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Author Topic: Campaign to Initiate NHTSA Investigation into Kappa Passenger Presence Sensor  (Read 42280 times)

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Offline Robotech

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Passenger Sensing System Sensor Mat Failures in the GM Kappa Platform - A Call for a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Investigation

Abstract: Based on a survey of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data from their Vehicle Safety Consumer Complaint System and data supplied by manufactures who experienced and issued recalls on Passenger Sensing System (PSS) sensor mats, there is a failure pattern of the IEE supplied PSS sensor mat in the GM Kappa platform vehicles, the MY 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice and MY 2007-2010 Saturn Sky, which would require further investigation and action to ensure passenger safety.


At 67 pages, it's not a short read.

This was originally started on the Skyroadster forum:
http://www.skyroadster.com/forums/f5/campaign-initiate-nhtsa-investigation-into-kappa-passenger-presence-sensor-failure-73441/

I'll be posting this to solsticeforum too but can't access it at the moment.

This is a project I started about a month ago to try and DO something to get the NHTSA or GM to recall our cars for this problem we all felt has existed for too long. It is my hope it at least gets an NHTSA investigation started in order to look into the problem more in depth.  I believe it's going to take something like this getting some sort of viral attention to go anywhere.  I have no delusions that this WILL work only that this is the best solution I could come up with to try and make SOMETHING work because everything we've done to get GM's attention...and the government's...to this hasn't worked.

Thank you to Tomato Soup and DaveOC (their handles on Skyroadster.com) for their help with this project. I referenced TS's great work and photo documentation on the PSS sensor mat he took apart and DaveOC helped with research information on production and sales numbers for the Kappa platform. Thank you both and thank you to all those who supported my efforts in putting this together.

This was all done with the Kappa community in mind. If something comes of it, its for all of us.

The plan is to submit this to a couple of congressmen and then put out a Social Media story as well that everyone who wants to see this issue get addressed can broadcast. I'm submitting it to a coworker who has working in D.C. as a congressional aid and does PR work to give it a once over and then I'll update the link with a final document for publication on a wider level.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2016, 01:24:47 PM by Robotech »

Offline Sly Bob

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I wish you well Robotech. You obviously worked hard on this, hope it bears fruit.
Just trying to do my part...

Mods: Lose the chicklets, VentureShield, Dual horns, AfterShock spoiler, Weathershield cover, Lil Chromies, Red calipers with black Solstice stickers, Opel GT antenna and Solo GXP-RCD exhaust with a Solo hi-flow cat!

Offline elff

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This will benefit all of us so I hope it makes traction.
Maybe we could do a million Kappa Drive to the white house to show our support?

Offline Sol Asylum

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This will benefit all of us so I hope it makes traction.
Maybe we could do a million Kappa Drive to the white house to show our support?

Is Obama hosting a mod meet?
2007 Aggressive GXP

Offline elff

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Yes
but it's in Pakistan

Offline Robotech

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This will benefit all of us so I hope it makes traction.
Maybe we could do a million Kappa Drive to the white house to show our support?

Actually, a demonstration in D.C. wouldn't be a bad idea IF we could get a large number of cars there...and by large number I'm talking 500-1,000. I just don't see 500+ owners from around the nation pledging and following through with a driver to D.C. to protest.

And we'd have to have a million Kappas made first before we talk about a Million Kappa March. LOL

So the final draft is in my co-workers hands but he's a busy person so I wouldn't expect it back for a couple weeks. Now starts the holding pattern.

Offline LatinVenom

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Good luck, hope you get some attention from the lawmakers on this issue.
Solstice GXP 2007.
Aggressive and fully loaded.
Mods: Magnaflow 2.5" exhaust, DDM Backbone & ProBeam,ZOK suspension,LV Kappa Front Chassis Brace, BTF Turbo Upgraded Wheel, Windristrictor, JPM Center console,arms,tulip,side doors,DDM Upgraded wheel tune.

Offline Rockchops

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Good luck! Just placed my order for a seat set for this very fix :/ bit of an expensive gamble, but needed to pass inspection here.


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Offline Robotech

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Is this your first replacement Rockchops? I know some folks have had to replace them multiple times.

Offline Rockchops

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Is this your first replacement Rockchops? I know some folks have had to replace them multiple times.

It is, but I've only had the car for a year. I don't think it has been replaced before my ownership unless it was undocumented (entirely possible, service history is sketchy).

My mileage is about 73k. I almost certainly killed the sensor when I went into the passenger side to latch the top. On the plus side, now my wheel/simulator setup will have a sol GXP seat which is pretty cool.


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Offline Sting Ya

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Robotech : Just wondering if you can even go after GM I've read a couple of articles in some of the car magazines I get relating to going after GM for issues ( a lot had to do with closing down dealerships) and they pretty much state that the "old" GM is no longer in business therefore the new company has no liability on certain issues just a thought anyway good luck on your endeavour .

Offline elff

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And that's why the Old and New GM will never get any new business from me.

I've purchased/leased 5 cars since I bought my sky.
During that time period, all of those dealerships treated me really nice.

I had to bring my Sky in once since 2013 for the ignition recall and the attitude of half the staff just sucked.
it was like I was bothering them to get their broken shit fixed. 

Offline Rockchops

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I replaced my seat cushion today with a good used one and ripped apart the old failed sensor. There was a clear failure point in the join between the two halves.

Clearly by putting undistributed weight in the middle of a cushion, you stretch this ribbon beyond its capacity, introducing a break. My guess is the dots are piezo type sensors and the two circuits generate a collective resistance (or maybe zones of resistance) that feed into the module. I'd bet that if I could fix that ribbon break and recalibrate, this thing would be functional again. Serious design/useability flaw.

Top:


Bottom:


Failure (this is after I tried to delaminate and solder):



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Offline TomatoSoup

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Good info.  Matches what I found as well, a couple of years ago... http://www.solsticeforum.com/forum/f12/panssenger-airbag-sensor-75353/index6.html.  You'll see that it's impossible to effect a repair though.

As for the sensors, in Robo's research he found the patent that describes these sensors change resistance under bend stress ... http://www.skyroadster.com/forums/f2/has-anyone-site-ever-seen-passenger-seat-air-bag-deployed-70617/index13.html#post1022433
"That is my theory, it is mine, and belongs to me and I own it, and what it is too." (Monty Python)

Offline Rockchops

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Whoa good stuff. There's a lot of junk/spam when searching for this issue thanks to the "why is service airbag on the DIC" threads. There's got to be a fix for this. Robo's conclusions are almost exactly the same as mine though I'm not that articulate ;). Although ribbon connectors are notoriously hard to fix, the fact that a new sensor is $350 for a routine fix (plus markup, plus labor if you go to dealer) and (a) a major safety issue and (b) extremely well documented is rage-worthy. Has anyone experimented, or GM techs weighed in on how flexible the calibration is? If a standard ribbon connector can be used as repair, how far can it be calibrated? You can conceivably patch in a 2 layer ribbon and calibrate accordingly.

Damn it GM. Seriously...build great engines and drivetrains but everything else is NFG.


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Offline Sol Asylum

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If you can reconnect the circuits without adding any resistance then I wouldn't think you would have an issue with calibration.
2007 Aggressive GXP

Offline Kelu

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Rockchops: replacing the seat pad was an easy job? I have mine prepared to replace it but not sure what to expect, any advice? I was thinking to do it myself.
Dragula  ;) Opel GT  from Romania
Arabas: take fotos, videos and keep all girls locked inside the house. Kelu's charm is irresistible !!!!

Offline Rockchops

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Rockchops: replacing the seat pad was an easy job? I have mine prepared to replace it but not sure what to expect, any advice? I was thinking to do it myself.

Yeah it was a breeze, took 20 mins. Best way to go is unbolting the seat so you can see things from the bottom. The upholstry is held on by a couple clips up front and back and dastardly plastic push fasteners on the sides (I managed to break every one of them). Once those are out the cushion slides right out and you can take the upholstry off. Installation is the reverse. It's definitely a doable DIY job.


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Offline TomatoSoup

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Damn it GM. Seriously...build great engines and drivetrains but everything else is NFG.
Well, it's a GM supplier from Luxembourg that built these, not GM.  And they supplied a lot of other car companies too.  Not getting the visibility the Takata airbag fiasco is though.
"That is my theory, it is mine, and belongs to me and I own it, and what it is too." (Monty Python)

Offline Sol Asylum

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While you are at it Kelu get the seat heaters and install them at the same time.  Next time I'm over that way I can help you take care of this.
2007 Aggressive GXP

Offline Kelu

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Rockchops: Thanks for sharing the info, you got me convinced that I should do it on my own. I remember I removed the passenger seat once and was not too difficult. Thanks again  :thumbs:

Sol Asylum: Seat heaters are only on the bottom part or they have to be installed on the vertical part also? I kept thinking about those but in the same time I don't drive my car from end of December till February/March because of snow condition which I don't want to consider to handle because expensive set of wheels, expensive tires and still might get me in trouble because of the height of the vehicle (even with the suspension at the maximum height).
Dragula  ;) Opel GT  from Romania
Arabas: take fotos, videos and keep all girls locked inside the house. Kelu's charm is irresistible !!!!

Offline TomatoSoup

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Seat heaters are on the bottom and back cushion.  But the back part is easy since you only need to unzip the covers, undo the long clip at the bottom and peel the cover up.  You can do those in the car.
"That is my theory, it is mine, and belongs to me and I own it, and what it is too." (Monty Python)

Offline Sol Asylum

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Sol Asylum: I kept thinking about those but in the same time I don't drive my car from end of December till February/March because of snow condition

Pretty much why I haven't installed them on mine too.  Actually I will drive mine in the winter months as long as the roads are clear, the seat heaters would still be nice on those days.
2007 Aggressive GXP

Offline ChrisPrice

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Since someone recently reminded me that can file a NHTSA complaint, I filed one today. Attached the white paper PDF to the complaint at SaferCar.gov.

Quote
I formally request that NHTSA investigate the Passenger Sensing System for air bags in the 2007 to 2010 Model Year Saturn Sky, as well as its platform twin, the Pontiac Solstice.

As you will notice in the whitepaper attached to this complaint, there is clear evidence that there is a systemic defect in the PSS, that causes them to fail. General Motors has admitted that similar problems exist in other GM cars of this era, but has refused to publicly investigate this series of cars.

In a roadster, this is particularly important because these cars lack a backseat. When the PSS fails, the only place a passenger can go is into a seat - a seat which now has the airbag disabled, after the PSS fails. As the whitepaper notes, the replacement parts are just as prone to fail as the ones being installed today.

I implore NHTSA to investigate and act on this matter, as approximately 100,000 of these cars were produced - and all of them are likely to eventually suffer from this defect, based on the technical data collected by the community. Thank you.

Offline ChrisPrice

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Curious, searching didn't pan out, has anyone tried swapping the seat sensor internals with a revised CTS seat sensor?

At the least, replacing the internals might net one from never having to undertake the process again...

 

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