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    Results 1 to 10 of 10
    1. #1
      Join Date
      Nov 2010
      Location
      Ventura County CA
      Posts
      456

      REAR 3pt Seat Belt Install Morris Classics '70 Nova

      My 7yo son outgrew the car seat I was using in my '70 Nova last year. It was attached via the OE lap belts and put him in a 5 point harness, but now he's in a booster and has to use whatever belt is in the car. The safety of my kids is very important to me, so I ordered a set of Morris Classics 3 point retractable belts for the back of the car from Matt's Classic Bowties. The interaction with MCB was great - very friendly and speedy fulfillment. The belts themselves are not cheap and I considered adapting something else, but I thought having a ready-made solution would speed things along. My son's been begging for a drive and I can't wait to get out with him again.

      The trick to this belt install is having a suitably reinforced mounting point for the retractor. I understand there was a rarely-ordered 3 point belt option for the Nova that mounted to the package tray, but the area is probably 18 gauge or thinner sheet metal. Morris came up with a simple angle bracket that ties from the package tray down to the wheel tub seam and trunk support brackets. I really like this solution since it attaches to a nicely reinforced area in the trunk; I don't think they do this the same way on the 1st gen Camaro.

      Installation requires drilling three holes in a very confined space. Here is the mounting bracket in position:



      It's not a good sign when the supplied 5/16" fasteners do not fit through the holes in the supplied bracket. I called Morris and apparently I was the first to tell them the holes were undersized. They confirmed there was an error at the laser cutter and told me to go ahead and drill the holes to the correct size.





      The photos don't do it justice, but this bracket is located in a very tight space inside the trunk. I did a lot of cussing while tightening up the little 5/16" all-metal lock nuts (aka crimp nuts) because they were too close to the edge to get a socket on and I had to use an open ended wrench about 1/8 turn at a time to snug them down. This took quite a while, especially while contorted awkwardly in the trunk. If you read the instructions, the brackets should have about 1/8" gap at the bottom and I may have put them a little closer; sliding the bracket back a little might give more gap and allow space to use a ratchet. Fortunately I didn't drop any hardware or tools down into the quarter panel.

      In the next photo you can see the bracket shifted a little after attaching the lower bolts at the wheeltub. This is why you should drill the larger retractor mounting hole after the bottom bolts are installed. I ignored my original marking and used a spring-loaded center punch to locate the new center of the hole for drilling. A spring-loaded center punch is a tool everyone should have; it makes punching a locating dimple very easy even in confined spaces.



      My next problem was drilling the 1/2" hole up through the package tray. From experience I know only a step bit aka unibit would make a satisfactory hole in this sheet metal. What I wasn't counting on was the lack of space between the package tray and the wheel tub. There is only about 5-1/2 inches to work with in there and it's not nearly enough space for a standard drill. Even a right angle drill would probably not fit due to the length of the chuck and drive system. The solution I came up with was to use a Milwaukee offset hex driver P/N 48-32-2100 and a Harbor Freight hex drive step bit. This offset driver is not exactly 90 degrees (although they do make that as well P/N 49-82-8510), but it was on the shelf at my local big box hardware store. Here's a comparison of my cordless drill and the offset driver with step bits.



      That goofy setup did the trick. I was able to make the hole up through the package tray. It even carved through the tray itself without any drama.





      Next I sat the retractors and pushed the 1/2" bolts down from the inside of the car. Below are both brackets installed with the retractor attachment nuts loosely attached - I didn't have a helper in the garage last night so I will need to go back in and put washers on before tightening these down.





      The next photos show where the retractors sit in the car. They are tucked back very close to the sail panels. I am really happy with the location. They are about as out of the way as I could hope.







      Clint - '70 Nova home-built "restomod"


    2. #2
      Join Date
      Nov 2010
      Location
      Ventura County CA
      Posts
      456
      I thought I'd be able to complete the install with just the bottom of the seat removed, but I had a hard time getting to the lower anchor bolts so I removed the back of the seat too. This had the added benefit of being able to reach through the rear panel to tighten the nuts for the retractors while holding the bolts from the top - definitely better than having two people. The Morris instructions did not say which way to orient the belts, so I installed them the way the factory belts were routed (outside pointing up, inside pointing down). I kept the original center lap belt installed just in case.







      Fresh off the victory of installing the rear belts, we decided to take the kids out for ice cream. They were both stoked to take a ride in the Nova! I put my 7yo son's booster seat in and installed my 4yo daughters car seat using a seat belt locking clip. Having the shoulder harness for my son (and eventually my daughter) is the reason I bought these belts.



      They all had a great time and when we started to leave from the ice cream place, my daughter was so excited to get back in the Nova she started bouncing around yelling "Nova! Nova! Nova! We get to ride in the Nova!" A dad's heart can only swell so big before it explodes!

      So far I am happy with the belts. The latches are new and work very well. The retractors are a little sensitive, meaning if you tug quickly on them the will lock, but that's what they are designed to do. The female latch barely protrudes from the bench and it could benefit from a stiffener and maybe another inch or length to make it easier for my son to buckle - as it is I have to help him get it connected which I don't have to do in my other modern cars. He is able to unbuckle just fine. Car seat installation requires a belt locking clip or seat with an integral locking system, because the retractors do not have a car seat locking mechanism - no big deal but it can be a little harder to get a good seat install.

      I'm confident new belt material will absorb energy in an impact better than the 50 year old strands. The installation took some trunk monkey work and a special adapter to drill holes, but it wasn't too complicated. If you are comfortable with a drill and removing your rear seat, this is a pretty straightforward installation. A 3pt belt is a big safety improvement over lap belts. I would encourage anyone carrying precious cargo to get 3pt belts front and rear!

      My experience with Matts Classic Bowties was smooth. In my opinion, Morris has a very good product for the back of my Nova.
      Clint - '70 Nova home-built "restomod"

    3. #3
      Join Date
      Oct 2009
      Location
      Amherst, OH
      Posts
      524
      Country Flag: United States
      Thanks for sharing your experience!!

      We're in the same boat with our kids. We're routinely the only ones at the shows with car seats in the back of our car! haha My daughter is going on 6, and is bordering on being in a booster full time, but I feel safer with her in her harnessed car seat still while in the Firebird. My son is a small 3 1/2 yr old, so he's got a while in his car seat. I already want to get these belts for the driver and passenger seats, but I'll have to consider them for the rear when the time comes as well!
      Josh

      1968 Firebird project thread - https://www.pro-touring.com/threads/...41#post1180941

    4. #4
      Join Date
      Sep 2005
      Location
      San Diego, CA
      Posts
      707
      Country Flag: United States
      Nice! I converted my front seats to 3pt. in my Nova.
      John Brown
      1971 Nova - Project Car
      1990 Silverado - Ridetech StreetGRIP
      Instagram @wilwaxu
      Facebook @wilwaxu

    5. #5
      Join Date
      Nov 2010
      Location
      Ventura County CA
      Posts
      456
      Quote Originally Posted by Josue View Post
      Thanks for sharing your experience!!

      We're in the same boat with our kids. We're routinely the only ones at the shows with car seats in the back of our car! haha My daughter is going on 6, and is bordering on being in a booster full time, but I feel safer with her in her harnessed car seat still while in the Firebird. My son is a small 3 1/2 yr old, so he's got a while in his car seat. I already want to get these belts for the driver and passenger seats, but I'll have to consider them for the rear when the time comes as well!
      I always want to hi-five the parents when I pass a classic at a car show with child seats or boosters in the back. Sharing the classic car experience and build hobby with my kids is awesome. Keep an eye on both height and weight restrictions for your seats; if your 6yo is over the limits, the seat may not hold them properly and you may actually be safer in a booster. I have a better booster in my daily that I'd like to swap over to the Nova; it has wings like a traditional car seat for side impact and head protection, but doesn't have harnesses.
      Clint - '70 Nova home-built "restomod"

    6. #6
      Join Date
      Oct 2009
      Location
      Amherst, OH
      Posts
      524
      Country Flag: United States
      When I was reading your thread, the part where you kids get excited about riding in the Nova and shout it out.....I was laughing to myself because that's the exact same thing my kids do with my car! haha My dad had a '69 Camaro when I was her age, and he used to stop and get me a cookie on the way to school often. I'd eat the first half before school, then put the second half in the glove box for after school. It was one of the greatest moments as a parent thus far to be able to carry that tradition on with my daughter once she hit school age!

      Roger that on the height and weight requirements too. She's pretty tall for her age, and while it may seem she's ready for the next step, I know kids can be a LOT taller and weigh a LOT more than you'd think to reach the limits of these seats. Really, it's more on the parents who are just THAT excited to move onto the next stage with their kids, and prematurely put them in the next seat up far too early. Similar to how long you should leave them rear facing. People are always in such a hurry to flip them around forward facing, because their feet may be up against the seat or something when they're rear facing.....but in reality, rear facing is the absolute safest thing for them until they're at least 4-5+. A broken leg is a far better trade off than a broken neck in an accident!
      Josh

      1968 Firebird project thread - https://www.pro-touring.com/threads/...41#post1180941

    7. #7
      Join Date
      May 2005
      Posts
      374
      Clint,
      Thank You for the detailed installation of our seat belts.
      Billy

    8. #8
      Join Date
      Jan 2018
      Location
      Oregon
      Posts
      40
      Country Flag: United States
      I didnt know there were 3 point belts for the rear. Ill probably have to do this upgrade once I get that far. I was already planning on the front belts from morrisclassic.

    9. #9
      Join Date
      Apr 2018
      Posts
      36
      This is totally cool idea and great write up. We'll just finish the installation of the new rack and tonneau cover for the kayak mounts on the truck before we plan for this kind of custom seat belt.

    10. #10
      Join Date
      Nov 2010
      Location
      Ventura County CA
      Posts
      456
      Glad I can spread the word. There's no reason our passengers shouldn't benefit from basic safety improvements. In the event of an accident it will be money and time well spent.
      Clint - '70 Nova home-built "restomod"