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7959off topic; faulty airbags....

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  • nocost2great
    Mar 8, 2003
      I posted the following on another egroup I am on. For those of you
      who are members of that group too, please forgive the double post.
      I am trying to find out if anyone else has had, or knows someone who
      has had a similar experience... This is a long post, BTW. It
      chronicles a day in the life of the Shaw family....and demostrates
      what an Awesome God we serve!

      I know I said I wasn't going to have time to post this week, but felt
      the need to share my day's adventures.
      As I mentioned we were scheduled to go to the oral surgeon for a
      recheck this morning. We were loaded up and on our way when our
      adventures began. The trip to the dr. is almost an hour. We were at a
      junction in the only little town enroute when the air bag just
      deployed 'of its own free will'! I was SO thankful that I had come to
      a stop!!!!
      Let me give you some background.... I am petrified of airbags!!! When
      I have an option I choose the back seat. I watched a documentary that
      showed how petite (aka SHORT) people are at high risk for whiplash,
      broken necks, etc. When we got our truck I begged Clay to have the
      airbag disconnected. I always have to say a prayer when I drive it
      because of my fear of airbags. I have/had come to the point where I
      realized that I just had to trust that God would protect me... or
      better described... I had come to the point that I accepted that if
      God wanted to take me home via airbag that was fine by me. ;)
      Yesterday the airbag light came on and didn't go off. I made a mental
      note to ask Clay about it (which I forgot to do.) Today I realized
      that THAT idiot light is NOT one to ignore!!!
      Not sure if any of you have ever experienced having an airbag explode
      in your face... If you have I am sure it is a memory that hasn't
      faded. It was so unexpected... a loud explosion, chemical smoke
      filled the van, and the horn blasted (and didn't shut off.) Most all
      of us screamed when it happened. As soon as I realized what had
      happened I had all the kids unload into the median of the 4 lane
      highway we were on. The chemical smell was overwhelming and I didn't
      want any of us to have to breath it. Once we were all out I began
      trying to figure out how to shut off the horn. Before I could even
      get back in to look a guy from the service station on the corner was
      there offering to help. While he was looking under the hood I found
      some wires attaching the horn to the airbag apparatus and he yanked
      them out. Without the deafening noise of the horn we all began to
      calm down a little bit. Within 3 minutes there were two deputy
      sheriffs there to help. One of them cut out the bag and then followed
      us to the Ford dealership which was less than a mile away. They
      weren't able to 'fix' it but did dismantle it for me so that I could
      drive it without having the chemicals and heat in my face. One of the
      sheriffs told me something that I found interesting. Air bags are
      heat activated....apparently it causes the chemicals to explode
      filling the bag. Anyway he was saying that every vehicle that he has
      ever seen burn no longer has a rear window because the bag explosion
      is so intense it goes through the back window! And these things are
      supposed to SAVE our lives?!...hmmmm....
      The older kids usually squabble over who gets to sit up front, but
      can you believe no one was interested in riding up front after that
      little incident. (I am sure it didn't have anything to do with the
      fact that the airbag light was still on. hehe)
      I have some chemical/heat burns on my left hand and arm, and another
      small place on my upper abdomen but other than that, and a bad case
      of nerves/stress induced itching... baby and I are fine.
      My first concern after the initial shock was the baby. I didn't
      mention it because I didnt' want to scare the children. I just said a
      silent prayer. While at the dealership I felt the baby move and felt
      a bit better. We went on to the dr. and I called Clay to warn the
      larger dealership in Macon that I would be bringing the van in after
      we got back.
      We stopped off by the house for lunch and I called the midwife who
      suggested that I get an ultrasound for peace of mind. I called the
      drs office who refused to see me but said I needed to go to the
      hospital as soon as possible. :/ More stress....
      I called Clay and arranged to have him meet me at the house after I
      dropped off our van and picked up a replacement vehicle.

      We managed to get Rachel to piano and headed to Macon expecting them
      to be waiting on us with a van as a replacement car. When we arrived
      the service guy said... Ford doesn't cover vans as replacement
      vehicles. Well, as you can imagine, I didn't go for that. I explained
      that I had a van full of children and he had to provide some way for
      me to transport them! It didn't take them too long to find us another
      van (especially after I spied the salesman that we purchased it from
      *less than a month ago* and mentioned to him that I *might* need his
      We hurried back to Forsyth, picked up Rachel, and then hurried home
      so I could go to the hospital for monitoring. Again, you have to know
      how badly I hate the hospital and all the 'things' they insist on
      doing to you for you to realize how stressed the idea made me. The
      trip to the hospital is about 45 minutes so I had plenty of time to
      battle with the thoughts that were swirling around in my head. I was
      busy the whole trip there taking my thoughts captive! I did want to
      make sure the baby was okay (especially since it hadn't STOPPED
      moving since the 'accident.') The nurse was really nice and they only
      monitored me/baby for about an hour so it wasn't too bad. In fact I
      even told her that I felt better about the prospect of delivering in
      the hospital if the occasion demanded it. (Of course I am still
      hopeful that it won't!)
      Now after all that... it would be so easy to cop an attitude and be
      angry if I were unregenerate. Intead I am counting my blessings! I am
      so thankful that this didn't happen yesterday and cause Irene to miss
      her plane. I am so thankful that it happened where it did and help
      was only minutes away. I am so thankful that we were already
      stopped... and not cruising down the road at 70 mph!!!!! I am more
      thankful that neither the baby nor I was injured. And I am MOST
      thankful that I know that I am a child of the most high God who is in
      total control of all things!!!

      To add a note: Ford is refusing to own the problem. They will not
      replace the airbag and are stating that no problem was found with
      the 'system' although initially the technician said that the airbag
      module was bad. The only diagnostic code they say they found was the
      one that indicated that the airbag deployed. Even though it was ONLY
      the driver bag and not the passenger bag (they are supposed to BOTH
      deploy if there is a passenger present <belted in>) they still say
      nothing was wrong with the system. They have told me that outside of
      contact with the dealership and the customer no-service 800-# reps I
      have no recourse. No one to appeal to within the Ford corp....
      Although I really don't CARE to replace the airbag, I still have
      another one that could deploy if the sensor system is faulty. Plus I
      am left without a horn. Just the parts to replace the bag and module
      (NOT the sensors, OR the labor cost) are over $1000.00. I told the
      service rep that it wouldn't matter to me if it was only $5.00. FORD
      must accept liability and step up to the plate. I am planning on
      taking my complaints public next week. Just because God protected us
      doesn't mean I have a right to be silent. I have a burden to try and
      protect other unsuspecting drivers that might not be so
      providentially blessed. Had it happened 5 minutes earlier or 5
      minutes later I might not be alive to write this!

      Do any of you know someone who has had something similar happen to
      them? Please pray that God would grant us wisdom, and energy for the
      impending fight that lies ahead!

      Thankful for a Merciful God,

      Dee Dee