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Discussion Starter #1
So, I have this new issue that came out of nowhere this morning. While driving down the freeway on my way to work at about 65 mph, my air bag light came on. After the ding and a few seconds it turned off. Then about 30 seconds later it did the same thing. At that point I was watching the dashboard more and more and I noticed that the light would flicker every once in a while before the ding even had a chance to render itself into the picture. This repeated randomly while driving on the freeway, and only on the freeway / accelerating to freeway speeds so far. While driving in town I haven't had it happen. Sometimes it will come on, ding, and stay on for a couple of seconds, but I have yet to have it stay lit for more than about 5 seconds or so.

What's interesting about it is during one point I witnessed my speedometer go from 68 to 0 back to 68 again, as if it was resetting itself. It only ever did that once. I was thinking maybe speed sensor issue could be telling the airbag computer something to turn itself off? I don't know.

I've read into the clockspring etc., but it doesn't happen while I'm turning and all of the other steering wheel functions work (Cruise and Horn).

Any Ideas? Thanks!

1997 Dakota SLT 5.2L V8 Club Cab 44RE Auto.
 

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While driving down the freeway on my way to work at about 65 mph, my air bag light came on. After the ding and a few seconds it turned off. Then about 30 seconds later it did the same thing.
The supplemental occupant restraint / air bag system continuously checks the circuity in the system for continuity. It does this by measuring the resistance in the circuit. If the resistance varies more than a set amount, the system knows there is a poor connection / excessive resistance or, more likely, a break in the wiring which would render part of the system inoperative.

I would suspect the clock spring wiring. There are several circuits in the clockspring assembly and it is probable that the air bag system has the broken wire which is making intermittent contact. The air bag system uses connectors with gold plated pins so as to prevent corrosion problems.

What's interesting about it is during one point I witnessed my speedometer go from 68 to 0 back to 68 again, as if it was resetting itself. It only ever did that once. I was thinking maybe speed sensor issue could be telling the airbag computer something to turn itself off?
The speedometer problems is an electrical connection issue. There is no link between the speed sensor and the air bag system. The instrument panel cluster needs to be removed and the electrical connector to the panel checked for cleanliness.
 

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It isn't as common but the Dakota clusters have had solder issues like many of the other clucsters of that era. It's much more common on the minivans but you may see the same problems. On my other 1999 Dakota, I'd randomly get a no bus message in the digital odometer when I turned the key on. I'd turn it off and back on again and all was well. I never fixed it because the truck was totaled before I had a chance to look at the cluster.

I'd still suspect the clockspring for the airbag issue, though you won't know for sure without having a dealer hook a scanner up to it to check for any stored airbag module codes.

I think there are two issues here, one for the airbag and one either in the cluster or the speedometer feed to the cluster.
 

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The cluster may be losing ign (+) feed while driving.
You could probably duplicate the AIRBAG light, chime ding and speedo dropout by turning the ign switch off and back to run while driving.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Okay, I just went on a drive and I noticed something completely different. Because it's nighttime I turned on my lights, and as I was driving along, I noticed that my lights flickered a little bit. Lo and behold I look over at my voltage gauge, and I notice it was fluctuating between 12 and 14 volts (usually always at 14 while running). After a few minutes, the lights just dimmed and the gauge remained at 12 Volts. I drove home immediately, as I didn't want to die in the middle of a foggy road.

If I am not mistaken, I'm pretty sure my alternator is kaput by what I experienced. Now, the big question is, could that have caused my airbag light? I wasn't paying attention while driving earlier today to that gauge because I was so focused on the other issue and getting it home. I was reading up on other forums (some not Chrysler related) and was seeing that some people do have the airbag or ABS lights come on when they're alternator is going bad, simply because it's not supplying the constant voltage it needs to run that particular system (Correct me if I am wrong here).

Tomorrow, I will check the grounds and make sure they're clean and not corroded. From there, I will probably have to change the alternator anyways, especially if it's not a ground or battery issue. It's just funny how all of this just happens overnight (literally!)

Thanks for the help and info. It's greatly appreciated!
 
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