2009 Dodge Viper SRT-10: Do the Un-Twist
July 22, 2010
Few things are more aggravating to me than a twisted seat belt -- at least in the automotive realm (don't get me started on stamped, unmailed letters...). This personal pet peeve weighed on me every time I drove our Long-Term 2009 Dodge Viper SRT-10. The driver's seat belt was twisted, and not in the "well, just flip it over" way but in the "looks like someone at the factoryscrewed up the seat belt installation" way.
After more than 10,000 miles ofmanaging the"twist" every time we buckled up (so it didn't fall across the middle of our collectivechests) I decided it was time to fix it.
The fix seemed simple enough. Just pull the bolt attaching the seat belt to the Viper's frame and flip it around. As Jeremy Clarkson might say, "How hard could it be?"
Well, first of all, said bolt is located in the narrow region between the driver's seat, the door sill and the cabin's rear wall. To even see the bolt you have to move the driver's seat all the way forward and then flip the seat back forward, too. At that point you can just reach the bolt -- assuming you're shouldersaren't NFL-specand your knees aren't retired NFL-spec(I barely quality on both counts). Once you reach the bolt you quickly realize it's neither aPhillips nor flathead affiar,but a Torx bolt -- a BIG Torx bolt. Do you keep big Torx drivers in your toolbox? Me neither. I tried the local hardware store first, then Home Depot, but still couldn't find a Torx driver inasize larger 40.I finally claimed the prize (Torx size 50)atHarbor Freight Tools for $2.99.
Removing the bolt proved challenging, given the tight quarters and tighter torque spec on the bolt. I had to get creative with vice grips to find any leverage, but once I did the bolt came out and the seat belt was free to flip around. You can see in the picturehow the vice grips slightlychewed upthe driver wheel included with the Torxkit. Beforere-attaching the boltI checked the passenger seat belt (which has never been twisted) to confirm the angle of the staggered mounting bracket and which side of the seat belt the buckle should sit on. Everything else was properlylined upon the driver's belt, it was just attached with the wrong side out (which further complicated getting at the bolt to loosen it).Maybe thisViper was built on a Friday afternoon...
Karl Brauer, Editor at Large @ 13,890 miles