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L322 - 2005, 2006 na, 2012 sc
498 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My seatbelt was stuck after I folded the rear seat forward while working on the fuel pump. Trying to get the seat back into the upright position took longer than the fuel pump replacement.

I searched, searched and searched on this issue and not one single solution outside of cutting the seatbelt or dismantling the seats - My turn to give back, solution below.

There is nothing wrong with your seatbelt retractor / rewinder or anything else if the seatbelt won't return after you folded the rear seat down and now it's preventing you from opening the seat back up again because it's stuck. After reading every post on the internet on rear seats not opening up after being folded due to seat belts, and not the latch, I started seeing a pattern. The problem is not exclusive to Rovers and the advice to cut the seatbelt is stupid. Replacing the seatbelt retractor would take hours if done at home or well over $500 in a shop due to both the top and bottom cushion needing to be torn apart to reinstall a new belt/rewinder. One look at the RAVE manual at having to remove seat covers was enough to make me want to find another way...

After reviewing every schematic of a seat belt retractor and how they lock made me realize something - The retractor is doing exactly what it's supposed to do. Think of the orientation of the retractor when the seat is folded down, it's facing in the same direction as the g force when you apply the breaks or hit something. It's designed to lock when the force exceeds a pre-set amount. Once locked, it will not unlock until the force has been removed. It's locked because it's supposed to be locked when in that position. The trouble is, poor design results in the rear seats not being able to be restored to the normal position after being being folded up. Again, this is not due to latch issues, if your seatbelt is not locked, this is not your issue. Also, I would be very careful about exercising your seat belt when your seats are folded in that position.

The solution - If your seat belt is locked and your rear seat is in a folded position where the retractor is in the seatback, such as the L322 Range Rover here are the steps:
First, if you have not already done so, repeatedly tug on the seatbelt and feel on the seat back where the retractor is behind the seat frame. It's in the center of the rear seat back, very close to the arm rest.
Remove the rear seat - Two bolts on front side of seat under finishing pieces. Two nuts under the seat, only accessible when seat is folded up.
If you have the cold weather package, make sure you disconnect the wiring connector toward the middle of the rear seat near the center hinge.
Flip the seat over 180 degrees so bottom of rear seat back is facing down
Knock on the back side of the seat where the retractor is while repeatedly trying to pull out the seat belt. The retractor will yield, just about the time you are about to give up and cut the thing off. Your seat belt will once again be free.

Future - I read a suggestion in another post where the gentlemen would always buckle the center seat belt prior to folding the seat. That way if it gets stuck, all you need to do is release the seat belt and you have plenty of slack.

I hope you find this useful. Len
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