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Author Topic: Campaign to Initiate NHTSA Investigation into Kappa Passenger Presence Sensor  (Read 52151 times)

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Offline 2wrdr

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Hey guys, just stumbled across this and I am having an issue of maybe the sensor needing calibration?  Wife at around 115lbs intermently does not register as occupying the seat and so passenger air bag indicator indicated off.  A heavier person seems to work ok.  I'd appreciate where my symptoms stand with some of you more up on the matter knowledge.  If there is a specific place I should register my issues just let me know and I will happily join others in fighting this.

Thanks, Don

Offline DaveOC

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Hey guys, just stumbled across this and I am having an issue of maybe the sensor needing calibration?  Wife at around 115lbs intermently does not register as occupying the seat and so passenger air bag indicator indicated off.  A heavier person seems to work ok.  I'd appreciate where my symptoms stand with some of you more up on the matter knowledge.  If there is a specific place I should register my issues just let me know and I will happily join others in fighting this.

Thanks, Don

From your description, it sounds like your passenger seat sensor is working as it is designed to work. 

If you feel it is not working correctly, leave a complaint on the NHTSA site and with GM. A notice to your GM dealer might also help.

Aggressive #000741

Offline 2wrdr

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From your description, it sounds like your passenger seat sensor is working as it is designed to work. 

If you feel it is not working correctly, leave a complaint on the NHTSA site and with GM. A notice to your GM dealer might also help.

Unable to detect 115 lbs in the passenger seat is working as it should?  I assume if we were in a frontal accident and the airbag off indicator is on then her airbag would not deploy or am I misunderstanding something?

Offline Sol Asylum

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There are two issues.  The issue this thread is about is the sensor going bad and the system not working at all.

Your issue is that it doesn't sense your wife's presence because her weight is not enough (I don't know what the designed trigger weight is) to trigger the system.
2007 Aggressive GXP

Offline 2kwk4u

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If I remember correctly, the system is set to activate the airbag when a passenger weighing 105+ pounds is in that seat.  The whole reason the systems to detect the presence of a passenger has to do with injuries / deaths that were caused unnecessarily due to the force of an airbag going off in an accident.  It turns out a lighter weight person can be harmed more BY the airbag than by no airbag (seat belt only) in certain circumstances.

Better explanation here:

http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/f53/info-gms-pps-passenger-presence-system-79602/

and even more reading!  This one is a real thrill ride:

http://www.nhtsa.gov/Driving+Safety/Occupant+Protection/ci.Advanced+Frontal+Air+Bags.print

all of this is probably explained in our owner's manuals, too.  But who reads those things?  :banghead:

« Last Edit: August 29, 2016, 04:39:06 PM by 2kwk4u »

Offline DaveOC

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Unable to detect 115 lbs in the passenger seat is working as it should?  I assume if we were in a frontal accident and the airbag off indicator is on then her airbag would not deploy or am I misunderstanding something?

That is how it is designed to work.  If the passenger's weight is below a certain threshold, the air bag is turned off.  Above the threshold it will be turned on.  You are understanding correctly.

I just looked up the airbag information as presented in the owner's manual, and the description is no help whatsoever, as it does not present any weight limits, but that is typical GM or any of the large auto manufacturers.  If you don't have an owner's manual, you can download one from GM owner assistance.
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Offline ChrisPrice

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I had this issue with someone who frequented my Pontiac G6. The GM sensors are all calibrated to be overly cautious at passengers on the threshold.

She weighed 120 pounds... and routinely, I would get on the road, realize that the passenger airbag was off, and have to pull over and restart the car.

Every time, the PSS would properly detect the passenger and turn back on. It was more embarrassing for me than anything else.

So yes, if you are "on the button" of tipping on the PSS, you may have to sit in the car and restart it to get that passenger air bag to turn on. Annoying, but not related to the recall investigation. It's done out of safety. Though if the passenger does weight enough, and is tall enough, you should restart the car until it turns on.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2016, 10:17:10 PM by ChrisPrice »

Offline Ironhide

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Two weeks ago I had an Opel GT owner at an U.S. car show, he told me that his passenger airbag doesn't work anymore since he installed something behind the seat.
I asked him what he exactly did and he told me that he kneeled on the passengers seat to install a wind restrictor.
That guy was a very tinny and skinny person and he broke the mat by kneeling on the seat. :banghead:
Oliver  :usa:

Offline 2wrdr

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Re: Campaign to Initiate NHTSA Investigation into Kappa Passenger Presence Sensor
« Reply #83 on: September 01, 2016, 07:22:48 AM »
Thanks for the replies guys.  Not detecting 115lbs. just seems like failure to me but I understand what has been explained.  In this case I wish there was a way to manually turn it on or off like my old Mazda truck had.  You could manually turn the AB off with a key on the console.    I will try the car restart method and see how that works.

Offline TomatoSoup

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Re: Campaign to Initiate NHTSA Investigation into Kappa Passenger Presence Sensor
« Reply #84 on: September 01, 2016, 11:33:04 AM »
Shouldn't need to restart the car.  I know my Sol would occasionally turn off the airbag when my teenage daughter was in the car and positioned particularly (off center or slouched forward).  I'd get her to sit back and center and the airbag would switch back on automatically.
"That is my theory, it is mine, and belongs to me and I own it, and what it is too." (Monty Python)

Offline 2wrdr

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Re: Campaign to Initiate NHTSA Investigation into Kappa Passenger Presence Sensor
« Reply #85 on: September 01, 2016, 11:55:32 AM »
Ok, thanks.

Offline Gentleman Jack

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Re: Campaign to Initiate NHTSA Investigation into Kappa Passenger Presence Sensor
« Reply #86 on: September 01, 2016, 02:11:51 PM »
There is a switch I think?  Needs the key?
Been a while since I've been in my Kappa
Make the right choices now

Offline Sol Asylum

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Re: Campaign to Initiate NHTSA Investigation into Kappa Passenger Presence Sensor
« Reply #87 on: September 01, 2016, 03:36:58 PM »
There is a switch I think?  Needs the key?
Been a while since I've been in my Kappa

You think wrong, GM came out with this new system to replace the old style one that used the key to turn it on or off.
2007 Aggressive GXP

Offline ChrisPrice

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Re: Campaign to Initiate NHTSA Investigation into Kappa Passenger Presence Sensor
« Reply #88 on: September 10, 2016, 02:18:50 AM »
We're now around 2.5 months (if I recall right) from GM's deadline to reply. Still no GM docs on the NHTSA portal.

Would it be a good idea to contact NHTSA and ask for an update (at least on document postings)? It is killing me to not see what GM's reply was - we're totally in the dark without knowing what they said.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2016, 02:23:09 AM by ChrisPrice »

Offline ChrisPrice

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I contacted NHTSA asking if they could post GM's reply to the IR. We're coming up on four months, and I don't want the investigation to close without public comment on their reply to the IR.

Hopefully they just post it.

Offline ChrisPrice

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FYI, GM's reply to ODI has been posted (finally):

http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/acms/cs/jaxrs/download/doc/UCM542582/INRL-DP16001-65061P.pdf

GM claims/counts over 2700 documented reports (using tools that many feel are biased towards the in-warranty period). Those include GMPP (Ally GM Extended Warranty) claims. (The request response is a little hazy, but I presume that number is limited to Solstice and Sky repair requests, not including other vehicles with different PSS sensors).

Based on a very cursory first-read, I did not see a refutation of the basis for the investigation, though they are not required to in this letter.

2700 out of ~100,000 vehicles sold represents .27% of affected cars. Multiply that by two (just assuming one in every two claims is not in GM's database properly - or was replaced by an aftermarket mechanic), and more than one in 200 Kappa platform cars are affected by this issue. That's not 1%, but for a safety issue that could impact passenger airbag deployment (and possibly driver deployment too), it's certainly major.

Mind you, that does not include people that have not fixed the issue. If you assume that there are another 5,000 Kappa's driving around that did not get fixed, you're now at 1% of all Kappa production. But to get to 1% you have to assume that one in two people got fixed aftermarket (by a non-GM mechanic), and that for every fixed car, one has not been fixed. Logical assumptions, but assumptions.

It would be interesting to see the number of PSS replacement units sold, something I did not see in this document.

Edit: There also is some solid technical discussion on the revision made to the PSS, explaining that they did stiffen some of the plastic in the revised PSS to prevent this problem from happening. But, tellingly, GM did not assert that it fully resolved the issue.

Also concerningly, GM reports that 316 Kappa platform cars have experienced asymmetric deployment of airbags, where only one of the two airbags went off. It's not possible to attribute all of these to the PSS module (for example, severe accidents that cut off power or damage the airbag before it can deploy), but I can't see how to not at least attribute some.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2016, 05:53:20 PM by ChrisPrice »

Offline Robotech

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Just contacted the NHTSA today and was told they are still working on this. I plan on following up again in May as that will be the one year mark since they opened this petition if nothing has changed by then.

I was also told they hadn't forgotten about it so apparently they understand I will continue to check in to make sure they don't. LOL

Offline Robotech

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It would be interesting to see the number of PSS replacement units sold, something I did not see in this document.

Edit: There also is some solid technical discussion on the revision made to the PSS, explaining that they did stiffen some of the plastic in the revised PSS to prevent this problem from happening. But, tellingly, GM did not assert that it fully resolved the issue.

Also concerningly, GM reports that 316 Kappa platform cars have experienced asymmetric deployment of airbags, where only one of the two airbags went off. It's not possible to attribute all of these to the PSS module (for example, severe accidents that cut off power or damage the airbag before it can deploy), but I can't see how to not at least attribute some.

Chris, in that document I'm not seeing where they show 316 asymmetric deployments. I see 316 reports where either there was a) asymmetric air bag deployment or b) an error light showing the system was not functioning. I've looked over it to see if I missed something but that's what I'm getting from the statements and table on pages 4-5.  I see no where in the reply where they broke out how many reports of each condition they recorded. Actually, from that table I suspect all 316 reported incidents were an error light indication and that none were asymmetrical airbag deployment since the number of reports that were with a crash was 0.

EDIT: I just saw on page 12, subitem d, paragraph 2, that GM received no reports of an Asymmetrical Air Bag deployment.

Also, it looks like the area they stiffened the plastic was where the mat connects to the Electronic Control Unit (ECU). There is no mention (that I have seen) of what exactly the ECU is in the system but my assumption is this is the black box on the front of the mat assembly since this is the only place where the mat connects to any sort of control unit.

The failure point of our mats does not occur in this section of the sensor mat so I do not believe this stiffening would address the problem we've identified.

I would like to see the number of these mats sold though as, like you said, this would give us a better indication of the replacement frequency of these mats. From that it would be easier to extrapolate the number of failed and unrepaired mats using the 60% figure (After warranty is expired, 60% of people reporting the failure and reporting whether or not they had the item fixed reported they did not repair the issue) I arrived at in my original paper.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2017, 03:20:13 PM by Robotech »

Offline DaveOC

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The recall has been issued by GM.  #172080280  Issued January 26, 2017

NHTSA has not assigned a recall number yet.

There is no Remedy Plan yet.

https://my.gm.com/recalls

Enter your VIN and you can read the details.

:yay:

.
Aggressive #000741

Offline Robotech

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So glad to see this. As the GM employee stated, don't go to your dealership yet though. He stated they're redesigning the part and no remedy is available yet. Just know it's coming and if you have to repair it before the recall is official, keep your receipts.

Offline Sly Bob

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Awesome and we have no one but Robotech to thank for this, nicely done sir. Okay Tomato Soup, you too. Then again, thank also has to go out to all that took the time to report this issue on their cars. Without all of you reporting this as an issue Robotech's efforts would have been in vain.

Now I just home it applies to Canadian cars as well.
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 DaveOC

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Now I just home it applies to Canadian cars as well.

It does. Go to https://recalls.gm.ca type in your VIN, and you can read what there is so far.

 :yay:

.
Aggressive #000741

Offline Sly Bob

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It does. Go to https://recalls.gm.ca type in your VIN, and you can read what there is so far.

Awesome and thank you. As soon as I get back into the country I'll run my VIN, not sure what it is at the moment. I'm a long way from home right now...
Just trying to do my part...

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Offline ChopTop

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This is the message you get (at least I did) after you've entered you're VIN @ my.gm.com/recalls


GM Recall #:N172080280
NHTSA #
AWAITING#
Date Issued:Jan 26, 2017

Recall Title:
2006-2010 MY Pontiac Solstice, Saturn SKY - Passenger presence system (PPS)

Recall Description:
TBD

Safety Risk Description:
If an active fault exists in the PPS system and a crash occurs, the SDM will not deploy the front passenger airbag. If an adult is occupying the passenger seat, the suppression of the front passenger airbag could increase the risk of injury to the passenger.

Repair Description:
Remedy plans are currently under review. GM will supplement this information when remedy plans are finalized.

Recall Status: INCOMPLETE. REMEDY NOT YET AVAILABLE

BTW, big THANK YOU to Robotech (and those that helped him) for making this happen.

Offline 2kwk4u

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That's fantastic news!  Thank you for all the legwork gents - particularly Robo!  I shall continue to ignore this recall as I have the ignition switch recall (and the electronic gearshift recall on my 2015 Grand Cherokee for that matter) with the knowledge that it's there if/when I need to take advantage :)

 

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