Seat Belt Buckle | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Seat Belt Buckle


January 24, 2002
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City, State
Hayward, California (East Bay)
Year, Model & Trim Level
1996 XLT
I have a 1996 XLT, with a drivers side seat belt buckle that will not latch.

There is no information in my repair manuals that cover repairs to the selt belt assembly.

Can I fix it myself? Should I fix it myself? What do I need?


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Thanks - I never thought to buy a new one... but seriously I don't think I can go down to Pep Boys and pick up a new buckle, but maybe I should find out.

I can't find a way to remove the broken buckle assembly, along with the wiring harness - oh well I might as well go to the dealer (OH NO - NOT THE DEALER).

You may be able to buy one through I agree with Howard, don't cheap out on something that is there to save your life in an accident.

Here's the procedure to replace it(96 and 97 should be similar):


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belt 2


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belt 3


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belt 4


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belt 5


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I bought a new buckle assembly (part #3 in pic #3) for $50 at Ford. They even still had it in blue to match my interior. Easy to replace too.

Safe once again

Went to the dealer and spent the $50.00 for buckle assembly. Relatively easy to install - after you remove the seat :D

Thanks for the quick responses (great pix dogfriend).

As always safety was my first concern.

Thanks again.

Same part is now $75 and change at the Ford shop, new. Zing....

Just in case anyone else is looking for a cheap fix on the same issue. Like may others, my driver's side seat belt buckle spring had failed. Try as might, nobody makes a replacement spring. My guess is folks like Dorman won't touch it for legal reasons. Unlike Honda, Ford will not service these seat belt buckles free of charge. I didn't want a junkyard or used buckle as it would have the same failure eventually. I did find a free work around:

Go to your Ford dealer and ask for a seat belt extender. Mine was free and had an almost identical spring. Part number E3FZ61611C22B EXTENSION came in a bag marked NOT FOR RESALE. You can find folks selling them on eBay for $10 and up.

After opening up the new belt buckle, I did have to use tin snips to cut an 1/8" from the end of this new spring. My belt buckle is as good as new now and makes the Explorer feel safe again.