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Old 12-02-2016, 01:04 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 46
Duct motor, airbag door, 99 ML

The clicking noise back in your dash is a faulty duct motor. It costs $150.00 (add $40 for the little levers) but the dealer wants $1200.00 to disassemble your dash. The easy way in is to pull the passenger airbag cover up, breaking the breakable tabs and bending the malleable sheet metal angle iron in front (of vehicle) up sufficiently to get a 10 mm wrench on the 3 nuts holding it on.
You can now remove the airbag, never turning the ignition on if you unplug it for fear of a CEL.
The duct motor can be removed with a little thumb/forefinger wheel driver and a Philips bit. Replace the white levers while you're at it. Dealer prices for the levers were identical while the motor was $180.00 there.
Putting the airbag door back is impossible. In detonation, the breaking tabs separate and the malleable angle acts as a hinge, holding the lid from becoming a projectile. Gluing the lid back will enable it to become a projectile possibly hurting you or your passenger in a collision/detonation.
I drilled mine and restrained it with flathead furniture fasteners from Ace. The angle iron is pried or hammered back into position and heavy duty clamp/nuts installed.
The three studs are hardened and welded to a plate inside the lid. Twisted, they broke off with stubs which deflected my drill even though center punched. A small grinding wheel might allow boring the lid at precisely where the studs were located or you could just drill to the same side of each stud and enlarge the hole in the angle iron accordingly.
It ain't stock but should be safe.
Call Tony at 425-610-0292 if you want a reasonably priced and competent mechanic in the Puget Sound area to do this work or other in your own garage. I did the lid though.
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