'90 Civic shoulder harnesses working?

I have a 1990 Civic 4-door 5-speed with those annoying automatic shoulder harnesses which don't seem to be providing the restraint that the lap belts
and rear-seat shoulder harnesses provide. If I tug on them quickly they don't lock in position, unlike the others.
The Honda dealer I consulted states that they're a differently-designed mechanism from the lap and rear-seat shoulder harnesses and will work properly in the event of an impact, but I don't believe it and am feeling quite unsafe.
I've _never_ encounter such shoulder-harness behaviour on any other auto or aircraft and feel that the dealer is wrong. Can anyone corroborate the dealer's statement please, or suggest some sort of test to show that the front shoulder harnesses will work properly?
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I've seen it in quite a few cars. The shoulder harness in those cars has an inertia device in the pillar that is supposed to lock up when the car decelerates sharply. You can try very hard braking, but I don't think that's a reliable test either.
Mike
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In

...
This type of shoulder harness has only an attachment-point raceway along the top of the door and pillar; the inertia device is at the excess spool on the inboard side of the seat.
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Try (in a safe place) spiking the brakes hard. Do the belts lock up then?
--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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In wrote:

I'm not sure what you mean. I should slam on the brakes to see if the harness keeps me out of the steering wheel? It sounds to be a rather absurd and harsh test of the harness capabilities, given the fact that a simple tug test doesn't lock them.
I can easily imagine some crash conditions where the brakes won't be applied, such as waiting in an intersection to make a left turn and an oncoming vehicle crosses the line and a head-on ensues.
It feels as if the entire design of these automated shoulder harnesses is ill-conceived, and I'm glad they're no longer manufactured. I have to remind the passenger to fasten the lap belt, as they have the illusion of being belted in when the shoulder harness slides back.
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wrote:

You're misunderstanding. The belts may be designed to lock when sudden deceleration is sensed. Just tugging on them will not activate the deceleration sensors.
When I say "spike the brakes", I mean to jump on them as though, say, a cat suddenly ran out in front of your car. If you're worried about going through the windshield doing that, just hold on to the steering wheel.

Deceleration again.

Only the US got those dumb "running-mouse" belts. Actually, the Swedes, who were the first in the world to install seat belts as standard in the late '50s, had shoulder belts only. Lap belts didn't come along until later.
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