SRS Computer Trouble in 1996 Accord EX

I have a 1996 Honda Accord and the SRS light came on.

1) I took it to a diagnostic shop and they said I needed a new SRS computer for $700.

2) Instead I removed the SRS computer and mailed it who repaired it for $100

3) I put the computer back in and everything was fine for a week and suddenly the light came back on.

4) I mailed the computer back to airbagsystems who repaired the computer and did a full diagnostics on it saying everything was fine with the computer and it wasn’t the computers fault this kept happened, that some ‘nonsense code’ had been written to the computer.

5) I put the computer back in, the SRS light was off for a couple weeks and just came back on.

My questions:

1) Why is this happening, and what can I do to fix it?

2) Just because the light is on does it mean my airbags won’t deploy in an accident?

I posted this last week and didn’t get any response, so perhaps I want to add a question that may be easier:
3) if the computer is fine, what in the system could be writing bad codes to the computer and how to i find out what it is?

  1. Yes, it does mean that your air-bags won’t work.
  2. You need to provide the exact codes being stored before any guesses can be made about it.

Have your battery checked. A low battery can set this off. got the exact codes out and they were nonsense codes. They say something is either overloading it or writing nonsense codes to the computer but can’t tell me what or how.

The battery is new and tests fine.

There is a way to read the message. Do a google search on how to read the code. You have to jump a couple wires and then a LED will flash. You count the number of flashes to get the error code.

I’ve done this. The reading is ‘General SRS computer failure’ but like I say, I’ve had the computer reset and tested and it’s all good. When I had the computer read by the ‘experts’ they say the information written to the computer was nonsense. according to AIRBAGSYSTEM.COM something is overloading it, or writting nonsense to it.

Find a better place to fix the module, or get one from somewhere else. They are feeding you a line. That error code only comes from inside the module, not from somewhere else outside. No other computers write into that module (others may talk to it, but only it writes to its own memory). It has a fault that they are clearly incapable of finding.

Thank you Tardis. I was actually kind of suspicious of their explanation. (BTW, I’m a doctor who fan. i assume that’s where you get your name from) If I have to buy a new module do you know if I have to pay $700 for it, or how would I go about buying a used one?

Yes, Doctor Who. Anyway, you can try junk yards, or whatever the name for them is these days. They’re not hard to find on the internet. Usually you have to e-mail them about the part you need. You really want to get one from a car that was not in a crash that triggered the air-bags. (Some computer modules are one time use, but I’m not sure if yours is or isn’t.)

New Information: We repaired the computer again, cleared the codes out and put it on the simulator for 24 hours, without failure. Put it back in the car, and the SRS light went out, but within 20 minutes the light was back on again. Any new ideas?

I do have a new idea that the computer is a paperweight. A new one may have to be the answer if you want it to work. I’m just happy that it’s not my money that has to do the experiment. Whenever the old computer is rebooted, it works for a few minutes or a few days and quits again. Classic signs of total failure are happening almost daily. I hope your new computer fixes the problem or at least gives back decent codes so that the problem can be diagnosed. If I were to make a bet, the new computer and the total cost will end up around $1200.00. Hope you are luckier than that.

Have a DEALER run diagnostics on your air bag system and find and repair the fault that is blowing the modual. Or depend on your seatbelt and forget the light…

My advice is to go back to the guy who quoted you $700. See if he will put in writing that $700 will fix all your current SRS problems. Then if it isn’t the computer (I still think it is), he will be compelled to fix whatever else it may be at his expense.

It may NOT be the computer. I’m wondering if one of the inputs is telling the computer there’s a problem …but the computer is not reporting the problem correctly. Is there any way of diagnosing the signals going to the SRS computer???

The guy won’t. He really doesn’t seem very enthusiastic about working on it.

My 2000 Accord experienced the same issue. I ordered a used SRS computer from a junkyard in Iowa for $125 and put it in myself. It worked great…for a day. I took it to the dealer and they discovered a bad seat belt buckle sensor in the driver’s seat. They replaced that under warranty (seat belt systems are covered by Honda for the life of the car) and I never had another problem.

Because the driver’s seat belt gets the most use, that is my first suspect. Specifically, the seat-belt buckle (it has a switch in it), and the seat-belt pretensioner could be causing the SRS light to come on.
If the seat belt shoulder strap is sloppy; then, the pretensioner may be faulty. If the seat belt buckle seem sloppy, or, is difficult to lock; that could be setting the SRS light.
If these faults seem to be present, replacing the driver’s seat belt and buckle, and replacing the pretensioner might help. The SRS system must be safed before this work is done…one doesn’t want to cause an airbag to “blow”!

If the codes are being read correctly, it seems like they would get a better code than “general computer fault” for a bad seatbelt switch or monitor.