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Old 11-09-2003, 05:09 PM
86560SEL's Avatar
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Effective airbags in the 84-89 Mercedes?

I have heard from someone that the airbags on the older Mercedes more than likely do not work, as the older Mercedes only had about a 10-12 year airbag life.
Driver airbag was optional on the 1984-1985 Mercedes (I think the only exception was the 300D, 300CD and 300TD) and was standard on all beginning in 1986.
I hope no one has- but I will ask just incase. Has anyone recently had a moderate to severe frontal crash in a airbag equipped 84-89 Mercedes and have a non-inflating airbag?
I am considering a 86-88 420SEL or 560SEL and was concerned about this. I know that even without airbags that these cars would still be some of the safest on the road, but would like to know about this airbag problem- if there is one. Thanks for any information.
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1991 Lincoln Town Car Executive (33k miles)
1991 Cadillac Sedan DeVille (77k miles)
1992 Toyota Camry LE (177k miles)
1972 Chevrolet Caprice Kingswood Estate 9-passenger wagon (44k miles)
1973 Pontiac Grand Ville 4-dr hardtop sedan (94k miles)
1988 Mercedes 300SEL (was mine, now mothers)
(Prior MB's: 1974 240D, 1985 380SE, 1984 190D)
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Old 11-09-2003, 05:22 PM
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Airbag life expectancy has been expanded to 15 years, so the life expectancy on the years you are looking at passed between 2001 and this year. Really not a problem. I purchased my '86 560SEL from a salvage yard after it had thrown the driveshaft in 2000. The resulting impact of the shaft to the tranny hump was sufficient to deploy the airbag, it worked perfectly.

I would imagine the life of the bag and deployment system is much longer than speculated by MB, simply because they were a new item back then and no one knew how long they would last. After rebuilding my car and using an airbag from another scrapped 126, I have no doubts it will function as designed if the need be.
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Old 11-09-2003, 05:45 PM
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They discussed it breifly in MB school a few years ago, they seem to me mostly unsure about how well the fabric of the airbag holds up. No one mentioned being unsure about the propellants used to fire it.

Gilly
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Old 11-10-2003, 12:14 AM
86560SEL's Avatar
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Thanks for the replies. I would imagine that the fabrics would be the reason why they think it would not function properly, but I do not think the airbag fabric on newer cars is much different. I was just wanting to know if I were to have a accident in a 86-88 Mercedes- if the bag would inflate properly and wanting to get some input here.
My grandmother had a 1974 Oldsmobile Toronado back in the late 70s and owned it through the mid 1980s. They removed the engine from it before they took it to the junk yard and I remember them hitting the sensor and the airbags still inflated. That car was about 11-12 years old and it was a even older airbag design. GM cars were the first production cars to have airbags. They were optional only on the full-size 1974-1976 Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac- except convertibles and wagons. Only about 10000 had the option from 74-76 and it was not offered again for the 1977 downsized restyle. I also found it interesting when I learned they were dual airbags. GM did not offer airbags again until 1990. I have heard that GM offered a driver airbag as a option as early as 1973 on all full-size Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac models. Some cars as early as the very late 60s and very early 70s had airbags, but were experimental cars for tests. Believe it or not- Ford Motor Company offered a optional driver-side airbag on the 1986 Ford Tempo and Mercury Topaz. It remained only as a option from 1986 through 1994, when the car was redesigned and renamed Ford Contour/Mercury Mystique in 1995. I wonder if those also supposedly had a limited "life" expectancy.

Thanks again.
__________________
1991 Lincoln Town Car Executive (33k miles)
1991 Cadillac Sedan DeVille (77k miles)
1992 Toyota Camry LE (177k miles)
1972 Chevrolet Caprice Kingswood Estate 9-passenger wagon (44k miles)
1973 Pontiac Grand Ville 4-dr hardtop sedan (94k miles)
1988 Mercedes 300SEL (was mine, now mothers)
(Prior MB's: 1974 240D, 1985 380SE, 1984 190D)

Last edited by 86560SEL; 11-10-2003 at 12:27 AM.
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