I have an older but somewhat mint 2003 Ford Explorer. I'm always cleaning servicing and trying to make things better and trying to avoid a garage when I can do it myself and save a buck or two.
My driver's and passenger seatbelt was always slow to retract and we'd always think the retracting spring has either weakened or broken.
Expecting the worst, I took it apart today and inspect every portion of the belt mechanism.
I removed the plastic trim covers on the post between front a rear doors.
I got down to the actual retracting mechanism and found it to be working perfectly. Then I saw further up where the belt fits through a slide at the same height as your shoulder. It looked like the belt was dirty and that slide thingy was thin at best not allowing for any slack.
I left everything intact but pulled out the belt full length.
Trying to figure out how to clean it without causing any fraying to the belt I fired up my power/pressure washer. My wife held the one end of the belt so the belt wouldn't flop all over the place. You could see the years of grime be washed away by the nozzle. I did both sides and then stretched it out to dry. (aided by our hair dryer) after a short while the belt felt fairly dry.
THEN I sprayed a silicone spray on the belt both sides and also sprayed that funky looking guide.
Holy crap. My belt retracts like brand new. Just a build up of dirt. To the average eye it did not look dirty. I keep my Explorer as clean as I can but we never seem to clean the belts.
A couple of years ago I got a quote from a Ford dealer that it would cost $500 per side to replace a seat belt. ( ya right, I'll get right on top of that one.)
Roughly about an hour, take your time clean it and then silicone everything. IMO the power washer is more immediate and a scrub brush MIGHT tend to start that fraying process or not. All I know is the pressure washer worked perfectly
Tomorrow I do the passenger side
Jerry & Debbie
Ford Explorer 4.6 Triton V8, AWD, 4x4
1985 Sunline Saturn T-1350
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