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Rear Seat Belt Retractor Stuck

 
Old 12-31-2017, 04:58 PM
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AMcCreery
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Default Rear Seat Belt Retractor Stuck

I did a search, and maybe I wasn't looking for the right key words, so I'm stuck. My rear passenger seat belt retractor is locked up. I took advantage of the sale at 928 Intl and got a replacement, but it's exhibiting the same behavior as the old belt. Won't extend at all. What am I doing wrong?
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Old 12-31-2017, 05:34 PM
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You are probably doing nothing wrong.

The mechanism is pretty simple. There's a spring loaded ratchet pawl that is supposed to allow the belt to be extended. There's a coil spring that retracts the belt (like a recoil spring on a small engine starter pull-cord).

Over time, dirt and crud get into the mechanism, the pawl gets sticky and won't release.

PET shows it as one part, so I don't think it's intended to be disassembled or repaired. Since mine was not working (belt wouldn't come out at all), and it couldn't get "more broke", I took mine apart and cleaned & lubed it. IIRC, 3 small screws hold the spring cover on. You take that cover off, remove the spring (it's actually "self ejecting") and you can get to the ratchet pawl & spring.

Taking it apart was a bit surprising. As in "Jack in the Box" surprising. See the "self-ejecting" part above. Once apart, it was quite obvious how it works and cleaning & lubing it was dead simple.
Reassembling it was a bit challenging. If you've ever done the recoil starter on a small engine (weed eater, chain saw, ect), it's pretty much the same but smaller.
Wind up the spring, try to hold it in place while putting the cover back on, pick it up off the floor when it self -ejects, rewind it and try again.
I think it took 3 or 4 tries before I could get the cover on with the spring still installed. I want to say I used something like a putty knife to hold it in place, get it close then slide the putty knife out and slam the cover down quick.
It was a while ago, so my memory is a bit hazy (not the disassembly part, though).
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Old 12-31-2017, 08:16 PM
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Good timing, I have the same problem, got a used seat belt and it was stuck too. I removed the side cover and found that it will be jammed by a clever ball bearing mechanism if the seat belt is not held in the proper orientation; such as it is installed in the car.

Here you can see that the ball bearing sits in a bowl and if it rolls in any direction due to improper angle (or car on a steep hill/upside down), it will push the white plastic piece upwards and jam the pink gear.


Here the seat belt is held as it would be in the car. Note the clearance between the white plastic and pink gear.
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Old 12-31-2017, 08:21 PM
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Interesting.

That looks nothing like what I remember of the inside of mine.

I have the "old school" where once it starts to retract, the ratchet pawl keeps it from extending any more, until it is fully retracted.
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Old 12-31-2017, 08:24 PM
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Learn something new today!

Thanks Alex.

Great pics BTW.
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Old 01-01-2018, 05:09 PM
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Thanks all,

The inside of mine looks like Alex's picture, and I see how the ball bearing mechanism works. But, even when I remove the lock off the wheel manually, the belt won't release. I think it's something on the other side, so it looks like I'll need to get into that side as well.

Thanks,
Aaron
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Old 01-01-2018, 05:45 PM
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....and the spring side like Joe described is the other side. Getting that bad together was a decidedly unpleasant experience. What I've figured out is that the seat belt locks when this little plastic piece moves. It moves a metal bar in to block the gear on the other side. But, I don't know how to make that plastic piece not move. It doesn't seem to be connected to the ball bearing mechanism, and it engages every time I try to release the belt.

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Old 01-02-2018, 11:00 AM
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I should have been more clear, what I was demonstrating was how a good or new replacement seat belt may act as if it is stuck but in fact, is working as designed and that it must be held in the proper orientation to function. There are two different systems designed into the seat belt in case of an accident, one is this ball bearing which is engaged if the car is at an excessive angle and the other is engaged only if the seat belt is pulled too quickly.
I do not know anything about this second system yet. My replacement works fine so I am reluctant to open it up. Can you post photos of the spring side?
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Old 01-02-2018, 04:27 PM
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Unfortunately I neglected to take a picture when it was apart, and I'm leery of having to wind that spring again.

But, I've determined that the problem isn't on that side anyway. There's a little clutch underneath the red plastic ring (and the metal ring underneath that) that moves the clear plastic arm which locks the belt. From what I understand, the clutch should only engage if the belt is pulled quickly. This one seems to be stuck. I'll probably try to take it apart and see what I can figure out.

Unrelated, I also have an 89 Dove Blue. Mine's an automatic.
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