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1996 vr6 air bag light and abs light

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Only had the vr for a few weeks and am finding bits and pieces as I go. 


The airbag and abs light indicator was disconnected so after reconnecting I niw have the two lights illuminated. The cae came with a momo steering wheel (no airbag) which I've now replaced with a mk3.5 cabby wheel with airbag. Any ideas how I can get these lights to go off? Also noticed a few plugs that aren't actually connected near front wishbone area. Maybe something to do witg abs?


Or would it be best to get an auto electrician out to give the car a once over?


Thanks in advance.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi ShaunZ


Going to start from scratch so please dont be offended if this sounds over simplified.


The lights are on due to a fault detected. This will be stored in the Electronic Control Unit (ECU). To access this there is a standard called On Board Diagnostics (OBD II as its the second iteration of the standard). There are plenty of ODB II adapters but the one you really want if you are going to have VW group cars (Audi, Skoda etc) is VagCom by Ross Tech


Basically you will need to get the car scanned for OBD Errors, specifically ABS and Air Bag, but it will scan everything.



Sounds like someone had a go at the Sensors on the ABS and gave up. The sensors are basically Hall effect sensors that produce a signal when passed by a metal object. There is a disc with holes in it that does this for the sensor in the wheel hub area. Trouble is that there is rust, dust, salt and all manner of crud that gets in to these and they will eventually fail. They also tend to rest in place so removing them can be a pain. Think hammer and punch. A scan will tell you wants wrong and go from there.


Air Bag

Air bags are dangerous. Dont and i mean Dont mess with them with the battery on. They are basically a small explosive charge in a bag to contain the gas that is produced. Its designed to inflate it quickly and have pressure inside the bag for a small period of time as your face and upper body, when restrained by the seatbelt, hits it. They are specialist bits of kit so if it dosnt work then I would recommend getting a qualified mechanic to fix it. That being said the Air Bag light will most likely stay lit until you clear the codes, so again, VagCom is you answer here. 


Scan Car

Save Results 

Clear codes

Scan Car again.

Review results.


Some codes only return when necessary, some are on until the code is fixed. Ie ABS sensors wont give a signal when stationary so clear the codes and its going to have to move before it can check unless its shorting out or some other hard fault. 


Remember these are safety systems so just going in and playing isnt something I would recommend, however there is a vast amount of info on the web on VagCom and VWs in general.


Disabling Airbags http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=152807

VagCom https://www.gendan.co.uk/vcds-v2.php


Im told that ABS fails safe and therefore you dont have a problem with braking just that it will lock the wheels and you will skid. Although I dont have that from a VW source.


Also You Tube is another great source - search Humble Mechanic, etc Plenty of things in there to help out owning your VW.


Good Luck and remember to update here so if you get it all fixed and someone else has the same problem then they see how its done. 





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