[DML] Seat belt repair or replace?
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[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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