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Old 10-30-2006, 09:45 PM   #1
unibrain
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Default 1994 Saturn SL1 Seatbelt Question

Hello, Im new.

I just recently bought a used 1994 Saturn SL1. But I've found the seatbelts to be quite interesting. They were the mechanical seatbelts that move along the headrail when you get in.

Now, my understanding is that seat belts are supposed to resist if you give it a sharp tug. However, when I did that with these seatbelts, they seem to give you more slack, and never resist. Shouldnt they resist? Or does it only resist when there's an actual accident?

Any info would help greatly.
Thanks!!

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Old 10-31-2006, 01:25 AM   #2
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Default Re: 1994 Saturn SL1 Seatbelt Question

I don't have automatic seatbelts, but my seatbelts won't budge (they will lock up) if I slam my brakes on, or something of the such.

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Old 10-31-2006, 09:05 AM   #3
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Default Re: 1994 Saturn SL1 Seatbelt Question

Sharp tug doesn't always work. It is usually sharp deceleration (hard braking etc) that causes them to lock. Try stopping hard next time you are parking, it doesn't take much (like 5mph to zero) and before the car has fully settled, try pulling the seat belt.

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Old 10-31-2006, 09:14 AM   #4
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Default Re: 1994 Saturn SL1 Seatbelt Question

There is actually a lock that swings forward under deceleration - it doesn't have anything to do with the force that the seatbelt is pulled with.

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Old 10-31-2006, 08:32 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1994 Saturn SL1 Seatbelt Question

really? what if I was driving on ice (common in Calgary, Canada), and lost control? the seatbelt wont really kick in until I jam on the brakes?

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Old 10-31-2006, 10:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: 1994 Saturn SL1 Seatbelt Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by unibrain
really? what if I was driving on ice (common in Calgary, Canada), and lost control? the seatbelt wont really kick in until I jam on the brakes?

Yes, the motion of the car is what triggers the locks. If there is a force that would cause you to move foreward in the seat, it would lock the belts, it doesn't matter about the brakes, just motion. Hopefully yours keep working for a while, just don't put any drinks in that spot where the e-brake is, the module is under there, and spilled drinks are a major cause of module failure. The belts on my old one quit becuase the passenger side track was binding up, and blowing fuses. I probably could have fixed it with grease, or a new trakc, but all the parts cars were SLx's, not coupes

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Old 10-31-2006, 11:02 PM   #7
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Default Re: 1994 Saturn SL1 Seatbelt Question

hmm.. good info, thanks.

I guess Im used to cars with the typical seatbelt setup. Like, I have a 2000 civic, and while you're strapped in, whether the car is in motion or not, if you tug at the seat belt feed fast, it wont give you any more slack.

But when in this Saturn, it doesnt matter how hard or fast you tug at the feed, because it will continuously give you more slack! I havent tried doing the brake thing yet though.

But still, I woulda thought regardless if you were in motion or not (mechanically), that your seat belts should hold you in the seat in a secure fashion.

I've never owned a Saturn (let alone with this type of seat belt system before), so it was suprising to me!

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Old 10-31-2006, 11:16 PM   #8
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Default Re: 1994 Saturn SL1 Seatbelt Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by unibrain
I've never owned a Saturn (let alone with this type of seat belt system before), so it was suprising to me!
I think most GMs are like that after many complaints of them grabbing too soon, and too tight. And I hated that stupid auto belt system. You will too the first time you take a latch to the side of your head I never once did up the lap belt while driving either, and that's not good. Mine didn't have a lap belt light. (Well it did, but burned out long before I got it, and I didn't know). I have the habit of doing my seat belt up within a block or two fo my house (or wherever I'm leaving from) and it doesn't seem to matter how fast I pull it, but I can work the brake, and gas to make sure it doens't lock up on me at the stop sign at the end of my street.

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Old 11-01-2006, 01:40 AM   #9
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Default Re: 1994 Saturn SL1 Seatbelt Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by unibrain
I guess Im used to cars with the typical seatbelt setup. Like, I have a 2000 civic, and while you're strapped in, whether the car is in motion or not, if you tug at the seat belt feed fast, it wont give you any more slack.
Then either it's an unusual design, or there's something wrong with it. The Saturn seat belt _is_ a "typical setup"; for decades, the usual design for retractable seat belts uses a pendulum lock. All the tugging in the world won't stop it. And as said, it doesn't require "jamming on the brakes". It's deceleration that makes the pendulum swing and lock the retractor.

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Old 11-01-2006, 09:43 AM   #10
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Default Re: 1994 Saturn SL1 Seatbelt Question

I recently swapped out the auto-seat belts in my 94 for the manual belts from a 95. Best upgrade to the car yet. Like uzzy said, the first time you hit your head on them you will curse them. Especially because I am a cue-ball and have disconnected the belt several times.. and always managed to bang the top of my bald head on the metal latch. Ouch.

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Old 11-02-2006, 10:07 AM   #11
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Default Re: 1994 Saturn SL1 Seatbelt Question

Well they become locked when needed and I can tell you for a fact that your a perfectly safe seatbelt wise when you get into accidents as I have experienced one with the motorized seat belts before and they locked good.

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Old 11-03-2006, 01:15 PM   #12
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Default Re: 1994 Saturn SL1 Seatbelt Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by unibrain
really? what if I was driving on ice (common in Calgary, Canada), and lost control? the seatbelt wont really kick in until I jam on the brakes?

You're misunderstanding. Jamming on the brakes is not what causes the belts to lock up. There is a pendulum in the latching system. As long as it's hanging pretty close to the vertical, the seat belts won't lock. However, sufficient acceleration (decceleration is acceleration in the reverse direction) in any direction will cause the pendulum to swing off the vertical and lock the belt.

So, in your example, you're sliding on the ice and jam on the brakes. Unless the brakes grab that ice pretty well, the belts probably won't lock up. Now, if you hit something, that pendulum will swing and lock the belts.

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Old 11-03-2006, 02:06 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1994 Saturn SL1 Seatbelt Question

everybody's right. Yippie!

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/seatbelt3.htm

in addition to their description, there are belts that lock under both circumstances.

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Old 11-06-2006, 08:24 PM   #14
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Default Re: 1994 Saturn SL1 Seatbelt Question

awesome. thanks for the help folks.

I'm starting to understand how these seat belts work.

One thing strange though, I was going downhill at actually a pretty steep angle yesterday, and noticed that the seatbelt still wasnt gripping.. putting the pendulum theory into action, shouldnt the seatbelts grip?

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Old 11-07-2006, 01:37 PM   #15
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Default Re: 1994 Saturn SL1 Seatbelt Question

Not really, I don't think I've ever seen a hill steep enough to do it. I have felt the belts lock up going around corners and stopping though. In fact, I ran around with a broken driver's side seat back for a couple months (curse Sixth Planet!!!). It was lots of fun hanging on to the wheel with the belt locked up going around a corner.

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