On 1st Gen/Mk1 R50/52/53 MINIs most airbag warning light faults are due to a mommentary bad connection to the seat airbag wiring harness when a seat is moved/adjusted, therefore storing a fault code and triggering the warning light.
The light remains on even if the fault has gone until reset by a dealer often costing approx. £50-80 outside warranty.
For around £15-20 on ebay, etc, you can buy a BMW/MINI SRS airbag light reset tool (such as the B200 Reset Tool ), read the fault code yourself and put out the light.
You also then have the tool for any future problems. The tool plugs into the OBD11 diagnostic socket behind a small black plastic flap just above the foot pedals below the steering column.
After reading the code and resetting the light off with the tool, if the fault is still there (or happens again) the light will come back on again. You cannot overide or mask an actual permanent fault with this tool but it saves the cost of paying a BMW mechanic to tell you the same thing and you have the tool for future use.
If the light is out the SRS system will function, it self checks everytime you switch on the ignition key and if all is ok puts out the warning light.
If the light keeps coming back on and indicates it is the RH or LH seat airbag wiring harness then it is necessary to solder up the faulty seat harness yellow connections or replace/repair the wiring harness / connectors as required, (many have been done when under warranty) or repair whatever else you may get as a fault code such as seat belt pre-tensioner buckles, etc. which are the blue connectors under the seat.
Reading the fault codes.
With the ignition switched OFF open the small hinged cover that protects the port, and checking that you have the plug the right way round gently insert it into the port (it only goes in one way round), but do not force it as the pins are delicate.
- Switch the ignition ON - but do not start the car.
- The unit will display FA - I don’t know what this stands for but it reads the Fault in the Airbag system.
- Press the ENTER button on the B200
- The display will show letters or numbers - these are NOT the fault code. These relate to the table in the book that you must use to see the fault. Remember or make a note of the number. I think making notes is good with this type of fault as its always good to keep a record of what you did or tried.
- Press ENTER again and a number will come up on the display. This is the first fault code. Make a note of this number.
- Press ENTER again. If another number comes up on the display then this is another fault code. Make a note of this number also. Multiple codes are usual with many faults.
- Continue pressing ENTER and recording the numbers until the display shows –. That means that there are no further faults. If you continue pressing ENTER you can cycle around the table number, and fault codes again to check you noted them correctly.
- Check the book that is supplied for what the codes you read actually mean. The tables are fraught with spelling mistakes, but they seem accurate and can be understood. The codes were correct on the cars I have used the unit on, but I would be interested to hear anyone else’s experience.
You must deal with the fault before clearing the code. If you removed and refitted seats then the light should not really have come on, but if you removed the seats and replaced them with non-airbag ones then you will need a resistor in the circuit to “pretend” that the wiring is there. The resistors you need for the seats are 4 ohm 0.25 watt resistors. You need 2 of them, Maplin supply 3.9 ohms ones which are fine. Details for this may be found on MINI Torque:http://www.minitorque.com/forum/f10/airbag-warning-fooling-resistors-12867/
If the car has been in an accident then replace the items as required.
Clearing the Fault Codes
Clearing the codes is a very similar process to reading them.
- If you have removed the unit then repeat 1 and 2 above - plug it in with ignition switched off, and then switch the ignition on, without starting the car.
- The unit will display FA for fault reading.
- Press the SCROLL button and it will display cA.
- Press ENTER.
- If the display shows — then all is good, you will also notice that the dash light goes off.
- If it does not show — or the dash light goes off and then comes back on again then you still have a problem.
- Trying to clear the code again can sometimes clear it, but if not there is still a problem.