Replacing a steering wheel with an airbag one

nicola01, Jul 13, 5:45am
Is this possible? We have an older model Ford that has done very few kms and wondering if we can get someone to install a new steering wheel that contains an airbag. Also some idea on price would be handy. TIA

a.woodrow, Jul 13, 5:49am
The short answer is no, it wouldn't work. You would also get grief every WOF as you had an airbag but no self check system

franc123, Jul 13, 6:22am
Cannot be retrofitted, there is far more to SRS than just the airbag, it involves electrical parts in several locations around the car and is really an integral system as opposed to an aftermarket bolt on accessory. There may also be other issues with even physically fitting the wheel, it probably wouldn't be compatible with the column and there wouldn't be room for a clockspring under it.

intrade, Jul 13, 6:51am
practically you can not , theoretically it would be possible like i have a 96 fiat punto it has no airbags but the same car also had airbags , so in theory you could fit all of the wiring crash sensors and modules on to the car i have from the same car with airbags .
its a whole system and the crash sensors need to be timed correctly whith how the car crumbles when it fires the airbags not light up the airbag when you hit a dumpster.
http://www.madehow.com/images/hpm_0000_0001_0_img0008.jpg

skiff1, Jul 13, 7:00am
technically it's possible, but would be a huge job. As others have said, there is more to it than just the bag on the steering wheel. The money would be way more than the cost of just buying a newer vehicle.

serf407, Jul 13, 7:14am
There are a few things to lift the safety of the old Ford but you are unlikely to get to new car safety levels.
Steering wheel - it might be possible to obtain a steering wheel like the off road vehicles use (where the rough terrain impacts would set off airbags) with a large padded centre.
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2mnhrf http://www.supercheapauto.com.au/online-store/products/Autotecnica-Steering-Wheel-Padded-Black-350mm.aspx?pid=286099#Recommendations (more padded than this)
Talk to a seat belt installer about putting web grabber seast belts in if your car does not already have these.
There are a few other things as well - good fire extinguisher, strong modern seats etc.

lookoutas, Jul 13, 8:37am
With the information given - the short answer is yes.
As you haven't specified, I take it that your reason is coz you like the style and don't require it to work.

If you want it to work, then that's already been answered.

One of the gripes I've seen with compliance, is an old model truck with late model running gear and interior, with operational airbags!
My astounded question without trying to be condescending was. "How TF do you know when the Airbags will fire?"

The builder did a great job, but has made a horrible naive assumption.
An incompetent compliance inspector has put the owner and passengers at risk by passing it!

I've seen exactly what I've described done. Pull the guts out before fitting the wheel, and connect the bag up to some ergs with a good length of wire. Always interesting to observe/learn what happens.
The one I've done had a delay after the contact was made.

nicola01, Jul 20, 11:28pm
Thank you for your answers, it is a Ford Liata 1996, done approx 45,000km - genuinely as it has been in the family since new. We were just thinking to make it safer, as that is the only negative we have with keeping it. It wouldn't be as safe in an accident as a car with airbags.

brapbrap8, Jul 20, 11:51pm
There is far more to safety than just airbags.
Modern safety ratings are more to do with how the body of the car is designed to disperse energy and maintain its shape during a crash.
An airbag will be of little help if the engine has been pushed back through your legs.

nicola01, Jul 20, 11:55pm
I guess not:-(

petal_91, Jul 21, 2:30am
At one point at least one company did offer an aftermarket airbag wheel for cars that did not come with them.
http://www.nytimes.com/1994/02/02/business/business-technology-retrofitting-old-cars-with-driver-s-side-air-bags.html

lookoutas, Jan 14, 10:31am
So now we have more info - don't bother, unless you are a physics wizard and can calculate out how it will operate effectively.

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