bgkast Dork
April 15, 2014 2:28 p.m.

I have a few questions about the airbag system in my new family member, a 1995 Miata.

I plan to occasionally transport kids in the car in a forward facing car seat. It seems that the safest option is to disconnect the airbag when there is a kid in the passenger seat. I have seen vague references online to a switch that can be retrofitted to allow the airbag to be shut off, but have not found a source of where to get this switch. I did find a thread where somebody mounted a key activated switch in the glove box that disconnected the airbag wiring. Is that my best option? I do not mind if the airbag warning light is illuminated when the airbag is off. I just don't want to damage the system or blow myself up.

Question 2: I would like to swap the NA steering wheel for a NB Nardi steering wheel that comes with the car. My googling shows that the wheel will bolt on, but that the airbag plugs are different. It seems that if the plugs are swapped the airbag system is happy (light off), but nobody has crashed to see if the NB airbag works with the NA computer. Reading this FAQ about the Miata airbag system I don't see why it wouldn't work...the computer sends a 12v signal and the airbag explodes. Any other thoughts? Again, I don't want to compromise the system or blow myself up.

Thanks!

bgkast Dork
April 15, 2014 2:36 p.m.

It looks like if I want to install a switch I need to get approval from the DOT: http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Shoppers/Air+Bags/ON-OFF+Switch+FAQ

Apexcarver PowerDork
April 15, 2014 3:16 p.m.

IIRC thats to have a switch installed by a business. If you DIY, you can do whatever you want (including just removing them).

Best/easiest bet might just be yanking the airbag fuse when you have kids in.

turboswede UltimaDork
April 15, 2014 3:48 p.m.

Airbags are pretty universal in how they work. Swap the plugs and move along.

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