Tuesday, April 8, 2008


I broke the Lexus. Well, its driver seat belt retractor, anyway. I was trying to tighten it a bit more and to find out where the solenoid is that locks the high-tension retractor when the latch is buckled. Anyway, I was tightening the retractor, then there was a pop, and no tension whatsoever. Oops. I pulled off the cover that says "do not remove" and found that the piece that the metal retractor axle fits into, a piece of plastic, had broken. Yep, there's a piece of plastic that is holding your seatbelt to keep it from pulling out when you're in an accident. Plastic. Plastic that breaks when you overtighten the retractor. Plastic. At least, if you're in an LS400 (1990-1994), it's plastic. Makes you feel safe, eh? Oh, if you're going to try the "tighten your retractor spring" trick, be careful! I think the solenoid trick might be useful, just trace the wires up under the carpet and disconnect the smaller (white, I think) connector (the one with the smaller wires, not the one with the yellow and black wires which goes to the explosive seatbelt pretensioner, which cinches up the seatbelt if you're in an accident, assuming the plastic doesn't break).

Anyway, I'd called the local Lexus dealer a couple of days ago, and the seat belt (from Lexus) is $300, and they only come in grey now (the one in my car is an oak color). I've found one on eBay for $65 (plus $15 s/h), but it's black ("agate" - but it looks like black to me). I wonder, though... maybe I could buy that one and just use the retractor from it (i.e., replace the black seatbelt part with the oak one - or, more accurately, remove the black seatbelt from the retractor and replace the broken one on my Lexus with the one from eBay). It's a used one (near as I can tell), but if it retracts the seatbelt, that's all that really matters.

Frustration, frustration... maybe I should just start walking or biking everywhere.

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