Airbag module diagnostics


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Sep 4, 2011
Eindhoven, Netherlands
Been around here for over a decade but rarely posted. Mostly stick to the German and Dutch clubs. Anyways, I bought a near new Puma with just 60k km's on the clock. But it has a problem with the airbag module. They used to be relatively easy to find/replace with one from the scrap yard, but these days are over. Ford themselves can't even get them anymore :(
For a living I am an expert in VCI's and have access to development versions & software of the Bosch VCI's. But I need some diagnostic software. And I have a few questions. I hope some of you know this.

What did Ford use back in the day as a diagnostic tool for our cars? I find a lot of info about IDS. But was that already around in 2000?

Which protocol does the airbag module use? Is it also J1850PWM?

Did anyone have luck getting the airbag module to work in Forscan?

Does anyone know why these airbag modules fail?
Mine looks like new on the inside. Nothing seems old, failed or burned. Is there anything worth trying to solder or something?

PS: When I find working diagnostic tools and VCI's I will share them here. We might get rid of a few hundred VCIs soon. I'm trying to get my employer to sell them cheap to me and arrange something for the clubs.
Was the airbag working when you got it?
Is it possible someone else fiddled with the steering wheel before you got it?

The only issue I've read with the airbag is when an incompatible one has been connected, for example from an early model Puma to late or from a Fiesta from the wrong year.

I don't have any information about the diagnostics for you sadly but wish you luck finding the answer!
I had a similar problem when swapping a steering wheel. I took the original one off and fitted a Fiesta part.

The airbag was the same part in both cases but the airbag light stayed on until I swapped the clock spring/rotary contact thing. Even though the Fiesta one looked identical it wasn't happy until the original Puma part was refitted.

What does the sticker on the airbag module show? I might still have one lying around you can have if it's compatible.

It was working when removed from the car a few years ago.

A long time no update but I've been quite busy, little time to spend on the Puma.
I have now a total of five airbag modules and none seem to work. I verified with Ford the serialno. that should be in, the AD, and I have the exact same. They look okay on the inside too; nothing burnt through or old solder that let go.
I have checked also the entire loom to the unit. All good. So it must be programming.
I have managed to get my hands on a working copy of Ford IDS. I also have a VCM, however of another brand. It has the Ford protocol drivers, but not activated. So I need to hack it with the Ford firmware and hopefully make some progress.

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