Volvo Seat Belt Retractor Repair

[Text and illustrations courtesy of Art Benstein]  The driver's seat belt retractor hangs, making it a pain to get the seat belt out.  (Illustrations show a 240 series belt; 740 similar.)

1. Slow Retraction or Stuck Belt. I have come to the conclusion that sluggish retraction is mostly due to the nylon webbing becoming stiff with age and dirt contamination. You'll know this as the driver's belt will be the slowest. Last time I used Dreft, a mild laundry soap, to clean the belts. Clamp the belt fully extended and use a SOFT brush in a bucket of soapy water. You don't even need to disassemble anything. There is a safety hazard that arises from abrading the belt material with harsh scrubbing, so be gentle.

Stuck Belt [Tip from Jeff Pierce] In my case, the belt refused to retract. It was turned 180 degree behind the trim. I took the trim off, flipped the belt back and that fixed the problem.

2. Stuck Retractor.

Retractor with mounting hardware

  • Remove driver's seat - (4) 13mm [heater connection]
  • Remove step plate
  • Peel U-molding from door openings on pillar
  • Remove snap-on trim from top of seat belt attachment
  • Remove belt at top - 16mm - or is this 5/8 SAE
  • Remove nut at bottom - 18mm - perhaps 11/16 SAE
  • Peel back carpeting
  • Remove seat belt retractor bracket (4) 13mm
  • Disassemble retractor from bracket

Showing part number on small end.

  • Remove small end of retractor - not spring end.  - (2) phillips

The inertial lock device

The radial ratchet you see here locks the belt when the vertical weight rocks off of its plumb.  There was no problem with this function.

Centrifugal lock shown:

The two plates are held in place by spring wires.  One of the wires was not in its slot, allowing the plate to easily lock the belt -- too easily. 

Spring wire upper left and lower right not in slot.

  • Reassembly is not quite reverse of disassembly.  Hold the centrifugal clutch at the bottom while replacing it in the drum.
  • Test by holding plumb and withdrawing belt at moderate speed.

Volvo Maintenance FAQ for 7xx/9xx/90 Cars


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