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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.

Canvas & Interior Progress



Despite all the weekends away, there has been some progression over the last few weeks.

Most importantly, the hood sticks and canvas tilt has been fitted so the land rover no longer requires a tarpaulin. If you’ve never done this before see here for a how to!

The seat box is bolted in, the sills are fitted and the lower seat belt brackets are all firmly attached.

On the windscreen, I’ve mounted the two restored Lucas wiper motors, and given them a functional test in the rain!

Most recently ,in the few hours between getting home from work and darkness, I’ve been fitting the guide rails for the front row of seats.
I’ve got an adjustable driver’s seat but the runners were never able to clear the bolts that held the seat to the seatbox. This meant that the adjustable seat was permanently in the furthest back position.
When refitting I’ve used rounded head torx screws so that the runners can slide freely over the tops, meaning the seat can be moved right forward if required. Obviously this is good news for Susan!

Holidays & Time Off!



It’s been about four weeks since there’s been much done as every weekend there’s been something on….

  • August 21st saw Susan and I host our annual Bier Garten party, with the workshop recommissioned as a bar.
  • August 28th we had a weekend holiday in Munich.
  • September 5th was the Northern Ireland Airshow
  • And finally this weekend we went to the LRO Show in Peterbourgh!

My Big Back End!



I finally got round to moving the rear tub onto the chassis today, with the help of some lifing skills provided by Gregor Hogarth.
There are a few fit issues and the tub seems to be about 1cm shorter than it should be, but I’ll work out how to accommodate this with a few shims or so! Unfortunately I added the seat box before noticing the fit issues, so it will need to come off again, but for now, it looks quite good!

We Have Lift Off!



With the help of Susan’s Aussie cousin Chris, we got the engine fired up for the first time tonight!

Engine, Gearbox, Bulkhead & Radiator Fitted!



Having completed the bulkhead wiring, assembly of the actual vehicle could begin.
First on was the engine, I was able to do this on my own using the engine crane and a load leveller.
Next to go one was the gearbox, this was much more of a challenge as it was an awkward lift and hard to align with the mounts, plus the fact that the gearbox had an overdrive fitted meant that there was very little clearance at the middle cross-member.

Luckily I had some expert help in the form of Susan’s cousin Chris, who works as a mechanic for Mercedes in Brisbane, Australia.
Chris is actually on honeymoon in England with his new wife Tanya, also a former mechanical engineering student, and both of them took a time out from visiting historical and romantic English castles and countryside to get their hands greasy for a day helping with the rebuild.
With help from Chris, Tanya and Susan, the gearbox was mated up to the engine, it took a bit of fettling and messing about with jacks and levers under the engine to get the heights correct but we got there in the end.

I filled the gearbox, transfer case and overdrive with EP90 transmission oil (1.5, 2.5 and 0.4 Litres in case you wanted the figures) and spilled a good bit onto the paving slabs as well!

Chris set about mounting the battery and air filter tray and a meaty earth strap having used a wire brush to get a good earth contact on the chassis first, once this was done the bulkhead was next. Again it was quite difficult to get the main bolts in place, but with a bit of stretching and bashing they were done, and the thing secured.
The mechanical oil sensor was hooded up to the oil filter housing and the vacuum gauge pipe fitted to the carburettor.
A second earth strap was mounted from the starter motor to the chassis on the left hand side, with the waxy under-seal and epoxy mastic paint removed in situ with a wire brush again.
Meanwhile I made up a suitable length battery cable and connected it to the starter button post.

Next on was the radiator panel and front apron, then the radiator was filled with water rather than coolant as we wanted to be sure that there were no leaks before wasting any expensive coolant!

Unfortunately the main battery was not in a good enough condition to turn the starter motor with any great gusto, so we’ll need to wait a while before we get to fire it up! By that stage the light was fast fading, so the bonnet was fitted and a tarpaulin added to keep things safely under wraps.



Dash Panel Wiring



I finished the main panel wiring tonight, as you can see from the pictures I’ve got a Series IIA speedo rather than an original Series II one – this is the one that it had when I bought it and I saw no reason to change it back.

When I got the landy the warning lights in the speedo were not connected to anything but now I have re-wired it, I’ve used these lights and freed up the existing lamp holes for other uses.
The two green lights will be used for indicator tell tales, the original yellow diesel heater light will be used as a fog light tell tale and the original position for the charge light has been reamed out to a larger diameter to accommodate an auxiliary power outlet.
The original 30Amp ammeter quadrant has been replaced with a temperature gauge with a new 52mm Smiths style 60Amp ammeter added to the left of the main dash, the heavy gauge cables for this are visible in front of the heater hoses. Also on the left hand side is a 52mm voltmeter.
On the right hand side, I’ve fitted a mechanical vacuum gauge and mechanical oil pressure gauge.
As the auxiliary dash panels are open to the back, I’ve fitted a 2 Amp fuse for the panel lights circuit just in case anything gets in behind and causes a short.

Rubber Door Seals



Fitted the bulkhead rubber door seals tonight. As the door pillars were replaced I had to drill new holes for riveting the seals into place.
I’ve used the OEM seals as commissioned by The Land Rover Orphanage, these have been produced in a small batch using the original tooling from Land Rover.


Chassis Underseal



In preparation for reassembly, I treated the chassis to a good thick coat of black under body sealant. I’ve used Dinitrol 4941, a German anti corrosion product that has found favour in the offshore oil and gas drilling industry. It comes in a 1 litre can which you should heat in boiling water for 15 minutes or so to thin it out a bit, then it can be sprayed using a schultz gun and compressor at a pressure of about 6 bar.
The stuff is thick, black and waxy and has been specially formulated not to run or drip, so I could coat the surfaces of the chassis without lots of drips falling onto the driveway. It dries in about an hour and any overspray, for example onto the swivels, can be removed with a cloth coated in white spirit.
The day after I sprayed the chassis, there was very heavy rain, this pooled onto the chassis and ran straight off thanks to the new under seal coating.
Dinitrol 1 – Weather Nil


Throttle Linkage Complete



Finally my throttle linkage seems to be complete. I received a Zenith bell crank from PA Blanchard this morning, had it painted and fitted in the afternoon. I had some trouble following the parts diagram as it appears to show the two linkage rods in the incorrect positions. Basically there is a short rod and a long rod. The manual shows the long rod on the pedal side and the short rod on the carburettor side (see items 34 & 37 in the diagram below) but this arrangement just doesn’t seem to work, however with the parts swapped over, everything fits more of less perfectly. I’m sure it will take a bit of fettling once fitted, but for now everything looks fine.