BMW X3 Service & Repair Manual: Safety regulations for handling components with gas generators

BMW X3 Service & Repair Manual / Suspension / Steering wheel for airbag / Safety regulations for handling components with gas generators

It is essential to comply with the regulations as specified in the law relating to the use of explosives when working on airbag units and seat belt tensioners.

Airbags, seat belt tensioners etc. are pyrotechnical objects. Pyrotechnical objects are assigned to different danger classes on the basis of the quantity of propellant that they contain. The assignment can be ascertained from the identification marking on the product:

IMPORTANT: Failure to comply with the warning notices and repair instructions for gas generator components can cause accidental deployment and result in injury and vehicle damage!

This applies in particular to the following components:

  • Airbag modules (driver's/front passenger airbags, side airbags)
  • Buckle/belt tensioner
  • Head airbag
  • Active knee protection
  • Active head restraint
  • Safety battery terminal

1. Regulations

The regulations quoted in the following refer to the Federal Republic of Germany.

In all other countries, the relevant legislation and regulations must be observed in each case. Country- specific legal regulations that go beyond this information or court decisions based thereon must be followed in each case or given precedence over these regulations.

The following components used by BMW:

  • Pyrotechnical restraint systems are subject to danger class PT1
  • Gas generators are pyrotechnical objects belonging to danger class T1

Handling, transporting and storing non-fired gas generators are subject to the "Explosive Materials Act" (law relating to the use of explosives dated 13/09/1976).

The relevant trade supervisory authority must be notified at least 2 weeks before pyrotechnical objects are handled for the first time. Here the relevant authority must be notified in writing of the person responsible (e.g. dealership owner, holder of general power of attorney or if necessary workshop supervisor). A certificate of qualification, i.e. specific training, is not required for the person responsible.

2. Dismantling and installation

  • Inspection, testing and installation work may only be carried out by expert trained personnel in BMW Service.
  • Work on components of the airbag system should only ever be carried out with the battery disconnected, the negative terminal post covered and the plug connection of the cable leading to the gas generator disconnected. If only the battery is disconnected, the following prescribed waiting period must be observed without fail:
    • 30 min. for vehicles up to 9/93
    • 1 min. for vehicles from 9/93 onward
  • In the event of breaks in work, a component with a gas generator that has been removed must be secured against access by other persons.
  • Individual components must never be repaired. Instead, always replace them.
  • Do not treat airbag system components with cleaning agents or grease.
  • Components of the airbag system must not be exposed to temperatures in excess of 75 ºC.
  • Airbag system components, including electronic diagnostic components, which have been dropped from heights in excess of 0.5 m must not be reinstalled in the vehicles.
  • Do not remove components of the airbag system from the original packaging until immediately before they are to be installed in the vehicle.
  • Before installing, subject components such as housing, connector pins, etc. of the airbag system (including diagnosis electronics) to a visual inspection for damage and replace if necessary.
  • Airbag system components may only be electrically tested while they are installed and only with the BMW ISTA.
  • Danger of injury: The airbag module may only be set down with the airbag itself facing upwards .

    Otherwise the alternator will be thrown upwards if it is ignited.

  • Do not point the ignition squib of a gas generator at other persons.
  • Components with gas generators must not be fired while they are removed. They must be disposed of by special disposal companies or returned to BMW in the packaging of the new components.
  • When carrying out straightening and welding work with an electric welder:
    • Disconnect battery
    • Cover negative terminal (post)
  • Avoid all contact with the skin when removing a fired airbag module - wear gloves. Wash with water after contact with the skin.

3. Transport

  • Components with gas generators must be sent off in the packaging of the new components.

4. Storage

  • Observe the regulations of the relevant trade supervisory authority and the applicable national regulations.
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