The SUV Rear Seatbelts Project

clipsIn the continuing saga of “Dick Jones — Middle-aged Slacker”, I got ONE side done — the passenger side — which is ALL I am GOING to do — PERIOD!

In retrospect, now I know why I took ’em out, along w/that back seat, five years ago! Hopelessly complex — as only Japanese or German engineering CAN be — the retracting side calls for you to remove almost the ENTIRE set of rear plastic trim in the rear “storage area”of the SUV — a series of plastic & metal clips, plastic push-in pins, Phillips screws, velcro — further held together by being MOST cleverly wedged/secured underneath the carpet, back door weatherstripping, and headliner — it is truly a “Chinese Jigsaw Puzzle”!

The belts themselves are secured with Grade 8 bolts with a convoluted combination of lockwashers, flat washers, different “spacers”, and small composite “discs” that look like washers — these are meant to hold the aforementioned bolts, lockwashers, flat washers, and spacers “together” while one tries to secure them to the FINE-THREADED BLIND HOLES in the floor/sides/upper sills of the vehicle.

And OF COURSE, when I took this whole jigsaw puzzle OFF a mere 5 years ago, I didn’t make ANY kind of “reference document” on the assembly/disassembly process — NOOOOOO!!!! I just stuffed ’em into a big Ziplock Freezer bag — retractor mechanisms, bolts, washers, spacers, discs — and the various and sundry plastic “valence pieces” that make the whole convoluted and hopelessly complex assembly “look” not so hideous.

Now — don’t get me wrong here — it’s my OWN GOD-DAMNED FAULT for not marking them; plus, they’re not MEANT to be EVER disassembled/removed from the vehicle — some worker puts ’em together all day, ever’ day; then *I* come along — Middle-Aged Slacker, half my brain cells gone “down the road of life”, “Put-Me-In-A-Barrel-And-Tell-Me-To-Sit-In-The-Corner” mentally-challenged by even the simplest of tasks anymore — too cheap to buy even a MODEST “new car”, and decide that I’m gonna make my SUV capable and legal once again to carry a third (but NOT a fourth!) person.

So I got all the plastic trim spread out on the driveway after removing it and recovering all the “Jesus Clips” (anybody that has EVER worked on ANY car knows this term — generously applied to ANY clip which, upon removal, summarily DISAPPEARS into the bowels of said vehicle, OR flies through the air into the nearest “grassy knoll” to be lost UNTIL such time as a passing lawnmower propels it THROUGH the nearest window; subsequently eliciting a SECOND requisite “Jesus!” exclamation), along with the “jigsaw puzzle” that IS “the rear seatbelt assemblies”.

I spent the next THREE HOURS re-enacting the “Letter Holder Scene” from the movie “Arthur”, FINALLY getting the rear passenger side belt mechanism “mostly together” with SOME semblance of proper appearance/functionality, put all the plastic trim back in, shut the rear door, and went inside La Casa — is 11AM too soon to commence to drinking?

When Peggy got home from another 12 hour day at The Salt Mines, I took her outside to proudly show her MY day’s work (a “day’s work” for ME at THIS point in my life runs ~2-3 hours; come to think about it, a “day’s work” in MY life has ALWAYS been ~2-3 hours, earning me the “Lifetime Career Underachiever Award” from my peers) — her response: “Yeah great — now what about the LEFT side?”

“Paging Jacques Danielles!”

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