I know you know what I am talking about and I have even seen much newer ford truck (97-04) with the same problem .... the seatbelt doesn't retract without help and gets caught in the door if you don't push it through to retract.
Well there is no recall listed for the 90 on this. Guess I need to explain better. The problem is not that they don't work like they should for restraint. The problem is when you take the belt off and get out of the truck, it does not retract, and either gets caught in the bottom of the door or will make it difficult to shut the door all the way. I have seen this same problem on several newer .... some much newer like 4 years old F150s when the drivers get out to pump their fuel the belt falls out the door instead of retracting into the pillar like it should to keep it out of the way.
Maybe I am asking this question in the wrong forum, I avoided more than a dozen trucks on the drive home today that refuse to signal a lane change, several with trailers .... guess since most truck drivers don't signal, they don't know much of this belt retraction problem since the seatbelts don't get used either.
There should be a plunger/actuator in the door jamb that releases a friction device in the retractor. This is so that the belt is not uncomfortable to wear while in the truck driving it. I'm so used to the feel of the shoulder strap now, It bothers me more when it's loose than if it's too tight. Mine gets slack in it sometimes when I'm in it, but normally a quick yank and release, and it tightens. If the plunger isn't popping out, the belt won't retract normally. My '86 Duck and the '92 F-150 both do the same. If I leave the door open a few seconds, though, they seem to get the idea and reel 'em in.
Thanks Old_Paint ... I will look for that, My 80 Stang ... last newer ford product before this truck ... traded that 21 years ago ... had that plunger, I just haven't noticed it on the truck, mine seems to behave as yours does ... it doesn't want to reel in until the door won't shut and I open it again ... then it will go up a little and I will have to help it go the rest of the way.
Yeah ... Me too ... to many other things to fix first though.
I checked .... there is no release button like Ford Cars have .... there is a hole in that area of the door jamb with a rubber cover and a sticker above it that says something like Calibration .... anyone know what that is all about, is it something to access the seatbelt retractor???
Well I know this is probably a stretch but... On my old 94 the little plastic trim piece that covered up the hanger at the top of the seatbelt was broken on the top, so it would hang down. This would pinch the seat belt just a little bit, enough to stop it from retracting itself. So everytime I got out of the truck I would have to push the little plastic piece up so the seatbelt would retract. If the plastic cover is broken and hanging loose that could also be your problem... But I doubt it.
My '97 had this same issue. There is no recall.
However, it was due to a design defect in the spring itself. the tempering was not quite right and the spring, with age, gets weak.
There are two possible fixes for this:
1. Replace the entire mechanism with a new one from the stealership and experience the same problem in another 3 - 4 years (they never corrected the design issue).
2. Dismantle the recoil mechanism and re-wind the spring a bit tighter. This is quite a bit more difficult and you have to be careful not to over tighten it, or it will break. (same principle as a cheap tape measure that won't retract all the way any longer.)
I did #2 above on my '97 F150 and it worked great! And saved me from paying a lot of $$$ to the dealer.
Ditto..My 1990 F150 XLT short cab also has the very same problem. Can be a real pain most of the time when you are trying to close your door. I'm going to take a look at it this weekend and try pulling the trim, and lubing the moving parts and see if that frees it up. Thanks for the suggestions..