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Thread: 3rd Door Evolution with Stored Gas Inflator

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    Default 3rd Door Evolution with Stored Gas Inflator

    There is an issue with rescue teams doing a 3rd door conversion on a two-door Mini Cooper. It seems that the vehicle has a roof airbag on each side to protect the front row seat occupants as well as those in the back seat. The problem is that the roof airbag stored gas inflator is mounted to the side panel of the Mini right where we might be doing a 3rd door evolution. The only way to see it would be to strip away the interior trim panel.

    I found this salvage vehicle Mini and took some photos to show you what I mean. Who would have ever thought that an airbag inflator unit would be right where you would be cutting down that sidewall. Something to think about...

    This shot shows the passenger side and rear of the Mini as seen from the outside.
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    This view is of the passenger side rear quarter panel with the trim and the rear seats removed. The stored gas inflator for the roof airbag on the passenger side is clearly seen.

    To the left is the passenger side door opening. To the right is the rear hatchback opening.
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    This close-up view of the roof airbag stored gas inflator shows that it is attached to the inner side panel. The metal would have to be moved or removed if you were doing a 3rd door evolution.

    So how do you work with this in your way? You can unplug the thin wires powering the inflator. That is a safety plug design that allows that to be done relatively safely. You could also detach the inflator module from the sidewall and work to remove the sidewall but leave the stored gas inflator dangling there. You could cut through the tubing part of the inflator and get the entire inflator out of the way as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmoore View Post
    You could cut through the tubing part of the inflator and get the entire inflator out of the way as well.
    Chief, this would be my method of choice if needed. There is a lot of thickness below the inflator, I would probably opt for a trunk tunnel first if I couldn't manage a patient out the door, probably spend as much time tunneling then you would displacing all the side metal. Use the already large hole in the hatchback to my advantage. Also, these Mini's have a large ammount of UHHS, really would have to work for that cut.
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    ~Drew
    Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
    USAR TF Rescue Specialist

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