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Old 09-01-2011, 09:59 PM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Northern Kentucky
Posts: 36
Default Driver's seatbelt stuck

Hi all,
I just bought a 1996 850 for my son, and one of the many little (I hope) things I need to fix is the driver's seatbelt. It's stuck in the extended position, and won't go in or out. I'd love to have step by step instructions on repairing it.
Any help?
Thanks a bunch.
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Old 09-02-2011, 08:45 AM
rspi's Avatar
1995 Volvo 850
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If it's stuck you can pull the pillar off the wall and see if it's twisted in there. If not, and it simply will not retract, it's bad and you should just replace it. It's a safety item and should not be rigged.
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:26 PM
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Before you mess with it at all be sure to remove the battery cable. If the seatbelt gets unplugged it will set a SRS error code and that means a trip to the dealer to reset the SRS system.

1994 850 N/A
1996 850 N/A
1996 Platinum Edition Turbo
1998 S70 T5
1999 V70XC
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:55 PM
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Had that happen, replace it.

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Old 09-03-2011, 09:09 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: SF Bay
Posts: 17

What was said on
Driver's seat belt jammed
was,Ē There should be a red plastic clip in the housing to put in the SRS switch.Ē
My 1999 S70 T5 started not to retract well. I removed (broke into 2) the covering where the belt retracts and found I could just pull it, then push the take up spool with my finger and it would work. Then it didnít release on Friday. It would take a little, click click click and then would not feed out. It took up all the slack a little bit at a time this way
Driving around without a seatbelt is just too stupid, even for me.
I have been a mechanic in name many years ago, for bicycles and cars, but that was just to please the bosses at the shop/station. As I age, I break more than what it costs to pay someone better. Now I go to a nice place near my home that is well known for their Volvo only service. They can do all the dealer does, but unfortunately, like the dealer, they do not know performance tuning, which is my step big step since I think Iím about stage 0 now..
But this time I canít wait for an appointment next week. Itís Labor weekend. My first real 3 days off in over a year.
So I opened the panel on the tower on the top and saw a bolt head. I did see a red switch and wondered what it did. I moved it back and forth. Nothing seems to happen as I was looking for a seatbelt or post release. What followed was my backassed way of learning and Iíll spar you the mistakes.
Hereís what I saw and what you should do with at least something similar to my 1999 S70 T5.
The belt took in but wouldnít feed out. Eventually the belt is tight.
You need to first know how to access the belt connection at the bottom. If you just need to feed a little more in, you can do that if you undo the bottom. If you are going to need to replace the assembly, you will need to do the bottom first anyways.
On my car, there is a large plastic clip at the rear end of the seat adjustment arm/panel/cluster under its rear part that holds it in place. With mine, I pulled the clip down and back while pulling up on the adjustment arm and the whole thing rotated up and out of the way. Then there is the single bolt/screw with a star head (that my Allen wench fits) that holds the belt end in place. It can now be seen and worked.
If you are putting more belt into the take up cylinder and it is still not letting out, I suggest replacement. I checked today and my local official dealer wanted about $380.00 and two days to get it. About $700 to replace and install.

I decided to try it myself/

I found the interior body panel on the door tower that houses the assembly is mounted with snap in and out connectors. I can peel back the door stripping and then pull the middle panel out with my fingers. Once one is off, the rest follow easily. Nothing broke and everything went back in place later.
There is one large bold (14mm) at the top and one near the bottom of the assy. Then there is a screw holding the lower cylinder part that the Allen wrenches also handled. . Thatís it. Unit should be free.
I went to one dismantling yard and didnít get it (There one had been cut) and then a second where I found a 1998 850 that had the same looking bottom bolt (Volvo has used several bottom bolting configurations and being safety, it should match). It also has the same looking electronic plug configuration along with all the mounting locations. So I pulled it and installed it at the yard parking lot.
Works great at $12.00 plus my hour or so of learning. A 14mm socket with flexible head, 2 Allen wrenches, and a gentle hand with the interior panels, and it saved almost $700.00. Actual time with the parts in hand Ė 15 minutes tops, which the dealer would have taken $300.00 for! Iím all for fleece the rich but Iím with a $3700 car and working for worker wages. B-tards. This is a DIY job even for the challenged like me.
(Go to the yards. I also found a matching ashtray lighter panel for the rear seats that had been broken for $4)

But the SRS light is on. It went on after I took the old unit out. I figured it would and it did.
So now that Iím fixed mechanically, does the red switch on the top of the column under the panel do something? Or must I go and get my car re-set at the dealer or my shop? I think they do it for free at least so itís just my time. Interesting concept that thing called time. I donít claim to understand all of it but I do know the time I spend, sitting at the dealership, waiting, on my weekend, will not be refunded.
Love your Volvo often.
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Old 09-12-2011, 08:22 PM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Northern Kentucky
Posts: 36

Just an update: I went to a local "Upullandpay" in Cincinnati and found a working driver's side seatbelt for my 96 850. (from the same year car, but belts looked the same from 93 to 97). After removing the trim, I removed bolts A (14mm) and B (Torx 30) (see photo)
Seatbelt replacement with photo
and the bottom bolt (12mm) holding the tail end of the belt under the seat, took it home, installed it and it's working fine. I disconnected the negative battery terminal first, and then reconnected when done with the installation.
Pretty good deal. About an hour of my time and $10 for a working seatbelt, as opposed to $227.79 new online (wholesale, supposedly), plus shipping.
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