag module include the lead that goes to the body wiring harness? Wouldn’t this solve the seat back issue comment?
Yes, but on a gen5 Altie the bag isn't sold separately. The only way to get a new bag is to buy the whole seatback. However, they can be unbolted and swapped if you know how to open up the seatback, so raiding the JY for a bag with better wiring is definitely an option.
 

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Yes, but on a gen5 Altie the bag isn't sold separately. The only way to get a new bag is to buy the whole seatback. However, they can be unbolted and swapped if you know how to open up the seatback, so raiding the JY for a bag with better wiring is definitely an option.
I’m questioning the repair estimate that I received today then the code was B0020-13. The airbag was already replaced per some ESM. Here are the notes from the initial visit.

GENERAL INSPECTION/ CHECK : GENERAL REPAIR CODE B0020-13 PASSENGER AIR BAG OPEN CODE STORED IN THE PAST. CHECKED ELELTRICAL CONNECTIONS UNDER SEATS AND UNDER DASH ON ALL AIR BAGS LEADING TO DIAG SENSOR. ESM STATES TO REPLACE AIR BAG DIAG SENSOR FIRST BEFORE REPLACING LH PASSENGER SIDE AIR BAG MODULE. CHECKED WIRING FROM DIAG SENSOR. THIS CONCERN IS INTERMITTENT AS OF RIGHT NOW. IF AIR BAG LIGHT COMES BACK ON WE WILL HAVE TO START WITH AIR BAG DIAG UNIT AND PROCEED FROM THERE. THIS IS NOT RELATED TO THE AIR BAG RECALL NOTING. CODE WAS TRIPPED AT 56091 MILES ACCORDING TO CONSULT WHICH WAS BEFORE LAST VISIT BUT WAS NOT PRESENT LAST VISIT.

they make It seem like they are replacing an airbag next for another 1100$.
 

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Aargh, sometimes I really hate the way Nissan FSM's handle airbags. It's basically a sh!t list designed by lawyers, inspect A and B, replace B, replace C, replace D, replace the whole car. I.e., it's legal BS to prevent idiots from immolating themselves, not actual diagnostic info.

Trust me on this, I've seen hundreds of these on gen5's and the problem is never the Bag Brain. Every once in a great while the issue turns out to be a bad bag or a crack in the flex wiring that connects the seat to the floor, but 98% of the time it's bad wires on the bag as described above.
 

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Aargh, sometimes I really hate the way Nissan FSM's handle airbags. It's basically a sh!t list designed by lawyers, inspect A and B, replace B, replace C, replace D, replace the whole car. I.e., it's legal BS to prevent idiots from immolating themselves, not actual diagnostic info.

Trust me on this, I've seen hundreds of these on gen5's and the problem is never the Bag Brain. Every once in a great while the issue turns out to be a bad bag or a crack in the flex wiring that connects the seat to the floor, but 98% of the time it's bad wires on the bag as described above.
I appreciate the info on this. What bag do you think they are replacing in the explanation above if the airbag can’t be replaced without swapping the seat back? We are talking the same side air bag, right? I’ll get a part number tomorrow.
 

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B0020-13 is the driver's seat side bag, so if they're replacing anything except the driver's seatback then it's the wrong repair. Expect it to cost a ton, the cheapest seatbacks start around $1600 plus about 2 hours labor. Labor goes higher if you have all the toys like lumbar and heat.
 
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