Retractable seatbelts that no longer retract properly - ideas?

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 00:55
ThreadID: 111203 Views:3584 Replies:12 FollowUps:0
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Does anyone have any ideas/recommendations/sure-fire fixes, for retractable seatbelts that no longer retract properly?
It seems that most vehicles I own (largely Toyotas) always seem to develop problems with the seatbelt not retracting properly after about 120-150,000kms.
I've pulled the cover off the seatbelt retractor and squirted silicone lube into the retractor drum pivot point/bearings - but it seems to make little difference to them.
Do the seatbelts need to be discarded, or can you buy new retractor springs for them, or is there some other trick, that is an easy fix.
This problem is extremely annoying, and I'm sure I'm not the only one having it.

Cheers, Ron.
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Reply By: Wayne's 60 - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 01:42

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 01:42
Hi Ron,

Very few people are aware that seat belts .... like ALL nylon webbing products have an active life.

There is no quick fix.

The whole belt assembly needs replacement.

Wayne & Sally.
AnswerID: 546364

Reply By: vk1dx - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 07:15

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 07:15
In a word - replace them mate.

Don't buy a lottery ticket Ron. You must be an unlucky one. We have never had any troubles with the seat belts in our cars. Even though we hang on to cars for 15 to 20 years. Any brand at all. The current Toyota and Nissan have both done over 250,000 kms and no hassles.

I would just replace them.
AnswerID: 546367

Reply By: ken triton - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 08:46

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 08:46
Hi Ron,
While I am sure this is frustrating, you cannot buy parts for seatbelts, if they are faulty in any way they must be replaced. Just remember they may save your life one one day. Stay safe
AnswerID: 546371

Reply By: Member - mechpete - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 08:59

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 08:59
you can spray the underside of the belt webbing with silicon spray
it works pretty good
AnswerID: 546374

Reply By: Lionel A - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 09:53

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 09:53
A little tip a pit inspector gave me once.
Give the whole belt a good scrub with White Spirits.

He suggested that, generaly, the drag from dust, dried sweat, body fats etc was more the problem than the spring.

Worked for me.

AnswerID: 546379

Reply By: Whirlwinder - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 10:02

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 10:02
I had the same with my 80 series driver side belt and it was fraying too.
There is a crew in Perth who are the only accredited seatbelt repairer in Australia and they do aircraft belts. I removed the whole seatbelt, top to bottom, and posted it to them on a Monday morning. It was back re-belted and working perfectly by Friday at a cost of, I think, about $120.
I have just dug up the invoice.
Alltrans Trimming.
4/123 Broadway, Bassendean. WA
Ph 0893798119
Cost $110 incl Postage in March 2014
Really good people to deal with.
AnswerID: 546380

Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 11:30

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 11:30
Thanks fellas for the advice. I understand seatbelts are a bit of a touchy area and no-one should be playing with taking them apart and putting them back together again, particularly if they have no idea of what they're doing.
The insurance/liability angle is a concern if one pulls a mechanism apart and the vehicle is later involved in an accident, and the repair is discovered to have had some consequential result in the accident.

It appears that the drag from dirty seatbelts (which don't necessarily appear dirty - but which get coated in dust and body oils, which affects their slipperiness) is one of the major areas where the problem starts.

The other problem area appears to be the top belt support bracket, which the belt slides through, and where the belt effectively has to go through a 270-320 degree articulation as it slides through.
Apparently, the edge of the bracket where the belt slides over it, is prone to losing its slippery coating, and developing a sticky surface.
Not much one can do with that, I'd say, that would be a replacement deal.

Whirlwinders advice is excellent, that crowd is only 4kms from where I live and only a kilometre from my workshop, so if I can't get some better results from a belt cleaning session, I'll be paying them a visit.

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 546388

Reply By: happytravelers - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 13:03

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 13:03
As others have said, a good clean of the webbing will often help.

If you're removing the belt assembly for what ever reason, just be aware that most newer vehicles have seat belt pre tensioners fitted as part of the airbag system. These need to be handled with great care as they are extremely dangerous if accidentally activated.

AnswerID: 546393

Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 15:48

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 15:48
Hi Ron,

Prudent behaviour would be to replace the entire mechanism+belt as others have said, however I have serviced a couple of mechanisms in the past successfully.

Certainly, some friction can come from the loss of sliding surfaces between the belt and top support bracket etc. but also the belt takeup spool and spring run on a lubricated axle which can become gummy with time. I have cured this by removing the assembly from the vehicle and washing with solvent then re-lubricating. I think most of the friction was from between the coils of the clock spring. No dismantling of the assembly was undertaken. They then operated smoothly and locked with the usual quick tug.

Simply squirting lubrication into the mechanism will not overcome the gummy lubricant within the assembly.

I am not too sure about applying lubricant or solvent of any type to the belt itself. You cannot be sure that it will not react with the belt material and weaken it.

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AnswerID: 546396

Reply By: john m85 - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 19:23

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 19:23
i have a 84hj6o 492000klm i have replaced the drivers side seat belt 2 times they are not worth the trouble to try and fix you only live once,
AnswerID: 546410

Reply By: swampfox - Monday, Feb 23, 2015 at 10:33

Monday, Feb 23, 2015 at 10:33
Apply Baby powder may, may not work ,basically the retractor spring mechanism is on the way out . Typically u are only buying time and the best solution is replacement . The drivers seat is mostly the culprit . Either have repaired as per previous poster or replace.

AnswerID: 546435

Reply By: patrolman2 - Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 17:23

Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 17:23
Many GU patrols suffer this problem and the fix has been to scrub the underside of the belt with soap and water particularly the area that slides through the bracket fixed to the door pillar.Has worked for me.
AnswerID: 546737

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