Ford Windstar

Hi from Germany,
er bought a Windstar in 95.
The vehicle features six safety belts. As it turned out only now, neither one of them works. Although they can be buckled properly and there is no
visible sign of any defect, they will not block and are thus not able to hold back a person during a crash situation. As it is more than unlikely, that all six belts suddenly break, I suspect, that there has been somme sort of a manipulation by a preowner with the effect, to disable the safety function of the belt. The mechanic found out, that once taken out of the car and held in the hand, the safety-mechanism works properly and the rolling off is blocked by sudden pulling. But as soon as it is put back into its position in the car, the belt will fully roll off and not stop.Any idea for us? Thank you so muchKarin
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Karin Gill wrote:

The belts are made to lock under hard deceleration. They cannot be locked by pulling on the belt. You can test this by doing a brisk stop in an empty parking lot.
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The technician is correct, the belts are working properly.
You are confusing the old 'window shade' type of belt, that would lock when pulled rapidly. The modern belt does not operate that way. The latching is accomplished by a 'pendulum effect' motion within the latching system.
There are several tests one can perform that will indicate the latching mechanism is working properly. Tilt one of the seats, that can be moved forward for egress, then rapidly push it backward. If it latches when, it bounces forward again, it is working properly. Another is to notice if the belt latches if you apply the brakes as you descend a steep grade. A third is pull the belt out completely, when released it will lock at the point where you stop the rewind
mike

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Mike Hunter wrote:

They do in Nissans.

Nissan belts do that, too.
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Apparently anything is possible in your small world. Tell us again what is the color of the sky in your world LOL
mike

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There are multiple type of mechanisms employed. Some cars even have pretensioners that actually pull the belts tighter under certain circumstances (some even employ explosive devices for this purpose - but those use the air bag sensors to fire the pretensioners along with the air bags). There were cars that electrically locked the belts (I think this is out of favor now). There are cars that use pendulums to lock the belts. There are cars that use centrifugal devices to lock the belts. Just because some Nissans do it one way, doesn't imply that a 1995 Windstar should react in the same manner.

You could use both a pendulum and a centrifugal mechanism, but I doubt they would. Under hard braking both methods would react the same way. However, if you are sitting still and just yank the belts out, the centrifugal method should lock the belts, while the pendulum method won't. If you have a car that electrically locks the belts no amount of yanking on the belts while the car is parked should do anything. The net is, you can't just decide the belts aren't working right because they don't lock when you pull them out when the car is sitting still. If you want to know if they are working, go out into an empty lot, get up to about 30 mph and lock the brakes. The belts should lock up no matter what design is employed.
Ed
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Did you try doing a panic stop (in a safe location with no traffic around)? I've had cars that don't appear to lock the belts but actually work fine under extreme braking. There are a variety of locking mechanisms employed. Some use a centrifugal device that locks the belts when hey are pulled out rapidly. Others use a pendulum type device that locks the belt when the vehicle decelerates rapidly. When removed from the vehicle the later type of device could appear to lock the belts merely because it is held at a slight angle (those moving the pendulum to the locking position). Try locking the brakes and see if the belts lock.
Ed
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