Last post on Aug 29, 2000 at 7:35 PM
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#1 of 4 89 Dodge Shadow Seatbelts
Jun 28, 2000 (1:00 pm)
Recently, I've noticed that in my wife's car, the
seatbelts have some odd behavior... Most
that I've ever seen lock if you give them a very
quick tug (presumably to stop you from flying
through the windshield should you have a sudden
change in the motion of the car).
On our 89 Dodge Shadow, NONE of the seatbelts lock
if you give them a quick tug. The front seats
have separate assemblies for the lap and shoulder
belts, the rear seats have a shoulder/lap belt
combo assembly. I have tried all 6 assemblies,
none of them will lock in a quick-pull test.
The odd part is that on the front-passenger's side
lap belt, there is a button labeled 'PRESS'. If I
press the button, it locks the lap belt into
position (although it does so quite poorly). None
of the other assemblies have a button like this.
My wife is pregnant (with our first child), so I'm
now driving the car for fear that this is a HUGE
safety problem. Am I missing something on how
particular model's seatbelts operate? I can't
find any way to force the seatbelt (particularly
the driver's side) to operate in such a way that I
would get any safety benifits wearing them.
Should I start looking in the junkyards for
replacement parts? I went to the Dodge dealer,
the repairs guy had no idea if it was supposed to
operate this way or not. Each belt runs $666 for
the assembly (not counting repairs, etc) new.
Any help you could give me would be greatly
Jun 30, 2000 (9:04 pm)
I don't know how much help I can provide you, but I do have a few answers for you. First, the button on the front passenger seat that locks the lap belt in place is designed for child seat use. It locks the lap belt in place to hold the child seat securely. Since your Shadow does not have a passenger side airbag, it is ok to put a baby in the front seat, however, the back seat is still the safest place for them. As far as locking, all the belts should lock when you yank them hard a few times in quick succession. Are u just yanking them once? Since you cannot provide the same amount of force as a crash, you must yank the belts hard and rapidly more than once to get them to lock. Try doing that and see if it works. I can't remember whether the Shadow had motorized shoulder belts in front or not. If it does, the lap belt should lock, but I have found from other cars that the shoulder belt does not lock until it is pulled quite a ways out. Motorized belts offer poor crash protection compared to regular belts. And please remember to wear both the lap and the shoulder belt at the same time! Many people only wear the shoulder portion cause they are too lazy and assume it will keep them safe. WRONG!! Only wearing the shoulder portion will allow you to slide underneath the belt in a crash, possibly catching your neck. In this situation, it has been known to severely damage the neck, break it, or even decapitate you. If the door opens in the crash, not wearing the lab belt will allow you to be ejected from the car. Please keep these things in mind. I hope I have provided some help for you. Let me know if my suggestion works.
#3 of 4 Hope this isn't too late
Jul 15, 2000 (2:32 am)
but Lngtonge18 is right on the seat belts except for one thing: most domestic and Asian cars prior to the 90s had so-called "vehicle-sensitive" retractors in their belts. With these, the belts lock up only when the vehicle decelerates rapidly enough, as in panic braking or a crash. No amount of yanking will lock up the belts.
You can test the belt by putting it on and then braking fairly hard from a low speed, say 10-15 mph in a deserted area. You should be able to feel the belt lock up against your body. (Let your body "fall into" the belt as you brake.)
If you have someone else drive the car, you can sit in the other seats and have them brake hard to test these belts as well.
#4 of 4 My Opinion on this topic...
Aug 29, 2000 (7:35 pm)
Just get yourself a new car... I have a 92 Dodge shadow, and it has been nothing but a hassel ever since I bought it.... I am trying to get a civic for reliability.....And Congratulations on your wife's pregnancy.. I wish all three of you the best of luck!!