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How to fix lazy seat belt retractors and wash seat belt webbing

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  • How to fix lazy seat belt retractors and wash seat belt webbing

    Coming soon. Meanwhile, tips and tricks are welcome.

  • #2
    Re: How to fix lazy seat belt retractors and wash seat belt webbing

    Main reason, I think, for seat belt retractor becoming lazy is that the grease applied to the recoil spring has gradually dried out. I doubt the recoil spring looses any of its springiness and tension since the material stress is rather low and therefore in the elastic region.

    Warning: The seat belt mechanism contains pyrotechnics so don't attempt to measure resistance on the socket attached to it. The contacts in this socket are automatically closed when plug is removed. This I assume is a safety measure to prevent the pyrotechnics from being fired. Also, disconnect battery or fuse for airbag/ restraint system before proceeding in removal of seat belt machanism.

    1) How to grease recoil spring.
    Recoil spring is on same side as pyrotechnics cartridge. The other side contains the inertia lock mechanism. Disregards the warnings printed onto the mechanism and release the only accessible catch at corner of lid for recoil spring. Hold this corner of lid partly open with a small screw driver.

    Inject a suitable grease. Teflon grease is most likely the best for this application but I used white lithium grease, same as I use for door locks, hinges etc etc. The grease has to be worked into the recoil spring by pulling out webbing and retracting whilst changing orientating of mechanism each time. I worked it a half dozen times and did notice a dramatic improvement in recoil spring tension.

    2) How to tension recoil spring.
    Those of you that have attempted fixing recoil start mechanisms will know that opening out these mechanisms is best avoided. Easiest way to tighten spring is by disconnecting belt from mechanism.

    Belt is locked on to drum by a loop in belt and a nylon pin. Pry out loop and pin using a small flat bladed screw driver.
    Remove nylon pin from loop and pull belt out of slot in drum. Don't let go of drum. Turn drum the desired number of turns to tighten recoil spring and lock drum by inserting a flat bladed screw driver. Spring can be tightened a maximum of about 5 turns.

    Now you can wash your seat belt so it will be nice and clean and ready for summer. I used washing up liquid, left it soaking for an hour and hung it up to dry before commencing reassembly.

    It is impossible to push the loop through slot in drum - only way is to pull the loop through. Stitch about 50 cm of ABUlon 0.50 mm fishing line to webbing loop using a curved upholstery hook as seen in below photo:

    Now feed the fishing line through slot in drum using a thin rope or welding wire. Important at this stage is orientation of belt relative to drum. Print at loop end of webbing should be faced toward centre of drum.

    Knock a nail into a tree, fence post or your living room wall and attach fishing line loops to nail. Pull webbing through slot in drum.

    Nearly there, webbing pulled though and all that remains is removing nylon loops, fitting nylon pin and pulling webbing loop into recess of drum.
    Job done.


    • #3
      Re: How to fix lazy seat belt retractors and wash seat belt webbing

      Those without Star or equivalent diagnostics tools should not reconnect battery before seat belt tensioner has been reconnected or there will be an annoying airbag warning light at the left hand side of your instrumentation panel.


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