What is the REAL deal with 05+ side airbags?

ChuckB

Expedition Leader
A little background...

I went to the Honolulu Intl. Car Show last weekend and my wife and I are in love with the G-wagen. They had an '09 G550 on display and I have never seen one up close before. It was amazing. It is hard to describe the bank vault like sound when you close the doors. I don't usually like triple black colored vehicles, but it just looks right on the G. I have always thought that G's were cool, but this meeting definitely confirmed it. I am fully aware of their history (Gear Guide 2009), thanks OJ!

Now, of course I cannot afford a brand new G-Wagen :drool: But I have been looking at some used ones and trying to determine the model years changes. I have read about some of the electrical issues. It seems 2004 is one of the better years. I know many here preach about the advantages of the pre-2002's. But for sake of argument let's keep the discussion to 2002+.

One point of contention on some of the other forums I found deals with the side curtain airbags on 2005+ models. Apparently they are role over sensing and therefore some people have an issue with them in an offroad capacity. I was wondering what people here thought about this issue. Is there a safety issue here? My initial foray into the G-wagen forums reveals much bickering over whose AMG is faster... I figure I will get a more intelligent discussion here.
 

Jwestpro

Explorer
It may not matter to you but I just drove an 05 G55 today and noticed that the windscreen is NOT heated and was told that may have started being standard on 06 models. Drove the 550 last week and my that is a nice blend of smooth power in a naturally aspirated engine.

I love the wider fender flares, but they would be considerably cheaper than buying a 55 just for them. I think they would suit wider and taller more tires such as bfg at ko's in 31.5" to 32", but they do also look cool.

For your own peace of mind, do not drive a new 550, they are so smooth and solid feeling, I'm guessing partly due to newness but also the fine tuning of little things over the years.
 

ChuckB

Expedition Leader
Thanks for the info!

I'm still curious about the potential hazards of the side curtain airbags. I'm assuming the issue is that since they are "roll-over sensing" (I have not confirmed this yet), that in an off camber off-road situation people are worried about them accidentally deploying if the angle is extreme enough. Is there any truth to this?
 

pskhaat

2005 Expedition Trophy Champion
Eager to hear the same.

I had similar concerns on my FZJ80 and deployment when banging down on hard rocks that so often happen in Moab; alas no deployment yet. I would assume they would trigger through a variety of sensors but again like you curious as to the reality.
 

Jwestpro

Explorer
I don't know how they differ from the ones in my lr3 or in our audi or the touareg we had but if you did roll - over, it might not be too bad to have them work for you.

Seeing as they are designed for extreme inclines of all angles, I seriously doubt they would deploy just screwing around off road but when you roll it off a ledge into a ravine, then probably, and hopefully.

Personally I'd rather take the chance of them going off when I have arrived at a "play" destination than not having them work when hit by a super duty pick up on the way there.
 

ChuckB

Expedition Leader
Eager to hear the same.

I had similar concerns on my FZJ80 and deployment when banging down on hard rocks that so often happen in Moab; alas no deployment yet. I would assume they would trigger through a variety of sensors but again like you curious as to the reality.
I'm hoping that you are right. I don't think that MB would make such an oversight.
I know there are a few G500 owners here and I was looking to get some insight from someone who has intimate knowledge of the system.
The accidental deployment as discussed above is what I'm concerned about, especially if I had a child in the vehicle.
I hope I'm not blowing this out of proportion. I have heard that 4Runners have the ability to disable the airbags but I'm not 100% sure.
 
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