Seat belt replacements. OEM versus aftermarket without release lever.

jimsmonte80

jimsmonte80

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Aug 22, 2011
47
8
I have a 1980 Monte Carlo which I have purchased aftermarket seat belts for. There are plenty of aftermarket seat belt manufactures out there, and there is OPGI which claim to have OEM style seat belts. My issue is with the release lever that is operated with the door closing and opening. The new aftermarket seat belts do not use this lever. So my question is, do I care? Does OPGI utilize this lever since aftermarket seat belts do not? Just curious on other thoughts about removing this lever release and blocking it off.
 
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WV CHEVY MANN

WV CHEVY MANN

Greasemonkey
Sep 15, 2018
243
43
West Virginia
I have a 1980 Monte Carlo which I have purchased aftermarket seat belts for. There are plenty of aftermarket seat belt manufactures out there, and there is OPGI which claim to have OEM style seat belts. My issue is with the release lever that is operated with the door closing and opening. The new aftermarket seat belts do not use this lever. So my question is, do I care? Does OPGI utilize this lever since aftermarket seat belts do not? Just curious on other thoughts about removing this lever release and blocking it off.
I am at the same place your are with my 1980 Malibu. If you check my post yesterday to the forum there were a lot of good responses. Hope this helps your decide ....
 
jimsmonte80

jimsmonte80

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Aug 22, 2011
47
8
I am at the same place your are with my 1980 Malibu. If you check my post yesterday to the forum there were a lot of good responses. Hope this helps your decide ....
I guess I am trying to decide about eliminating the release level in the door jam. Besides rewebbing my belt and reusing my old hardware, does anyone actually have an OEM style seat belt that utilizes the release level? Or am I just being difficult and I need to remove an old release level that just is not needed anymore?
 
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Reactions: WV CHEVY MANN
WV CHEVY MANN

WV CHEVY MANN

Greasemonkey
Sep 15, 2018
243
43
West Virginia
I guess I am trying to decide about eliminating the release level in the door jam. Besides rewebbing my belt and reusing my old hardware, does anyone actually have an OEM style seat belt that utilizes the release level? Or am I just being difficult and I need to remove an old release level that just is not needed anymore?
What I have been trying to figure out also. Sorry I cannot help as I am in the exact same boat with you on what to do and how to do it......
 
Ribbedroof

Ribbedroof

Comic Book Super Hero
Supporting Member
Jan 4, 2009
2,901
113
Wellston, OK
I posted in WV CHEVY MANN's thread my thoughts, which I'll rehash here....

I personally like the release lever. The way it is supposed to function is to relieve the belt tension when door is closed. This allows you to leave a little slack in the belt for comfort. When door is opened, tension is applied to the retracrtor assembly, which allows the belt to return to the retractor assembly in the inner panel of the quarter (or B pillar on sedans/wagons). One of the things GM got "right", IMO.

For drag racing, you want belts that are tight to keep you in place in tht event of a mishap. For regular driving, not so much. I don't advocate having feet of slack in the shoulder harness, just enough to relieve the constant pull against you. Bugs the daylights out of me every time I drive a "new" car.

To my knowledge nobody manufactures a true OE style replacement, using the release levers. And why would they? Small market, and half the existing owners want to replace them rather than repair the system. Add to that the huge liability exposure of manufacturing a safety-related item, and it doesn't make sense for most aftermarket manufacturers.

The OE assembly, with fresh webbing, should work as intended. Most people never really consider their belts, but if you compare your original belts to the belts in a new car, you'll see just how stiff/frayed/dirty they get. This in turn causes problems with the force required to allow the belt to be drawn back into the assembly.
 
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oldsmobile joe

Royal Smart Person
Nov 12, 2015
1,018
113
mpls
i like having the ability to provide a little slack in the belt. all of my cars are the early years with the higher mounting position on the "b" pillar, which seam to ride just a little higher on the neck than the later years.
 

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