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  #1  
Old 04-20-2010, 09:11 PM
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Cal250 Cal250 is offline
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Need advice on 3-point seat belt

Been following the posts (and good advice) for some time and finally am ready to jump in.

My son and I are working on our 1966 F250 project to get it ready for him to drive to high school. We have gone through the brakes and steering issues, and the truck is running fine. I would like to install a 3-point seat belt system in the truck as an addtional safety feature. Has anyone installed such a system? I am concerned about the connection to the cab for the shoulder belt.

Thanks
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Old 04-20-2010, 09:36 PM
charliemccraney charliemccraney is offline
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This is how I did it.

Due primarily to the fact that I failed to take pictures during the installation of the lower points, this will focus on the slightly more tricky 3rd point installation.

The lower points are pretty straight forward. Measure, mark, measure, measure, get ready to drill, measure, drill, measure again to see if you done messed up. Depending on the seats you're using, and where you need to mount the belts, you may run into issues with cab supports, and other sheet metal that may get in the way. Fortunately, I did not run into any of that during my install.

The only place available to install the third point is in each of the 2 rear corners of the cab:

Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

I found these little reinforcement plates online. They're 1/8" thick, 1.5" x 3" and come with a 7/16-20 thread. They can be riveted in place so that any future removal, replacement, or repair of the seatbelts is a one man job. The rivet holes were a hair too small for my 5/32, zinc plated steel rivets. So I opened them up to the proper size with a #20 drill bit. I used this size drill bit for all of the rivet holes. The label on my box of rivets says the hole needs to be .161 to .164 for proper fit. A #20 drill bit is .161. Follow the rivet manufacturers recommendations.

Click the image to open in full size.

The instructions say to drill a big ole 1 3/4" hole so that the plate can be slid up into place and riveted. I don't know about you, but that was not very appealing to me. Fortunately, we can gain access to the back of the corners by removing the rear portion of the headliner. Here, once again, I forgot to take pictures. I will if anyone needs it but I prefer not to remove that thing again. It pretty much goes like this. Unscrew the 2 screws at each corner, unscrew the dome light lens, unscrew the bulb holder and ground wire and push them behind. The top of the back portion is retained by two tangs. Gently push up on the top part of the headliner while gently pulling forward on the back portion and it will come out. Next, lift it out of the window rubber and it's out. Get a friend to help if you can. It's a bit of a pita to do it alone.

Now, sit in your seat and have a friend hold the shoulder restraint in a position that feels comfortable. It needs to be positioned above your shoulders to avoid compressing your spine should you have an accident. Have him hold the mounting plate as well to be sure that you clear the beads which are rolled into the corners for riveting. For the passenger side, you may want to make it more of a "universal" fit. I had a hard time with that because I like symmetry. Making the passenger side more "universal" isn't going to make my truck faster or make me more comfortable. So, Hopefully my passengers aren't much taller than me.

Click the image to open in full size.

Now mark the location with a marker. I forgot to take a picture with the marker but here's the dot. Kinda. The flash really ruined this picture.

Click the image to open in full size.

Now you know approximately where the center should be and you don't have to fight with the seat belt while trying to center punch. Use a transfer punch to mark the location. Follow that up with a center punch to get it ready for drilling. Drill the hole. The bolt is 7/16. I usually make my bolt holes 1/64" larger for good clearance. So I used a 29/64" bit. Do your best to debur the back side of the hole. I found a dremel with a small cylindrical grinding stone did a fine job.

Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

I used a set screw to help locate the plate while drilling the holes for the rivets. If you jiggle the plate around a little, you will find a place where it is happy and stable. I don't know if this will help for the actual function of the seat belts but it sure made it easier to drill the holes or the rivets. Have a friend hold the plate while you drill - or, if you're brave, do it the other way around. Take this opportunity to be a good friend and try to scare them a little. Drill the first hole and don't let the drill go all the way through and make a dimple on the outside body work like I did and damage the dull paint job.

Click the image to open in full size.

To keep the plate located properly, slide a rivet into the hole. Don't get ahead of yourself and pop that thing in!. Drill the second rivet hole and make sure both rivets will slide in easily.

Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

Now the tricky part. How do we get that plate behind there and into position? My solution:

I drilled a hole through my set screw and threaded it into the plate. The screw is 1" long with an allen hex on one end. I threaded the set screw into the plate so that the allen hex will be easy to access once the plate is installed.

Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

I then fitted my custom bent, super ultra high tech, specialty coat hanger tool through the hole and lowered the plate into position. The set screw also doubled as a pilot for the plate so that it will be easier to retrieve and hold onto.

Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

I threaded a nut onto the set screw to hold everything in place. You don't want the nut too tight. Do not disengage the custom bent, super ultra high tech, specialty coat hanger tool until the plate is secured in place! Also don't do what I did and try to unscrew the set screw before disengaging the tool. You're in for a real treat when you wind that thing around most of a turn.
The plate will probably have rotated to the position of least possible benefit while getting it behind there. Get the holes lined up with a pic. Make sure the rivets still fit.

Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

Now pop them rivets in there. I used a rivet tool with a rotating head. It allows for a much more convenient position. And voila! One anchor installed for the 3rd point.

Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 04-20-2010, 11:05 PM
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Wow...thanks for including the photos, they really help. Where did you buy your seat belts?
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Old 04-20-2010, 11:21 PM
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Slink in to your favorite salvage yard and look for 74 up GM trucks. Use a 50 torx head and remove the upper bolt from the upper B pillar as you remove the bolt catch the backing plate that falls out once the bolt is removed. These are formed just for the upper area and work real well. The bolt is a grade eight designed for seat belt use along with the backer. Plus side is it is in a truck so it is generally engineered for the higher mounting point.

3 point belts can be sourced aftermarket and run typically 100 bucks a side. and a center belt for around 30 bucks. Look in rodding mags

The back of the cab all ready has the blind nuts installed for seat belt mounting there will be rubber plugs in the holes.

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Old 04-21-2010, 04:10 AM
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Nice writeup Charlie!





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Old 01-17-2012, 06:35 PM
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Ok I know that I am going to sound like an idot but.. Can you post a pic on where you anchored the bottome. I just dont see any place on my truck to bolt it too. When the truck was new there were 2 rings on the floor and that was for the after market seat belts you could buy. The paneling is thin. Sorry I am not the most creative thanks
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Old 01-17-2012, 06:45 PM
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I've often wondered about the integrity of this anchor location...on a hard impact, I wonder if the sheet-metal plate would hold??

I agree though, great write-up Charlie.

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Old 01-17-2012, 07:01 PM
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I agree but if the accident was that bad then your lap belt didn't help at all either. I have some pondering to do. I re did my headliner last night and I don't want to finish up the sides unitil I decide if I am putting these seat belts in.
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Old 01-17-2012, 07:18 PM
charliemccraney charliemccraney is offline
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I'll get some pictures of the lower anchor location in the next day or two. There is a correct placement for the retractor so you are somewhat restricted by that. It has to do with the angle of the belt when fastened. So, you pretty well see where it needs to go and do whatever is necessary to get a good anchor in place.

I think on hard impact the integrity may be inconsequential. But I too wonder how well it works for low speed "soft" accidents.
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:34 PM
The Masked Rider The Masked Rider is offline
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That upper corner panel is a lot stronger than one would think. The way it bows 'in' is what gives it strength. If it were bowed out, than i would question it. But because its bowed in, if 'pull' on the center of that panel happens, the panel itself will want to come forward, trying to straighten itself out thus pushing against the welds on each side of it instead of pulling on them. Plus that panel is a pretty thick piece of steel. AND there is a thick piece of metal backing up the bolt. I did the same thing in mine a few yrs back. Works great, but as someone said, a bad crash, well, the lap belt will most likely break your back as your upper body it thrown forward and your head will most likely hit the steering wheel. That shoulder support - even if not perfect, will at least slow your upper body down. I hope.

NOW for a question I have. Maybe some of you law enforcement guys can answer this. I know that if your vehicle did not come with seat belts, you can't get a ticket for not wearing it. DAAAAA. BUT, if you install a set of belts in a vehicle that didn't come with them, can you NOW get a ticket for not wearing them??? - even if you can prove it didn't come with them.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Masked Rider View Post
NOW for a question I have. Maybe some of you law enforcement guys can answer this. I know that if your vehicle did not come with seat belts, you can't get a ticket for not wearing it. DAAAAA. BUT, if you install a set of belts in a vehicle that didn't come with them, can you NOW get a ticket for not wearing them??? - even if you can prove it didn't come with them.
Been there, argued that.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:38 PM
charliemccraney charliemccraney is offline
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Any T-shirt??
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Old 01-18-2012, 07:42 AM
The Masked Rider The Masked Rider is offline
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BEEN THERE, ARGUED THAT.... Care to elaborate a little more - like what story might be involved. hummmmm Just thought someone might have a story about getting stopped because of no belts in your truck. Maybe those things just don't happen.
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Old 01-18-2012, 07:47 AM
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I fabricated these using a panel cut from a 65 that was headed to the crusher.Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:26 AM
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Got chewed out for not having my seatbelt on in my 64. I had my lapbelt on. Then I was questioned why I had removed the original seatbelts!

You would think that one enforcing vehicle safety laws would know somthing about vehicles.

One time I was pulled over in my 96 F150. I hadent transfered the plates from my 85 so I just handed the lady my 85s registration card.
Your truck is not blue? I just painted it mam. Nice paint she tells me................Cops nowdays,

(Before somone gets their britches in a wad. My father and grandfather were state boys. In no way as stupid as young cops today.)
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:26 AM
 
 
 
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