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996 Airbag Remove/Re-fit Issues


Well-known member
12 Nov 2012
Removed my steering wheel earlier following instructions from a thread on this forum. Very straightforward, came off fine. Loosened airbag bolts, took airbag off, disconnected wires and took wheel off spline. Done!

Fitted newly re-trimmed wheel onto spline, re-connected wires and then went to do up the airbag bolts. One went in fine but the other went in a little way and is now free-spinning a la stripped thread! Won't tighten and won't come out, so the airbag is loosely held on but isn't exactly 'fitted'.

Those who've removed/re-fitted their steering wheel will appreciate that access isn't great onto the back of these bolts. I've tried pulling on the airbag whilst loosening the bolt to provide a bit of tension but to no avail.

Any thoughts on how to get the stubborn bolt out? Is it time to drill the head off perhaps? Any advice much appreciated!!
Friend of mine thinks I've stripped off the riveted captive thread from the back of the airbag?! This would explain why the bolt appears to be rotating so freely. May have to try and cut the bolt somehow, as drilling will only spin it!
Got there in the end. Turned out the captive threaded section on the back of the airbag was free-spinning with the bolt firmly secured into it! So, the airbag was more or less written off as soon as the threaded section came free of the back of the airbag housing. A design fault me thinks!

Anyway, brute force and ignorance led to extracting the airbag, with the damage to the back of the housing as shown in the photos below. Fortunately, I haven't damaged the new steering wheel, which I paid a lot of money for! So, I'm now on the hunt for a replacement 3-spoke airbag in Metropole Blue....


So, the OPC wants nearly £1,100 for a replacement airbag unit!!

Managed to find one on eBay for a MUCH smaller sum of money and in the correct Metropole Blue colour. Let's hope I can get it to fit more easily than the original. Will definitely be checking the threads and cleaning them of loctite before I try fitting anything LOL!
Ouch! Glad you got it off. Someone must have overtightened them in the past....

Maybe a few drops of superglue around the captive nut will help to keep it in place next time! And I wouldn't be doing them up mega tight...

I remember when I first took my wheel off the screws were really tight and I was thinking I really hope something else doesn't give....
You will now understand why so many fully repairable cars get written off when you learn the cost of replacing airbags which have gone off. Most are @£1,000,regardless of the badge on the bonnet. Even little hatchbacks can have 7 airbags ( many Toyota's etc). I hope you get it sorted.
Successfully replaced airbag with replacement unit. Cleaned the threads first and applied a drop of loctite before tightening the two bolts by hand. Seemed to go in OK.

Airbag light still on though, I assume as a result of removing the original airbag when changing the steering wheel and triggering the fault code. I assume this is normal and can be reset by the OPC when it goes in tomorrow?
^^ Thanks.

I had to drive the car into the garage without the airbag installed, so the warning light came on at that point, after I'd reconnected the battery. I guess that, once triggered, the airbag light needs resetting even if you subsequently replace the airbag?!

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