Lexus LS Seat Belts

wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
The seat belts in my '95 would not readily retract so bought new ones and just completed the installation.

I completely disassembled one of the old ones and now I maybe know the cause.

The front seat belts in the 95 LS have a dual-speed gearbox within the retractor/tensioner assembly.

It has two clock springs that are used to retract the seat belt, a light duty low tension spring and a heavier duty high tension spring.

The retractor uses a solenoid actuated escapment to shift between the two tension springs.

The idea seems to be to use the STRONG spring until the belt is buckled and then lock the strong spring in place and only rely on the light duty spring.

The problem is, apparently, the escapment gets stuck in the low tension position, maybe due to the solenoid armnature becoming permanently magentized.

If you have this problem my suggestion would be to remove the "electric tension reducer" connections to each front seat belt that enables the retractors to "shift" into the low tension mode. Then pull the belt out to the fully extended position 3 or 4 times to be sure the escapment unlocks. With the connection open you will always be using the high tension spring but that's better than paying $300 for a new set of seat belt retractors as I just did.

PIC is of a fully disassembled driver's side front seat belt retractor from a 1995 LS400.


  • pensionpension Member Posts: 7
    Just bought a 95 - same problem. I Googled it and found that Lexus have done this for free for some people. I intend to pursue that with them - this is a safety issue and should be subject to a recall.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    If you don't have a long service history with a Lexus "store" it is unlikely they will do this for free.

    If not one of the things that will help would be to disconnect the electric connection to the retractor that "shifts" the retractor into low tension mode once the belt is buckled.

    It appeared to me that the electric solenoid used to "shift" the retractor had become permanently magnetized and so the retractor often remained "suck" in the low tension mode even with the belt unbuckled.

    Simply remove the lower/bottom cover on the inside of the "B" pillar and unplug the connection. Pry up the front and rear door sill covers first. After disconnecting, a few full extentions/release of the belt will generally result in the escapement releasing into high tension mode.
  • j7wildj7wild Member Posts: 14
    My 1992 LS 400 is doing the same thing.

    I goggled "LS 400 Seat Belt doesn't retract" and I found this thread.

    Did the solution you posted (unplugging the solenoid) worked, WWEST?

    I called several repair shops and they are telling me $450 to $565 to fix it by replacing the entire seat belt assembly.

    I seems no one can fix it without replacing the entire thing.
  • adrianptorresadrianptorres Member Posts: 3
    Call Lexus Customer Care, they will create an account for you and explain to them your safety concern. They will ask you to set up an appointment with your local lexus Dealer for a free diag and estimate. Then, if it needs to be replaced, they will send you an offer letter saying the Lexus corporate will pay for the repair as a warranty item. Then if you accept you can have it paid for and completed. Note, you can only do this one time with Lexus, so use it wisely. Don't use it for a car you think you will get rid of soon but for a car that you will hold on to for some time. Also, they do the same for the baby seat anchors and trunk release. It makes good buisness sense.
  • j7wildj7wild Member Posts: 14
    Lexus will pay for it as a warranty repair even for a car that's 20+ years old?
  • adrianptorresadrianptorres Member Posts: 3
    Yes, again it all depends on how you word your conversation. When you call Lexus Customer Care and discuss your experience, just state about the safety belts are a safety concern, you plan on using the car for a long time, can Lexus help me to replace these seatbelts. They will replace them on LS400. It makes sense to replace a $180 part and charge the dealership warranty labor rate of $45/hr to do so to keep their customers safe. Everyone wins.
  • j7wildj7wild Member Posts: 14
    This is the response I got from Lexus:

    Thank you for contacting Lexus Customer Satisfaction.

    We apologize for the concerns you have been experiencing with the seatbelts on your 1992 LS 400. Lexus makes every attempt to provide our customers with a quality product, and we will back the product against manufacturing defects with our warranty. The seatbelts are covered under warranty for 6 years or 70,000 miles, whichever comes first. Your vehicle has been outside of warranty for about 15 years. Once your vehicle is outside of these warranty parameters, Lexus is no longer obligated to assist with repairs. If you would like Lexus to review for possible assistance with repair costs outside of warranty, please provide us with some additional information: mailing address, daytime phone number, name of the Lexus dealership you were working with, and 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Once we obtain this information, we will forward your concern to a Case Manager who will perform a full review and will contact you by phone within five business days. We cannot guarantee any financial assistance, but we can certainly discuss your concerns by phone. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you. Sincerely - MICHELLE

    This is the response I got the next day when I open my email to email them my mailing address, phone number, VIN, etc

    In order for us to consider any possible assistance, you will need an inspection completed by a Lexus dealership. Without their diagnosis, we won't know the extend of your concerns and what type of repair needs to be completed.

    I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

    If you require further assistance, please respond to this e-mail, or contact Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 1-800-255-3987, Monday through Friday, 5:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M., or Saturday, 7:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., Pacific Time. Sincerely - DIANE
  • adrianptorresadrianptorres Member Posts: 3
    Great, now get an inspection done, to determine if they need to be replaced, and they will relay the info to Lexus Corp. and they will determine if they will assist in the repair. Explain to lexus dealership that the diag is requested by corporate and they should not charge you since they know that if they indicate that it needs to be replaced that corp will then sent an offer letter, in which you will receive credit at that dealership to replace your belts.
  • j7wildj7wild Member Posts: 14
    Thanks for all the advice and info.

    I am now waiting for Lexus Corporation to get back with me with a date to take my car in.

    My last email to them last Friday contained my VIN #, my phone # and I also told them which Lexus Dealer is nearest to me, only 3 miles away.

    I told them I am free to take the car in anytime they want.
  • hyeguy83hyeguy83 Member Posts: 1
    Have you received any info on the seatbelts? Did Lexus corp. replace them for you?
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