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Old 04-22-2003, 09:24 PM
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Question Original seatbelt setup

I have a 70 nova with some random pair of bucket seats installed. There are currently waist seatbelts and the shoulder strap above the door. The shoulder strap doesn't fit into the buckle. The waist belts are obviously not orginal, so I'm wondering if 70 nova's even came with waist belts, AND shoulder straps. Also, the shoulder strap barely reaches below my chest, it seems to short. Is the original female end longer than normal or is my shoulder strap possibly just to short? <img src="confused.gif" border="0">

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Old 04-23-2003, 07:56 AM
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i believe the originals came with both lap belts and shoulder belts, each with independant buckles. my '70 oldsmobile has smaller buckles for the shoulder harness, larger for the lap. they did not interchange.

back then, the buckles for both systems were attached to their own 15 of inches of strap, so you'd click them together about the middle of your body. this might explain why your shoulder strap seems short - you'll need the other part of the strap to complete the connection.

it was very inconvenient to buckle both of these systems at the same time. the buckles for the lap and shoulder belts look very similar, and i used to mix them up all the time. in my car, i keep the shoulder straps tied to the roof (the owner's manual says to do this for safety), and i tucked the shoulder buckles under the seats so i don't grab for them by mistake. it's quite possible someone removed the shoulder buckle in your car because they were sick of getting it mixed up with the lap belt buckle.

hope this helps.

[ April 23, 2003: Message edited by: 98rocket ]</p>
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Old 04-23-2003, 05:25 PM
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Thanks alot! I was actually happy with just the lap belts, and I like the shoudler straps for that classic look but, last weekend my buddy and I (me in my 70 nova/ him in his 74) were cruising down the freeway at about 75mph around 12pm and suddenly the vehicle in front of him( i was behind him) slammed there brakes and swerved out of the left lane to the right. There was semi stopped on the freeway with a banged up car off the road and no flares out on the road. My buddy locked up his brakes and swerved out of the way almost side swiping the car next to him, and I, as this all happened in a second, suddenly had a truck right in front of me. I swerved out of the way also, without locking my brakes, almost ran into my buddy and, flew forward a bit when I hit the brakes. We all came out ok, but in that instant I thought something very bad was going to happen. In all I was shaken up the whole way home(1. about alomost dying and 2.Possibly loosing my favorite car) and realized that if I had wrecked, those lap belts wouldn't have done crap for me. So in all, yes I would like to possibly get a setup where I can use one female end for both the straps. Thus using the lap belt in town, and the shoulder strap on the freeway. I think this may also be a valuable lesson for others who don't wear thier seatbelts.
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Old 04-23-2003, 08:34 PM
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sorry you had to go through all that. it's one of those things we all keep in the back of our minds: "i can swerve into the emergency lane to avoid a collision, but what if there happens to be something (like a semi) in that lane at that exact moment?"

i think i would have been swimming in my pants in your situation. glad the two of you got out ok.

about the belts, though - the lap belt is the MOST IMPORTANT because prevents ejection from the vehicle. this is why most people die in auto accidents. they fly through the windshield, out windows, or around the inside of the car (into others). also, in instances such as rolling a car, a lap belt will protect you by keeping you anchored down.

now the shoulder belt adds another measure of safety - preventing the secondary collision (your body slamming into the steering wheel, dash, etc.), but i don't use it because, as mentioned last post, it's inconvenient for me personally. it's such a hassle to figure out which buckle goes where. it's also legal for me to wear only the lap belt in my particular vehicle.

my car is a '70 olds ninety-eight weighing in at about 4400 lbs, and that weight is the only reason i choose to go without the shoulder strap. i guess i feel safer riding in a heavier car. since shoulder belts only help you in a head-on collision, i don't feel vulnerable without one because i figure if i'm moving forward, i have the momentum and i'm going to win most encounters against lighter vehicles. being that the majority of cars on the road today are considerably lighter than mine, i feel the odds are in my favor.

of course, this wouldn't help in a situation like the one you experienced. i think anyone without a shoulder belt on would be SERIOUSLY INJURED OR KILLED if they hit a parked semi. i agree with you here.

however, i actually got to test my "heavier is better" theory once:

i was driving my olds (with lap belt only) through an intersection when the light turned yellow. i floored it, and almost made it through. however, a lady coming the other way in a brand new DODGE NEON (i didn't see her) turned left in front of me because she thought she would beat me.

she didn't. i hit her broad-side doing about 50 mph (45 according to the report), never even got a chance to touch the brake. her car actually ricocheted backwards several yards like a ping-pong ball, caught up to a third car going the other way, and tagged it! the interesting thing was that my car, as mangled as it was, continued to roll forward for some 60 feet or so.

lesson learned for her: not all big cars are as slow as they look. for me: gunning it through yellow lights was a bad idea. luckily for her, all she needed was an arm cast and a few stitches, but her car was FUBAR'd. i needed no medical attention and made it to work that morning, but it took an entire front clip and over seven months to get my car back together.

i just had to share that story because i believe that with heavier cars, lap belts are ok in MOST situations. the problems begin when you start running into semis and barrier walls, or a honda civic goes left of center and hits you head-on doing 125. then a shoulder strap, or better yet an air-bag, could save your life.

i think it's good that you are putting safety high on the priority list. if available/practical, shoulder belts are a great idea, and so are airbags, although i don't know of many classic car owners willing to go THAT FAR.

the most important thing is to just buckle up, PERIOD.
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Old 04-24-2003, 03:34 PM
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Thanks for the replies, I always like to here about others experiences, never know what you might learn!
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Old 04-25-2003, 09:22 AM
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The separate shoulder belt idea was Detroit's feeble answer to the ridiculous restraint laws of the times. Some states required one thing some another. The manufacturer's were of course out to save money, TOO!!
To get a modern style retracting combo belt set-up is fairly expensive. There are some aftermarket seat manufacturers that offer them as a part of their new seats. Some one may also offer them in a kit with retractor mechanisms and upper anchors to weld into the door posts.
You could probably strip a wreck of these components although it would have to be a Caprice or Grand Marquis or Crown Victoria to have a setup sized right fot your car.
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