: First Experience in a V-Wagon - Deployed Airbags



GTO_Miker
06-30-13, 01:54 PM
I was instructing a guy in his 2012 V-Wagon at a low speed precision driving event (Parkinglot, not a track). I picked him to instruct because I have many years experience on track in C5/C6 Vettes, CTS-Vs, M3s, etc and have driven a couple V-coupes and v-4doors but never a wagon. He was new to high-hp cars so I had him put it in comp mode so the electronics were still active, and we put the suspension on sporty. His car is bone stock, down to OEM tires with OEM air in them.

So we go out and make it through every element with out any issue, but in the last little slalom (~25mph if that) he gave it a little to much gas the car steps out maybe 5-10degrees and boom, side curtain airbags fire and seatbelt pretentioners fire. In all my years I've never seen anything like it. I have ~8-10hours in CTS-Vs on track and never had anything odd happen then to to just have the airbags pop in a parking lot? Didn't hit a cone, didn't hit a bump in the road, nothing. Just a tiny slide on smooth blacktop.

I'm a tall dude so my helmet was resting on the A-pillar when the curtains fired, it ****ed my neck up good, I'm currently posting this in bed while recuperating.

Random84
06-30-13, 02:25 PM
wow - that's wild. I've heard of people pulling fuses to prevent that during HPDE's, but then you're defeating the purpose of the safety mechanisms....

I hope it's covered under warranty - I'd be pissed.

StoneCrab
06-30-13, 02:31 PM
Didn't something similar happen to a CTS-V wagon in an autocross last year, and I recall the guy was a GM employee? That is very weird, and scary. This type of failure should be taken very seriously as it can cause serious injury or a fatal accident. To the OP - I hope you recover quickly and have no long term injury. The irony of the safety systems themselves causing injury - good thing the government is there to keep us from injuring ourselves...

GTO_Miker
06-30-13, 02:42 PM
Didn't something similar happen to a CTS-V wagon in an autocross last year, and I recall the guy was a GM employee? That is very weird, and scary. This type of failure should be taken very seriously as it can cause serious injury or a fatal accident. To the OP - I hope you recover quickly and have no long term injury. The irony of the safety systems themselves causing injury - good thing the government is there to keep us from injuring ourselves...

Yes, a GM employee had his go off at a pre-wedding autox.

When the airbags fired I was completely disoriented and I was shaking. I've had some offs, once into to trees at 60mph and never have been as sore or mentally hit as I was after those airbags deployed.

GM-4-LIFE
06-30-13, 02:52 PM
If I were him, I would ask for a new car. This happened to my in-laws' Cadillac SRX and GM bought the car back as soon as they verified that the airbags deployed as they were moving 2 MPH backing out of a parking lot space.

USAFRET
06-30-13, 02:59 PM
I assume any "black box" data won't show anything is out of the ordinary. Right?

GTO_Miker
06-30-13, 03:08 PM
What counts of out of the ordinary? He wasn't driving to walmart; but at the same time it wasn't a track day.

No crazy drifting or anything; just low speed precision driving.

Random84
06-30-13, 03:23 PM
What counts of out of the ordinary? He wasn't driving to walmart; but at the same time it wasn't a track day.

No crazy drifting or anything; just low speed precision driving.

Yeah, sounds pretty equivalent to taking some back-road twisties at low speed and getting wheel-spin/slide?

Holy crap - saw the video via PM. It's much less aggressive than I was even expecting! That's nothing for a car; makes me think there has to be some kind of defect or fault.

I'll leave it up to the owner to post, but IMHO that's no fault of the driver.

neuronbob
06-30-13, 04:23 PM
Hmm. I am hoping GM fixed whatever this problem is for the 2013s. I recall the other V wagon involved was a 2011? At work now so my Google-fu is weak.

cdog533
07-01-13, 06:06 PM
Here's the Vagon popping the bags like you did: http://jalopnik.com/5915824/watch-a-cadillac-cts+vs-airbags-explode-during-a-pre+wedding-autocross

Another interesting article with a Camaro video that mimics your experience: http://editorial.autos.msn.com/blogs/autosblogpost.aspx?post=58a7870d-66be-419d-b4c4-cc436b8f1706

They mention settlements and buybacks...

It looks to me like it's specifically hard, opposite changes in direction, typically done during an autocross, that blows em. This is different than what you would see on a racetrack, which is mostly long, smooth curves. In the videos, they are experiencing basically 1g going one way for a while, followed by quick turn (albeit at slow mph) the opposite way...

If I had to guess, I'd say you have a g-sensor somewhere that is experiencing a pendulum effect. Think something like a Scandanavian flick happening, but inside the sensor. When it flicks, and then flicks back AGAIN, it overshoots the tolerance mark and it thinks ROLLOVER and pops the side bags. GM should up whatever that tolerance is set at. Maybe it's a mercury switch somewhere that is getting sloshed around and thinks the car is upside down. Does anyone know?

Did we ever figure out what fuse to pull to turn the airbags off for track events?

baabootoo
07-02-13, 12:50 AM
There is a fuse in the rear fuse box for "Air Bag System". Maybe that one? I'm not sure how you'd test it though.........

opposite locker
07-02-13, 07:00 AM
Are these the only two "known" instances of this happening? I'm getting ready to order a '14 Vagon later this week, but this post has me shook. Now reconsidering a bit because of the potentially catastrophic rsults from unexpectedly-deploying airbags...

Random84
07-02-13, 07:58 AM
Are these the only two "known" instances of this happening? I'm getting ready to order a '14 Vagon later this week, but this post has me shook. Now reconsidering a bit because of the potentially catastrophic rsults from unexpectedly-deploying airbags...

I wouldn't let this stop me from ordering a wagon - but obviously if you're going to track/autoX/HDPE the car, it's something to be aware of as a possibility. I'm personally not aware of any deployments "on the street."

RaVeNous
07-02-13, 09:38 AM
That is scary, particularly in a car design to drive aggresively. I wouldn't let this issue scare me away as a buyer, these are isolated events as far as I've read. That doesn't make it any less scary, but there are a lot of V's rolling around and being driven hard without deploying airbags. I think its just on of those things. You know, sometimes guns go boom for no reason as well. Some times tires blow. There are a lot of other things that are more likely to go wrong driving a car hard; however, I think GM needs to take a loot and make SURE this is not some kind of design flaw requiring a recall. Even if it hasn't happened many times, that doesn't mean there isn't an actual design flaw.

GTO_Miker
07-02-13, 12:17 PM
The thing is this car was not being pushed that hard.

Swerving at 25mph to avoid a pothole or a kid coming out between 2 cars would put the car in the same situation.

opposite locker
07-02-13, 12:23 PM
So I've come across 3 occurrences of this happening in Vagons, but not a single one in the coupe or sedan. The 2 mentioned above, and apparently it happened to Dax Shephard while filming his car chase movie (hit & run?). Could the Vagon perhaps have more sensitive rollover sensors than the other two models?

I don't plan on auto crossing the car, but it will likely see the occasional track day, and will be driven fairly hard on the backroads with plenty of sliding around. The thought of the curtain airbags deploying especially without a helmet is quite frightening. Yes the occurrence rate is pretty low, but how many Vagon owners really slide these things around?

Jinx
07-02-13, 12:39 PM
They probably use the same event detection program for all three cars, but the wagon's different mass distribution puts it over the line. Making a quick fix to the program risks the safety systems not being as effective in an actual event, so they'd be disinclined to monkey with it.

flyingv
07-02-13, 01:28 PM
I've personally seen 2 side curtain deployments at Auto Club Speedway by the same car (sedan). It's standard practice to pull the airbag and Onstar fuse during the Cadillac challenge (both locates in the trunk fuse panel)

spearfish25
07-02-13, 02:13 PM
Has anyone blown the airbags on a road course or only autocross? I drove like a banshee on the tail of the dragon this past weekend and my airbags are fine.

dennych
07-02-13, 02:25 PM
I got a PM from someone about the frequency of these events and it seems pretty often to be out of the norm. That's a shame because I still want to track the car but worried about not having the airbags for safety in case......

And also I'm curious to know what GM has been doing about people's cars whose airbags suddenly deploy?

Cadillac Cust Svc
07-02-13, 02:37 PM
GTO-Miker,

We hope you and the fellow you were driving with are okay! If the owner of the vehicle hasn't done so already, we would like to check into this airbag deployment further. He can contact the Cadillac Customer Assistance Center at 800-458-8006 and we will get him in touch with the correct department from there.

Sarah (Assisting Laura)
Cadillac Customer Care

dennych
07-02-13, 03:11 PM
I'd like to see for once... an issue that Cadillac actually addresses properly.......

The rest of the stuff seems like minor annoyances, but side airbags going off in left and right G swings doesn't seem like something minor to me.

GTO_Miker
07-02-13, 03:25 PM
It's standard practice to pull the airbag and Onstar fuse during the Cadillac challenge (both locates in the trunk fuse panel)

I wouldn't pull airbag fuses on a car that doesn't have other popper safety equipment. My personal car doesn't have airbags any more.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/286500_502522936467735_1966854211_o.jpg
https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc1/247148_493467884039907_500582377_n.jpg
https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc1/904084_487469044639791_838154276_o.jpg



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GTO-Miker,

We hope you and the fellow you were driving with are okay! If the owner of the vehicle hasn't done so already, we would like to check into this airbag deployment further. He can contact the Cadillac Customer Assistance Center at 800-458-8006 and we will get him in touch with the correct department from there.

Sarah (Assisting Laura)
Cadillac Customer Care

I'll relay that info.

cdog533
07-02-13, 04:02 PM
You know, sometimes guns go boom for no reason as well.

This requires human error, typically a handling or chamber-clearing mistake, or via unsafe handling. Don't get people thinking that modern guns just fire inexplicably due to a mechanical problem.

That's what the airbags do.

RaVeNous
07-02-13, 06:43 PM
This requires human error, typically a handling or chamber-clearing mistake, or via unsafe handling. Don't get people thinking that modern guns just fire inexplicably due to a mechanical problem.

That's what the airbags do.

By "go boom" I didn't mean fire the bullet, I mean a mechanical fail, or have the barrel fail or go "boom". This is not always because of human error.

Easy there my fellow gun activist. This isn't about "guns don't kill people, people kill people".

Modern firearms also have failures do to defects in the workmanship, design etc. Its rare, just like air bag deployment is rare for no reason.

dennych
07-02-13, 08:51 PM
Its rare, just like air bag deployment is rare for no reason.

this seems like it's possibly a programming fail?

V Wagon
07-15-13, 01:19 PM
I know of two incidents on road courses. One at Autobahn near Chicago and one at Firebird. Not sure what the one at Autobahn was but the Firebird incident was a sedan. There's the aforementioned incident with Dax during Hit and Run filming (wagon). Someone on Corvette forum witnessed an incident with another at an auto x they were at in Delaware (wagon). The well publicized incident from the Jalopnik post that I know absolutely nothing about...

As far as fuses go, the owner's manual clearly states what fuse is for the airbags in each block. I'm not going to tell you to pull your fuses, but the airbag warning light does go away when you put them back in.

spearfish25
07-15-13, 10:33 PM
I'm surprised Autobahn did it. I'm very familiar with that track and there isn't much in the way of rapid left-right transitions. Guess anything is possible. I don't mind pulling some fuses, but I'm more comfortable doing it during an autoX. Heaven forbid I needed some airbags during an 'off' on a road course.

eyeballs19
07-20-13, 06:09 PM
I saw it happen last year to a V-coupe at Memphis Motorsport Park (a small road course). If I remember correctly, he was braking when the side curtains fired. Don't even think he was turning in yet. He had some choice words for Onstar when they came on asking him if he was ok. Local dealer flatbedded it away, so I have to believe that GM has seen these cars...

neuronbob
07-20-13, 09:55 PM
Would hope that GM doesn't sit on its butt about this potential issue like they have with some of the others. Even an "hey we are aware of your issues and are looking at them" from people in the know would be nice.

Jinx
07-20-13, 10:10 PM
If the airbag goes off like this, is it covered by the bumper-to-bumper warranty?

spearfish25
07-20-13, 10:52 PM
If the airbag goes off like this, is it covered by the bumper-to-bumper warranty?

I would argue like crazy but I've read somewhere that someone said 'no'.

neuronbob
07-21-13, 08:48 AM
I would hope the answer is "yes" given that it's a manufacturer defect.

Trapspeed
07-21-13, 09:46 AM
While I would agree, GM will probably pull the G-meter info and determine it was during a "race" and deny the claim. Sad but true.

Jinx
07-21-13, 12:33 PM
That's BS. They might as well just say:

"The airbag went off, but I wasn't in a crash. That's defective operation; you should pay to replace the airbag."
"But you were racing."
"What makes you say that?"
"Well the airbag went off, but you weren't in a crash. Obviously."

.Jinx

spearfish25
07-21-13, 10:10 PM
If I avoid a deer, pedestrian, cone, curb, you name it and don't hit anything but the air bags deploy, I will cry to high hell if its not covered under warranty. And I'd never buy another GM vehicle again.

V Wagon
07-22-13, 03:25 PM
I was told the side curtains and associated parts would not be covered under warranty by someone but my car was fixed under warranty. I'm not sure how much having a video that showed the incident helped when getting that covered though. Without video evidence that the car didn't reach the criteria for air bag deployment I'm not sure how that would be handled.

dennych
01-18-14, 02:22 PM
I might be tracking my car this weekend. Would you guys recommend pulling the fuse for airbags?

And is that fuse 25 in the rearfuse box? I guess that inactivates all the airbags and not just the curtain ones.

n/m figured it out. Pulled it. No airbag deploy. Vroom Vroom. Yay