1979 Camaro retractable front seat belts harnesses

Hello,
The retractors for the front seat belt harnesses are dead. The belt get stuck if pulled at maximum and it doesn't lock at a stress pull.
I digged ClassicIndustries, Summit Racing and Ecklers Camaro for new
replacment repro retractors or full harness system with no success. They only provide default (not original copy) or earlyer Camaro models.
This year Camaro have the retractors mounted on top and cased in PET box lining the same plastic as the rear sit sides armrest and overall cockpit plastic linings.
If any of you know of new repro or good shape second hand original front seat belt harness, please tell.
I'm currently in talk with SnakeOil for a restoration but that takes times and I need some belt inbetween or the cop will bill me.
--
Léa

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

What is "stress pull"? The belts will only lock when the car decelerates. Yanking on them won't lock them. I don't have a service manual handy, but I imagine the way to test the belts is to get up to speed and hit the brakes as hard as possible. The belts should lock then.
Yes, they sometimes jam at maximum pull. That seems to be normal with the design. The answer is not to pull them all the way out. If they are stuck, some yanking and jiggling will free them.
....Ed
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ed Treijs a crit :

Hello,
Thank you Treijs for the trick. I did try to break hard and got no lock on the belt but who know? It may work or it may not. Is there a test for that system, beside heavy break (or a hitting a wall at full speed? ;o)
I found no usefull detail in the Chilton.
In november, the car has to pass a legal test. Since 1/1/2009 in France, even ancestor/collector cars has to pass a test every five years. The seatbelts are critical components that must pass the test. Or I'll have a 3 week delay to repair and repass a test or the car will not be allowed on roads.
Regards,
--
La Gris

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

The "yank" test is indeed viable. Inside the retractor is a set of pawls that when when spun too fast extend, thereby locking the belt. Old street racer trick was to pull the seat all the way back, yank the bet to lock it, then hold it and pull the seat forward. If the locking pawls are stuck or gummed up, try some WD40, then see if they'll lock. If not, replace them. Really not worth trying to fix as they are a dime a dozen and your life is more important than a some money. I put a 5 point harness in mine and said the heck with it. Good luck!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Hi Lea,
My name is "Ed". :-)

You should get the 1979 Chevrolet Service Manual for your car. There is also a Fisher Body Manual that covers body stuff on all GM makes; it includes items such as seat belts and windshield wipers, beside the obvious doors and windows.
Chiltons and Haynes are sometimes correct, and sometimes useful. And sometimes they are wrong. Get the factory manual. It will help you and any mechanic in France who must work on your car.
CB is wrong, the "yank" or "pull" test does not work. I just went and tried it on my 1978 Firebird, and also looked in the factory manual. I also owned a 1979 Firebird for 10 years, so I'm pretty familiar with these cars.
The seatbelts can lock in *both* directions, under different circumstances.
To test their locking in an accident:
1) Put on seatbelt. 2) Start driving. You don't have to be going fast; 5 km/h is probably enough, 20 km/h is plenty. (I tested the belts on my car by rolling a metre or two in my driveway.) 3) Put your hand between your body and the shoulder belt and gently push the belt away from you. It does not have to move, you just need to apply pressure. 4) Step on the brakes. You don't have to screech to a halt, but be firm. 5) WHILE ON THE BRAKES push hard against the belt: it should now be locked and not extend. 6) The belt will unlock when you have stopped and released pressure.
The belt will actually lock and unlock many times in normal driving, but you won't notice it! You MUST test for the belt locking while on the brakes!
The seatbelt will lock in the other direction, where it will not retract. Usually, this happens if you: 1) Extend the belt (as if putting it on). 2) Let it retract a little (as if it is now moving against your body). 3) Extend (pull out) the belt a short distance, a few centimetres. 4) Belt stays out and will not retract. 5) To retract belt, pull a few centimetres further, and belt will retract as normal.
This "feature" is found on many North American cars because (some) North Americans don't like the "pressure" of the seat belt on their bodies. They pull the belts away from them a little to feel "free". I hate this, and it makes the belts less effective in accidents, so I'm always releasing this "comfort lock" to get the belt snug. But, annoying as it is, it is *normal* operation.
I bet your belts are working properly, if you do the test right.
Perhaps, though, someone who does not understand how these belts work has fiddled with them.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ed Treijs a crit :

Hello,
You deserve a great thank you!
The belts are working, and where not hacked by some silly gremlin.
I have pulled the steel cover and inspected the inner of the retractor.
There is indeed a mushroom shaped pendulum that lock extension of the belt when leaned forward. This surely should work in the event of a front crash, but it require significant G. Security matured much during the last 30 years.
As for the belt getting stuck a bit too easily if pulled at maximum, my guesses from the inspection are these: - There is two gears, on at each side of the retractor cylinder. One gear is used to release tension, the other for emergency locking. When pulled at maximum and released too quickly, the belt tend to slip over the tension release gear. You where right when you told it is by design. As the overall belt and retractors wears out, the problem may worsen somehow.
I wonder if I can build some belt track guides to prevent it from slipping over the gears.
--
La Gris

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ed wrote:

Hello,
You deserve a great - Thank you! - Ed!
The belts retractors were not hacked by some silly gremlin.
I have pulled the steel cover and inspected the inner of the passenger side retractor.
There is indeed a mushroom shaped pendulum, that triggers the extension lock of the belt when leaned forward. This should work in the event of a front crash, but it require significant g. Security matured much during the last 30 years, I guess.
As for the belt retractors getting stuck a bit too easily if pulled at maximum, my guesses from the inspection are these: - There are two gears, on at each side of the retractor cylinder. One gear is used as a tension release lock, the other as the emergency extension lock. If pulled at maximum and released too quickly, the belt tend to slip over the tension release lock gear, preventing the belt ribbon to rewind. You where right when you told it is by design. As the overall belt and retractors wears out, the problem may worsens somehow.
I wonder, if I can build some belt ribbon track guides to prevent it from slipping over the gears.
--
La Gris

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Hi Lea, you're welcome. I guess more Renault Daphines were sold in Canada than Camaros in Europe. So it's impossible for you to get local information. Fortunately these cars are still around in North America!

My opinion, don't work on the retractors because you may make things worse. I don't know if you can find a European belt system that will fit in your car. The big Torx (star) bolts that hold the retractor and other two ends are also very critical parts of the system.
If there is something in a European junk yard (do you have access to these places in France?) with the same mounting arrangements, use that. Otherwise, I would keep what you have.
Are the belts in good condition? No dirt in the fabric? To be honest, I still trust my belts on the highway. Well, my face will probably still hit the metal "Formula" steering wheel that came on my car (
https://www.fbodywarehouse.com/fbw/images/P/SE%20parts%20006a.jpg ).
....Ed
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hello,
Ed Treijs write :

Very few cars of that kind where imported in France, The few here gets rebuild and kept in good shape.

Nice wheel. I just went to that shop and ordered some interior parts. (very kind people there).
By the way I solved the stuck retractor problem by parking the comfort tension release spring. The system responsible for releasing/locking tension on the belt during normal operation (AKA US comfort) is made of a string spring encased at the right side of the retractor. The spring end in an angle pin hook that engage a side track of the right gear, through a vertical fence and stick in/out a gear dent to disable/enable tension on the belt.
There are two ways of disabling this system if it bother (it bothered me). Tis make the belt retractor to act more alike the ones in Europe (permanent tension on the belt).
Either remove the spring and or the plastic frame box, (destructive unless you keep the part safe for archival) or Park the spring end hook under the belt ribbon guide string. (Easy to reverse and no risk of lost parts)
Here are closeup shots and a commented illustration of the customization:
<http://www.noiraude.net/gallery2/main.php/v/lea/Camaro_001/Seatbelts/
Regards,
--
La Gris

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I was thinking maybe a European car had similar mounting system. But they would have to be very similar, or they may fail in an accident.
Here in Ontario, Camaros/Firebirds from the 1970s are now very, very rare in the junkyard. But many were sold, and parts are still available at car shows, like the Trans Am Nationals. But they are expensive!
Nevertheless, I am surprised every time I see a Camaro/Firebird on the road as old as mine. But I do drive it regularly, it is my only car.

Hmm, now I want to try this. I like the belt to be tight at all times, too.
....Ed
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ed Treijs wrote:

I have updated the illustrated diagram with corrections: <http://www.noiraude.net/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemIdH25&g2_serialNumber=1
If you need some precisions, I will gladly help.
I did the modification on both front seats. At the passenger side, the tension reliever spring is hidden by the retractor box. You will have to guide your action by touching because you can't see it. I recommend doing the driver side first so your fingers knows the process.
Please let know your experience about this customization if you do it.
Regards;
--
La Gris

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Me wrote:

<http://www.noiraude.net/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemIdH25&g2_serialNumber=1
Hehe, you will love that original drawing page 3 from: Patent number: 4343445 <http://www.google.com/patents?qC43445 Filing date: Oct 29, 1979 Issue date: Aug 10, 1982 Dual spool seat belt retractor with comfort feature Klaus F. Ocker et al
<http://www.google.com/patents?id=VmkvAAAAEBAJ&pg=PA3&dq=seat+belt+tension+reliever&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=3#v=onepage&q=&f=true
Regards,
--
La Gris

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
-- Will not quote myself again --
See also:
Filing date: Jan 12, 1976 Issue date: Jan 11, 1977
From The Gods Themselves :o) Inventors: Fisher; Robert C. (West Palm Beach, FL), Collins; Cecil A. (Pontiac, MI)
--
La Gris

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.