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If you've got a Ford Contour with a loose airbag (still attached to the wheel, it just rattles on rough pavement), how do you tighten it? What type / size are the screws?

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  1. Safe the airbags - Pulling the battery is one way. You could also pull fuse #36. It's in the fuse box in the passenger compartment on the driver's side under the dash. It should be a 10 amp red fuse in the bottom row, 3rd from the right. Either way, you need to wait for the air bag capacitor to discharge after power is disconnected (the capacitor allows the airbag to deploy in an accident even if the battery cables are ripped free). I haven't been able to find an exact wait time. Disconnecting the battery is probably the safer approach, but it makes step 2 harder. Use this information at your own risk. Be very careful as an airbag deployment will kill you. The truly cautious will look for a wiring connector under the dash to disconnect, but I don't know exactly where it would be or what it would look like (though one end of the wiring should be going up into the steering column).

  2. Rotate the steering wheel to the left and right to expose the screws at the back. There are three holes on each side, you're after the middle one. This is easier to do if the engine is running and you have power steering. Use a T27 (Torx) bit to tighten them. A screwdriver with a T27 bit is probably best, but watch the length, there is only so much room between the wheel and the instrument cluster. It's tricky to get the angles right and get the bit in the screw. Lowering the wheel helps (release lever is on the left side of the column near the dash).

  3. Re-enable the airbags by reversing whatever you did to disable them. Verify that the airbag light does not come on solid or blink.

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I would propose that you change this "Be very careful, an airbag deployment can injure/kill if you're too close or in the wrong position" to this "Be very careful as an airbag deployment will kill you." Full stop. –  Bob Cross Apr 16 '12 at 18:26
    
@BobCross Done. Feel free to edit, you've got the privs, I'm not picky. –  Mark Johnson Apr 16 '12 at 18:58
    
Mark, it's your answer - my style tends to be a bit more abrupt so as to emphasize the "death" side of things. Your mileage may vary.... ;-) –  Bob Cross Apr 16 '12 at 19:30
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