lap strap seat belts to 3 point?

lap strap seat belts to 3 point?

Postby Scubes [OP] » December 2nd 2013, 10:33pm

I have a 97 Astro and I'm pretty new to all this having acquired it recently. Unfortunately in my haste to buy it I didn't think to look at the seat belts in the back (not that it probably would have changed my mind). Unfortunately they are of the lap strap kind and I have two adorable little rug rats that obviously need to be in car seats. unfortunately most car seats are designed with a 3 point harness in mind. Rather than going out and buying car seats for lap straps which there are few and only work up until the child is around 4 years I'd rather try and change the seat belt set up on the rear bench to a 3 point system. I have obviously seen examples with 3 point harnesses and wondered if its a simple case of the anchor points being the same in most vans?
If so is it a simple case then to be able to change the setup, if not how does one go about changing it and still complying with MOT's etc or have I just shot myself in the foot with this?

Any help would be greatly appreciated

Thanks

Steve
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Re: lap strap seat belts to 3 point?

Postby markmitch » December 3rd 2013, 12:52am

best advice is to look in other vans -maybe in the salvage yards and such. Mine in an 89 with 4 buckets and 1 bench and the bench is in the very back and it has shoulder harnesses. let me know if you need a picture.
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Re: lap strap seat belts to 3 point?

Postby snapper388 » December 3rd 2013, 1:05am

x2 on the salvage yard. mine is a 95 conversion van with 4 captain chairs and a seat that turns into a bed. 4 of my rear belts are shoulder belts.
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Re: lap strap seat belts to 3 point?

Postby petevandam » December 3rd 2013, 12:18pm

hi steve,

found myself in the same position as you when I got my van, didn't think to check for seat belts and she didn't have any 3 point behind drivers seats, all lap straps. My van is a conversion with a fibreglass roof and I'm thinking the original tin top roof would perhaps have had the fixing points. Anyway have got hold of a full set of belts and am now in the process of stripping the van out to weld in some new anchor points.Looked for ages for some other form of safety belts but nothing appeared to be practical for kids of differing ages.
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Re: lap strap seat belts to 3 point?

Postby chevymaher » December 3rd 2013, 1:49pm

I have had the interior out of my 90 and 94 and had a 2000 seat in the van before. All vans seem to have the shoulder anchor in the wall of the van.

Between the years the seat and seat belt type changed and the belts and seats had to stay together. Or they would not function.

Older Gen 1 vans with bucket seats had easy to use/put in type shoulder harness belts. Shoulder belt bolts to anchor in wall of the van. Lower parts bolt under the seat. But this type would adapt to work with any seat.

I know laws are different everywhere. But here a child cannot use a shoulder harness untill they are a adult. Because the shoulder strap can ride on their neck and break it in a accident. By law the strap is supposed to be behind the child. Both my sons baby seat and his booster seats are designed for lap belts only. Shoulder restraints were part of the seat itself so it was properly placed on the child's body. This was the infant seat only. The booster seat is lap only and the shoulder part goes behind the child.

My wife is a philippino and my child is almost as tall as she is. So I checked and read the law in detail to see when he could come out of the booster seat. And ride in the front seat with me when it is just us. It is ridiculous the child has to ride in the back seat till they old enough to drive practically. And all belting laws apply till that point. Shoulder belt behind them that is.

More not to well thought out laws. According to these laws my step son had to ride in a booster seat in the back seat because of his age and he was 6 foot 3 and 200 lbs at the age of 13.
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Re: lap strap seat belts to 3 point?

Postby markmitch » December 3rd 2013, 3:38pm

what are you feeding that boy?
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Re: lap strap seat belts to 3 point?

Postby chevymaher » December 3rd 2013, 3:43pm

markmitch wrote:what are you feeding that boy?

Just a genetic mutant. LOL.
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Re: lap strap seat belts to 3 point?

Postby Scubes [OP] » December 3rd 2013, 11:07pm

Hi guys

Thanks guys for all the info. Chevymaher thanks for that I'll have a look behind the fascias and see if the anchor points are there if so then its a question I guess as to finding belts long enough to fit. I have captains chairs in the first two rows then back row is bench which like most converts to a bed. regarding laws here in UK the child has to be in a seat until 30kg I think so about age 10-12 and after group 1 i.e. about 4 years has to have a seat which is raised (booster) to allow the 3 point harness to fit snugly around the shoulder and not on the neck. The car seats are mainly designed so that the shoulder bit feeds into the seat at the top in a way that keeps it at the correct place on the shoulder. This is a big change to the US way which is I believe as you say to have the belt behind at all times until they are big enough to use the belt without a booster.
Petevandam cheers again however your info is slightly at odds with chevymaher if you are having to strip and weld new anchor points maybe not all vans do have the anchors in the same place. Mine also has fibreglass roof so maybe its those types that don't have all the anchors. Are you in the UK by any chance? The reason I say it is if you weld new anchor points in yourself how would that get through its MOT. I was under the impression that any change in the seat belt arrangement i.e. changing anchor points needs a certificate to prove it complies with the MOT and that most MOT centres would require to see this before they pass it. Maybe its worth checking up on that before you do it. I was advised by my garage to look at a coach builders to do the work, great but probably expensive.

The answer I have found I think is to source a seat from the US where as Chevymaher says the seat belts have to go behind and therefore are more designed to take a 2 point harness as well as 3. As I go there often I can get one pretty easily. If anyone is interested, although there seems plenty on my search through Amazon.com (US website) I have plumped for the Recaro proRide at $200. This equates to £121 sterling and even if someone were to buy it and get Amazon to ship it to UK from US it would still cost over £290 less, which is less than half the price of the UK website price of £489 so still a bargain for anyone in the UK in my position.
P.s all these seats on Amazon Uk website are from states anyway so might as well cut out middle man making huge profit….
The huge benefit I can see in this seat is that because its designed with the harness to fit behind at all ages it can take a child up to 70lbs which is approx 30kg or 50 inches in height so about age 10 still with a 5 point harness. Why does the US have all the good stuff, and so much cheap?????
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Re: lap strap seat belts to 3 point?

Postby sfeaver » December 3rd 2013, 11:16pm

a 97 should have shoulder belts for the rear buckets, and outside seats on the bench. At least in Canada they do, I'm sure the US would by that year too. I think three point was required here by the late eighties in the rear, I have an 89 Buick that does. Chevymaher, doesn't your van have belts like that? I figured US law would be the same for that stuff, although those automatic seatbelts on the door weren't allowed here. I had a 1991 Sunbird V6 that had manual belts on the door, and they had a recall to add a reinforcing plate to the pillar. But there was no way anyone would ever leave that belt attached all the time so I don't think the intent was auto belts.

Do you have a pic of the rear part of your van? For the seat closest to the sliding door, there should be a belt hanging down from the ceiling that would attach to the base of the seat. Then another bucket to click across your lap, and part from ceiling goes across shoulder.

Scott
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Re: lap strap seat belts to 3 point?

Postby chevymaher » December 4th 2013, 12:19am

This is my extra interior panel hanging on the wall. The drivers side. Between the middle and rear window the hole is where the bolt hole is for the shoulder strap. 94 or 2000 it was in the same place. So if your interior is covering it then this the place to look. Passenger side you may be burnt if it is a high top because that one is in the ceiling for the second row. But third row they are there for both sides.

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Re: lap strap seat belts to 3 point?

Postby Scubes [OP] » December 7th 2013, 12:45pm

Hello again guys

Scott I definitely don't have any belt hanging down near the door or anywhere else. If they were there someone has taken them out in preference of lap straps. This van originally came from Japan I believe so maybe it's all different there however it would have started life in the US so hopefully the thread holes for the bolts may be there. No pics on hand of back but will have a look later today.
Sheveymaher thanks for the photo, it gives me somewhere to look for. I'm not too bothered about the 2nd row as the kids won't really be using them to ride in certainly I'll have a look for the holes in row 3. On some vans I've seen the belts come down from the ceiling in the 3rd row, others look like they have them on the rear pillars. I'm hoping that's the case in mine as I ideally I don't want to start stripping huge amounts of trim out, the last guy spent a fortune getting it nice and it looks lovely just the way it is. Hopefully if the holes are behind the trim on the rear pillars it would be a simple job to drill through the trim, add the bolts and use the other existing anchors. Fingers crossed...
I still have my solution with the US car seat so at least I have a workable solution.
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Re: lap strap seat belts to 3 point?

Postby chevymaher » December 7th 2013, 1:31pm

Myself I would go with the car seat cheaper and easier.
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Re: lap strap seat belts to 3 point?

Postby Scubes [OP] » December 7th 2013, 2:43pm

Yep you said it I think that's my best option for now. I've just spent the last hour looking at the rear pillars and trying to see any sign of where the bolts would go and although I have found a hole which would take a bolt through on either side of the back roof cross brace? It doesn't look like it's reinforced in any way which I'd have expected to take the load of a fully grown male in a crash so wouldn't expect that to be a legal option. As for the rear pillars there's nothing there at all but empty space behind the trim and then what looks like the outer skin.
They could be a bit further forward but to check under the trim there would basically ruin it and I'd have to get brand new trim to refit and it's almost new as it is so I'd rather not do that. As you say the simplest and cheapest is to go with the rector car seat that I know will work, at least for now and review again as the cherubs get a bit older.

Thanks for all the info though from everyone.

Steve
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