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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Here's a summary of how my buddies and I have engineered and fitted 3-point retractable seat belts to my 2DHT. (Same will work for a convertible.)

Mine is a restore project, so I wanted them to be as unobtrusive as possible. Initially, I wanted stock accessory belts, and even considered the shoulder harnesses as well – but realised in the end that I needed safety over originality. (Other than that, I have been pretty tight in following the manual on how things should be.)

After some research, I chose the Beams repro seat belts through Seatbelt Pros: www.gotbelts.com – they were well-priced and custom made each belt type to length. I bought the belts in the colour that suited my interior (green), although I was also thinking of grey to keep the original look and feel. In the end, I chose what would be least visible.

Originally I had looked at the instructions from Classic Chevy <http://www.classicchevy.com/assets/pdf/classicchevy/35-315.pdf> for installing these belts, but quickly realised that (1) the top anchor in the front would be too low, (2) the general fixing would look pretty clunky (with retractors visible) and (3) the web would rub on the upholstery on the front belts coming up from the lower anchor point, (I guess those instructions are ok for anyone wanting to do a quick fit of belts, but are not the most resolved way of setting them up.)

Final set-up is: 2 x retractable in the front; 2 x retractable plus on lap (with top anchor for fixed child harness) to the rear.

With this set-up, the rear retractor is fitted inside the rear armrest panel and will come out where the ash tray is. The ash tray will be deleted, and a slim cut-out made and 'cleaned' when the final upholstery is done. Bottom anchor plate is flush and inside the armrest panel, ready to take the anchor bolt from the outside. In the rear, the retractors are fitted to the rear of the seat panel, with a slot each side that takes the web. For me, one trick was getting the top anchor for the fronts as high as possible while keeping it fitted to the vertical panel of the rear inner side, and getting the retractor for same as far forward as possible to keep the angle to top anchor relatively shallow.

All anchor points use the larger rectangular mount plates (optional), as opposed to the circular ones that come standard with each seat belt kit.

This set-up is not automatically DMV (Australia) approved. We are usually not allowed to use coloured web; aviation styled metal buckles; any stitching not undertaken by an approved manufacturer; top anchor points below shoulder height; non-standard anchor plates. I consider the alternatives of (1) using standard lap belts as being inadequate and (2) fixing the top anchor on the roof line as being unsuitable for a pillarless car. Having said all that, I do know there are engineers here that will design and certify top anchor points in the way we have configured, but not all of them will.

Here's how the look, before upholstery:















Happy to answer any questions about how this was done – knowing many people have asked about this topic on both the 567 forums.

Many thanks to people (on both forums) who started and contributed to topics on this, and also took the trouble to give me advice on this.

And special thanks to Des and Steve for helping figure it all out and then get it all fitted. (Yes, Steve, I am very happy!)

Note: After a few years of being on the 'take' with info on these forums, it is nice being able to 'give' a little. I hope the info will be of use. When I started this restore and steering conversion project I did not know that much about cars, but now I am starting to get the hang of it! :)

Will post more pics when the upholstery is on.

Cheers

John
 

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Maybe someone can correct me if I am wrong, But I think the reason they don;t allow the top anchor point below the shoulder is due to belts that come up from below and over the shoulder cause spinal compression fractures when the body is thrown forward in an accident. The belt can do more damage than the accident.
Gary
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Maybe someone can correct me if I am wrong, But I think the reason they don;t allow the top anchor point below the shoulder is due to belts that come up from below and over the shoulder cause spinal compression fractures when the body is thrown forward in an accident. The belt can do more damage than the accident.
Gary
Good point, Gary.

I have heard comments along this line. For me, however, I prefer a restraint solution that keeps heads from hitting the dash.

The regs appear be different from country to country. In the UK, for example, there are engineers that are fitting retractable seat belts in coupes (pillarless) like Mustangs, T-Birds and Chevs where the top anchor is well below shoulder height. (And yes, the lower the anchor, the more it would pull down on a shoulder, I guess.)

In the set-up that we configured, we placed the top anchor as high as we could on the vertical part of the panel, which was at least 6" higher than shown in the CC instructions. With my set-up, the top anchor is 4" below the top of the seat.

Admittedly, the concept of putting 3-point restraints in any pillarless car is never going to result in a perfect solution.
 

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Trifive Automotive Electrical Wiring Expert
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Nice looking installation, John. I did a simular setup but welded a steel bar with a nut along the roof rail to anchor the top. I'm going to use a snap type anchor so the sholder strap can be taken down while at a show, if I want to. Otherwise, it's just gotta show. :rolleyes: Here's the snap on sholder anchor.



 

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I agree with Acardon, I like the setup. A restraint system that keeps you from biteing the dash but puts you in a wheelchair isn't a viable solution (just my two cents) Before I retired I did fatal accident reconstruction for our department so I have seen a few wrecks.
 

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Hi John
Can you please let me know the full extended measurement of the front and rear belts?
I'm going to the seatbelt company next Saturday to order all the parts I need armed with your photos.
Many thanks
Al
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Al, I remember I got pretty accurate measuring and figuring out how long they should be and ordered them to suit – even making sure that the lap belt for the back did not have any more length than absolutely necessary so that the ends would not flap around. But with the retractors, I realised in the end that any excess would simply be stored in the retractors regardless. I guess all you need to be sure of is having enough!

Maybe have a look at the www.gotbelts.com site to see what their standard is, and also see the lengths given for the front belts for the items sold via Classic Chev.

But will look tomorrow at my original order to see what I had calculated and re-post.

Cheers
 

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Grest pics John:tu

I have fitted 3 point belts to my 4 door,
I have had various opinions on weather I have to have an engineers cert before the road worthy is done for rego. As you know they aren't legaly required to be fitted in a pre 68 model car here in Australia.
Whats your take on the situation.

Cheers - Stu
 

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That would be a big help John if you do have the measurements. My seats are in storage 200 miles away so I can't work it out accurateley without those in and I want to do all the cutting required before the rear glass goes in.
Cheers
Al
 

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Let's talk about the upper attachment please

Hi! I'm dne'~ I haven't posted in a while : ( My '57 had been at our lakehome and we sold our lakehome last week, so now it's safe here in our Houston and getting driven much more now, and is home beside my mustang and I'll be posting more often I promise! ; )
My first upgrade will be shoulder harnesses front and rear. My 3 y/o grandaughter will NOT be riding in the '57 without them, she doesn't sit still for a moment unless she's in a car seat, and I would dread my husband flying through the windshield!
So, my questions:
1) I don't have the post, but I kind of see how the upper is attached to the hardtop/ or sportscoupe in my case(from ya'lls pictures), so the headliner? does it have to be removed or can I peel it back a bit to access what I need to do up there? Just need a little more attention to detail of the installation up top.
2)Obviusly the shorter portion of the seatbelt will go to the floor and come up through the seat~ How does one get the seatbelt through the seat(stock bench seat).
Thank you!! Thank you!
dne'


 

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Discussion Starter #12
Al, looks like I ordered front and back the same length:

4 x 3-point retractable 110" special order, 25" adjustable buckle end.

1 x lap belt adjustable end 24" fixed end 26".

Hope that helps.
 

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Grest pics John:tu

I have fitted 3 point belts to my 4 door,
I have had various opinions on weather I have to have an engineers cert before the road worthy is done for rego. As you know they aren't legaly required to be fitted in a pre 68 model car here in Australia.
Whats your take on the situation.

Cheers - Stu
Stu
I doubt that you need an engineer cert just for the seat belts - would be part of the engineer's job if he is inspecting/approving a modified car. The guy who does the roadworthy should inspect them to see if the are frayed, and I would expect him to check that they are properly mounted. I would take the car in for a roady and if all is OK go for rego as is - if they ask for anything additional, then do what they want.
Des
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Excellent, thanks John.
Now you've fitted them do you think you would have changed any of the lengths if you had to order them again?
Cheers
Al
My seats are about 200 miles away too, so I have not tested them! :)

But I measured carefully at the outset. In any case, I would consider my measurements as minimums and extra would not hurt, because it just ends up in the reel. Look at the standard lengths from SeatBelt Pros as a guide ... I think they are 140".
 

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My seats are about 200 miles away too, so I have not tested them! :)

But I measured carefully at the outset. In any case, I would consider my measurements as minimums and extra would not hurt, because it just ends up in the reel. Look at the standard lengths from SeatBelt Pros as a guide ... I think they are 140".
Thanks again John, I'm all set now.
Cheers
Al
 

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Has anyone reading this tread know of anyone who has done this on a 2 door 150 wagon?
I'm reviveing this tread from last Feb as no one chimed in. As I we were all interested in the origional 2 dr set up on a sedan. I have a 57 2 dr 150 wagon. Any thoughts
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I don't know the exact configuration of the wagons, but I reckon there are two issues with any seat belt:

1. Where to mount the top anchor.
2. Where to mount the retractor.

For the front of a wagon, I am assuming the top anchor can only go on the post. And I would weld in a plate to the inside rather than drill a bold through from the outside. For the retractor - these can mount off or close to the floor by the post or maybe fitted in behind upholstery behind?

For the rear, I am not too sure where the top anchor would go? Is there another post back there? And I guess the retractor would fit to the rear floor, maybe with a bit of support.
 

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I don't know the exact configuration of the wagons, but I reckon there are two issues with any seat belt:

1. Where to mount the top anchor.
2. Where to mount the retractor.

For the front of a wagon, I am assuming the top anchor can only go on the post. And I would weld in a plate to the inside rather than drill a bold through from the outside. For the retractor - these can mount off or close to the floor by the post or maybe fitted in behind upholstery behind?

For the rear, I am not too sure where the top anchor would go? Is there another post back there? And I guess the retractor would fit to the rear floor, maybe with a bit of support.
JohnOneTrillion,
Gotta love the nick name. Thanks for the response. I've been out RV'ing here in the USA for the past month and should be home sometime next month. I'll start looking at my options.... Happy motoring
 
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