Seat Belts in the Vauxhall Cavalier

My seat belt has become very fussy. I have had to wiggle and curse the clip to get it into the female receptacle. Today I could not insert it at all without the aid of a pen knife blade. My wife wasn't too happy about this situation and I got my orders.

"Fix it!"

I nipped down to Nigel's Vauxhall Used Spares shop and purchased a seat belt lower thingy on a metal strap. It looked different but the seat belt clipped into it so it *had* to be right!

explosive seat belt

First problem was that the securing bolt that holds this receptacle to the seat is hard up against the central tunnel. I might have managed if it had been an ordinary hex bolt but pressing a piece of Blu-Tack against it revealed that it was a spline socket bolt. The seat had to come out. I unclipped the plastic mouldings around the base and discovered a thing that looked like a shock absorber. It had a warning notice so I read the service manual and fitted the plastic safety clip that was attached to it. That, apparently, made it safe.

Dangerous shock absorber

tightening bolt

Now I was able to remove the four 13mm hex head securing bolts. The rear one in the tunnel was a pig. It cracked and screamed but a long tube on the wrench got it out without snapping it. The bolts are all held with "Loctite" that makes them really stiff to remove.

When I finally got the seat out of the car, I realised that the seat belt receptacle was attached to the "shock absorber" thing via a bowden cable!!

I read the manual and discovered that the dangerous shock absorber was actually an exploding piston assembly. In the event of a collision, it explodes outwards and tightens the cable, pulling the seat belt in by a few centimetres. Guess what a new one was going to cost? No, I didn't even bother to ask.

Spline socket required

finished fitting seat belt

Having stripped the exploding piston assembly off the seat (it's held with an aluminium rivet) I was able to fit the earlier type of seat belt receptacle. It has a steel strap instead of the cable and must be fitted with its own bolt, shouldered spacer and anti-rattle "wavy wsher". It has to be bent towards the seat.

Now the seat could be fitted back into the car. I didn't think it was necessary to add fresh Loctite as the bolts were incredibly stiff to turn.

What a sod of a job and all because some tiny thing inside the seat belt receptacle broke!

Earlier belt receptacle fits

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