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Old 11-23-2007, 08:16 PM
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Aftermarket airbag steering column?

I don't know why I remember this, but roughly 10-12 years ago I read in Popular Mechanics about a company that was marketing a steering column and wheel with a built-in airbag for older non-airbag equipped cars. The deployment sensors were built into the steering column to make it a self contained unit.
Now that my son and I are restoring a 72 Demon 340 for him to drive, I am thinking an airbag wouldn't be a bad idea.
Does anyone know if this is still made or have suggestions? (I guess all my years as a firefighter/paramedic and my wife as an ER nurse have made us a bit overprotective.)

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Old 11-23-2007, 08:38 PM
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I wouldn't doubt if they were not made anymore. My understanding is airbags are engineered and set up by the factory to avoid as much damage to the persons as possible. If this were available in a sterring column, wouldn't that leave too much to the user in terms of potentially fatal placements, including seat height and timing?
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Old 11-24-2007, 08:07 AM
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My guess is... oops, my opinion is, a company is not likely to undertake such a project for a couple of reasons.

The primary reason is product liability.

Secondly, would be a very limited market as air bag systems are designed on a car model by car model basis. An air bag system designed for a Lincoln isn't going to provide the same deployment signature and desired results when installed in a Chevette.

I've thought about this for my project with no action taken. I am concerned that our hot rodding sport doesn't produce cars that have much in the area of safety features by comparison to today's OEM's.

I'd like to see more safety features on our rods, but admittedly I don't have an action plan to do so.
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Old 11-24-2007, 08:51 AM
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Like Dugg and BMM said, it takes more than an airbag to be safe. With the timing set-up for the crushability of the vehicle, too many variables would come into play. Consider a Model A streetrod. There is very little in the front to hit before it gets into the passenger compartment. The airbag set-up for a Mustang for instance, would never be deployed, as the impact would be inside before the amount of force was felt to deploy it.

Also consider the placement of the airbag. The car is designed to have the airbag a certain distance from the driver. That is why there are instances of smaller people being injured and even killed by them deploying, when they were too close to the bag. Improper installation of the column could cause injuries or death, and the manufacturer would be sued for sure.

All my projects will have seatbelts, and hope for the best.

Aaron
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Old 11-24-2007, 06:37 PM
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Hey Aaron,

You nailed it.

My nephew works for Ford Racing and when I asked about aftermarket airbags some time back, he unleashed 5.7 liters of info as to why it's not likely to work.
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Old 11-24-2007, 08:02 PM
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Could you imagine how sensitive they would have to be on a Model A? They would almost go off if you hit the brakes hard. LOL

Aaron
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Old 09-09-2011, 12:41 AM
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Hi, in case anyone ever reads this reply to old thread, I was thinking about the same thing, the air bag, but no good, so came up with a collapsable collumn instead, leather bound padded steering wheel, inertia seatbelts and seats with headrests. You could also make up a couple of inch by inch bars and fit them in the doors for side impact protection. Safety is good. Cheers
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Old 09-09-2011, 12:55 AM
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or a person could just drive his hot rod around safely and be a defensive driver and keep an eye out for the other jack tards on the road
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Old 09-09-2011, 02:34 AM
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Absolutely, I work as a traffic response officer and our team of twelve go to 1000 crashes per month and its getting worse.
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Old 09-09-2011, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBRustkiller
Absolutely, I work as a traffic response officer and our team of twelve go to 1000 crashes per month and its getting worse.
In Australia? I'm a little more then surprised by this! What kind of demographics are making up these accidents?

Frankly, I hate air bags. What you did is EXACTLY how I would go about safety! Collapse-able column, and modern inertia reel belts are a great idea! Not to mention head rests... One of the biggest issues with my truck (Chevy K10) was that peoples heads went through the back glass in a rear collision!
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Old 09-09-2011, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBRustkiller
Hi, in case anyone ever reads this reply to old thread, I was thinking about the same thing, the air bag, but no good, so came up with a collapsable collumn instead, leather bound padded steering wheel, inertia seatbelts and seats with headrests. You could also make up a couple of inch by inch bars and fit them in the doors for side impact protection. Safety is good. Cheers

Rustkiller, thanks, that is more or less what I did with the Demon and lol, I'm still around after almost 4 years.
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