Can Someone help with seat belts?

Restoration

  1. Dsertdog

    Dsertdog Active Member

    Messages:
    286
    Likes Received:
    302
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2019
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Our '66 Polara convertible came with seat belts but all we have left are half of the back ones.

    Rust 9 .JPG

    When I got the car I ordered a set of universal front belts that use an airplane style buckle for the front. They are non retracting
    Now I'm thinking I should have OEM style belts. I also see that Mopar made at one time, an add on belt retractor. Does anyone use these on their car?
    Seat Belt Retractor 63-70 Dodge Coronet Charger Dart Plymouth Satellite GTX Dart | eBay

    So here's my other questions.

    Did the factory front belts in 1966 have a floor mounted retraction system?
    What does this retractor/belt system look like?
    Were there covers for the ends of the belts where they attached to the floor?
    Can you take pictures and show me?
    Would B body reproductions listed on certain sites work?
     
  2. rapidtrans

    rapidtrans Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,576
    Likes Received:
    1361
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Location:
    rochester hills, mi.
    I’ll shoot you a pic when I get home of my 65.
    Yes they have bolt covers and a retractor at the floor.
    I think the retractor side might be different than a B body.
    There are C body repros being made for our car.
     
  3. Big_John

    Big_John Illegitimi non carborundum FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    11,821
    Likes Received:
    6844
    Joined:
    May 21, 2013
    Location:
    Marcellus, NY
    @dart4forte can help you out.

    I got some belts from him and I'm very happy with them.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  4. CBODY67

    CBODY67 Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,900
    Likes Received:
    891
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2011
    As for the retractors, in 1966, this was "newer stuff". The aftermarket had some you could clip onto the outside belts, which were "open". By comparison, the factory belt retractors (as on our '66 Newport) a vinyl-type casting which protected both the belt and retractor as it laid on the floor between the rocker panel/sill plate and the seat base. Color-keyed, of course. The retracted belt went fully into it, leaving the metal buckle "male" end exposed for ease of grasp.

    Probably the best source for these might be an older salvage yard? I suspect that by the time the shields became worn enough to possibly need replacing (a non-wear item), the cars would have been scrapped anyway. But for those vehicles which went to the salvage yard earlier, due to collision issues, those could be your best sources. As with any trim item, the northern sections of the hemisphere might be better than those closer to the equator?

    The "webbing" in the belts was similar to what we have in the '70-era vehicles, but a bit stiffer and possibly thicker. One interesting thing regarding seat belts, back then, was a recommendation to pull them out every few years and wash them. Why? Allegedly, if any grit might get into the belt, the friction of it against the threads could degrade the threads enough to make the integrity and strength of the belt a bit degraded. Which means "strength" and their agility to keep the passenger "planted" in the seat in a crash situation. BTAIM. Never did hear of any injuries caused by failed seat belts, even back then.

    By observation, the factory belts seemed much more substantial than the aftermarket "woven belts" back then. The ones in our '66 are still in there. Never been washed or whatever.

    The retractors were pretty much universal, being placed more in the middle of the belt than at its end (as the newer retractors are). As with the non-retractor outside belts, they were pulled "taut", then buckled into the inside belt buckle (with the chrome "aircraft-style" chrome pull-up release buckle, and then the whole belt pulled taut with the free end of the inside belt. Everything "taut" when latched.

    The belt/retractor shield bolted into the same place on the inner rocker panel as the non-retractor belt end would. As one assembly. When the bolt is removed, the belt/retractor should come out of the shield. It was "loose" On the bolt shank so it would pivot upward as needed, when it was deployed by the person in that seating position. ONLY on the outer seating positions.

    I don't specifically recall, but there was probably a similar set-up for the rear seat? The shield was more hidden by the seat cushions, I suspect? Only on the outboard seating positions. Don't recall any factory retractors on the center seating positions.

    I don't have any pictures to post of the set-up, but I also suspect there might be some in the "New Model Information" publications/videos online at www.mymopar.com or in the sales brochure sections at www.hamtramk-historical.com? "Safety" was an emerging selling point back then, so the "luxury" of seat belt retractors was an aid to that. No need to fumble for the outside belts as they were easy to get to in their shields, which pretty much where you'd reach for them. Greater convenience was supposed to lead to more seat belt usage, back then.

    Hope this might help some,
    CBODY67
     
  5. rapidtrans

    rapidtrans Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,576
    Likes Received:
    1361
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Location:
    rochester hills, mi.
    FAAE7AF1-46D7-41DC-A045-E5719BB52FA9.jpeg
    Here is the pass side of my 65. These are original factory installed. Mine do not have the cover over the tunnel anchor bolt. 66 might have em.
    B1C274E9-B798-4996-AF76-B0C995B6F0B7.jpeg
    Here the rears. Found under the seat and quite dirty. Cleaned up nicely soaking in Simple Green.
     
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  6. Gerald Morris

    Gerald Morris Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    745
    Likes Received:
    180
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2016
    Location:
    Tucson
    I found what I now use for the front seatbelts in Mathilda covered in grease and dust behind the rear seat in the trunk. First used some Gojo on them, then Tide detergent, which brought them back very nicely. Bolted them behind the front bench seat and have used them ever since. The original stuff was the TOP in my book!
     
  7. Dsertdog

    Dsertdog Active Member

    Messages:
    286
    Likes Received:
    302
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2019
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    So...
    as I read your reply, floor mounted retractors were new in 1965-66 and would be on the outside belt
    Thank you for posting that photo. I wish others would come forward.
     
  8. rapidtrans

    rapidtrans Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,576
    Likes Received:
    1361
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Location:
    rochester hills, mi.
    No problem. I know good reference pics can be a big help.
     
  9. Dsertdog

    Dsertdog Active Member

    Messages:
    286
    Likes Received:
    302
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2019
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    One last question, are front bench and front bucket seat belts the same?
     
  10. LocuMob

    LocuMob Fluid Technician with a hat FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    9,817
    Likes Received:
    5540
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Location:
    Blue Earth Mn
    Yep. Well, I think they are. They look the same, but the inner one for the bench might extend further up from the floor. I can take a look at both versions, I just have to run over to the storage unit.
     
  11. rapidtrans

    rapidtrans Senior Member FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,576
    Likes Received:
    1361
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Location:
    rochester hills, mi.
    Check out Seatbelt Planet.
    They show repro belt sets for a 64 Polara that should fit our cars. Same seats and console as mine. A seatbelt set for a bench seat includes the center belt. The retractors appear the same as the buckets and the center belt looks longer than the rear belts. Might just be a generic photo.