RE: [DML] Seat belt repair or replace?
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RE: [DML] Seat belt repair or replace?

Hi Tom,


Have no fear, it's very easy to do this job if you know the correct method.
The cover panel, strangely called the armrest extension, even though that's
the smallest part of the whole panel, can be removed simply by following
these steps:


-          unscrew the screws at the top and bottom corners (the one on the
bottom is under the carpet)

-          remove the bolt at the top of the seatbelt

-          pull off the inner weatherstripping that covers the panel (no
need to remove all of it)

-          pry off the red weatherstripping clips

-          get a hair dryer or a heat gun, (Harbor Freight sells one that
works for $10) and gently heat the edge of the panel material until it
becomes flexible enough to pry it off with a flathead screwdriver.


If you don't use the heat gun or hair dryer, the material will definitely
crack, but I've been using one on all the panels I've removed and
reinstalled with nothing but success.  If the material does start to tear,
just stop and heat it up more.  I've found it works well to follow the heat
gun up the panel edge immediately followed by the screwdriver.


After you release the edge completely, you should be able to just simply
pull the panel forward and out of the car.  This will give you access to the
seatbelt mechanism itself, (held on by one 19mm bolt) as well as the rear
speaker and, if you're lucky, a mouse nest or two.  Especially if the car
has been sitting for a long time.  


I would recommend not tossing the old seatbelt...if you have the desire and
know-how, you can make your wife or daughter a lovely purse from the
material.  See this link:  These are
becoming increasingly popular, and I just finished making my wife one from
the seatbelts out of the fire car I had.  She loves it...and it's a DeLorean
original.  John would have loved it!


Reassembly of the panel is just the reverse of the don't
really need any new glue to hold the panel in place, as once you put it back
on the weatherstripping holds it in...but if you do decide you want to use
some, the best I've found is Hi-Strength 90 spray adhesive from 3M.  (Thanks
again Randall!)  Just don't overspray and coat your interior with it.


Good luck, and if you have any questions along the way, you can contact me
off list (jhaldeman(AT) and I'll do my best to help.



VIN 5102
VIN 15964
VIN 11289
VIN 909





From: dmcnews@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:dmcnews@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of
Tom Tait
Sent: Friday, January 04, 2008 12:41 AM
To: dmcnews@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [DML] Seat belt repair or replace?


My car has been through a lot. After 69k miles it sat untouched for 12
years. For the last few of those the Drivers window was broken out. A lot of
the car was in bad shape and its been a lot of work to get it to a clean
daily driver.

The drivers seatbelt mechanism has always been weak. Very slow to retract,
but it did. I have been confident that it would work if needed. I have been
reluctant to replace it as the cover panel is out of stock and I can't
replace it if it gets damaged. I'm told it often does.

Last week my wife drove the car, and was dissatisfied with my lackluster
seat belt retractor so she gave it a hard sharp pull to whip it into shape.
It no longer retracts at all - its fully extended and stuck.

So... I have a Safety Vehicle that has no drivers seatbelt (I can cheat and
make the lapbelt portion work but thats nearly useless). I have kids. I
can't continue to drive around without a seatbelt, its just dumb. 

So - is there a way to possibly resurrect my seatbelt without removing that
cover panel? I'm sure the years of exposure are a factor. If I have to
remove it I'm obviously installing a new unit and will be done with it - but
how do I remove it without damaging it? I'm not afraid to work on the car
but I know this part is very hard to come by and I don't want to ruin it. IF
I get the cover off undamaged, is there a better way to reinstall it so it
comes out easier in the future? Is the best answer to smile and pay my local
vendor (an hour away) to do it?

Advice will be appreciated, and will make my car safe again. Thanks.


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