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Jump seat seat belt failure

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by Alysashley79, Jan 25, 2015.

  1. Alysashley79

    Alysashley79 Member

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    #1 Alysashley79, Jan 25, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2015
    Had to slam on my brakes today to keep from allowing another car from hitting me (he ran a light) my son and daughter were both in the jump seats in the back (we didn't get hit and everyone's fine) but as I started to drive again my son said his harness wasn't working. I pulled over into a parking lot to take a look and the bottom where you'd tighten it up was completely in pieces. The strap was still attached at the top but no longer at the bottom. He's 7 and only weighs 56lbs. Makes me now question the safety of the jump seats now.

    Has as anyone else had any problems with any part of the buckles?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. KOL2000

    KOL2000 Member

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    Never had a problem and use them all the time. This is kinda important so could you post a pic to show the damage? Thanks!
     
  3. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    First, glad everyone's ok.

    Second, this seems odd. Since you slammed on the brakes, that would force them both into the backrest, right? So the belt shouldn't have experienced any undue forces.

    Not to sound accusatory, but is there just a minute possibility that it was accidentally fastened incorrectly, and a slight bit of force from you slamming on the brakes caused unusual forces resulting in it breaking?
     
  4. Alysashley79

    Alysashley79 Member

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    I added a pic. Sorry it's sideways.

    @todd my kids have been using the jump seats and buckling themselves into it since we took delivery nov 2013. I don't see how my son could have done this by fastening it incorrectly. When he first told me I assummed the plastic on the top broke not the entire housing on the bottom.
     
  5. KOL2000

    KOL2000 Member

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    Whoa.... This is not good.
     
  6. TesAus

    TesAus Member

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    Glad everyone was OK.

    Have you contacted Tesla to get them to inspect it? It is important that they have a chance to check it out in case something needs adjusting with your's or other cars.
     
  7. trbeals

    trbeals Member

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    You should contact the NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236 immediately, in addition to [email protected]. A seat belt failure is quite literally deadly serious and needs to be investigated.

    I do believe your description of the incident, but linear braking (i.e. braking without turning) should put relatively little force on a rear-facing seat belt -- less than strong forward acceleration (not that the physics here is complicated, but I do happen to have a PhD in physics). It's possible that the seat belt had failed earlier and your son only noticed it after the braking incident. Even then, it's still worrisome it failed.

    Please keep us posted, so we can make sure our kids are safe.
     
  8. Alysashley79

    Alysashley79 Member

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    ill be calling the service center first thing at 7am tomorrow. i know they'll get this resolved.

    i do t know about the NHTSA. I mean yes I want my kiddos safe and everyone else's but I just feel like at least until I can have tesla look at it that would be like making a fuss over nothing.

    Mia's for when the exact failure happened the car was at tesla on Tuesday of last week and they check all the seat belts etc at that time (at least according to the check off sheet which includes the jump seats) and everything was ok. My son didn't say anything when we left so the only thing I can attribute it to was when I slammed on my brakes today. But as someone pointed out they could have failed before and that bit of forced just caught it.

    Mai want to say that I'm not trying to bash anyone here. I have no doubt that tesla will resolve the situation they're wonderful about it. I was just curious if anyone else had seen anything like this. I'll update tomorrow after I take my girl in.
     
  9. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    Yes this seems like a major safety design defect. These should NEVER become undone like this. This could result in a recall and replacement of all the rear facing child seats. I would *NOT* put my kids in these seats until this issue has been addressed. Please contact both Tesla and also report a safety complaint with the NHSTA IMMEDIATELY.


    Also I corrected the image to be right side up:

    image.jpg
     
  10. Gabzqc

    Gabzqc Member

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    Can someone with rear facing seats please post a photo of the intact belt system for comparison?
    Thanks
     
  11. Fezzik

    Fezzik P67429

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    IMG_1202.JPG

    - - - Updated - - -

    IMG_1203 edit.jpg
     
  12. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Thank you @Fezzik. I don't have the rear facing seats and have never looked at the belts closely so did not understand from the OP's photo what failed. I'm still not clear but it appears that one part of a buckle came apart, is that right?

    To the OP, I am very glad your son is okay. This is the first report I've seen on TMC of a rear facing seat seatbelt buckle failure. Let us know what happens when you show it to Tesla.
     
  13. drsaab

    drsaab Member

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    I've sold 1000+ cars. Never seen a Seat belt fail like that. I have rear jump seats too.
    Not good.
     
  14. Zarwin

    Zarwin Member

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    #14 Zarwin, Jan 26, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015
    I decided to check mine out and ended up taking one apart since it was fairly simple to take apart and put back together. The album is below. My observations are as follows.

    It doesn't seem that it can fall apart with the cover on, but the cover comes off fairly easily. The entire dis-assembly/re-assembly doesn't require any tools and can be done with bare hands. The key to holding everything together is the metal tension wire, and once that is taken out, the assembly easily comes apart (EDIT: with the cover off).

    (disclaimer for the next statement, it is an unqualified opinion only)
    The GOOD NEWS is that I see no way that this could fail during an accident, unless it has come apart before the accident happens. As soon as there is tension on the belt, the assembly is held together via the tension, the supporting crossbar needs to slide out opposite the tension.

    Jump seat belt - Imgur

    EDIT:
    One more observation, the assembly does easily come apart without the cover on and tension wire taken out, but would need some slack to allow the bar to move back far enough to come out, so coming apart while being worn by a child seems hard, but I'm no expert here of course. So not saying anything one way or the other, but it seems like it may be (and hopefully is) a one-off defective part and not an overall design flaw.

    EDIT 2:
    I re-examined the seat belt assembly and will note one more observation. The tension wire does seat in very shallow indents in the crossbar. If the tension wire does slip out of the indent, it can slip down the side of the crossbar and while difficult, it is possible the crossbar can turn sideways and come out the side with the cover (so the cover would also have to be off). The album below shows the crossbar indent, the tension wire properly seated, and the tension wire slipped down the side. EDIT: My tension wire was not slipped down the side, I manually did that to show it can fit down the side of the crossbar.

    Jump seat belts 2 - Imgur


    EDIT 3:
    For anyone concerned about the tension wire and want to check your own jump seats, you can easily see the wire and if it is seated through the opening on the connector. You do not need to take the cover off or anything apart. I just checked all mine in about 30 seconds with a flashlight to confirm they are all seated properly. This is what it looks like through the connector opening: http://i.imgur.com/pGrIx1l.jpg

    Would be interesting to know if anyone does have a tension wire unseated. Seems like it would be difficult for it to come unseated unless it was assembled incorrectly to begin with. Also, I have no way to know if the issue the OP had is in any way related to the tension wire, it may very well be completely unrelated.
     
  15. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    That puny wire is all that's preventing the seat belt from falling apart? That seems... disturbing.
     
  16. Zarwin

    Zarwin Member

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    Well, the wire and the cover. The wire would need to be unseated or broken and the cover would need to be off for the connector to come apart it appears.
     
  17. Liz G

    Liz G P03056

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    Physics doesn't require things to be big to work. :)
     
  18. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    I'd usually agree, but I think this thread provides some proof they don't work. :wink:
     
  19. Chris TX

    Chris TX Active Member

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    Isn't that a bit Chicken Little, at this point? The first thing I would do is to call Tesla and give them a chance to respond. Something like this would be done quickly by them if it is an issue. Getting the NHTSA involved first just makes it a headache for Tesla to actually address a possible issue.

    Seat belt buckles can and do come apart. When you have kids involved, their little fingers get into everything and they'll pick and poke everywhere. If a kid (even a 7yo) picks at that spring, it might come apart as designed. Readjusting the belt sizes due to larger sized coats (it's winter), etc. could also rub/wear against those parts. I just looked at mine, and it's not easy to push that spring down, but it could be done with enough concentration.

    As others have said, hitting the brakes would actually relieve tension from the rear facing seat belts. This adjuster coming apart is probably coincidence.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I wouldn't call it a puny wire at all. It's actually a decent piece of spring metal that pushes the tension bar against the belt that wraps through it. Getting that metal wire out isn't an easy feat, even for the highly mechanically inclined.
     
  20. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    it's still a safety concern and the right thing to do it report it to NHSTA. if nobody reports it that's how companies get away with major defects. the NHSTA needs data to help drive necessary recalls if warranted.
     

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