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MG MGF Technical - Seatbelt Stalk

Hi All,

The passenger side seat belt stalk (the little socket bit) on my '96 MGF has broken. Is it true that I can only get a replacement direct of rover? Ive spoken to them and they say its different on each model (i.e. i cant just pinch one off any old rover) and it costs 78+VAT.

Seems a bit steep to me.

Thanks
Jeff
J Sault 1

Jeff - I had the same problem on the Drivers side on my 96 F over a year ago now. The reason you need a new one is that the seat belt stalk also has the pretensioner in it linked to the SRS system, which I guess is MGF at least, specific. With VAT it cost me 91 to buy. I fitted it myself. Takes about 10 minutes (need Torx driver. Can't remember the size) to remove the seat to get at the bolt but don't forget to disable the system first by disconnecting the battery and waiting a while (I think the book says 30 mins or so). Because you are disconnecting the battery you will need the stereo code and to re-synchronise the door locks and plipper afterwards.

Regards, Alan
axdunsta

Jeff,

The seatbelt clip is indeed MGF/TF specific and contains the pretensioner mechanism - this is why it is expensive.

To replace you need to disable the airbag system (disconnect battery (both terminals) an leave for a good 10-15 minutes) remove the seat (4x T50 Torx bolts) and remove the old one (1x T50 Torx bolt + 1x multiplug under the seat base).

They normally stop latching onto the belt buckle, this is a fatigue faliure of the internal mechanism and i knw of one person who has had success by dismantling the old one and working out what the actual problem is. You can also get cheaper replacements from some of the MGF specific breakers.

However, given that the seatbelt is life saving equipment in the car, do you really want to do a DIY repair, or fit one that potentially could have been involved in an acident already?

There are step-by-step details on how to do this job on my website - http://www.sfforever.co.uk - in the rebuild gallery, under 'seats'.

HTH

SF
Scarlet Fever

As regards disconnecting the battery and waiting 10 mins - I recall happily just unplugging the connectors on the yellow cables under the seat, removing seat from car, changing cover and replacing.

Surely the airbag/tensioner circuit cannot be live unless the car is running?

So what is the risk/likelyhood of you having a problem.

jt
John Thomas

Yep, easy job - did it earlier this year. I confess I did remove one terminal from the battery but did feel a bit of a girl!

Try Victoria at the MGF Centre - I got 2 new ones for about the price of one from Rover. I replaced both on the basis that if one has failed the other can't be far behind.

On the safety issue, these are designed to be fitted by production line workers and car mechanics - it can't therefore be hard or dangerous!

On a more seriuos note, I believe the seat belt and airbag have a low current passing thorugh them whenever the car is running. If their is a break in any of the services then the SRS light will come on on the dash. In a crash I understand a large current is passed that burns through the wire and sets off the explosive (very high tech!).

Therefore on completion of your fiting if the SRS light is not on, you have done the job properly!
Patrick Beet

Jeff - IIRC, there are a number of people who've posted here and on the general board who have 'spare' seat belt pretensioners following seat upgrades. They may be able to pass these on to you for a small sum?
Rob Bell

Jeff,

Rob is right.. I am one of those who have "spare" seat belt tensioners with the belt socket thing attached... however, I don't think they'll fit your '96 wiring loom as mine are from an 04 TF after MGR changed the wiring I believe :-(

Email me (so I can get your address) and I will email back a picture of the connector... mine are yellow - chances are yours will be red and the two don't match. I was advised by folks on here not to just cut the cables and put the older style connectors on just in case MGR had been up to something with the cables :-) That's why, when doing my seat upgrade I ended up re-using my old pre-tensioners.

Chris
Chris Tromans

Thanks for the offer Chris, but I spoke to Rover when it first broke and they wanted to know the year the car was made so Im pretty sure they differ from the MGF mk1 and mk2 - I'd imagine theyre totally different to the TF.

Can someone direct me to "the MGF Centre" - do they have a website? Either that or any MGF specialist breakers, preferably in S Wales (unless they post items).

Thanks again
Jeff
J Sault 1

>> Thanks for the offer Chris, but I spoke to Rover when it first broke and they wanted to know the year the car was made so Im pretty sure they differ from the MGF mk1 and mk2 - I'd imagine theyre totally different to the TF. <<

Not strictly speaking true. The TF recieved a new wiring loom (the same time, I think, that the TF alarm system changed, along with a new fuse box etc) some time in '03. Cars built, certainly through to '02, have similar SRS looms - useful, as I was able to fit TF seats into my '96 F, complete with pretensioners, with no problems.

For the record - to my knowledge there are three different wiring looms fitted to the F/TF:
1. the Mk1 loom fitted until the introduction of the MY2000 model year MGF in 1999
2. The MY2000 Mk2 wiring loom - fitted to all cars from 1999 until some point in 2003 (Dieter - are you able to confirm?)
3. The Mk3 loom, complete with revised SRS wiring loom and new alarm system.

HTH
Rob Bell

PS URL for MGFC is http://www.mgfcentre.com/
Rob Bell

JT wrote...

>> As regards disconnecting the battery and waiting 10 mins - I recall happily just unplugging the connectors on the yellow cables under the seat, removing seat from car, changing cover and replacing.

Surely the airbag/tensioner circuit cannot be live unless the car is running? <<

Yep, i have done this myself in the past with no undue effects. I have also seen a steering wheel airbag unplugged and plugged back in whilst 'live'. Again, no problems.

However, the disabling the system details are from the workshop manual, so MGR feel there is a risk of accidental deplyment (or a risk of being sued!). If you advised someone on a forum such as this to not bother wih the battery disconnection and there was a deployment (which may cause injury), not only would there be a liability issue, there is also the question of your conscience. I know i'd find it hard to live with.

However small the risk, according to the workshop manual it is there. So i always advise to disable the system first.

In practice it isn't an issue, disconnecting the battery is easy enough and it takes a good 10 minutes or so to undo the 4 seat bolts (why are they soooooo long?) ;-)

It's a case of 'best advice'.

SF
Scarlet Fever

The integrity of the seat belt buckle is a requirement of the vehicle meeting the relevant ECE )R16).

If the buckle falls apart, then Rover (or Rover's supplier) has a problem - potentially of recall sized proportions.

I'd put that to your scummy rover dealer. Should get it under warranty.

The PBPs have a little diagnostic pulse fired through them by the SDM. This is what turns the SRS light on when you disconnect a PBP or an Airbag it detects abnormally high or low resistance.
Don't worry about the 30 min waiting time. That's bollox.
also a precrashed PBp should be obvious, the thing should be half the length it used to be....
Ace Freely

>> The integrity of the seat belt buckle is a requirement of the vehicle meeting the relevant ECE )R16).

If the buckle falls apart, then Rover (or Rover's supplier) has a problem - potentially of recall sized proportions. <<

Thanks, interesting bit of legislation.

But...

>> I'd put that to your scummy rover dealer. Should get it under warranty. <<

The car in question is a 1996 MGF, an 8 year old car surely isn't covered by any manufacturers' warrantee?

And...

>> The PBPs have a little diagnostic pulse fired through them by the SDM. This is what turns the SRS light on when you disconnect a PBP or an Airbag it detects abnormally high or low resistance. <<

Also very interesting.

But...

>> Don't worry about the 30 min waiting time. That's bollox. <<

Bollox or not, that's what the workshop manual says. I assume you want to be held liable then if someone follows your advice? It's not a question of it being right or wrong, it's a question of liability (and conscience). You just need to be a bit cagey when advising people on forums, its a case of do as i say, rather than i do if you know what i mean.

Lastly...

>> also a precrashed PBp should be obvious, the thing should be half the length it used to be.... <<

Not all accident damaged cars have the pretensioners and airbags deployed. My F was nearly written off last year* and the SRS system didn't deploy in it during the accident. Visually, the parts when looked out out of context of the car, had no signs of being in an accident at all, but would you trust them if you knew they had been involved in an accident severe enough for the assessor to write the car off?

SF

* = Insurance assessor wrote it off, i argued with the insurers for 6 months and eventually got them to relent and fund the repair.
Scarlet Fever

Jeff for your information I travel from Newport up to the MGF Centre in under two hours, also the owners are away on holiday this week, however I think Carl is there to take and send orders

Jon
Jon (NSE 81V )

Your car may be old, but without the buckle working effectively, Rover are pretty much submitting the passenger to a seating position that does not meet the necessary regulations. They are directly putting your passenger in danger.

The 30sec delay was implemented back when the car required the firing circuit capacitors to 'wind down'. Most systems no longer work this way.

More important for PBP/Airbag workshop practice is to never pick one up with the deployment surface facing you. Never leave them on a bench face down. And don't play with the terminals (these are shorted out by little bars once the connector is um.. disconnected but you never know). For PBPs don't carry them around by the stalk, don;t carry them covering the end of the firing/cable tube (unless you want two 4mm cables through your palm.

Enjoy.


Ace Freely

>> Your car may be old, but without the buckle working effectively, Rover are pretty much submitting the passenger to a seating position that does not meet the necessary regulations. They are directly putting your passenger in danger. <<

True, but the same can be said for say, an MGB with a defective seatbelt - does this make Rover liable under a long since expired warrantee? Likewise fo say a 1970 XJS with a defective seatbelt, i'm sure that if you tried to get this replaced for free at a Jag dealership they would laugh in your face.

Bottom line, things wear out. This doesn't mean they are defective, simply old and / or worn.

Defective within the warrantee period (fit for purpose) is firmly within the manufacturers' ball park, but after the warrantee has expired? Surely this is just wear and tear?

SF
Scarlet Fever

This thread was discussed between 24/09/2004 and 29/09/2004

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