Fixing Seatbelt Retractors
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By: Josh Carlson- 1/2004

Do you have a seatbelt that doesn't retract all the way when you take it off? Tired of slamming the door on it? Sick of having to untangle the mess each time you need to put on your belt? Josh Carlson illustrates how to fix that pesky seatbelt in 10 easy steps. Tools needed include:

The loop that must be loosened.

Step 1: Start off by getting any kinks or binds out of the seat belt.

Step 2: Remove the 14mm bolt from under the retractor.

Step 3: Remove the plastic cover.

Step4: Pull the seatbelt out until it ends. The retractor has a mechanism that keeps the belt from moving when the ball is anywhere but level in the bottom. It is necessary to hold the retractor straight up and down to move the belt out.

Removing the plastic bar.

Step5: Push the seatbelt so some it sticks out the other side. That way you can use the screwdriver to pull the loop out.

Step6: Remove the plastic bar and then remove the seatbelt from the retractor. Note how the belt came out so you can put it back together. Always keep pressure on the spool. Do not let go or else it will completely unwind.

Step7: Turn the spool until the metal spring on the side is completely wound up. This may take awhile. This spring was tight out of the factory, but after time the spring will stretch out.

Viewing the spring through the plastic.

Step8: Back the spool off until you can line up the belt and the part it goes into. It is easier to back it off a little farther and thread the belt in to reach the spot on the spool. Then thread the belt into the spool.

Step 9: Reinsert the plastic bar and test the belt to see whether the belt is correctly inserted.

Step 10: Retract the belt. Reinstall the cover. Reinstall the 14mm bolt.

It also helps to clean the belt itself. To clean the belt, remove the belt completely and wash it in a washing machine. Simply remove the belt from the retractor and then remove the other 2 14mm bolts that anchor the belt down. It is possible to insert a screwdriver into the retractor to keep it from moving.

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