Airbag Light After Car Wash

2002_KJ

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This has happened to me twice already...

After pressure-washing my 02 KJ at one of those self-wash places (doing it carefully, mind you, like not getting close, and sometimes it's literally just a rinse) the airbag light comes on (airbag control module was replaced not long ago under warranty due to the old recall).

So I wash the car, turn it on afterwards, the airbag light comes on the dash, stays on while driving. I turn off the car, wait a few minutes, and when I turn on the car again the light is off. Again this has happened two different times.

My guess is the water is doing something lol. Can it be one of the airbag sensors or connectors? The control module itself? Bad ground? Anything I could look for myself and visually inspect?

I find it interesting that it has happened both times I've taken it for a wash and then immediately goes off as soon as I turn off/on the car again. I've definitely heard of this issue happening to other people with other cars after washing, with the airbag light sometimes staying on permanently...seems an odd thing though. I certainly don't wanna push my luck with this...

Thanks for any ideas.
 

Johnny O

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Time to clean out the windshield drains. Your passenger front carpet wet too?
 

2002_KJ

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Time to clean out the windshield drains. Your passenger front carpet wet too?
Yes, I thought about the windshield drains...was wondering whether there was a blockage there or if the problem was somehow related to that. If there were a blockage there does that mean the water got inside like in the passenger area? Or could it still be the water doing something under the hood?

The carpet wasn't wet, I didn't notice any water or moisture inside but the Jeep did have a problem with water infiltration in the past except it was from a blockage form the sunroof drains. I'm sure there's corrosion somewhere after 20 years...but again the airbag light like I've described has only happened recently.

I'll take a look at those drains though, thanks for the tip.
 

Johnny O

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Yes, I thought about the windshield drains...was wondering whether there was a blockage there or if the problem was somehow related to that. If there were a blockage there does that mean the water got inside like in the passenger area? Or could it still be the water doing something under the hood?

The carpet wasn't wet, I didn't notice any water or moisture inside but the Jeep did have a problem with water infiltration in the past except it was from a blockage form the sunroof drains. I'm sure there's corrosion somewhere after 20 years...but again the airbag light like I've described has only happened recently.

I'll take a look at those drains though, thanks for the tip.
I’d flush out all the drains. That’s the most likely cause. Pull the quarter panel and check the one at the bottom corner of the wind shield. I had identical symptoms and found mine was full of pine needles from the previous owner.

Also, did you/they vacuum under the seats? Might be a loose/broken connection.

If it’s still there, I’d be checking sensors in the front clip. Make sure you disconnect the battery first though.
 
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What was the airbag control module recall you speak of ? I too have a 2002 liberty and my airbag light comes on intermittently. I can’t figure out what causes it
 

Billwill

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I had an intermitant Air Bag warning showing up....had to replace the Clockspring.....make sure you disconnect the battery first and strap the negative and positive battery cables together to get rid of any capacitance that could set off the airbag while you are working in that area.

My 2002 Export CRD RHD also had the cable coming from the steering wheel going to a small connector behind the plastic cover that you tend to hit your knees on when driving. This small connector of about 5 wires...I have a basic steering wheel with only the horn and airbags in place...gave a lot of problems. When I pulled the connector apart I could see that inside the one connector a flat metal plate swings down to short all the wires together to stop any back EMF...very clever.

I gave up on this connector and cut it off and soldered the wires through to each other and taped up...no more Airbag errors!
 

2002_KJ

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What was the airbag control module recall you speak of ? I too have a 2002 liberty and my airbag light comes on intermittently. I can’t figure out what causes it
There was an airbag control module recall in 2015 I believe, not sure the exact model years affected (I know 2002 was for sure) but if you do a quick search on Google you'll find it. Furthermore if you insert your license plate number on the NHTSA website you can see what recalls there were and whether your car has had them fixed. I got my airbag control module replaced this year (so 7 years late!) but it was still done under warranty.

That particular problem caused an airbag light that was constant, so not intermittent like it is now when I take it to the car wash.
 

02blue

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There were multiple air bag recalls on the early KJs. I remember going in for two. One was a module swap and the other required some type of jumper harness installed. Sounds like the module swap was supposed to fix it all. The link below doesn't say anything about the jumper which I think I had done first. I'm wondering if that was a temporary "fix" until the module replacement. My airbag light would come on intermittently even after the recalls...

https://www.autobytel.com/jeep/liberty/2002/car-recalls/
 
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