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Seat Belts and Safety Systems
Toyota Camry
Ford Explorer XLT

If the seat belts do not move on a 1991 Toyota Camry what is wrong?


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2015-07-16 19:29:30
2015-07-16 19:29:30

I just fixed the driver side seat belt on my 97 Camry. It stopped retracting a couple of days ago which led me to this site searching for a DIY repair solution. I had to remove the trim and the seat belt retractor to understand the problem. The small white plastic roller that connects to the spring is no longer connected to the spring. When you pull out the seat belt, the roller should wind the spring to create the tension to retract it ... IF the roller is attached to the spring. The metal tab that inserts into a small slit in the roller is no longer in its place.

Here is how I fixed it:

  1. Take the retractor off the chassis.
  2. Use a small screw driver, push out the center rods of the three plastic screws that attached the spring housing. Remove the spring housing.
  3. Have some scotch tapes handy. Remove the cover of the housing (two plastic tabs on each side). Tape over the opened spring housing on each sides to prevent springs from popping out. If it pops out, you would have to spend a long time winding the mess up and back into the housing (it happened to me, sigh). Leave the center accessible (not taped over). The center end of the spring is the small tab that should insert into the white plastic roller.
  4. Use an epoxy glue that works with metal and plastic (I bought one from Home Depot for less than 3 bucks, 2000lbs/sq inch, 30 minute set time).
  5. Wash / clean the grease off the roller, and wipe clean the metal spring tab (I also filed it a bit rough).
  6. Mix the epoxy glue and put a little bit on the side of the metal tab that should touch the roller once inserted / attached properly. Insert into the roller slit (MAKE SURE the roller's large square hole is facing up / away from the spring housing). Make sure the two attaches, and leave it for 30 minutes - 1 hour.
  7. Carefully remove the scotch tapes, put the spring housing cover back on.
  8. Back to the car where the retractor is loose. Roll up the seat belt until the roller is high up near the seat belt anchor on the door frame.
  9. Carefully align the roller arm on the retractor and the opening in the small roller on that spring housing, push the housing back onto the retractor and push in the three plastic screw rods to lock it in place.
  10. Pull the retractor down to the frame and screw it back onto the frame. By rolling up all seat belts and attaching the spring housing before, this time the spring is winding and creates tension (although not much, enough to retract the seat belt when unused).

The retractor has a metal ball (as a previous poster mentioned) that engages a lever to prevent free play. When you roll up or down the retractor, make sure the retractor is level, otherwise the ball will engage the lever and lock the retractor ... if that happens, though, you need to level the retractor, give it a bit seat belt retraction before it can unlock and allow you to pull more seat belts out. In my case, the metal ball is not magnitized.

And my seat belt retracts, once again :)

Check to see if something is lodged in the track of the belt path,penny, ink pen, etc. If you have kids it could be a foreign objects in the way of the flow of the belt trail.

I have a 1988 Toyota Camary and my seat belts wouldn't move when I closed the door. I check my manual and it suggested check the circuit breakers, they are located above the fuse box on the driver's side, remove the plastic panel and look above the fuse box, look for round cans with a tiny hole in the middle of the round end. (This should be the breaker) Using a straightened out paper clip, insert the clip into the tiny hole and press the reset button, you should hear or feel a click. Try your seat belt again, it should work. The seat belt track may need some grease, if it causes a drag on the motor it may trip the breaker.

I had this problem on a 1997 Camry. There are 3 breakers on driver side "kick panel." The manual lists breaker #22 as the one. To get to circuit breakers the panel under the instrument panel must be removed. (This is not clear in manual.) In my case the breaker was loose and had to be pushed in.

Design defect in Toyota Seat Belts.

There is something else you need to be aware of regarding the seat belt retractors on 91 era Toyotas (and probably dozens of other models as well). Replacing just the front seat belt retractors can cost you .00! Yes, Five Hundred bucks! The back seat? Another !

Fact is, the seat belt system is a defective design to begin with!

Have you run into the common problem where the seat belts no longer tension properly? That is, they just reel out and offer no protection?

DO NOT go to your local dealer and fork over the like I almost did.

As I looked into the seat belt system I learned a lot about how it works..or doesn't work properly (Nasty PI lawyers...are you listening?) The Toyota seat belt retractors were manufactured by Tokai Rica which supplied the units to Toyota.

Similar to other seat belt retractor systems, the device uses a small, steel ball which is supposed to react to sudden pulling on the belt. Pulling quickly on the belt (or in the case of an accident), moves the steel ball so that an arm drops down on a gear and halts safety belt movement.

Unfortunately, the steel ball is very close to the reel which rolls and un-rolls the seat belt. What happens(over years), is that the constant rolling and un-rolling of the seat belts creates static electricity. This charge is ultimately transferred to this steel ball. In time, the steel ball becomes magnetically attracted to the steel frame of the car. The result is that the ball is forever stuck in a position whereby the seat belt is completely free and you have no protection.

How can you tell if your seat belt retractors have this problem? Remove the unit from the car and hold it away from anything metallic and in the same position (not upside down), as it is was installed in the car. If the retractor works properly OUTSIDE OF THE CAR (and away from any metal), this is your problem.

The simple fix is to demagnitize the steel ball.

No need to open the retractor and pull the ball out (difficult anyhow). Get a cheap demagnitizer at Radio Shack or wherever and carefully remove the charge from the ball (everything else is made of nylon), and you should be good to go. Repeat the process to all the other retractors in the car because they're probably all screwed up too (all used the SAME design).

What bothers me is that Toyota just smiles and offers you the -,000 fix for a product which was WRONG to begin with! And, needless-to-say, DANGEROUS! If they were a stand-up company they'd make things right.

Love to hear from you if you've encountered this problem. Mainly, I hope I've helped you to save a few(!) bucks.

Johnt55.com

If your belts are automatic like on the 90 Camry you may have a blown fuse.drivers side kick panel 7.5 fuse.what i did on mine was istall a circuit breaker fuse and it worked fine,however after more trouble shooting i found the culprit was a broken wire in the trunk,on the left side of trunk the hinge rubs against the wire and breaks it causing the fuse to blow.

i have late '80's cars which i believe have same or similar mechanism. there is a switch in the door above the door strike/latch assy that operates the seatbelt (sends "door closed" signal to ECU). after removing door panel, all linkage rods, screws & wire connector, if you're careful, you can disassemble the switch, clean, & reassemble. I have replaced drivers side on one car with junkyard part and now need to replace in other car passenger side. It's not as bad as it sounds to repair. I went through everything else before stumbling onto this.

style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);" class="h2heading h2" name=" "> if the car has a sunroof. most likely the drain hoses are clogged with debris causing water to saturate the carptets under the front seats if you find moister on or under front seats, or windows fogged all the tim. remove front seat lift carpet up and you will find a small wire harness laying in water check these wire and commectors chanches are good water coeeoded and broke wire that feeds seat belt retractor, once fixed now you must repair cloged drains on sunroff... open roof all the way stand with dorrs open look at each corner of sunroof has a 6mm hole this is your drans if they are blocked with old leaves or debris water will enter car take a small cup and pour water down each hole if water backs up i use are pressure a blow the lines clean

When my auto seatbelt failed, I tracked the problem to an electrical short if the wiring bundle inside the rubber chase between the car door and body (at the hinge). The repair was very difficult in that their is precious little slack in the wires to facilitate the splice repair and also that there is very little room to navigate your hands. Remove the door cover and "uncap" the rubber chase to gain access.

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