New Seat Belts?

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john keefe
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New Seat Belts?

Post by john keefe »

30+ years on these seat belts. None are frayed in either the XR or the Scorpio, but they're faded and probably a little brittle. That many years, abuse or not, can't be good when you really need them to hold. I don't want to go to a full-on Sabelt, Sparco, or other race-type set-up, but I don't think swapping in equally old "hardly used" stuff works for something this important. Fabric + poly still loses out to time.

What have you guys done to replace or upgrade? Is there a commonality among Ford vehicles with the anchoring at the sprung retractor, or similar that would allow a swap from a late 2000-era car? Or, is there a brand/model which fits right in, with retractor, maybe something like here https://www.seatbeltsplus.com/ ?
john keefe
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Re: New Seat Belts?

Post by john keefe »

Has anyone done a swap with new replacements? Who/What did you use? Did it bolt in, or was some creative alteration required?
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andyofcolumbusmerkur
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Re: New Seat Belts?

Post by andyofcolumbusmerkur »

Maybe some material (the same color and width) could be sewn by some type of upholstery place. If all the rest of the hardware was still in good shape.
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john keefe
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Re: New Seat Belts?

Post by john keefe »

I was thinking that too, but it might be expensive. And, I don't know if modern seat belts need some vulcanization or other chemical reinforcement for the fibers to be considered "safe," or what material to spec for the upholsterer if they don't do that regularly. Was hoping there's some close production type you could just swap in.
MarkM
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Re: New Seat Belts?

Post by MarkM »

There are aftermarket companies that will replace the seatbelt on your existing hardware with a same color or "close to it" belt.

I need to replace the front seatbelts on my Fox body Mustang and unfortunately, it's not a popular color interior. I keep hoping to find a NOS belt, but I may have to use one of the aftermarket companies. The ads I've seen say that their belts have the right safety certifications. These days, I'm at least a little skeptical of anything that isn't straight from the manufacturer's supply chain, and even then there's no guarantee, but I'll have to try to find an established company and hope for the best. I'm sure the same companies could replace a Merkur's belts.
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john keefe
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Re: New Seat Belts?

Post by john keefe »

I haven't found any manufacturer's cite which provides for the Merkur, but there are several "universal fits" which seem to have almost the same reel, webbing, etc., but not the correct receiver clip and steel bracket used in ours. I'll have to look at mine more closely to see if one of them matches the same style of clip, or enough length on the hard band to be able to replace the stock bar.
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DPDISXR4Ti
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Re: New Seat Belts?

Post by DPDISXR4Ti »

I've thought about this issue as well. We're seeing lots of things decay on our cars, not from use, but just from simple aging.

It would be nice if a swap candidate could be found from a modern vehicle, even if a little effort was required to engineer it into place. Sounds like a good junkyard-search project.
Brad
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eaton53
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Re: New Seat Belts?

Post by eaton53 »

john keefe wrote: Thu Feb 25, 2021 4:15 am I haven't found any manufacturer's cite which provides for the Merkur, but there are several "universal fits" which seem to have almost the same reel, webbing, etc., but not the correct receiver clip and steel bracket used in ours. I'll have to look at mine more closely to see if one of them matches the same style of clip, or enough length on the hard band to be able to replace the stock bar.
You need to be careful about any sewing on seat belts.
They use special sewing patterns so that they don't come undone under load.
Probably some sort of super duty thread as well.
Mark Copeland - I'm 50 miles west of Kewanee, IL

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Car was the 2014 MCA Merkur Preservation Award Winner
'89 Scorpio
This one has a very bright and shiny future.
Proud member of the Iowa-Illinois Merkur Owner's Association since 2015. :cheers
john keefe
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Re: New Seat Belts?

Post by john keefe »

Wish I had time to junkyard, but I did find this site, and I can picture some of the models working (maybe with a little alteration, especially the receiver end, if that "cable" type is not rigid enough):
https://www.seatbeltsplus.com/category/ ... $2520Latch

Maybe this one comes close: https://www.seatbeltsplus.com/product/WSCH14134C-6.html
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Re: New Seat Belts?

Post by thesameguy »

There are services that do this, and they're pretty affordable. Usually in the $100/belt range. It's not cheap like the junkyard, but not having to re-engineering anything and ensuring it's all brand-new certified construction feels like the better & safer option.

Alternatively, you could just set up a Tullock spike and not worry about seat belts at all.
john keefe
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Re: New Seat Belts?

Post by john keefe »

Hmm... Tullock spike. Don't think I need one of those in my vehicles. I'm already cautious enough driving these days because of all the idiots who don't think the rules of the road apply to them, or had somebody there to help them take the driver's test and don't know the rules, or who just don't give a damn because they don't see the number of patrolmen around like they used to.

Now, maybe large Tullock spikes sticking out the front and backs of cars would make all of us a lot more mindful while driving... OTOH, accidents happen to nice people/good drivers all the time through no fault of their own.

So, where would you look for a fabricator locally? Car upholstery shop?
thesameguy
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Re: New Seat Belts?

Post by thesameguy »

I'm not aware of that many places that do the work, but there are folks like

https://www.safetyrestore.com/webbing-r ... belts.html

or

https://seatbeltrestore.com/seat-belt-repair-services

"Seat belt webbing repair" is an actual oddball industry! I can probably dig up the name of the folks that did my '67 Fleetwood, but OTOH, there are probably no similarities between '60s lap belts and modern-ish Merkur belts, so maybe that's not a useful endorsement. :)
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Bob Weir
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Re: New Seat Belts?

Post by Bob Weir »

I'd contact Russ Harness @ Rapido, Jeff Herson @ Merkur Midwest, Mike Oyler @ Merkur Depot and Jan Talian. If they don't have NOS or recent, they must know of someone who can make or get them for you. Also do a WTB in the forum classifieds.
john keefe
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Re: New Seat Belts?

Post by john keefe »

Thanks Bob. Jeff and Mike are at the top of my go-to list. But, I'm just not sure old poly material, even NOS kept in original boxing would be up to par 30 years later. Heck, AFAIK every racing governing body has a 3-5 year limit on belts from date of production, including "NOS" which haven't been used, and those material standards are probably much more stringent than for mass-production, passenger cars. Thus, why I'm looking for a certified, updated aftermarket replacement, not to mention less stress and worry when taking grandkids for a fun ride in cars with 30 year old safety construction/design, metal and no airbags.
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andyofcolumbusmerkur
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Re: New Seat Belts?

Post by andyofcolumbusmerkur »

How about a rear bar from Burton that goes behind your head, and some 4 point harnesses that are DOT approved. You could always put the stock stuff back in later.
"Excellence does not require perfection." H.James
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