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Yet another seatbelt thread


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#1 Roadrage

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 10:46 AM

I am sure this is answered somewhere in the forums, but I'm in a situation. I just bought the car (89) in Florida and am driving home to Michigan. First time owning a Starquest since a very short ownership in 1993. The seatbelts worked when I started driving, but a couple door stops later, the driver seatbelt is stuck in the forward position. I kept driving with it in that position and it suddenly moved rearward about 3 inches and stopped again. When I opened the door it went forward and is now not moving again. What should I be checking and can you provide any pictures of what I'm looking at? I'm limited in tools and trying to look at images on my cell which isnt making it any easier. Tahnks for any help!





#2 techboy

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 11:22 AM

There's a control module that is underneath the stereo in the center of the car.  The contacts on that might be dirty, although it doesn't sound like that's the issue to me, and won't be able to get to it without some phillips heads anyway.  What is more likely is that the track is dirty that the seat belt rides along.  The trim molding can be pulled off and all that stuff can be cleaned up, but I'm not sure your gonna be able to mess with it and clean up well without some standard tools and some time.  Had the car been sitting for awhile?  And how does the passenger side work?  That'll tell you if it's an electrical issue or physical issue.
1988 Starion ESi-R ... crushed by a tree 10/31/11 - back from the dead 8/2016
1988 Conquest TSi ... current driver - sold to Bigjoe 6/2016
1987 Conquest Flatty ... F/S thread - sold 8/2014
1987 Conquest TSi ... parts car - sold to Coldscrip 12/2011
1999 Eclipse 4G63 ... heavily modified.
Feeback Thread | Motor rebuild thread | Restoration thread

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#3 Roadrage

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 12:47 PM

The passenger side works fine, the vehicle was used regularly with no prior issues. I do have a few tools so I can do some light work on it.

#4 techboy

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 01:58 PM

I'm certainly not a pro or the authority on seat belt issues b/c I've been fortunate enough to never have any with these cars.  But I did restore one of these things and I remember the tracks were pretty nasty in my 30 year old beast and really needed to be cleaned up.  Since your passenger works, it doesn't seem like an electrical issue to me.  You probably tried this already, but maybe pick up some silicone spray or even WD-40 and see if that helps things out.  Good luck.  Hopefully you can get the seat belt to come all the way back.  Too many people driving while on cell phones these days to risk your life without a belt.

Edited by techboy, 20 November 2020 - 01:58 PM.

1988 Starion ESi-R ... crushed by a tree 10/31/11 - back from the dead 8/2016
1988 Conquest TSi ... current driver - sold to Bigjoe 6/2016
1987 Conquest Flatty ... F/S thread - sold 8/2014
1987 Conquest TSi ... parts car - sold to Coldscrip 12/2011
1999 Eclipse 4G63 ... heavily modified.
Feeback Thread | Motor rebuild thread | Restoration thread

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#5 croquest87

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 03:02 PM

There are also 2 what l call limit switches mounted on the track(one on each end ) . Perhaps contacts on those two should be cleaned.l would clean up and grease all contacts .Test it all real good before you wrap it up lol. So you dont have to do it all over again.
How would l know this? Lol

Edited by croquest87, 20 November 2020 - 03:06 PM.


#6 BC_99

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 06:51 PM

Unlikely that it’s the seatbelt control module behind the radio on top of the tunnel.. but you need to access the harness that is plugged into it to test continuity in the harness...but Ive never seen a bad seatbelt control unit.

I went through some really tough issues with my belts. It is a big long circuit that runs through the entire interior of the car... roof, floor, behind the dash, under the carpet, center console for the emergency releases, inside the doors....everywhere! Any broken wire or bad ground in there can cause weird issues.. I had some mouse chewed wires behind the dash.

Off the top of my head, I can tell you that there is a circuit in the door latch inside the door, that controls their signal for movement... the limit switches really only tell the seatbelt motor when to stop at each end... it might be that, but I find that unlikely..unless its just loose and broke the circuit... your best bet is to get the fsm and start reading... get it home and get ready to get really familiar with a multimeter and continuity checks. I took me and another guy 3 full weekends of testing to get my issue sorted out... we ended up pulling the entire interior out of the car. Hopefully you don’t have to do that... but be prepared to.

BC

Edited by BC_99, 21 November 2020 - 06:37 AM.

Steering coupler replacement U-Joints are available here...
http://www.starquest...howtopic=145280

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#7 mikec

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 02:34 AM

The limit switches are the most common problem.  There is one in the "A" pillar cover ("A" pillar is the body post alongside the windshield) near the top; the other one is underneath the leather interior panel between the door window and triangular side windows.  Basically, they are at the ends of the slot the motorized mouse follows.  With the door closed, key ON (engine doesn't have to be started), and the window down, smack the leather panel behind the headrest.  If the mouse moves at all, odds are that switch is gummed up.  Usually it can be cleaned with simple electrical parts cleaner or TV Tuner cleaner.  Don't use carburetor or brake cleaner as those can affect the plastic too much.  You'll have to remove the switch from the car to do this however.

If you hear a beep tone when the belt stops, that indicates the controller module thinks something is jamming/blocking the mechanism (i.e. it's afraid a human body part is in the way) and it's stopping the belt for safety.  The moving mouse part is attached to a toothed plastic strip (inside the bodywork); this strip looks somewhat like the edges of movie film.  Eventually, the plastic strip delaminates or otherwise comes apart - imagine shredded carbon fiber or shredded fiberglass - which clearly is going to jam/wedge/snag on the guides.  This generally happens on the driver side first as it gets more cycles than the passenger side.  When the controller senses a jam or blockage while moving the mouse, it triggers a not-very-loud tone, stops the motor, and waits a couple of seconds.  It then re-powers the motor and tries again.  If you grab the moving mouse part and pull it in the direction it needs to go (i.e. help it) you may get it to move past whatever is restricting the belt and it'll then continue to the full travel stop.  This typically means the toothed strip needs cleaning and lubrication... or replacement if it's started shredding/delaminating.

The motor assembly is at the very bottom/rear of the door opening, underneath the lowest interior trim panel by the rear seats.  Belts that have jammed frequently, or simply haven't been lubricated in a while so friction is excessive, may strip the little sprocket holes in the strip at the motor.  This too means replacing the plastic strip.

To access stuff (motor, rear travel limit switch) you need to remove a fair bit of the rear seat interior stuff:
* Look at the rear seat bottom/footwell area, you should see two small plastic bits that cover screws.  Pry them off and undo the screws.  Now the rear seat bottom should tilt upwards and then pull out as you feed the seat belts through their holes.
* Look at the retracter mechanism for the rear seat lap belts: see the beefy bolt holding it?  Remove that and the belt mechanism.
* Now, with the door open, pull the weatherstripping seal from the bottom/rear corner of the door opening out from underneath the plastic door sill plate, then slip it off the bodywork.  Go about half-way up the door opening - you don't need to remove all of it.
* Look for bolts/screws at the top/rear and bottom/rear corners of the lowest interior side trim pane (the "quarter trim panel" as Mitsu service manuals refer to it), then pull the panel forwards to remove it.
* There will be a leather flap hanging from the "lap-round trim" panel (the shoulder padding) exposed when you remove the quarter trim panel.  Lift it and remove the two screws it hides.  Then slide the lap-round trim panel forwards and downwards (I think it was... it's been a while since I've done this!) since it has two metal clips holding it to the bodywork.
* On the uppermost panel ("upper quarter trim") there is a screw covered by a round button - pry the button open and remove the screw.  There is another screw underneath the coat hanger clip.  Remove both of them and the panel should wiggle out.  It will be held by the panel that runs along the ceiling just in front of the rear hatch (the "roll bar trim" as Mitsu calls it).  The roll bar trim is held by typical plastic bodywork clips along the rear window edge and by metal tabs along the front - i.e. it removes by prying the back edge downwards (breaking those ancient and dried-out clips) and then pulls backwards to undo the front edge.  Generally you don't have to remove this to get the upper quarter trim panel off... but you may have to pop out the back corner a bit.  Use a bodywork "trim stick" which is a plastic spatula with a "V" notch in the end; the "V" is supposed to surround the clips and help turn/squeeze them as you pry.

At this point, you should be able to see the upper part of the plastic strip track/guides and the travel limit switch.  If the bug is in the motor area, look where you removed the lower quarter trim panel... pull back any "vapor barrier" plastic to see the motor.  To remove it, you'll have to use the trim stick to pry up the plastic door sill plate... likely breaking another bunch of dried-out clips.

It's easier than it sounds; it probably took me longer to type this than it would take somebody to actually do these steps a second time... it's slower the first time as you learn and go carefully.  I don't think you have to remove the rear seat backs... just flip them down to get them out of the way.  As I said, it's been a while since I did this type of work.

The fabric/felt cover on the "A" pillar just snaps to the bodywork... pry it off with the trim stick.  Expect to bust a couple little fasteners along the way.

Silicon spray from a rattle can works well to lubricate the track.  You can get about half of the track through the moving-mouse rubber slot... for the rest though you have to remove the rear interior stuff.  Do this sometime when you can leave the car parked for a day or two with the windows down... it'll have a bit of a smell for a while.

The toothed plastic strip is something that can't be bought new... originally Mitsu sold it as a package with the guide/track pieces.  Probably expensive back then when it was available too.  So used is your only option to replace one that is coming apart.  Another option is to convert the moving mouse shoulder belt into a door mounted setup using parts from the 1986 models.  Basically, a retracter mechanism was located in the door, a slot in the interior door panel let the belt out, and there was a guide/ring at the top/rear corner of the door that held the belt with the end anchored near the center console.  Note that the stock moving-mouse setup includes a "backup" function where you use the Allen-wrench like tool clipped to the inside of the glove compartment door (if it's still there) to unscrew the shoulder belt from the mouse and instead attach it to the top/rear corner of the door after removing the tall/skinny triangular trip piece.  That same tool includes a Phillips-ish screwdriver top for the two screws on that trim piece.  The conversion is described in the owners manual as the work-around for failed seat belts.

The site's FAQ section has a few posts about the seat belts too.  I've probably typed this same basic message a few times previously...

mike c.




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