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Seat Belts



My Land Rover was built in 1959 before it became mandatory to have front seat belts fitted.
Although it’s perfectly legal in the UK for it to remain without seatbelts, personally I wanted to fit them to protect me and my passenger in the event of a collision and more importantly prevent dents to my bulkhead!
I’ve decided to fit modern three point inertia belts as opposed to the more traditional static belts that were fitted as standard from the early 1960s.
If you’ve not come across them before, static belts are basically just seat belt straps with no recoiling reel and are unpopular as they don’t retract and end up getting caught in the doors.
Three point inertia belts are what you would get in a modern car, the three points refer to the fitting points, one at the bottom of your chair, one at the top of your shoulder and finally the bottom stalk at the other side.
The inertia part of the name refers to the fact that the slack of the belt is held in a reel and is sensitive to the inertia of the vehicle, i.e. if there is a sudden deceleration or the reel deviates from the normal right way up position the belt is locked.
The biggest difficulty in adding seatbelts to a soft top seems to be the top mounting of the belt. In theory this should be above the shoulder and when seatbelts are fitted in a truck can or hardtop there is a suitable bracket available to provide a good mounting point.
This changes when you have a canvas top. The canvas hood sticks are not suitable for any seatbelt fitting whatsoever and should never be used as they are nowhere near strong enough and if used may leave you worse off than no seatbelts in an accident!
What you need is some form of tough mounting point. The good news is there are at least a couple of off the shelf parts that can be used. If you’ve fitted a high quality roll bar, most have suitable mounting points; in fact the military roll bar is often touted as a suitable solution to the issue, but bear in mind that it doesn’t offer the best roll over protection when compared with a modern roll cage.
An other option is a raised seatbelt bar, it does the job, but is definitely not a roll bar. I’ve included a parts diagram just below showing the various components and part numbers. This was the option I chose to use and was able to purchase this from Huddersfield Land Rover Centre, though I do think this is a hard part to find now.
When it comes to fitting belts around the above bar, there is an inertia seatbelt kit available under part number RTC1939, again this may be hard to track down, but it is very well made and easy to fit.
This kit was designed to replace static seatbelts, so if your vehicle has never had belts in the first place you’ll need some additional parts, but I’ll cover that later.
So – what’s in the kit? Well you get two inertia seat belts and stalks, plus a load of brackets , anchor plates and associated fittings to allow you to fit the reels. The kit actually contained two types of square anchor plate, I believe one set is for normal use in a SWB (on the left) and the other (on the right) is for use in a LWB truck cab, but don’t quote me on that!
The brackets actually enclose the reels offering them protection from knocks and bumps.
As mentioned, I had to obtain additional parts such as the corner brackets for the bottom seat box points and the angle anchors for the stalks.
The seat box brackets are bolted through the sill channels and to the rear tub and provide a firm fixing point for the bottom of the seatbelts.
The angle brackets for the stalks are unique to the Series 2 as on more modern vehicles there are a couple of tabs on the chassis that allow an angle bracket to be fitted just below the lip of the tub, you’ll see this arrangement on the Series 3, but in my case, the stalks are fitted to the tub alone using these brackets.
It is important to note, however, that there is a spreader plate below the stalk mounts to strengthen the whole arrangement.
I’ve taken quite a few photos as I fitted the kit to my vehicle, you can see all at here.

2 comments to Seat Belts

  • eviljamie

    Hi James,

    I was hoping to get some advice,

    I am thinking of putting the same setup in my 2a, but I have a long wheelbase one, so that has an extra set of mounting holes for a second tilt hoop near the front.

    Do you think this would foul the MRC7354 bar at the mounting point?

    Any advice would be apprectiated.

    Jamie

  • James

    Hmmm – I know that the LWB is quite different, as there is a lot more extra space in the cab. Exactly how that affect the seat belt mountings, I'm not sure. Your best bet is to post this query on the Series 2 Forum at http://www.series2club.co.uk.

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