Date: Sun, 14 Jul 2002 20:47:30 -0500
From: none <nonenopsamere.vom>
Subject: Re: Explosive seat belts

John Wiggins wrote: > I gave my old 88 9000 to my son to take out of the UK. He thinks he > needs to replace the driver's seat belt. I obtained the complete thing > from a breaker's yard (new price is about 250) but was concerned that > part of the mechanism is labelled as explosive. This seems to be the > firing system for the automatic belt tensioner that triggers when an > accident occurs. The scrap car it came out of (about year 2000?) did not > have air bags and there was no triggering cable connection to the > explosive device so these may have been fitted to cars as a matter of > course, regardless of whether they were to be connected up. I have > contacted the Saab website to see if this belt system can be sent in the > mail; in this case it would be by air mail. I also queried if some 9000s > were fitted with the older type of non-explosive device. They tell me > all were fitted with this explosive type, and that they can only > be transported by licenced operators. Are they this unsafe if we are > driving around with them next to us? Has anybody had experience of > handling these things? > John UK John, From Model Year 1988 Automatic seatbelt tensioners - another safety innovation from Saab - became standard on all models. The seatbelt tensioner activates in a split second by a small explosive charge. The pyrotechnic devices are classified as special materials for all shipping purposes. In whatever SAAB ships them in, they are probably suitable for all surface-transport. (My guess is a pretty unspecial box with form fitting foam. The money-maker will be a special safety pin or locout on the tensioner, a shorting cover on the connectors, and an anti-static bag.) You can approximate all of this: anti-static bages are available for shipping electronics. A shorting-cover for all the connectors could be made with aluminum foil and diligence. (ereally pack that stuff in there: you want all the pins shorted to each other under all possible conditions) Essentially, SAAB will strive to prevent any electric or static electric charge from being applied to the hot firing contact during shipping. Sodium Azide doesn't really care how it got the charge, just so it turns to gas when it does. Are we safe with them? We are infinitly safer with them than without. Consider: SAAB's a publicly traded company: therefore they are prevented from adding one screw, one plastic widget, or even a sticker unless they can prove that the addition will enhance shareholder value. That's all, the customer's sadly irrelevant. But, if that attention goes into something like changing their badge, can you imagine what goes into the process of adding an EXPLOSIVE to the cockpit? I'd bet your safe. I bet my family's safe, and I do it every time I put them in the car. Every fear is reasonable, so it's good of you to be concerned. Have your son locate a local supplier for the part, or even (heaven forbid) a dealer. It is cheaper than finding yourself sued by the carrier not because anything went wrong, but because they merely found out. Best of luck, BEn

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