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Jack Smith: Creating the Road Runner

1957: two steps forward...

1967! (A half century later)

Chrysler - Dodge Neon Safety Features

A driver air bag supplemental restraint system is standard. The air bag is fully effective only when the active belt system is worn. The gas generator is smaller and lighter than on some previous Chrysler air bags, contributing to a less bulky steering wheel module.

integrated child seat

A passenger air bag supplemental restraint system is standard. The air bag is fully effective only when the active belt system is worn. The pyrotechnic air bag inflator is simplified from previous systems and includes high ambient- temperature compensation to assure proper inflation under all climate conditions. The air bag module mounts in an opening molded into the instrument panel right trim panel. A "chute," which is vibration- welded to the trim panel, guides air bag deployment. The air bag module is covered by a door of TPO plastic. The door has a living hinge attached to the chute and break- away latches that rupture during deployment. An SRS (Supplemental Restraint System) logo is molded into the outer surface of the door. The air bag module, a steel housing containing the air bag and inflator, is attached to the chute and to structural supports under the instrument panel.

Both air bags are constructed of porous nylon mesh that allows rapid dispersion of inflating gas inside the air bags and minimizes smoke and particulates outside the bags. This porous fabric also permits a trimmer steering wheel housing than neoprene- coated material because it takes up less storage space. The air bags also include vent openings for proper post- deployment deflation.

VEHICLE STRUCTURE AND ELECTRONIC CONTROLS

Impact sensors are located at the outboard ends of the radiator closure panel for early detection of an impact. They are inertia- type switches that close when they experience a force indicative of a significant impact. The self- contained airbag diagnostic module is mounted on the center tunnel under the center console between the parking brake and the transmission shifter. It deploys the air bag' monitors the system for malfunctions and includes a "safing'' sensor, which is also an inertia- type switch.

To prevent inadvertent actuation, the safing sensor and at least one forward sensor must be closed simultaneously to deploy the air bags. The diagnostic module mounting bracket is rigid to deliver a strong indication of an impact to the safing sensor. To assure deployment if the electrical system fails, power to trigger the air bags is stored in dual capacitors rather than being fed directly from the car's electrical system. Both air bags deploy simultaneously during a frontal impact. The diagnostic module turns on the AIR BAG warning light in the event of a system malfunction and stores fault codes for access by a diagnostic scan tool through the central data link connector.

INSTRUMENT PANEL

gauges

A welded structure of tubing and stampings that supports the molded polypropylene instrument provides controlled deflection to absorb impact energy. Left and right trim panels, the upper portions of the panel facing the driver and passenger, are molded from polycarbonate- ABS ''alloy'' that provides protection against head injury by deforming on impact. The steering column cover and glove compartment door function as knee blockers. Steel brackets supporting them deflect on impact to restrain the occupant's lower extremities against excessive forward motion without excessive force. Both column cover and glove compartment door have steel liners. High- density energy absorbing foam is added behind the steering column cover. Polypropylene material for both column cover and the glove compartment door is compounded with rubber to make it deform without breaking during impact. To maintain continuity across the lower section of the panel during impact, the glove compartment door overlaps the opening in the instrument panel and its latch completely surrounds the striker.

ACTIVE RESTRAINT SYSTEM

All outboard seating positions have selfadjusting low- tension three- point Unibelt active restraints. The center rear position has a manually adjustable lap belt.

inside the neonUnibelts on four- door models have manually adjustable turning loops--the upper anchorage for the shoulder belt. A comfortable shoulder belt position is more assured with the adjustment feature than with a fixed turning loop. There are six turning loop positions spaced 0.78 in. (20 mm) apart. A short Iever on the turning loop is pushed up or pulled down for adjustment. The end of the lever has molded arrows to show the user how to make adjustments. The adjuster slides in a concealed track on the door lock pillar and automatically locks in place after it has been moved.

For easy belt release, the entire end of the buckle is the release button. The belts are also easy to put on because the concave shape of the release button guides the latch plate into its slot. Buckling effort is low and operation is smooth.

The structural rear shelf panel includes provision for mounting child seat tether anchors.

The outboard lap and shoulder belt assemblies include free- running cinching latch plates. This allows the lap section to be made snug for comfort and security when driving on bumpy surfaces or for retaining a child seat. The free- running feature of the latch plate assures that each belt will retract fully when not in use, sliding through the latch plate as it reaches the turning loop on the door lock pillar.

Low tension Unibelt retractors without tension relievers provide comfort with assurance that the belts are properly positioned when needed. Vehicle- sensitive retractors are standard. They lock only as the result of impact or extremely hard braking. Otherwise they allow upper body movement.

Active front seat restraint system buckles attach to the seat frame rather than the floor. This assures that the buckles are easy to find because they always have the same relation to the cushion, regardless of seat adjustment. This also minimizes possible occupant discomfort associated with adjusting the seat with the belt on.

rear seats

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