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The Haynes book says to (1) disconnect battery negative and (2) wait 15mins before unplugging the airbag.

Disconnect battery negative, OK.

Wait 15 mins? Is this necessary or are they being overly cautious?
 

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Yes wait, it allows time for any charge in the systems capacitors to drain so that there are no SURPRISES when you disconnect.
Also DON'T reconnect the battery until EVERYTHING is reconnected, if you do the Airbag ECU errors out and will need resetting.
 
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