Seat Belt - 3 Point Harness

This is long but as I put together it's 15 outside with Ice & Snow so I have not much else to do J

As I was replacing carpet and installing 1987 (C4) seat I decided to add 3-point harness to my C2 (1963-67) Corvette Coupe. My first assumption was to get some newer hardware and install. But when I got into doing research the project seemed to never end because of mounting points, variety of buckles and tongues. I did many searches both web and forum and best information I found was in the C3 section which got me to decide on Camaro Gen 4 (1994) REAR seat belts. They are fairly easy to find and make install somewhat easier.

Let me backup a little --- 1966 & 1967 Vettes had option for Shoulder Belts (A85 $26.35) but even if not ordered the mounting plate was installed (see photo below). 1963-65 not optioned and therefore no mounting plate. A number of vendors sell all necessary items to install as from factory however the plate to be installed correctly the body must be lifted or so I'm led to believe. I found where other have install plate or a similar type mount with body on. I took a different route.

After deciding on the Gen 4 Camaro REAR belts I started my search. I went to local "YOU-WRENCH" salvage yard (we used to call them JUNK YARDS) where I found a '94 with gray belts, there are only a few colors available (light gray, dark gray, black and brown). Light Gray was the color I was looking for and they were easily removed. While I what there I look around and that's when I found out all the various buckles and tongues so I removed a variety of samples to experiment with (see photo below). Total cost $17 - $16 for all I gathered up and $1 entrance fee. 

As you can see below one of the belts was (1) dirty (2) to short (3) plastic and the slide cover was also plastic. Using the misc pieces on hand I found out that by using Buckle/Slide/Tongues from 198x Cadillac/Buick/Olds would work fine with the 1994 Camaro belts. So back to the salvage yard for more parts (buckles, slides, ???) that were stainless steel and could be polished instead of the plastic. Next, to use slides they need to be disassembled with out destroying. Almost impossible but seeing how I had enough I destroyed many to get a few good pieces then polished.

Other things to accomplish was (1) to add plastic sleeves to house belts because using the stock belt holder was not longer an option. I found some in a 1988 Cavalier Z24 (see below) which I shorted and painted. (2) Dye belts from Gray to Blue. This turned out to be the easiest part of the project. I purchased some RIT color remover and Dye (Evening Blue). Followed directions and everything came out just fine.

After all that buckle - tongue stuff above I again changed and went with  newer style buckle/tongue from a 1998 Oldsmobile 88 LS (Rear) that also work with the '94 Camaro belts. Reason was they worked smoother as the have plastic in the slider. I liked the looks of the polished but these will do the job.

I left other information here for those who maybe looking for options.

If this seem like a lot of work then you are probably correct but I'm retired and it's winter and I've only got about $45 max invested and they work great :) :)

Note:  If you decide to use GM seatbelts from "JUNK YARD" you will need a Torx-47 to remove.

Click on images for larger view

Various
 Buckles & Tongues
Original 1966-67
mounting plate
1st trip to Salvage Yard Original Camaro
Buckles & Tongues

Works with Camaro Tongue 198x Pieces 198x Pieces Destroyed

After Polishing Cavalier Sleeves Finished Finished

 

Rit Dye Dyed Guide  
Test Fit Test Fit Test Fit Torx 47
1998 Olds 88 LS After Painting Drivers Side Mounted Buckles
Done Done Done Done

Seat Belt Bracket

Now with belts ready it's time to get mounted with the least modification to the Vette and number 1 of importance was to ensure belts would hold up and secure occupant and not cause more injury then with just seat belt. Understanding the technology of older Vettes, rigid frame, fiberglass body and non-collapsible steering column to name a few not-so-safe items makes it nearly impossible to avoid serious injury in a major accident without a racecar roll-cage. My goal was to keep me in the seat if involved in a minor accident and not allowing my face to come in contact with the steering wheel. Again not talking about a crash on the race track or a 80 MPH head-on crash.


Here is some pictures of a friend of mine '63 SWC that was involve in a 40-45 MPH crash (hit a telephone poll dead center). He was wearing his seat belt but his face slammed into the steering wheel breaking his jaw which was wired shut for a couple months. Passenger, who wasn't wearing seat belt went through the windshield ripping his jaw from his mouth to his ear and braking his arm. Both survived and were OK an back to normal after a few months.

  

The point I'm trying to make is in this type of crash perhaps a solid shoulder harness would hold you in place.

BTW......These pictures were taken fall 1964 and the '63 SWC (Daytona Blue/Blue) 327/340 4 sp was a very early production car and that's my '64 Coupe (Black/Black) 327/300 4sp in the background.
 


Mounting to fiberglass was definitely out of the question and that only leaves the frame.

I ended up with a bracket that bolts in existing holes in frame but drilled 2 small holes (1 each side) in frame and 2 (1 each side) in fiberglass to mount. As a note the 1994 Camaro system is ELR VW (Emergency Locking Retractor - Vehicle and Webbing sensitive) which means system work by deceleration or rollover of the vehicle or acceleration of the strap (webbing) from the retractor. To net that out the system needs to be mount in an upright position not sideways.

For the bracket I did lots of eyeballing and measuring then using some light weight aluminum as a prototype I bent and re-bent and test fitted until I had good specs. Then using 1/8" steel plate I formed bracket, test fitted, welded nut to bracket, painted and installed. As a note each side was slightly different spacing (left side 7/8" right 3/4") and body is sitting about 1/8" to the left side.

For hardware I used grade 5 - 1/2 - 13 *  5 1/2" bolts through the frame and Grade 8 7/16 - 20 * 1" (Flywheel bolts).

Note: After I install Jute and Carpet I decided/needed a 1/2 in spacer between the mount & the retractor.

 

Checking it out Test Fit Hole Drilled Bolt Inserted

ProtoType Done Bracket and ProtoType Finished Bracket Hardware

     
Bracket Assembly      

And while your at it replace Seat Belt Cables !!

Outer Seat Belt Cable

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