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Old 11-19-2003, 07:59 PM
86560SEL's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: east Tennessee (southeast USA)
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"Overpowered" dangerous airbags on early Mercedes?

I am considering a airbag equipped 1984 Mercedes 300SD. I have asked about this car on another site and someone posted some discouraging news. They said that the airbags on the early Mercedes was overpowered and could cause severe injury.

Here is the exact quote from that person:
"Those early airbags are usually overpowered, and can cause serious injury upon deployment to anyone under 6' tall. Not to put you off on the car .......just if you buy it check into whether MB had a recall/repair for them. IF so, probably, have it checked for the update. Typical fix is like my 1991 Lotus-Isuzu, They install a deflector plate (plastic i think) between the bag and the surface of the steering wheel. this redirects some of the force of the bag explosion (deployment) to the side, thereby lowering the force vector to the driver to acceptable levels".

Driverside airbag became optional on the 1984 Mercedes and was also optional in 1985 (except on the 300D, 300CD and 300TD) and then airbag was standard beginning in 1986.

Does anyone else have any input on this? One of the main reasons for me buying this car is for safety and this is really discouraging news.
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Old 11-19-2003, 08:43 PM
Q Q is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2000
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An Isuzu issue does not correlate into a Mercedes issue. This is the first time I have ever seen anyone bring anything up about the early airbags being dangerous. I wouldn't base a buying decision around one person on a website talking about Isuzus.
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Old 11-19-2003, 11:56 PM
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Actually the car in question is a Lotus, power by an Isuzu engine.

I'm not versed in the ways of Lotus, but I certainly wouldn't coorelate MB air bags to theirs or for that matter....anything.
Mike Murrell
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Old 11-20-2003, 10:01 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Indianapolis
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All NA-spec airbags are dangerous

NHTSA mandated NA airbags should be able to stop unbelted male driver.

Thanks Joan.

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Old 11-20-2003, 10:40 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Southern California
Posts: 2,011
Re: All NA-spec airbags are dangerous

Originally posted by taaboo
NHTSA mandated NA airbags should be able to stop unbelted male driver.

This is correct, and the power of early air bags was sufficient to cause injury and occasional death to children in the right seat in dual air bag equipped vehicles or small statured women who sat close too the wheel - certainly not anyone "under six feet", and the incidents of serious injury or death are quite rare.

The "fix" was passenger side air bag cutoff switches, and modern cars have somewhat less powerful airbags.

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Old 11-20-2003, 10:55 AM
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Location: Virginia Beach, Va
Posts: 1,036
In case it matters, the Lotus Elan used a Pontiac Firebird steering wheel and airbag.

1998 C43 ///AMG
1999 C230 Custom 5-Speed Manual
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Old 11-20-2003, 09:13 PM
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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Look closely at the airbag stickers on some GM, Ford, etc.
You may see where it says GEN II airbag.
A lot of GEN I ( first generation ) airbags had a little too much " bang ".
The damage was usually greatest to persons NOT wearing seatbelts.
Kind of like running forward & then being " stopped " by the WBC heavyweight champion with a left hook.
2007 C 230 Sport.
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