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2002 Corolla Airbag Ecu Failure

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Hi, my serivce centre has advised that the airbag ECU has failed on our 2002 1.6 Corolla Spirit.

£50 for the diagnostic and a further £536 if we want to replace the ECU.

I'm a retired electrical technician so would like to actually look at the ECU, but does anyone know where this can be found on the car?

Could a used replacement just be plugged in, I'm guessing it would not be that easy!

Has anyone else had a similar failure, as far as I know, nothing obvious has happened to cause this.

Any help or comments would be much appreciated


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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi again.

Ref dealers advising failed airbag ECU.

A friend suggested I let his trusted mechanic take a look at the car for a second opinion.

Apparently, his diagnostic checker pointed straight away to the front offside crash sensor.

It was found to be wet, and when dried out the whole system worked OK.

I have not figured out how the sensor could have got wet, but it is situated near to and lower than the windscreen washer bottle.

Perhaps when filling the bottle, overspill had wet the sensor, so I think I shall wrap it in plasic to stop this happening again.

The main dealer told me it was the ECU at £536, but it looks as if it was just a sensor needed drying out!

Two lessons learned here which I hope may help someone else.

Take care and be lucky!

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I have not figured out how the sensor could have got wet, but it is situated near to and lower than the windscreen washer bottle.


You have found a good mechanic there !

Is the sensor that little cube shaped thing about 1" across and bolted to the inner wheel arch just below the washer tube and a few inches behind the headlight assembly ?

Would be good to know to and give it a spray of Damp Start or some form of cover as I do often spill some water when filling the washer.


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Is it behind OSF headlamp aperture?

Could it be that you have a loose/broken inner wheelarch liner and water is going up onto it?

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Did you have a warning light on or anything?

The missus' air bag light was coming on intermittently. I just disconnected the Battery overnight and then reconnected and it's not been back on since. Seemed to be a common issue when I googled it. No codes stored since either when I've read them.

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Hi Guys

Thanks for your input.

Yes the crash sensor is located exactly as "oldcodger" says in his previous post.

There is another mounted on the nearside.

Here is a link giving relevant fault codes.


"Tibs" has a good point as well about the wheel arch liner, I'll check mine out, thanks for that.

At present I've covered the sensor with a cover retained by the bolt holding the brake unit above, hopefully that will stop any spilt water from the washer bottle.

What I'm thinking now is that if the dealer reconned it was the airbag sensor assembly (Code B1100) that would surely have been logged in the ecu's memory? Why then did the next mechanic only see the Crash sensor fault? (B1156/7)

I think if a dealer ever advises a fault code again, I shall ask for a print out from thier code reader as a safeguard.

I feel I've paid £50 for the wrong information but can't prove it!

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