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Old 25-11-2013   #1
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A proper fix for slow retracting seat belts

Rather than pop this into the "How to" guide section for the Mk1 Punto I've popped this here in chit chat as I think its probably going to work on any Fiat group car with the same belt issues.

If like me you've got fed up of unclipping your seat belt before getting out and finding a whole ream of it lying in a curled up heap behind your seat instead of retracting back into the mechanism then give these 3 steps a go. It has worked on mine today and they are better now than when new IMHO! Absolutely no doubts at all. You can also end all those times where you close your door on a floppy belt part of which keeps getting caught in the door meaning you have to open the door again to pull the errant belt back inside.

Step 1 - see photo. Put the front seat forward that you will be working behind and sit yourself on the back seat. Take a long narrow strip of wet n dry paper at least 1000/1200 grit dont go too coarse. Pull out some of the belt from the pillar and hold it out with your knee against the rear quarter trim panel. Put the rest around your neck to hold both parts of the belt as loose as possible leaving both hands free for the next bit.

Take your emery paper and insert it in so that the grit side is facing downwards onto the belt holder lower slot on the B pillar. Using a push and pull movement for a few minutes sand the lower part and try to keep the emery paper central to the holder (the holder will try and swing to the left or right as you push and pull the sandpaper through it unless you get a mate to hold it steady) and as you do it keep the door open and blow the dust away (you dont really want it on the belt or to go down to the mechanism) - loads of white/grey dust will come off and probably years of grease, sweat, oil, dirt and other nasties too but my view is that this part is too tight anyway and this is the pinch point that seems to slow the belt down when you unclip. I also think part of the hold up is the way the holder is made - these are bonded around the belt at the factory and I reckon its the flashing along the join that sometimes good on some cars and bad on others. The sanding will get the top of this
curve nice and smooth.

Step 2 - using hot soapy water clean the entire length of the belt or run over both sides of the belt with a cloth sprayed with some suitable cleaner. Alcohol wipes might be good.

Step 3- once the belts are bone dry I used "back to black" spray on them. spray both sides of the belts generously and wipe the excess off then buff. the can says "do not use on surfaces that you do not want slippery" such as pedal rubbers and steering wheel etc but honestly on seat belts its the dogs ******. mine now flies back into the B pillar. wipe the bottom rail too thats bolted to the inside of the door sills as well as the slot described earlier on the holder on the B post. buff off. You can even "feel" the difference as the belts retract back over your clothes so much easier and faster.

Try it - it'll take 30 mins tops and provided the actual retraction mech isnt knackered you should have a belt that scoots back into the B pillar as it should. Above all its FREE - both of mine now really zip back into the pillar no trouble at all.
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Old 03-12-2013   #2
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Re: A proper fix for slow retracting seat belts

That's great, thanks for the info' but...suppose, like me, the retraction appears to be knackered, eg it is stuck on the wall next to the drivers right shoulder, and will not undo. What can I do? Any ideas, as to where I can get it fixed OR where I can get another belt complete? Thanks. Gerry.
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Old 05-12-2013   #3
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Re: A proper fix for slow retracting seat belts

If youre OK with a set of spanners I would find another belt in a local scrapyard, ask on here or check ebay, gumtree, pistonheads etc and fit it myself. a good used belt shouldnt cost more that 5 - 10 pounds.

if not buy the belt then take it to a garage.
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Old 08-12-2013   #4
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Re: A proper fix for slow retracting seat belts

my mk2 punto failed MOT test a few years ago for not having enough tension on seat belt.The spring seemed fine just a bit of resistance.
I didnt do anything with it and brought it back for retest a week later,and a different inspector said it was fine.
I think the recoil spring should be a bit stronger.
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