Airbags, as automotive safety devices, were a long time coming. Firstproposed in the early '70s, they are now standard in the automotiveindustry. The Corvette airbag system is referred to as SIR: SupplementalInflatable Restraint. And what was originally a lifesaving devicedesigned for adults has in some instances turned into a danger forchildren.
Corvettes came equipped with passenger-side airbags beginning with the'94 model year. With the recommendation of placing children under 12years of age in the "back seat" to protect them from the dangers offront-seat airbags, it's difficult for the younger generation to enjoythe '94 to '96 SIR-equipped Corvette.
Now there's good news. General Motors offers a kit to retrofit an airbagcutoff switch to our Corvettes. It's GM part number 12453830 and isgeneric to the GM line. While Corvette Fever does not condone defeatingsafety devices in your Corvette, we want to make sure all ages ofCorvette lovers get an opportunity to ride in our plastic-fantastics.
Before working on the airbag system, confirm that it is functioningnormally. When the key is turned on, the airbag light on the driverinformation display should flash seven times, then go off.
If you have common handtools, can trim some plastic pieces, and solderone wire, you can install this in your Corvette in a weekend. For the'94 to '96 Corvette, the switch mounts in the console compartment. Thereis also a display lamp that should be visible to both occupants. Wedecided to mount this on the center console near the cigarette-lightercompartment.
After confirming that everything is working correctly,button up the installation by tying up the switch harness with theexisting harness that runs along the passenger side of the transmissiontunnel under the console floor tray, then across to the driver side.You'll have plenty of wire, and you'll need to loop the excess and tieit out of the way under the interior panels with cable ties; don't cut,shorten, or lengthen the switch harness. Industrial-strength cable tiescame with the retrofit kit, but we ended up using some small cable tieswe had on hand, and they worked just fine.
There's an owner's manualinsert page included in the retrofit kit. Place this into the owner'smanual you keep in the car for the benefit of service technicians andpossible future owners.
At this point, reassembly is the reverse ofdisassembly, so get your C4's interior back together and take theyounger generation for a cruise, safe in the knowledge that you'reprotecting them from the dangers of the airbag while indoctrinating themin the Corvette lifestyle.