SwedeDownUnderR63

1963 Buick Riviera 3-point seat belts installed in the front

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The 3-point lap/sash front seat belts are installed and certified by my engineer. This was somewhat trickier then the rear seat belt setup and could probably be improved. My engineer wanted to add more meat to the this as the inner panel was rather weak so he came up with the solution as per the below and as can be seen in the pictures (all metal of 3mm metric thickness). This solution will spread the load over a larger area and hopefully enough. Only the holes at the centre console that was in place for the lap belt was reused for the Buckle Stalk. The addition contained (for each side):

  • A new hole in the floor side behind the seat just before the arm rest for the rear seat. This was used for the seat belt end bracket. Note that you need to be careful when drilling the hole for this on the right hands side of the car as the fuel line is very close! A plate was placed under the car for the bolt to connect to.
  • A “triangular” and bended plate for the mounting of the belt retractor behind the armrest. This plate is connected with 2 small normal seat belt plates with a nut (homemade plates in this case) behind the lower rear quarter inner panel. One need to drill holes in the inner panel for the bolt to go through. The smaller access hole cover is no longer in place (one could possible increase the size of the plate to fully cover the access plate hole). The top part of the “triangle” plate has a hole and a 7/16 UNF nut welded in the back which is used to fasten the belt retractor in. The plate is bended to get it into the correct setting for a 90x90 seat belt retractor.
  • An “L-shaped” plate with 3 holes in it is then connected to the upper rear quarter inner panel. There are 3 plates with 7/16 UNF nuts welded in the back of each plate. One of the plate is bended as it wasn’t possible get it in place otherwise, one has a special cut out to allow space for a screw for the window (this is also the plate that the seat belt shoulder loop web guide is connected to). One need to drill holes in the rear quarter inner panel to get this in place. Note that a kind of screw is used instead of bolts to fasten this due to space limitations. I recall that we also needed to shorten the bolt for the seat belt shoulder loop web just a little bit to avoid hitting the window (which one need to be extra careful about everywhere in this setup).
  • The armrest had a small hole made in the top for the belt to go through (some clever work by my son made that look professional and well protected from the steel).

 

Catches and comments:

  • If you choose to go with this setup it is all at your own risk (same for my suggested rear seat belt setup).
  • I would love to have the shoulder loop web guide 10 mm higher to avoid going through the trim as you can see in the pictures (and also to get it higher which is better for safety reasons). It might be possible to get this done better.
  • I believe that the security for the driver and the front passenger improves with this setup compared to a lap belt. However, it is impossible to get a perfect solution in place for this old car, the seat belt incorporated in the seat solution (with a BMW seat) that I have seen elsewhere in the forum is likely to be a much better solution assuming the seat is strongly fixed in the floor. One is still likely to get the steering wheel pushed through the driver’s body if one crash at a faster (possible not so much faster) speed.
  • There is a spinal risk with having the belt coming in over the shoulder from a lower angle as in this setup but I do believe that this risk is small compared to the benefit with this setup (if the care tips over, which is when most likely a spinal injury can occur here, then I think one will have other even more serious problems).

 

I have pictures of the installation and also some pictures to give you an understanding of the measurements (all in metric).

The impact on the car is harder to reverse compared to the rear seat belt setup (if one would like to have it back in original state):

  • One hole under the car to be filled up (easy).
  • A hole in the rear side panel might be harder to reverse professionally, especially when drilled in the way it was done here.
  • The arm rest would need to be fixed back which probably isn’t so hard.
  • Filling in the holes in the rear inner panel might be harder but still doable.

I feel more safe traveling in the front seats with this in place (especially for the passenger) but it is clearly not perfect. Still not a modern car but, as I see it, as good as possible without any major changes in the beautiful design.

Ann-Kristin did the metal work again.

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Edited by Jan Norback (see edit history)

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Questions if I may.  Where does the male end of the belt "rest" when the belt is retracted?  Is it just the shoulder belt that retracts or does the lap belt retract as well?  How short is the female end of the belt; is it like the newer cars where it just barely sticks up above the edge of the seat to the get the male end into it?  What is it like for the back seat passengers to climb over/around during ingress/egress?  I was just wondering if you had to go through a bunch of contortions to get your hands on the belt to fasten it.  Nice job of engineering and installing.

 

Ed

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Questions if I may.  Where does the male end of the belt "rest" when the belt is retracted?  Is it just the shoulder belt that retracts or does the lap belt retract as well?  How short is the female end of the belt; is it like the newer cars where it just barely sticks up above the edge of the seat to the get the male end into it?  What is it like for the back seat passengers to climb over/around during ingress/egress?  I was just wondering if you had to go through a bunch of contortions to get your hands on the belt to fasten it.  Nice job of engineering and installing.

 

Ed

Hi Ed,

Going through your questions:

Where does the male end of the belt "rest" when the belt is retracted? 

  • It depends on how lacy/picky one would like to be. In one of the attached pictures you can see it on the floor which is probably what I normally would have it. In another picture you can see it hanging in the cloth hanger (suggestion curtesy Tony Gentilcore) which makes it a lot nicer although there still will be some slack on the floor. Having it in the cloth hanger makes it noisy when driving with the windows down and it looks less attractive from the outside so I tend to not use that as I don’t have A/C in my car.

Is it just the shoulder belt that retracts or does the lap belt retract as well?

  • Only the shoulder belt retracts.

How short is the female end of the belt; is it like the newer cars where it just barely sticks up above the edge of the seat to the get the male end into it? 

  • I ordered the front seat belts with the following dimensions (mm, metric), see the attached dimension picture, this works fine with the seat far back for me but might be too shot for the seat set in a very forward position (250 mm for the female end):
    • A-B = 1250
    • B-C = 1350
    • A-E = 310
    • B-D = 250
  • I have attached a picture with the buckle stalk with and without the belt in it (the seat is as far back as possible) and as you can see it isn’t that much above the seat. There are likely to be alternatives…

What is it like for the back seat passengers to climb over/around during ingress/egress? 

  • There is no major drama getting in our out although it would be very hard to get in/out if someone is sitting in the front seat with the belt attached.

I was just wondering if you had to go through a bunch of contortions to get your hands on the belt to fasten it.

  • I grab the belt easily over the shoulder before I close the door. It is rather harder to do it with the door closed but still doable, simpler if the belt is on the floor. 

Nice job of engineering and installing

  • Thank you although this is more thanks to my wife and the engineer.

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Jan-

What have you done to lock the front seat backs from tilting forward in a collision?

Hi Jim,

I wish that I had a good answer on this one as I do understand your concern with the extra weight coming from the seat back (multiplied with the de-acceleration force).

I still think that this setup is better than the original with the lap-belt but I would love to find a good nice looking solution for this issue. BTW there is also no head/neck protection for whiplash accidents.

The BMW seat solution with the integrated seat belt and neck support (as mentioned in other posts in the forum) would be great if it wasn't so expensive and, although nice looking by itself, doesn't look the way I would like to see it in my Riviera.

 

I don't think the perfect solution exist in regards to passenger security in a 1963 Riviera, I have just tried to make it better as best that I could without breaking the design. Even the back seat could potentially be seen as dangerous as anything lose (and maybe even the spare wheel) in the trunk could come crushing from behind.

 

Better suggestions are more then welcome. Best is of course to avoid an accident which is why I also will change to a dual MC to minimize the risk for brake failure.

Edited by Jan Norback (see edit history)

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Hi Ed,

Going through your questions:

Where does the male end of the belt "rest" when the belt is retracted? 

  • It depends on how lacy/picky one would like to be. In one of the attached pictures you can see it on the floor which is probably what I normally would have it. In another picture you can see it hanging in the cloth hanger (suggestion curtesy Tony Gentilcore) which makes it a lot nicer although there still will be some slack on the floor. Having it in the cloth hanger makes it noisy when driving with the windows down and it looks less attractive from the outside so I tend to not use that as I don’t have A/C in my car.

Is it just the shoulder belt that retracts or does the lap belt retract as well?

  • Only the shoulder belt retracts.

How short is the female end of the belt; is it like the newer cars where it just barely sticks up above the edge of the seat to the get the male end into it? 

  • I ordered the front seat belts with the following dimensions (mm, metric), see the attached dimension picture, this works fine with the seat far back for me but might be too shot for the seat set in a very forward position (250 mm for the female end):
    • A-B = 1250
    • B-C = 1350
    • A-E = 310
    • B-D = 250
  • I have attached a picture with the buckle stalk with and without the belt in it (the seat is as far back as possible) and as you can see it isn’t that much above the seat. There are likely to be alternatives…

What is it like for the back seat passengers to climb over/around during ingress/egress? 

  • There is no major drama getting in our out although it would be very hard to get in/out if someone is sitting in the front seat with the belt attached.

I was just wondering if you had to go through a bunch of contortions to get your hands on the belt to fasten it.

  • I grab the belt easily over the shoulder before I close the door. It is rather harder to do it with the door closed but still doable, simpler if the belt is on the floor. 

Nice job of engineering and installing

  • Thank you although this is more thanks to my wife and the engineer.

 

Jan,

 

It surely does look like it will perform to task, let's just hope you never have to find out.  Nice job all around.

 

I have a friend in central Kansas who has cut down the BMW seats to the proportions of the stock seat.  It was a great solution for him.  At one time, I had a set of seats from a Cadillac Eldorado with the integrated belt, but installing that seat would have required a bunch of floor board fabrication; the motor sat a a level that was lower than the mounts.  I also had a set of Chrysler Sebring convertible seats with the integrated shoulder harness, but unaware of it at the time, I didn't realize that the Chrysler belts are never tight until a motion sensor activates, when forward, back, or rollover momentum is felt, and 12 V is sent to a sensor in the seat that locks the belts.  Lying on the ground, the belts couldn't be budged until 12 V was applied to the sensor in the seat.  That meant mounting the motion sensor in the console and tying it to the ignition as well as the door jamb switches. ???? for the door jamb switches.  Chrysler thinking was that the belts could be snug but not locked when the seat was in any position, even reclined, and the belt would then tighten when and in the position needed at the time.

 

Ed

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