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Greetings. I have a 98 Rav4 which has a flashing seatbelt light on my instrument panel despite the fact that my seatbelt is engaged. Does anyone have any practical ideas in order to disable the sensor/light without removing the instrument panel? Thanks in advance.
 

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Of course my first response is... do you have anything sitting on the passenger seat? The sensors are VERY sensitive and almost any weight at all will set it off. :?

Second... check for any loose wires under your seat. Maybe a wire came loose from the sensor connection :?:
 

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On my '98 and 2000 the sensor is located at the bottom of the post between the doors where the seatbelt retacts. I have had the seats out in both of them and have never found any wires of sensors in the seats?? I have disconected my lights since I am exempt from the seatbelt laws while delivering mail on the route. I sit in the middle of right seat... you might need to replace the switch where the belt retracts. Take the plastic cover off the post and at the bottom where the seat belt retracts you will see the sensor and wires with a disconect plug, I just unpluged mine there and the light is now off all the time.
I have a lot of weight on the passenger seat all the time and have never had the light on because of it and haven't found a sensor on that side.
Hope this helps you.
Stelly
 
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I havethis same exact problem, and I don't think there is a weight sensor on either side because when the seatbelt is pulled out to its furthest point the light goes off. Sometimes what works for me is to start the car up, and then put my seat belt on. As oppose to puting it on before the car starts up. If that doesn't work, sometimes I can pull the seat belt outas far as it will go, let it all the way back in, and then put it back on. I have found that it is kind of random for me whether it works or not. Maybe I will try to pay more attention to it the next few days to see what i can find out.
 
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Thanks for all of your responses. I will probably remove the cover of the seatbelt take-up real this weekend and search for the sensor connecters (if that's where the sensor is located). I don't know if this is a factor or not, but I have noticed that the seatbelt retraction speed has greatly decreased over the years (possilbe dirt/hair on the cylinder?).

I will post a response of what I found this weekend. Thanks again for your comments.
 

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I have a 98 4-door with the same problem. At last service I asked for diagnosis from dealer. It was stated that the whole seatbelt assembly (retractor) would need to be replaced. The Service Advisor was nice enough to suggest living with the blinking light rather than spend a bundle of cash.

But reading the previous posts, I think I will pull the trim panel and disconnect the electrical connector! :D
 
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Hello again. Let me preface these instructions by saying that this procedure was embarrassingly easy. To disable the seatbelt sensor light:

1. Slide the driver’s side seat all the way up to the front (all of the work is performed from the rear passenger door opening – on the drivers side).
2. Open the rear door and remove two Phillips screws from the doorway’s base trim.
3. Carefully remove the plastic cover.
4. Remove the seatbelt anchoring, hex-head screw & spacer with a 14-mm socket/socket wrench.
5. Carefully slide the large plastic seatbelt sheath from the door frame by sliding/working it to the rear of the vehicle.
6. There are (2) two wire connectors. Unplug the smaller, white one (closer to rear of vehicle).
7. Reassembly is the reverse of these instructions –easier than changing the oil!
 

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Yes, this stops the blinking seatbelt warning light. He is disconnecting the wire at the seatbelt retractor.... seems something tends to break here, and the "proper" fix is to replace the whole seatbelt. So take your pick, "unplug" or buy the whole thing!
 
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Toysport, as dhuddleson said, I disconnected the sensor light wire. My instrument panel's seatbelt light does not illuminate at all. Even if I don't fasten my seatbelt. I'm assuming that the purpose of this sensor is for safey and is a reminder to fasten the seatbelt. I believe that there was a second harness plug that connected to the seatbelt unit, but I left it alone.

Both of my seatbelts retract slowly before and after I disconnected this plug. Other than the slow retraction, my seatbelt seemed to function normally.

I seem to recall that there is a type of seatbelt that will tighten up upon extreme braking. If there is such a device, is it possible that the Rav4 has them?
 

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How easy that is to do!!!!

I was able to also unplug that wire connection and end the annoying blinking light on the dash. Phew!

I am reading the other post about slow retraction of front belts, as I have those symptoms too. Interesting fixes, I must say!

David
 

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The slow retracting is most-likely due to a worn out return spring in the seatbelt mechanism. There is another thread in this section with a link to a site that explains how to fix that problem.

I talked to a tec hat the dealership about the sensor, and he says its been common on RAV 4.1's. They just "stick" over time from being used so much. He said it can be replaced...but for how much wonder :roll:

The sensor is connected to the driver-side seatbelt. Since ive been the pretty much the orignal driver or my 98, the sensor wont sense the belt where I normally have it, but if I pull it allittle, it will turn off. I hope someone comes up with a fix soon... Since I drive at night a lot, it gets really annoying...
 

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The location of the seat belt sensor (or switch) in my 1997 RAV4 4 door 4X4 is different from those described in previous posts. It is inside the driver side seat belt buckle beside the handbrake instead of the retractor.
To disable the warning light, you don't need to disassemble anything. What you need to do is to insert a piece of metal for example, a key or seat belt tab from a junk yard into the buckle. When you want to resume its function, take the metal out.
If you have permission to not use the seat belt, it is the most easy way to disable the warning light. But if you want to use the seat belt and the light is malfunction, you need to disconnect a connector under the driver seat, I guess.
 

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Here is how I fixed mine.

Similar to what 4VAR posted above, my problem was in the seat buckle holder next to the parking brake.

I just vacuumed it out good then took some sports equipment lubricant containing silicone and sprayed it down where the buckle goes using the little tube on the can. I had wrapped the holder with paper towels to soak up any excess and cleaned the area up good to remove any mess. When I was done, the light lubrication allowed the switch to move freely and it solved my seatbelt light problem. I would be sure to clean up all the extra oil because it probably is not good for the plastic and will attract more grit.
 

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SEATBELT ASSEMBLY

I experienced the same problem in my 1998 RAV4 a couple of years with the seatbelt light always flashing on the dash, especially when the seatbelt is in use (buckled up).

What happened after several months is that the seatbelt assembly in the pillar started functioning in such a way that it stopped the light from blinking on the dash. I was glad the the seatbelt light stopped flashing! It was really annoying!!!

After owning my 1998 RAV4 for nearly 7.5 years now, the driver's side seatbelt retraction mechanism in the assembly had gotten really weak. The seatbelt now needed extra help from me to help it retract the way it should into the pillar.

I had an opportunity to buy a new seatbelt assembly on Ebay several months ago and did just that. The seatbelt assembly for first generation RAV4's is just shy of $200 (retail price). I bought one on ebay for about $25 plus shipping.

I installed it within a fews days after receiving it. Let me tell you, the new seatbelt retracts quickly!!! In addition to that, the seatbelt light on the dash functions the way it should: when the ignition is on, the seatbelt light blinks to remind you to put your seatbelt on. When I buckle up, the seatbelt dashlight turns off!

Perfect! Good as new!

I recommend visiting a autoparts recycle yard to find a driver's side seatbelt assembly to save some money. Or if you want to pay retail price for a new one, visit your local Toyota dealership parts department.
 

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Just a word of caution:

When you replace a seatbelt, make sure the replacement is a new unit; at least for more recent model cars anyway. Don't use a junkyard part or a seatbelt that you aren't completely sure is in new (or undamaged) condition.

I can't comment on the 4.1 Ravs but I know the 4.2 Ravs come with what are known as seatbelt pretensioners. They are small mechanisms with explosive charges similar to the charge in an air bag, and are built into the seatbelt spools and hooked up to the air bag computer. When you get in a crash that deploys the airbags, it also triggers the pretensioners which rapidly tighen up the seatbelts to take up any slack. That's one of two reasons you need to replace your seatbelts after a crash; the other reason is the integrity of the belt and spool mechanism may have been compromised and you may never know it. In any case if you do replace the seatbelts you have to always use new factory replacements, not ones from a junkyard.
 

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I honestly am a believer in buying new OEM parts to replace anything on my RAV4. Going to the autoparts recycling yard was merely a suggestion to save money if one chooses to do so.

My 1998 RAV4 seatbelts have pretensioners in them, similar to the 4.2 generation. The only reason why I know this is that it is written in the manual that Toyota provides with all vehicles when you buy them new.

I hope that anyone who chooses to replace their seatbelt due to issues described in the forum do so with good judgement...
 

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Just to make SURE

This electrical circuit has NO connection to the other safety systems - whatever I do to stop the light will NOT affect seat belt retraction on impact, or ANY other safety system ?!?

:confused:
 
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