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Unsettling seat belt issue (1997 XJ)

Old 04-29-2019, 06:47 AM
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Default Unsettling seat belt issue (1997 XJ)

Hello All,
Drove a couple states south yesterday to pick up my first Jeep. (1997 XJ Sport)
Driving back, I realize that the seat belts don't seem to catch no matter how fast I yank on them. I'm coming from the Subaru world which has very aggressive locking so I've always felt safe and secure bouncing down the trail. I checked both front belts, driver and passenger, neither would lock up during hard yanks.

Is this a normal Jeep XJ thing or are these 22 year old restraints in need of replacement or rebuilding?

Thanks!
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Old 04-29-2019, 11:43 AM
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Find a nice open stretch of road and give it a good hard brake check and see if they lock up for you. They're definitely not over eager to lock like they might be in smaller, less tank-y vehicles, but it's certainly possible that it might be time to replace them. It shouldn't be too hard to find a pair of functional replacements at your local junkyard.
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Old 04-29-2019, 11:48 AM
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I'm going to guess they're fine, just not as aggressive as you're used to based on the fact that you're seeing the same behavior out of more than one specific unit.

It might be possible to fit a more active unit in there if it's something that you really want and are willing to spend some money and get creative. Check out Quadratec and RockAuto and see what sort of things are available. Quadratec is more of an aftermarket/upgrade retailer, RockAuto is a highly respected/favored OEM/Stock Replacement style parts site.
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:02 PM
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See if the other seatbelts do the same.

NVM. You did say seatbelts. I just checked mine and it doesnt lock at all.

Last edited by fb97xj1; 04-29-2019 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 04-29-2019, 02:12 PM
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I think they might only lock due to angles or sudden braking. I'm not sure if just yanking on them locks them or not. Personally I feel it's more comfortable to either have belts that only lock on slopes or sudden stops, or belts that are always tight (such as 4 or 5 point harnesses). I feel like the seat belt locking all the time would hurt a good bit.
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Old 04-29-2019, 05:03 PM
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Mine would lock annoyingly sometimes. It was especially bad on one particular stop I make on my commute route. I think it was because it was a pretty decent downhill stop.

I'd be pretty concerned about them not locking.

Tell ya what. My wrecked 97 has passed the ultimate seat-belt lock test. It kept me safe when T-boning a Suburban a year ago. It's still sitting here, waiting to have the engine yanked out and put into my 98. After supper I will go give it a yank test and report back. If mine doesn't lock up that way, I'd guess you are fine. If it does, well, maybe you want to buy some working seatbelts from me!
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Old 04-29-2019, 06:37 PM
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Well, I gave it the yank test. Yanking as fast as I can, I could not get it to lock up. Nada. I tried 4 or 5 times. Of course, I was not driving it. I had no foot on the brake. There's no battery in it, the motor wasn't running. All that to say, I'm not sure if that test was valid, but FWIW, there it is.

EDIT TO ADD: I do know that having your foot on the brake makes it far easier to lock up.

Last edited by BlueRidgeMark; 04-29-2019 at 10:38 PM.
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Old 04-30-2019, 05:37 AM
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I'm pretty sure some seatbelts use a pendulum weight in them and it has to swing forward to lock up. My wife's Dodge Caravan's shop manual said to test the seat belts you had to raise the rear bumper 5 feet high to test them. The only way I can see to do that is with the old hydraulic dual-post in-floor lifts. That was a 97 BTW.
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Old 04-30-2019, 04:44 PM
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They aren’t like seat belts in newer vehicles. They do need g forces or angles to lock. If you have them out of the vehicles they will lock if not in the exact orientation that they would be in when installed.
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:22 PM
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Okay, that all makes sense. That's why I continually had trouble with that downhill stop on the way home.
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