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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today I noticed something making a chirping noise inside my '07 9-3SS. It was coming from around the front passenger's seat. Upon listening more closely, I noticed that it was coming from near the base of the seat.

After getting home from work, I examined the area and found that the creaking noise was coming from the base of the seatbelt, i.e. where the seatbelt is bolted on to the seat rail. I removed the plastic covering over the seatbelt base, and found that the bolt holding the seatbelt in place was loose. VERY loose, i.e. loose enough for me to wiggle the metal plate to which the seatbelt was connected a good half-inch off the rail. I have absolutely no doubt that this was sloppy construction and sloppy oversight, i.e. someone "forgot" to tighten it down. In fact, this thing was so loose that the dealer probably should have caught it before giving me the car. There is no way in hell that the thing could have just rattled loose over the four months and 4800 miles I've owned this car.

The way I see it, someone could have died in my car had I gotten into any accident where the seatbelt had to hold a passenger down in the seat. Could have been my wife, my brother, my best friend....any one who sat in that seat....and that includes me.

This is an absolute disgrace. I have never heard of anything like this before in a car....especially a $38,000 car.

So now what? Do I take it to the dealer?

Or should I just tighten it myself?

And if I tighten it myself, does anyone know of SAAB requiring a certain type of thread-locking agent? Does anyone know of the proper tightening torque?

Also, I cannot see the underside of the rail, so I don't know....is there a nut underneath that the bolt screws into? Or does the bolt screw directly into the rail itself?
 

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Dealer should know

Take it to the dealer. Im a firm beleiver that when a company messes up, they need to know about it. Let them know, be firm and let them know the seriousness of the situation. I hope they do something for you to help eliminate the poor experience you have had.

Keep us posted with what they say if you decide to go.

Drew
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
AlbertaDrew said:
Take it to the dealer. Im a firm beleiver that when a company messes up, they need to know about it. Let them know, be firm and let them know the seriousness of the situation. I hope they do something for you to help eliminate the poor experience you have had.

Keep us posted with what they say if you decide to go.

Drew
That's what I'm thinking. But on the other hand, tightening the bolt seems like such an easy thing for me to do....provided I know how it's supposed to be done.
 

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The dealer may just tighten it like a gorilla and not read what the specs are. I would tighten it myself and then look for specs. As far as locking agents, I think just keep on eye on it yearly.
 

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Regardless

Regardless of how easy it may be to fix, they need to see it. Its not going to save anyone in the future if you simply fix it yourself and do not tell them about it. Its not the fact that a bolt was loose, its the fact that the seatbelt wouldnt operate the way it needs to in order to potentially save your life!

I think its pretty serious and SAAB should atleast know about it. Its then up to them what they do about it.

Interesting thread regardless.

Drew
 

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If you want to ensure that others don't have the same potential safety problem,make sure you ask the service mgr at your dealer to provide you with the necessary forms for reporting a safety defect to NHTSA.
 

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Take it to the dealer and have them torque it to specs and use loctite if necessary. This isn't a lemon law violation or anything, but isn't good. Have them do it right.

Toyota has a big problem with airbags right now on their 2007 Camry's. I think Honda has a slew of problems with safety things in the past too. No excuse for Saab, but they aren't alone.

Its good that you found the loose bolt and its easily correctable.
 

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I would contact Saab-USA, then ask them to contact your dealer to remedy the issue. From your prior posts your dealership sounds like a bunch of dirtbags and they'll probably tighten it and not report it up the chain to Saab.
 

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I'm sorry to say; however, after working in dealers you may end up with somebody just taking a socket to it and giving you a free oil change+car wash.


Contact Saab USA and file a complaint. Ask them to send the dealer any information regarding the correct proceedure for making sure the seatbelts are correctly attached to the car.

You can most likely just tighten it yourself; however, because it is a new car I would be PISSED!

This brand had had a history of this kind of stuff in recent years. THis is not just unique to Saab, when will Ford ever correctly install door seals?
 

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First of all, this "kind of thing" happens all the time. That doesn't mean it's acceptable by any means, but Saab is not some POS kia wannabe just because one bolt wasn't tightened as well as it should have been.
Second, exactly how loose is the bolt? How far is it still threaded into the seat bracket? If the bolt is backed out 1/4" or less, the seat belt will still function properly for anyone who is not severely obese.
The dealer should definitely tighten it, and they should check all of the other seat belts. You will probably want to ask them if the seat belt should have been inspected during the PDI (the answer to that is yes, and they should know that without flinching).

You'll find that you will have a much more pleasant future with your dealership if you don't go in holding torches and screaming for blood. Simply ask to speak with a manager/director, then explain what happened. No one at the dealership loosened the bolt before delivering your car - and I can tell you this is not a common occurance in Saab cars. All they really can do is tighten the bolt, check the other bolts, and tell the zone rep about the bolt. Then the zone rep will blow you off because he has engineering flaws to think about. Those are much more important to him than some simple mistake some Swede made on a Friday while he was thinking about lunch.

I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't be upset. I think anyone here would be very upset. But do try to think about both sides of the story before you go demanding heads on platters.
 

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Unless something really went awry at the factory, your seatbelt bolt should already be coated with appropriate threadlocker. I've never seen or worked with a seatbelt anchor bolt that was easy to remove or insert. I'm not sure how they spec tightening torque. They may go by how much of the bolt is protruding once tightened.

This bolt probably screws into a boss which is welded to the frame/rail. So I doubt you have to worry about grabbing the back side while you tighten.
 

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Take it to a dealer and demand an inspection of the bolt and also the threads for all seats. It could be the bolt was inserted crooked and then tightened down- resulting in a stripped thread on either/or the bolt and the boss. Take pictures beforehand, video is best to show the bolt being loose, and then get documentation from dealer. I would then contact Saab and include a .pdf of the dealer documentation. Sure, you could tighten it yourself and then take it to the dealer but then the dealer could say it is the result of work done by others while under warranty, therefore voiding the warranty. In these sue-happy days, it pays to be careful.

Bummer on your problem, though. I've had my share of niggling problems with my ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
ubermich said:
Second, exactly how loose is the bolt? How far is it still threaded into the seat bracket? If the bolt is backed out 1/4" or less, the seat belt will still function properly for anyone who is not severely obese.
Yes, the bolt had backed out about a quarter inch.

Tell me, at what weight would someone qualify as "severely obese"? No offense, but your comment here--correct or not--completely misses the point. A seatbelt is supposed to keep anyone's fat-***** in the seat. The fact that the belt would have held passengers under 300lbs does not in any way lessen the significance of this manufacturing defect.

ubermich said:
The dealer should definitely tighten it, and they should check all of the other seat belts. You will probably want to ask them if the seat belt should have been inspected during the PDI (the answer to that is yes, and they should know that without flinching).
I don't know if there was even a pre-delivery inspection. At this dealership, I seriously doubt that a per-delivery inspection is something they'd bother to perform.

ubmermich said:
You'll find that you will have a much more pleasant future with your dealership if you don't go in holding torches and screaming for blood. Simply ask to speak with a manager/director, then explain what happened. No one at the dealership loosened the bolt before delivering your car - and I can tell you this is not a common occurance in Saab cars. All they really can do is tighten the bolt, check the other bolts, and tell the zone rep about the bolt. Then the zone rep will blow you off because he has engineering flaws to think about. Those are much more important to him than some simple mistake some Swede made on a Friday while he was thinking about lunch.

I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't be upset. I think anyone here would be very upset. But do try to think about both sides of the story before you go demanding heads on platters.
I tightened the bolt myself, using Red Loctite. When I have a chance, I will call SAAB and ask them to find out the torque specification of that bolt, then I will tighten it some more.
 

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Just my 2 cents,


the way we operate at work is to have a maintenance tech-log. Any snags we find with the aircraft are entered into the tech-log; it may be that we can still operate without any maintenance action, so I, as a non-engineer, can accept the fault and carry on flying. Other faults, that do require engineering input will ground the aircraft until that maintenance input has been completed.

The similarities as I see it are thus. Your seat-belt problem is an acceptable defect (in turns of operation of the vehicle), the caveat being that you don't carry anyone in the front passenger seat. So, just as I can carry certain defects on my aircraft, you can still use your car (albeit with some limitations).

At some point, you will want to carry someone in your car in the passenger seat - you now require a maintenance input. The engineer will want to know exactly what the problem is, and there will be a procedure to fix it, which he/she will carry out.

Now, through that entire process there has been laid a careful paper-trail in the aircraft - I would suggest the same for your car would be a good idea - thoroughly document the problem. Everybody involved can see where the problem originated, what effects this had on the operation, when the problem was fixed (and by whom), and any parts replaced also become traceable.

In the event of a mishap further down the line, it can be seen that the correct procedure had been followed, and what occurred was in no way caused or contributed to by the rectified fault.

Also, the paper-trail builds a history of similar problems (they are all fed into centralised databases and I'd imagine Saab to have such a database) and the operator or manufacturer can identify trends etc. before they become a major hazard.

It would have been great if you had taken the suggestions of others and contacted SaabUSA about the problem, along with documentary evidence. They need to know about problems so they can rectify them at source. In the extreme, it could save somebody's life! This isn't about heads on platters, or attaching any sort of blame - it's about safety, which should be everybodies prime concern.

You've taken a different path, and whilst perfectly pragmatic and operationally expeditious for you, I would still urge you to contact SaabUSA and explain what has happened. I would also get the bolt checked out by your dealer, despite your fix. Assuming the worst, if you are now in a serious accident and things get investigated, you have now left a trail, specifically saying that you have 'fixed' (=tampered from a lawyer?) your seatbelt bolt. Unless you can prove that your adjustments were exactly to Saab recommended torque limits etc. I'd suggest you are leaving yourself wide-open.

I do appreciate the 'I can fix this better than some spotty minimum wage youth in a dealer' thoughts - for many things I would be exactly the same. Personally, for this, I would want it 'done' officially.

ATB,

Phil
 

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DrSandman said:
Yes, the bolt had backed out about a quarter inch.

Tell me, at what weight would someone qualify as "severely obese"? No offense, but your comment here--correct or not--completely misses the point. A seatbelt is supposed to keep anyone's fat-***** in the seat. The fact that the belt would have held passengers under 300lbs does not in any way lessen the significance of this manufacturing defect.



I don't know if there was even a pre-delivery inspection. At this dealership, I seriously doubt that a per-delivery inspection is something they'd bother to perform.



I tightened the bolt myself, using Red Loctite. When I have a chance, I will call SAAB and ask them to find out the torque specification of that bolt, then I will tighten it some more.
Firstly, let me say again, I'm in no way trying to downplay the significance of a safety defect in any vehicle, much less yours. Yes, it is a serious flaw. What I'm trying to get at is A) statistically speaking, your passengers were probably going to be safe and B) you aren't going to rectify the flaw by going in screaming (as many many many many people do) and C) it is a flaw that can (and has) happened to many other brands, so you're not "screwed" because you bought your Saab.

Also, the PDI was at least billed, whether they performed it or not. I'll suggest that they probably at least did a half-assed PDI. Does your car still have the brake covers (white plastic)? Or do you still have rubber blocks jammed in the front springs? If no, then at the very least, someone put in on a lift to remove those things. Saab will pay the dealer for completing this inspection, so nearly all will at least say they performed it. This, to Saab, is a contract and Saab expects the vehicle to conform to everything on the PDI sheet before it reaches the customer.

If you're going to go the DIY route, definitely talk to SaabUSA - not just any random Saab dealer. Also check all of the seatbelt bolts. You will probably find that all of the others are torqued already, but this way you'll know.
 
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