Sunday, August 12, 2012

Modern Seatbelts

It should come as no surprise that I constantly want to drive my car. Even in August and without air conditioning, I find myself trying to convince my wife that we should take my car (instead of her Toyota) to the grocery store, to run errands or for any reason that I can conjure. Additionally, the roof rack gives me an excuse to opt for the old Bavarian fräulein over the obviously more sensible Corolla when there's a chance that we may need to haul something back to the house that wouldn't fit into the trunk. There's a simple explanation: the 1600 just wants to be driven. She begs you to push your foot into the accelerator pedal just a little more in an on-ramp loop. The M42 likes to stretch its proverbial legs on even the shortest of trips. "Please," she says, "drive me with abandon, nay WRECKLESS abandon." So, it has been with that sense of wreckless abandon that I have piloted the car for the last 2+ years with the weakest of seatbelts.

That, or I was just too busy making her go, stop and handle to ever get around to upgrading the seatbelts to something better than the eBay VW lap belts that I've been using.

So, I finally bit the bullet and ordered up a set of retractable seatbelts from Al ("Bluedevils" on Al sent me a set with new retractors and Autoflug hardware. The kit is really top quality. Following the instructions on the FAQ, I drilled the holes to mount the reels under the rear seat. For those of you playing at home, you'll need a 7/16" drill bit, a 1/4" drill bit and a 1" hole saw. Here's an image of the holes. What's missing is the 1/4" hole just above the mounting hole. This is for a pin that keeps the reel upright, as it needs to remain vertical to operate properly. The 1" hole is for the nut and washers to fit on the other side of the bolt.

I used the tape trick to keep the nut in place while I fished the bolt through.

Once I got everything tight, I sprayed the newly exposed metal with a rust-proofing primer. Notice that I had to drill an extra hole to get the nut on. 

Then I reinstalled the interior panel and bolted the pivot point in the threaded hole. I had to cut a hole in the panel, as no seatbelt was there before. The forward anchor bolted into the original sealbelt location.

Then I put the rear seat back in and the genius of Al's design was evident.

I also took the time to wire up the trip odometer button on my speedometer. 

Now I have a trip odometer and I don't have to disassemble the cluster to recalibrate the speedometer.

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