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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Because you are going to to need all your brain cells to figure this out.

I am having two problems in my 97 lx 5-speed:

1. the airbag light comes on and off randomly

2. there is a smell reminiscent of engine coolant that fills the cabin. It seems to come through the air vents. It is very strong.

these two problems may or may not be related.

To give you some background, i installed a tach 2 weeks ago, only to find out that i need an adaptor to make it read accuarately. In the process of mounting it, i removed the steering wheel. I re-connected all the wires behind the airbag correctly, but when i re-connected the battery, the horn would blow. I disconnected the horn plug because a thourough inspection of the cables behind the airbag provided no leads.

Installing the tach meant making a hole in the tar-paper on the cabin side of the firewall, and removing a plastic grommet from the engine side.

If you can figure out what is going on, you will get "mad props" from me. i will also be happy to lend my graphic design/advertising expertise to you, if you'd like.

Please try to help me.

thanks, FEOA.
 

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im just gonna give it a shot here, could be way wrong but what the hell right?

1.)Ok i think this is just an open ground somewhere, or a loose ground somewhere. Causing this light to come on, or just possibly something could be wrong with the bad.

2.)i dont know anything about this, but when was the last time you flushed your coolant?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I flushed the coolant about 2 months ago when i put a new radiator in. The only reason i think the two may be related is because the light started coming on about a 2 weeks after the tach fiasco, and the smell started about the same time.
 

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DAMNIT...I had a 6 paragraph response an my F%@$ing computer locked up. What a piece of Intel Junk. About as reliable as "Military Intelligence"...guess that's why its name is shortened to "Intel" as well.

Anyhow: Your answers:

Coolant: Busted Heatercore. 25 dollar part, 6-7hours of booked labor. Take your pick on hitting a shop or doing it yourself.

If you do it yourself, here's the quick fix. The two hoses going into your firewall... pull them off the heatercore nipples and use a barbed connector to hook them together. That will bypass the heatercore preventing your leak from getting worse.

If you let it keep leaking the leaking coolant will fill up your ECU (Located right under the heatercore container) and like my scort it will short your drivers for your fuel injectors. (left me stranded 120 miles from home, on my way to the track to race)

Okay to replace the heatercore, get a Haynes (the pics are better then the Chilton, but the Chilton has better directions). Remove the entire instrument console. This is time to do a custom interior job if you were planning on doing it in the future.

It should leave your scort looking like this:


The black box in the middle...that's where the heatercore is. Takes about 5 mins to actually put a new one in....but then you get to put the entire dash back in. Pain in the ARSE!!!

The electrical problem sounds like a ground problem...or two wires in the harness somewhere that have worn through their sheath, and shorting. Electrical specialist is helpful here, but if you're broke get a DVOM (Digital Volt and Ohm Meter) and start checking the continuity of the wiring.

**Both problems very well could be related, because of the wiring under the heatercore and the ECU tieing in with the airbags

So do the heatercore, and check the wiring with the dash out :wink:
 

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I'm Getting a similar smell from my vents, but its not very strong. Blade are you sure its the heater core, not possibly something else? My guess is your right. I'm just hoping for something else, because I'm almost sure my parents replaced mine, when it was their car a couple years ago.

If it is there goes my money for guages. :cry: Dang it thats the second time I had to put them off.
 

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If it's a strong smell and you only smell it when inside the cabin.. then it's probably the heater core. Close the fresh air vent and see if you still smell it.

If you only get a faint smell when driving with the vent open, then you may have something like a leaking hose or possibly even a head gasket issue. So, next time you smell it.. stop the car and peek under the hood.. do you still smell it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks, Blade. I'm pretty sure it's the heater core. Damn. that is going to be a lot of work.

Beav,' I did that on Sunday and i didn't smell anything in the engine compartment, and there is no coolant leaking out of any of the hoses under the hood.

Today i was backing up and i could hear liquid sloshing somewhere inside the dash. I'm going to Super Wal Mart to try and get some barbed connectors so i can do the quick fix. Now i have to figure out whether or not to take it to a shop.
 

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The sloshing is the heater box fillin with coolant. It is definatly a heater core. I went through the same thing. I was expecting it to make the floor damp, but the way the heater box is built in those cars, it drains under the seats a bit, but most drains off under the car. You are probally going to notice your windows fogging up a lot. When you repalce the heater core, make sure you clean out the heater box so you will get rid of the smell right away.

As for the lights, check to see if you nicked anything when you put the tach wires through the firewall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Damn! that quick fix is tough. I don't know about 2nd gens, but those hoses are blocked by hard hydraulic lines for the brakes and tons of other stuff on my 97. I could barely get my hand back there.
 

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well after doing all the heatercore work with pulling the entire dash assembly out...its just time consuming.

Try getting at it from underneath. I remember wen I pulled my trans to do the clutch, once I dropped the entire subframe, and 3 engine mounts I could see the hoses really easily ....sorry guess that doesn't sound much easier huh ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hah, yeah. Taking the dash apart, or removing the tranny. hmm. I could just take the intake manifold off and get to it from the top.

Doesn't matter now, though, because i took it to the shop. My dad said he wanted to pay to fix it, so i was like "go right ahead."

The shop said that my car thinks the air bag has been deployed, and that's why the light is coming on.

I have a plan to get Autoway to fix it for free, though.
 

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this is my response to the whole ordeal and why the two probably are related. Im not sure what controls the airbag or where it is maybe it is the ECU itself who knows. But like he said having a heatercore that leaks will fry your ecu my guess is that it is leaking and the water is dripping onto the airbay control module/ECU dont know what actually controls the airbag like i said. But the leak will give you the smell and electrical current does some crazy stuff with the presence of water. fix the leak and it will probably fix both problems. That is my opinion.
 

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More heating problems

Hey there, A quick question, I just replaced my thermostat on my 95 1.9lx, and My heat SUCKS!.
it like doesnt even blow much heat out, my coolant level is good and my temp takes like a long time to reach its peak at 1/4, is there something wron w/ the core or am i forgetting something else.. please don't tell me my thermostat sucks, 'cause that is a B!*H to fix!!
 

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i have had the same exact problem with my ranger for 3 years now and i have never really checked into it. I know my heater core isnt leaking i would smell it i think my thermo is stuck open. My truck never gets a little past the line on the cool side
 
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