Car model and year: Nissan Pathfinder R51
Symptom: Driving on freeway and airbag light just started flashing. There has been no electrical work at all (in more than a year) and it’s been driven very little lately. Car was restarted a few times but it continued to blink.
What I did:
The airbag light was coming on more frequently, so I took it to the dealership. The code it pulled up did show the spiral cable was bad. All good after about $600 out the door.
Good to know:
Good to hear. For the benefit of others who also may encounter this, attached is the part we had swapped. Notice that it’s a big assembly behind the steering wheel airbag and it includes the stalks! It doesn’t come separate, you can get the lights/turn signals stalk and the other stalk separately but not the middle “spiral cable” part, only as an assembly.
Also on mine the radio volume and track selector switches intermittently worked or not from one minute to the next, where I just adjusted that directly on the radio itself. Replacing this assembly cured this issue for me as well. Everything is perfect now.
I bought the Clock Spring. My Pathy is a 2008 SE. Getting the exact right part is kind of a tricky deal, but this was the part for me. About $50.
I’ve actually done this before, as my steering wheel mounted buttons stopped working. Last time, I had almost no problems. Anyway. . . .
Removing the horn/air-bag assembly revealed that one of the Airbag wires had been damaged by the movement of the horn. Probably poor-routing when I installed it last time.
After diconnecting the cables, I remove the steering wheel, then two screws hold the Clock-Spring and Turn-Signal stalks to the steering column. Un-do the two screws and remove the whole assembly.
With the assembly out of the car, remove the turn signal/light stalks. They just snap into place with plastic tabs and slide right out.
Now remove the Steering Angle Sensor (SAS). It is mounted to the clock spring with three small screws.
Here is where I screwed up . . . I was very conscious of the need to have steering wheel centered and to make sure I didn’t rotate the new clock spring from center before installing. I didn’t adequately consider the need to keep the old clock spring and SAS centered.
Pretty sure at some point I turned the SAS one rotation and then installed it on new clock spring. Result is flashing SLIP and VDC lights. But the airbag light is all better!
If you read up about it, they require/recommend that you re-calibrate the SAS after doing anything with the alignment, suspension, or steering. Reports are that a dealership would charge you $100+ to do it. I’d bet an independent shop would be less. You need a scanner with SAS capabilities. Being stubborn, I’ve researched and bought a $150 scanner that should allow me to re-calibrate the SAS.
Should anybody on here want to rent it, I bet we could work something economical out. I’ll report on re-calibration results tomorrow after the new Scanner Shows Up. . .
The “VDC Off” light is often illuminated after you disconnect the battery. Some posts suggest that if you drive straight slowly at that point the SAS will calibrate itself. I don’t know if that is totally true. . . but either I didn’t do that or didn’t do it right. Other posts suggest you can get the SAS to re-enter “self-learn” mode by disconnecting battery and then driving straight and slow. That hasn’t worked for me. Maybe I was eager to own a nicer scan tool, I dunno, but I ended up believing a proper SAS re calibration, as recommended by Nissan, was the way to go.
The Foxwell NT510 scanner I bought for $150 was very simple to use and reset the steering angle sensor.
The “VDC OFF” and “SLIP Lights” went off immediately and the traction control and ABS are operating perfectly.
So, beginning to end, I spent $200 ($50 for clock spring, $150 for Foxwell SBS/ABS/SAS Scanner). It can be done for only the price of a clock spring, or the price of a clockspring and paying someone with the appropraite scanner to resent the SAS for you. But $200 and now owning a nice scanner beats $600 to the dealership for just fixing the clock spring!
Credits to @ Brmadsenad