Lotus Elan

Stiff seatbelts

PostPost by: JonB » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:41 am

Hi

My driver's side seat belt is a bit inflexible - sort of stiff. It leads to the retraction mechanism pulling the belt tight but not releasing it easily. It's not the inertia mechanism kicking in, it is just the belt itself being stiff. Can it be restored to full flexibility? Maybe by cleaning? I thought it might be caused by decades of dirt in the weave.

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Late 1972 Elan Plus 2S 130/5 - UK - Unit 50/1115L
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PostPost by: RichC » Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:43 pm

yeah wash with washing powder then add fabric conditioner to rinse
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PostPost by: RichC » Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:43 pm

yeah wash with washing powder then add fabric conditioner to rinse
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:57 pm

I've soaked belts in a bucket of water with Oxy-clean. I left them overnight and they came out
great.
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PostPost by: alanr » Sun Apr 14, 2019 5:03 pm

FDTS Ltd can replace the complete webbing for £45 per belt!
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PostPost by: JonB » Sun Apr 14, 2019 5:58 pm

Brill thanks chaps that'll save a few squid!

Is it easy to remove the webbing from the reel?
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PostPost by: mbell » Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:16 pm

Personally I'd consider replacing the belts or webbing. It's structural integrerity could be the difference between life and death of you or a passenger. At it's current age it could already be past it and you don't know the effects of the cleaner on them.

I'd probably replace the entire belts with modern style initial real rather than the pendulum ones for to my car. They aren't expensive.
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PostPost by: alanr » Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:58 pm

I agree..
i thought long and hard about what to do with my seatbelts and currently my seatbelts are with FDTS in West Byfleet being re-webbed, chrome buckles rechromed and with modern inertia reels replacing the old pendalum Kangol inertia reels.
With the inertias removed I then discovered the anchor plates up on the backside under the arches of the rear turrets didn't look great so I am now also now replacing those.....and so it goes on, but I am not compromising on safety. My grandkids will be riding with me in my car!!
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:16 am

I suggest you check the condition of the Anchor Plates also. These are often forgotten and often rotten :oops:
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PostPost by: JonB » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:39 pm

I think the anchor plates are OK, I checked them last year. I have a more recent belt on the passenger side (newer, with a different buckle arrangement that stops the thing from dropping to the bottom) that feels good. If only it was on my side! Heh, heh...

I'm going to try cleaning it but if the results are not good I'll replace. Pretty sure the seatbelt will be the least of my problems in a crash.
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:17 pm

Racing harness belts have a very limited life and must be replaced every few years even if the car is stored in a garage out of the sun and only raced a few times, this is in according to the FIA regulations and the belts have a date on them to enforce this. Road belts have an infinite life according to the regulations and no date on them !!! They both have to hold you safely in an accident ...... so what is correct ???

I can compete in Australia with a 50 year old three point harness road standard seat belt as it has no expiry date but i cant use a 6 point harness more than 6 years old. The local authorities allow a harness in historic racing to go twice the date life of a FIA harness which is just 3 years which is better than nothing I guess given the cost of a new harness

The FIA puts a life on all racing gear more suited to professional race teams than us amateurs and something not needed in reality unfortunately

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PostPost by: alanr » Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:02 pm

In the UK a racing harness is scrap after 5years at Club level or at least it was a couple of years ago when my son stopped racing Formula Ford.
After 5years racing the belts usually look perfectly good but the MSA say they must go in the bin!
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PostPost by: Bigbaldybloke » Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:43 pm

My seatbelt anchor plates looked ok till I attacked them with a welders hammer and screwdriver to get all the underseal and crud off them then they looked like this!
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dce459ba-cffd-48c6-99df-d5f6c3b00daa.jpeg and
Before and after
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PostPost by: alanr » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:18 pm

Yes my anchor plates were similar when I got them off. They didn't look to bad when just looking and poking under the arch.
This is what my seat belts looked like after I had removed them. I decided someone with appropriate expertise needed to get involved and sort them.
kangol-reflex.jpg and
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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:00 pm

I am not sure how relevant this is. When I was working all our webbing lifting slings had to be examined by a "competent person". I think the frequency was every 12 months. Despite this examination by the chartered engineer employed by our insurers we had a failure whilst lifting an item well within the rated capacity of the sling. Fortunately only damage to hardware no people were hurt.

The point is the deterioration was not noticeable. Our solution was to replace all webbing slings every year. Sounds extravagant, but for what they do and the potential damage to people and property the company thought it was worth the expenditure.

Cleaning old seat belts seems a bit risky to me.

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