Ford Escort/Tracer 1991-1999 Repair Guide

General Information


The Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) is designed to work in conjunction with the standard three-point safety belts to reduce injury in a head-on collision.

The SRS can actually cause physical injury or death if the safety belts are not used, or if the manufacturer's warnings are not followed. The manufacturer's warnings can be found in your owner's manual, or, in some cases, on your sun visors.

Depending on your vehicle, the SRS may be comprised of some or all of the following components:

Driver's side air bag module
Passenger's side air bag module
Air bag diagnostic monitor computer
Left and right-hand radiator primary crash air bag sensor and bracket
Center cowl safing rear air bag sensor and bracket
Left-hand kick panel safing rear air bag sensor and brackets
Air bag warning indicator
Tone generator (internal to the air bag diagnostic monitor)
Electrical wiring
Air bag Electronic Crash Sensor (ECS)

The sensors in the car are designed to detect a severe frontal impact. When at least one of the primary crash sensors and the center cowl safing rear air bag sensor close at the same time, electric current flows to the inflator and ignites the chemicals.

The chemicals burn rapidly in the metal container. This burning produces nitrogen gas and small amounts of dust, both the gas and dust are cooled and filtered during the air bag(s) inflation.

The air bag(s) split the trim covers open while inflating. The air bag(s) then rapidly unfold and inflate in front of the driver or passenger.

After the air bag(s) have inflated, the gas escapes through holes in the bag(s) and the they will deflate.


Some vehicles are equipped with an air bag system, also known as the Supplemental Inflatable Restraint (SIR) or Supplemental Restraint System (SRS). The system must be disabled before performing service on or around system components, steering column, instrument panel components, wiring and sensors. Failure to follow safety and disabling procedures could result in accidental air bag deployment, possible personal injury and unnecessary system repairs.

Several precautions must be observed when handling the inflator module to avoid accidental deployment and possible personal injury:

Never carry the inflator module by the wires or connector on the underside of the module
When carrying a live inflator module, hold securely with both hands, and ensure that the bag and trim cover are pointed away
Place the inflator module on a bench or other surface with the bag and trim cover facing up
With the inflator module on the bench, never place anything on or close to the module which may be thrown in the event of an accidental deployment


1994-99 Models

The Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) must be disarmed before performing service around SRS components or SRS wiring. Failure to do so may cause accidental deployment of the air bag, resulting in unnecessary SRS repairs and/or personal injury.

  1. Disconnect both battery cables, negative cable first.
  3. Wait at least 1 minute. This allows time for the backup power supply to deplete its stored energy.
  5. Remove the driver's side air bag module and then the passenger side if required.
  7. Use caution when carrying live air bags. Always place the air bag with the cover up.

When carrying a live air bag, make sure the bag and trim cover are pointed away from the body. In the unlikely event of an accidental deployment, the bag will then deploy with minimal chance of injury. When placing a live air bag on a bench or other surface, always face the bag and trim cover up, away from the surface. This will reduce the motion of the module if it is accidentally deployed.

  1. If the battery needs to be reconnected while one or both of the air bags are removed from the system, install Air Bag Simulator 105-00010 or equivalent, to the driver's side and/or passenger side air bag harness connectors as required. Before removing either air bag simulator, disconnect both battery cables and wait at least 1 minute before continuing.


  1. Once service is completed and the air bag modules are back in place, connect the negative battery cable and prove out the air bag system by turning the ignition key to the RUN position and visually monitoring the air bag indicator lamp in the instrument cluster. The indicator lamp should illuminate for approximately 6 seconds and then turn OFF. if the indicator lamp does not illuminate, stays ON, or flashes at any time, a fault has been detected by the air bag diagnostic monitor requiring immediate attention.