Electrical - 2nd Gen Jackrabbit Seatbelt Question | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)

Electrical 2nd Gen Jackrabbit Seatbelt Question

Discussion in 'Safety & Security' started by john ready, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. john ready

    john ready New Member

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    I just bought a clean 1996 LX Wagon with 45,000 actual miles on it. Nice little 5 speed, A.C. car. Mocha Frost Metallic.

    The jackrabbit seatbelts work fine, as intended.

    My question is this:

    Is it possible to rewire these things so they are connected to the lap belt latch wiring so that the darn things move forward when I unlatch the lap portion, and move to the rear position when I latch the lap belt?

    If you get my drift, I want them to actuate only when I put the lap belt on, and disengage when I disconnect the lap belt.

    My reasoning is three fold:

    Wear reduction, leading to longer useful life of the track due to avoidance of unnecessary movement. I don't need the belt to go back and forth if I am moving the car in the driveway, that type of thing.

    Annoyance reduction, I really find these things to be pretty damn stupid.

    Safety, I would have two options: Both the lap and shoulder belts "on" and working, or not. None of this finding out the passenger is only half buckled in, or forgetting my own lap belt. These belts are about the dumbest idea I have ever seen in a car.

    Thanks for any input. I will take a look at the wiring schematic, but since there is a switch in the lap belt latch, it ought to be fairly easy? Has anyone tried this? I don't want to source a Canadian Escort and go for a totally manual situation, my belts are functioning as they were designed...

    If I do this and can make it work, I will post how I accomplished it.

    Other than these stupid seat belts, the car is a gem and fun to drive.

    I do have some concerns about the intake valve seats, but it runs cool and I will just cross my fingers. Maybe I can do the seats when I do the timing belt, but an extra $600 to fix Ford's mistake? Ford stinks for putting out a motor that self destructs due to a design and manufacturing defect. Shame on them.

    What per cent of these engines self destruct due to these faulty valve seats?
  2. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I would say its a very small percentage of engines that suck an inlet valve seat, but then again there may have been no such failures in the first ten years of an Escort's life; which means the problem would sort of fall off the list of the "issues they would worry about". I now wish I had gotten the inlet valve seats replaced with regular steel ones when I had the heads off, of the 5 Escorts engines I have rebuilt. It suspect it will be a problem that continues to happen, as the engines see more years and more thermal torture from normal driving.
    As for the auto-belts: Dont tell the local policemen, but I find it nice to be able to get in the car, shut the door, and drive away, with it looking like my seat belt is fastened - though the lap may not be. I always put the lap belt on before getting onto a main road, but seldom for driving on side streets in small towns.
    Anyway, some day the driver's side auto-belt will get stuck and jam halfway. Then you get to work it to the rear-most position, undo the connector for its motor, and ever afterward putting that belt on manually, or sliding it over your head as you get in.
    As for whether you can mod the system to make it behave as you describe, be aware there is a 'control module' for the auto belts in the car.
    It would be nice is some manufacturer or aftermarket parts, like Dorman, would begin selling repro copies of the belt mechanisms, probably made in some suburb of a smoggy Chinese city. I would even be happy if Dorman or whoever made copies of the Canadian belt system for Escorts.
  3. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Notice how the dash light and beeper coordinate with you plugging/unplugging the lap belt ? The sensors are already there, it's just a matter of figuring out how to access them. The brains for the seatbelt system is under the driver's seat. It operates the belt based upon the latch inside the door. They probably all run back to that black box under the driver seat. So if you have a wiring schematic you're already 80% there.

    Unless you're in a year-round warm climate, recommend unplugging the driver belt's motor during the colder and especially frigid months of late-Fall through early-Spring. Kanak also has the good idea of using a turkey baster or similar tool, to squeeze a ton of lithium grease up into the track area. Keep the cable well lubed and it prolongs it's life.

    Smart. :) Many, many, many times I've had to remind passengers to buckle their lap belts.


    I don't know. Most probably get wrecked or need an automatic transmission. As you apparently already know, not running it hot or overheating it; maintaining the cooling system & hydraulic roller lifters are key. Original head with 300+ no seat drop. But it has been run "cold" and hadn't "ignored" any bad lifters for too, too long.

    Let us know what you come up with. Pictures are always a plus. http://www.skydrive.com/ http://imageshack.us/
  4. Escort LXR

    Escort LXR Customizer

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    Actually there is a switch on the inside of the door frame that pushes in when the door is shut. all you need to do is find a way to move that switch from the inside of the door to the inside of the lap belt fastener. and wala!
  5. chestypuller

    chestypuller making the wifes commuter better

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    Ya them seatbelts are a bad joke..

    i got 4 escorts and 1 of them has the valve seat issue that i know of, but only have had 3 of the heads off.
  6. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I think its a very small percentage of engines that drop valve seats, but it may continue to slowly increase with enough use. Even those Escort engines can usually be rebuilt easily though. I have done it twice, on my 93LX and 94LX's that I bought from disappointed prior owners. In my case I was able to re-use the head on the 93, plus had to replace two pistons in each engine.

    My limited experience is that most any car will have unfortunate failure modes that happen after enough years and enough miles. I could cite examples of antique & postwar cars that have well known failure events (and no easy workarounds) - that owners of collectible cars today just have to live with.

    Next summer I may take the head off my 91LX or 92LX or both, just to get the inlet valve seats replaced with new ones. Neither has had a valve seat failure yet. Doing the fix may hopefully give me more peace of mind when using them for long drives, and perhaps last another 21 years before it would happen again.

    I think the Escort type of seatbelts would be fine - if they had continued to work. For my Escorts where the belts still work - I enjoy being able to get into the car, shut the door, and have it look like my seatbelt is fastened - though I may not connect the lapbelt if I am alone in the car and driving on residential streets. After all, I began driving in 1960 when cars didnt have seatbelts, and spent 36 years of my career commuting mostly on a motorcycle.

    I have dealt with businesses that rebuild seat belt retractor units, but I dont think they tackle the Escort jackrabbit belts yet.
    Escort LXR likes this.

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