Dyeing Seat Belts

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Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by Mcarlo77 on Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:00 pm

Wanted to share my recent attempt at dyeing seat belt webbing. First off, let me say I was extremely reluctant to even give this a try as I just wasn't convinced a material such as this would accept a dye. All kinds of stories of how it doesn't color properly, makes the webbing unnaturally stiff or rubs off on your clothes. Did a lot of Googling and visited many car forums to get some perspective on people's experiences with it. The only real consensus was to just send them to Ssnakeoyl for re-webbing.

Okay. so the front black retractor belts on my swivel bucket Laguna were badly sun faded on the shoulder strap portion that's always visible. Lap portion looked real nice (as they usually do) since they aren't exposed to the sunlight all the time. Contacted Ssnakeoyl in TX and they quoted me a ballpark of $135/each (plus shipping both ways) to replace just the shoulder strap. So, being the cheap s.o.b. that I am, decided to explore the option of spraying or dyeing them myself. Finally happened upon a posting on another car forum referencing a chemist's explanation of what works and what doesn't when it comes to dyeing a nylon-type material. Long story short, it requires what the industry calls an acid dye. The acid is really a white vinegar you add to the powdered dye when mixing with water. One such leading supplier of fabric dyes named Jacquard has an excellent website and instructions on how to choose the correct type of dye based on mat'l. to be dyed. I decided I had nothing to lose by giving this a try since I wasn't going to live with faded seat belts...and, if it didn't work, I'd end up sending them out to be re-webbed anyway. Ordered the Jet Black acid dye and gave it a shot. Have to say, it has exceeded my expectations in every way! The shade of black is an exact match to the like-new portion of the factory webbing that's seldom exposed. The webbing doesn't seem to be stiff like I've read with spray-on type dyes and there is no indication of color transfer when I rub it against a piece of clothing. Only time will tell how it holds up, I guess. But at this time, I couldn't be happier with the results. Will be doing the passenger side belt next. Granted, I wasn't doing a complete color change, so more testing will need to be done to see how that might work out. But, for someone needing to freshen up their faded black belts, this looks like a viable option for a fraction of the cost of sending them out for re-webbing.

BTW, this chemist explained the Rit brand dye isn't the best option because it's a compromise between a conventional dye and an acid dye in an effort to have a "one product fits all" marketing strategy.
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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by pila on Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:26 pm

I wasn't aware of a place to have them re-belted. I bought two big rolls of the stuff, and had a local shoe repair place sew them like the original stitching. The fun part was getting the retractors re-wound . A friend did mine. He has more patience than I do..... I did find the color I needed though.

Great to hear that you were successful with the dye... Very Happy

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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by Mcarlo77 on Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:46 pm

Looked into going that route, also...but, in this sue-happy society we live in, the auto upholstery shops I contacted didn't want to expose themselves to any liability should the stitching fail in the event of an accident.
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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by JiMi_DRiX on Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:07 am

Sounds interesting! Have any before and after photos? My black belts in the 76 are faded in the same spots too. But otherwise they look and work great. Have you ever noticed that the belts on the floor between the seat and console, inside the plastic sleeve are different colors though? I think I have a blue one and a black one
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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by 77mali on Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:48 pm

Good info, thanks for sharing it!
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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by pila on Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:06 pm

The sections of belt that are covered with a plastic sleeve, are usually different color. Must be that they use up the short pieces etc where they don't show.

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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by Mcarlo77 on Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:08 pm

JiMi_DRiX wrote:Sounds interesting! Have any before and after photos? My black belts in the 76 are faded in the same spots too. But otherwise they look and work great. Have you ever noticed that the belts on the floor between the seat and console, inside the plastic sleeve are different colors though? I think I have a blue one and a black one

Ha...my car spent it's first 30 yrs in Phoenix, so the degree of sun fade is probably similar. I'll take some before and after pics this weekend when I do the passenger side. I'm also contemplating how to protect the white tags on some straps...but, haven't come up with any workable solutions. Those just may have to be removed and resewn once the belts are dyed if a person is bent on preserving them.

Pila is right...having different colored inner belts are almost the norm from what I've seen.
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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by 77mali on Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:53 pm

Maybe a clear paint for fabric? Might last if you don't have to let them sit for more than a day. Tape around the tags so the webbing fabric doesn't come in contact with the sealer. Maybe try it on one you don't car about?

That's all I can think of without removing the stitching. Maybe Wally's done it he'd prob have a better idea.
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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by Mcarlo77 on Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:20 pm

Yeah...I don't know. What do you use that would be completely watertight in water heated to 185-200 degrees and submerged for at least 30 mins? Problem I'm anticipating is the dye wicking and migrating through from the backside and also onto the stitched edges.
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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by Laguna Budman on Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:42 am

Okay, been a while since I posted but are you guys nuts? Unless you don't use seat belts this is a crazy idea. If you are going for looks go for it. If looking for safety go here http://www.seatbeltplanet.com/webbing-replacement/?gclid=CIjNv9qHu6sCFYbsKgodFWrwhw They go through your belts and retractors, replace belts and get you on your way. Much safer, and with seat belt laws the way they are you can't be to safe. There is my .02 cents worth.
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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by Mcarlo77 on Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:02 pm

"Nuts"...yeah, I've been called that...along with a lot of other names I don't dare repeat! Lol! There's no arguing that, for optimum safety, the belts should be replaced or refurbished. In fact, I've read that the webbing starts to lose it's full effectiveness after just 5 yrs. Does that mean we all have to run out and spend $800-$1000+ to replace our belts for peace of mind? For some, that might be necessary. In fact, some people need to go out and buy a new car with every safety feature known to man in order to feel secure behind the wheel. And, there's nothing wrong with that. Afterall, can you ever be too safe? But for me, right or wrong, I don't live with that level of insecurity and am perfectly comfortable with the safety afforded me by my existing belts...dyed or undyed. Now, if they were ratty and frayed...with the stitching coming apart...obviously, something more would need to be done.
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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by 1973 454 MONTE on Fri Aug 24, 2012 1:01 pm

so this is NO good...... Blow Up

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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by 77mali on Fri Aug 24, 2012 1:14 pm

LMAO Chris- that will not pass inspection!
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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by Mcarlo77 on Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:26 pm

As promised...a before and after pic of the RH swivel bucket belts. Results this time were just as good as on the LH set! I didn't dye the entire length of the shoulder strap and notice how it blends perfectly with the factory shade closer to the retractor. What appears to be variances in the shade along the belt is simply light reflection from the webbing being wavy. Should have straightened it out for the pic. Same with the lap portion. I dyed maybe the first 6-8" from the buckle. Next attempt might be changing a different colored belt to black.



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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by Laguna Budman on Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:44 pm

Well it does look good. Not saying I have not done that before, but there are alot of people on here including myself that take our kids with us on drives and shows. Is that $800-$1000 worth that? I myself could care less about seat belts but my kids amd wife come first. Again my .02 worth. Also the link I provided doesn't charge that amount.
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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by 77mali on Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:36 am

Looks good Steve.

I'm curious, how will dying the belts have an adverse effect on the structural integrity of the webbing?
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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by zodiacblue442 on Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:00 am

Mcarlo77 wrote:Wanted to share my recent attempt at dyeing seat belt webbing.  First off, let me say I was extremely reluctant to even give this a try as I just wasn't convinced a material such as this would accept a dye.  All kinds of stories of how it doesn't color properly, makes the webbing unnaturally stiff or rubs off on your clothes.  Did a lot of Googling and visited many car forums to get some perspective on people's experiences with it.  The only real consensus was to just send them to Ssnakeoyl for re-webbing.

Okay. so the front black retractor belts on my swivel bucket Laguna were badly sun faded on the shoulder strap portion that's always visible.  Lap portion looked real nice (as they usually do) since they aren't exposed to the sunlight all the time.  Contacted Ssnakeoyl in TX and they quoted me a ballpark of $135/each (plus shipping both ways) to replace just the shoulder strap.  So, being the cheap s.o.b. that I am, decided to explore the option of spraying or dyeing them myself.  Finally happened upon a posting on another car forum referencing a chemist's explanation of what works and what doesn't when it comes to dyeing a nylon-type material.  Long story short, it requires what the industry calls an acid dye.  The acid is really a white vinegar you add to the powdered dye when mixing with water.  One such leading supplier of fabric dyes named Jacquard has an excellent website and instructions on how to choose the correct type of dye based on mat'l. to be dyed.  I decided I had nothing to lose by giving this a try since I wasn't going to live with faded seat belts...and, if it didn't work, I'd end up sending them out to be re-webbed anyway.  Ordered the Jet Black acid dye and gave it a shot.  Have to say, it has exceeded my expectations in every way!  The shade of black is an exact match to the like-new portion of the factory webbing that's seldom exposed.  The webbing doesn't seem to be stiff like I've read with spray-on type dyes and there is no indication of color transfer when I rub it against a piece of clothing.  Only time will tell how it holds up, I guess.  But at this time, I couldn't be happier with the results.  Will be doing the passenger side belt next.  Granted, I wasn't doing a complete color change, so more testing will need to be done to see how that might work out.  But, for someone needing to freshen up their faded black belts, this looks like a viable option for a fraction of the cost of sending them out for re-webbing.  

BTW, this chemist explained the Rit brand dye isn't the best option because it's a compromise between a conventional dye and an acid dye in an effort to have a "one product fits all" marketing strategy.  

How's this for resurrecting an old post!  Smile  I have been researching seat belt restoration for my 74 H/O. The seat belt restoration companies want hundreds of dollars to just replace the webbing, and my black belts are faded but have no fraying or tears. I read on another forum about using Rit dye. I happened to do a Google search for seat belt dye and this thread came up in the search. This is awesome! Clapp  I am extremely interested in the Jacquard dye and am wondering how it has held up over the last year or two. Also did you ever notice any color transfer of the dye to light colored clothing?

What procedure did you use to dye the belts? I'm real interested in any instructions or tips you have. I'm excited now to pull my belts out of the car and restore them. It will give me something car related to do while it's frigid and snowing like crazy this winter.

Thanks!
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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by Mcarlo77 on Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:57 pm

Oh yeah...the 'ol seat belt restoration thread that created considerable debate as to whether this should even be considered.  For, there are those who feel money should be no object when it comes to safety and that any and all belts that are 35+ yrs old should just be replaced.  My cars are fair weather weekend cruisers that seldom see high-speed freeways...so, I'm not as consumed by the concern that the original webbing may not be quite as strong as when it left the factory.  Especially, if it isn't frayed or otherwise visibly compromised.  So, you must be the one to decide what's best for you.  With all that said, here's what I can share:

As for the color transferring to clothing, I don't see that as a concern.  Granted, I haven't had much time behind the wheel of my Laguna, but they seem to be very color-fast.  And, the only thing I've noticed is that the dyed portion doesn't have that slight sheen to it that you feel on a new or unexposed portion of a belt.  But, since the color black is dead on, I consider the sheen thing more of a sense of feel that isn't really noticeable from an appearance standpoint.

The process used to dye them was to heat a large pot of water to about 185-190 degrees with the powdered dye and white vinegar added.  I used the wife's non-stick stock-pot (she wasn't home and was none the wiser). Also used a thermometer to keep the temp consistent. You simply immerse the webbing into the water for 30-40 minutes...while stirring the mixture occasionally.  After that, just rinse in cold water to set the color and that's it!  Did it on the stove top and it wasn't really messy at all.  Of course, you'll have some drips and you'd be advised to wipe them up as soon as possible to prevent staining countertops, floors, etc.  As I stated, I used the Jacquard brand of dye and they supply the simple instructions.  Good luck...and, let me know how it turns out.
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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by 77mali on Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:41 pm

Mcarlo77 wrote:I used the wife's non-stick stock-pot (she wasn't home and was none the wiser)

I'm going to tattle.... lol! 
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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by Mcarlo77 on Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:12 pm

Ha...she gets a little miffed when I use her kitchen utensils on projects! When a turkey baster, measuring cups, tupperware bowls, spatulas, candy thermometer, etc. turn up missing, I'm the main suspect...and, justifiably so! Usually have left them sitting in the garage all contaminated with who knows what and so I'm off to the store to replace them. LOL!
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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by dynchel on Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:53 pm

Yeah, when I sprayed my m/t valve covers VHT  wrinkle paint black the directions said to cure it in the oven for 20 minutes.  Since I knew the wife would never go for that, I did it when she was at work.  No harm, no foul. Cool
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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by zodiacblue442 on Mon Feb 03, 2014 1:11 pm

Mcarlo77 wrote:Oh yeah...the 'ol seat belt restoration thread that created considerable debate as to whether this should even be considered.  For, there are those who feel money should be no object when it comes to safety and that any and all belts that are 35+ yrs old should just be replaced.  My cars are fair weather weekend cruisers that seldom see high-speed freeways...so, I'm not as consumed by the concern that the original webbing may not be quite as strong as when it left the factory.  Especially, if it isn't frayed or otherwise visibly compromised.  So, you must be the one to decide what's best for you.  With all that said, here's what I can share:

As for the color transferring to clothing, I don't see that as a concern.  Granted, I haven't had much time behind the wheel of my Laguna, but they seem to be very color-fast.  And, the only thing I've noticed is that the dyed portion doesn't have that slight sheen to it that you feel on a new or unexposed portion of a belt.  But, since the color black is dead on, I consider the sheen thing more of a sense of feel that isn't really noticeable from an appearance standpoint.

The process used to dye them was to heat a large pot of water to about 185-190 degrees with the powdered dye and white vinegar added.  I used the wife's non-stick stock-pot (she wasn't home and was none the wiser). Also used a thermometer to keep the temp consistent. You simply immerse the webbing into the water for 30-40 minutes...while stirring the mixture occasionally.  After that, just rinse in cold water to set the color and that's it!  Did it on the stove top and it wasn't really messy at all.  Of course, you'll have some drips and you'd be advised to wipe them up as soon as possible to prevent staining countertops, floors, etc.  As I stated, I used the Jacquard brand of dye and they supply the simple instructions.  Good luck...and, let me know how it turns out.

Thank you very much for the follow up! I really want to get the seat belts restored in the next few weeks so I can say I did SOMETHING on my car.  Embarassed  I found a local store that carries the Jacquard acid dye. I have a big stovetop pot I can use. Now I just need to get the belts out of the car and figure out when the wife won't be home for a couple hours...  lol! 
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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by thatfnthing on Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:07 pm

Mcarlo77 wrote:Ha...she gets a little miffed when I use her kitchen utensils on projects!  When a turkey baster, measuring cups, tupperware bowls, spatulas, candy thermometer, etc. turn up missing, I'm the main suspect...and, justifiably so!  Usually have left them sitting in the garage all contaminated with who knows what and so I'm off to the store to replace them.  LOL!

So that's why the Thanksgiving turkey tasted like POR 15... Very Happy 
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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

Post by driveit on Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:22 pm

That is so funny. I know that I would be doing the same.
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Re: Dyeing Seat Belts

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