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#800965 - 06/09/10 03:25 AM seatbelt retractors  
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EO Offline
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anyone else had any issues with the seatbelts not wanting to retract on their own anymore? in my '79 monte, especially on the passenger side, the seatbelt doesn't want to retract on its own anymore. You have to give it a good tug and then it will go in. The problem seems to get worse on humid days. Kind of embarrassing when your passenger takes their seatbelt off and it just sits there in their lap.

Any ideas on how to fix this? Are there springs that need replacing? lubrication?

#801000 - 06/09/10 09:49 AM Re: seatbelt retractors [Re: EO]  
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Yea, the grease inside the mechanism gets hard and sticky.
When I had mine apart I cleaned them out with carb cleaner and relubed.

Supernova455

#801150 - 06/09/10 09:44 PM Re: seatbelt retractors [Re: supernova455]  
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how much of a pain is it to get to them? How much will i need to tear apart?

#801372 - 06/10/10 07:37 PM Re: seatbelt retractors [Re: EO]  
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Take a look at the lower quarter panel jamb area. You will see a black lever that is spring loaded. The lever moves when you open and close the door. That lever controls the seat belt retract mechanism so the belt retracts when you open the door and keeps it from retracting when seated and driving. Remove the black lever and make sure it is working and not broken. The other end has a rubber coated "fork" which fits in the retractor. The fork controls a switch on the side of the retractor. Shine a light in the hole to see how it works while you move the belt in and out. Slide a screwdriver into the hole and move the switch to make sure the retractor is working. If not, you will need access to the seat belt retractor that is behind the inner rear quarter panel/sail panel. Access to it will require removal of the rear seat and the plastic inner panel. I replaced my lazy retractors with better ones from a g-body at my local pic-n-pull.
I notice you have a generation 3 '79 Monte Carlo based on the A-body which was later called G-body. My explanation is based on G-body. I think you have the same seat belt mechanism but I am not 100% sure.

Last edited by upflying; 06/10/10 07:45 PM.

86 MCSS Notchback coupe, LS3, 4L65E, QP 9", Eaton Truetrac, 4 wheel disc, column shift, Dakota Digital, silver with maroon bench interior

#801391 - 06/10/10 08:59 PM Re: seatbelt retractors [Re: upflying]  
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this sounds pretty much the same as mine. I started to pull apart the panels last night but i quickly realized that, as you say, i'll have to take out the back seat. Is this something thats worth doing or is it going to be a giant pain to get the seats out?

My black plastic levers are broken off, which I would think would make it so that the seat belt always wants to retract. Also, the fact that the problem gets worse when its humid leads me to believe that the problem isnt related to the black levers, although i guess while i am tearing this stuff apart, i should replace them anyway. Any idea if this is a part GM keeps in stock? I imagine if i find one at a junk yard, its probably close to breaking too.

#801581 - 06/11/10 02:03 PM Re: seatbelt retractors [Re: EO]  
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upflying Offline
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The retract levers are probably a wrecking yard only item now. Mine are junk yard sourced and have not broken yet. The rear seat comes out easy. Push the bottom cushion towards the back with a lot of force (knee and hands) and it will come unhooked from the floor pan. Once the bottom cushion is out, you will see the bolts at the bottom of the back cushion. Remove the bolts and lift the cushion up towards the roof.

Last edited by upflying; 06/11/10 02:05 PM.

86 MCSS Notchback coupe, LS3, 4L65E, QP 9", Eaton Truetrac, 4 wheel disc, column shift, Dakota Digital, silver with maroon bench interior

#801643 - 06/11/10 08:38 PM Re: seatbelt retractors [Re: upflying]  
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TPI Monte SS Offline
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Yep, that plastic lever is what makes the seat belt retract properly - junkyard parts should be OK as long as they're not broken already, and you'll find them in any junkyard G-body.

BTW, if you need to remove the seat, the bolts at the bottom of the cushion are a Torx 47. Good luck!


SSeeya,
Steve Ragusa - North Jersey
'88 SS - BudgetTourer - ZZ4-cammed 355 TPI, serpentine belt conversion, World Class 5-speed, 17" wheels, 12" front discs, Eibachs/Bilsteins, 1LE lower A-arms, tall lower balljoints, 34mm front swaybar, 3/4" straight rear bar, Celebrity headlights, and more. Sold on 2/28/11.
#801645 - 06/11/10 08:54 PM Re: seatbelt retractors [Re: TPI Monte SS]  
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kma-85ss Offline
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Had the retractor lever break on the drivers side years ago. While it was broken the seatbelt would not lock if you hit the brakes hard. Basically, the shoulder belt was useless until I replaced the lever.


Ken

1985 Monte Carlo SS - Sold frown
2005 Impala LS
2014 Dodge Charger SXT
blackside
#801652 - 06/11/10 09:33 PM Re: seatbelt retractors [Re: kma-85ss]  
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Originally Posted By: kma-85ss
Had the retractor lever break on the drivers side years ago. While it was broken the seatbelt would not lock if you hit the brakes hard. Basically, the shoulder belt was useless until I replaced the lever.


Hmm, thats scary. I had kinda noticed that it wasnt locking when i tugged on it, but i just figured i wasnt doing it fast enough. I guess I should move this up my priority list, since thats a pretty big safety issue.

#801659 - 06/11/10 10:14 PM Re: seatbelt retractors [Re: EO]  
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Winter Garden, FL
Originally Posted By: EO
Originally Posted By: kma-85ss
Had the retractor lever break on the drivers side years ago. While it was broken the seatbelt would not lock if you hit the brakes hard. Basically, the shoulder belt was useless until I replaced the lever.


Hmm, thats scary. I had kinda noticed that it wasnt locking when i tugged on it, but i just figured i wasnt doing it fast enough. I guess I should move this up my priority list, since thats a pretty big safety issue.


Yeah, definitely scary. I wasted little time getting the part. I would move it to the top of the priority list.


Ken

1985 Monte Carlo SS - Sold frown
2005 Impala LS
2014 Dodge Charger SXT
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#801677 - 06/11/10 11:25 PM Re: seatbelt retractors [Re: kma-85ss]  
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Originally Posted By: kma-85ss
Had the retractor lever break on the drivers side years ago. While it was broken the seatbelt would not lock if you hit the brakes hard. Basically, the shoulder belt was useless until I replaced the lever.


I wonder if there's 2 things at work there, because the plack plastic lever below the striker bolt on my 85 SS has been busted for years, so the shoulder belt always exerts a slight pull while driving, but the shoulder belt does lock on hard decell or accell. I've noticed the belt lock at both ends of the 1/4 mile track for years. wink

Last edited by Andy85SS; 06/11/10 11:54 PM.
#801708 - 06/12/10 01:46 AM Re: seatbelt retractors [Re: Andy85SS]  
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Originally Posted By: Andy85SS
Originally Posted By: kma-85ss
Had the retractor lever break on the drivers side years ago. While it was broken the seatbelt would not lock if you hit the brakes hard. Basically, the shoulder belt was useless until I replaced the lever.


I wonder if there's 2 things at work there, because the plack plastic lever below the striker bolt on my 85 SS has been busted for years, so the shoulder belt always exerts a slight pull while driving, but the shoulder belt does lock on hard decell or accell. I've noticed the belt lock at both ends of the 1/4 mile track for years. wink


I'm thinking yours might be stuck either in the door closed position or part way between the two positions. When the lever broke on mine it went to the door open position. The seat belt will not lock in that position.


Ken

1985 Monte Carlo SS - Sold frown
2005 Impala LS
2014 Dodge Charger SXT
blackside
#801728 - 06/12/10 02:20 AM Re: seatbelt retractors [Re: kma-85ss]  
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If what you guys are saying is correct, doesnt this mean there are many, many people out there with G bodies that are offering no seat belt protection? That would seem to me to be a very very serious engineering flaw. I have to imagine that these things started breaking off within a few years (or less if you kicked it or something by accident).

This would be a massive legal liability for GM if its true. Seat belts should not fail because some exposed plastic part breaks. I am going to investigate it more to find out if this really is a critical part.

#801742 - 06/12/10 02:59 AM Re: seatbelt retractors [Re: EO]  
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Originally Posted By: EO
If what you guys are saying is correct, doesnt this mean there are many, many people out there with G bodies that are offering no seat belt protection? That would seem to me to be a very very serious engineering flaw. I have to imagine that these things started breaking off within a few years (or less if you kicked it or something by accident).

This would be a massive legal liability for GM if its true. Seat belts should not fail because some exposed plastic part breaks. I am going to investigate it more to find out if this really is a critical part.


You're not entirely without seatbelt protection. You'd still be restrained by lap belt portion. Unless the lap belt slips (I'm not sure if it's able to when in use). I don't have the car anymore so I can't test that idea.

I would also check your door alignment and whether or not it's sagging. I suspect mine broke because of extra stress from alignment/sagging issues.


Ken

1985 Monte Carlo SS - Sold frown
2005 Impala LS
2014 Dodge Charger SXT
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#801750 - 06/12/10 03:39 AM Re: seatbelt retractors [Re: kma-85ss]  
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I could be wrong, but I always thought all the lever did was allow manual locking of the seatbelt in a desired position with the door closed (a feature annoyingly not found on newer cars)?

My drivers side lever has broken a couple times and that seemed to be the only missing feature (ie. it's always trying to retract because it thinks the door is open). I can't recall if I've ever tested if the inertia lock operated properly with the lever broken or not...


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1985 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS
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#801752 - 06/12/10 04:02 AM Re: seatbelt retractors [Re: 85_SS]  
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What everyone here is calling the seat belt "retractor" is not actually the retractor. The retractor which locks the belt during a sudden deceleration is an integral part of the seat belt assembly.


#801753 - 06/12/10 04:27 AM Re: seatbelt retractors [Re: Bad Co]  
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That's the inertia lock I was referring to - I am pretty sure it is not affected by the lever in the door jamb. I think the lever simply enables the manual locking of the seatbelt in a "slack" state with the door closed.


[Linked Image]
1985 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS
5.7 LITRE / TES Headers / SShaker Hood / WC T-5 5-Speed
1970 Pontiac GTO
Orbit Orange Judge Re-creation / YZ RAIII 400 / M21 4-Speed
#801887 - 06/12/10 08:27 PM Re: seatbelt retractors [Re: 85_SS]  
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Originally Posted By: 85_SS
That's the inertia lock I was referring to - I am pretty sure it is not affected by the lever in the door jamb. I think the lever simply enables the manual locking of the seatbelt in a "slack" state with the door closed.


From my own experience, the lever definitely has a affect on the inertia lock. I tried many times braking hard to get the inertia lock to work while the lever was broken. It never worked. Once we got the new lever in place, the inertia lock worked again.


Ken

1985 Monte Carlo SS - Sold frown
2005 Impala LS
2014 Dodge Charger SXT
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#801911 - 06/12/10 09:38 PM Re: seatbelt retractors [Re: kma-85ss]  
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well, i just bought two levers off an '85 SS today, hopefully will get them put in tomorrow. I will report back on any difference i find...


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