INSTALLING 3 POINT SEAT BELTS IN A WIDE WINDOW 1955-59 CHEVROLET TRUCK


This essay will cover installing Juliano's 3- point seat belt system in a Task Force wide window truck. Their website shows how to install them in a variety of other vehicles but I was on my own when it came to the narrow "B" pillar in my '56. Their supplied instructions say to weld the nutplate to the pillar. This would be fine if I were doing it as I was rebuilding a truck. But my truck is already painted so I wanted to put the plate inside the pillar and hold it with the attaching bolt.

Using a piece of " plywood I determined that a piece of " wide stock would fit inside the pillar. I bought a stick of X 3/16 X 48" mild steel to build re-enforcement plates with. It didn't need to be that long. More on that later.

Click a picture to enlarge.

cut here    

The supplied bracket/nutplate is 1" wide. The welded on nut is " square. How about that. Just the size I need. Centering the " stock on the nutplate, I clamped both in a vise. Using the stock for a guide, I trimmed the nutplate with a sawzall. Not shown is the small C-clamp I used to hold the two pieces together while cutting.


This picture shows a trimmed nutplate and an un-trimmed one.

nutplates    

welded up    

I placed the nutplate a couple of inches from the end of the stock then, using a center punch, marked the center of the nut hole. I drilled a 7/16" hole in the stock, de-burred it, then attached the nutplate to the stock with the supplied bolt. I then welded the nutplate to the stock. I took this picture before I realized I'd have to do some grinding on the nut. I ended up tack welding the nut to the plate. If you do this, remove the bolt before doing so.


To determine how high to put the shoulder harness, I mounted the belts to the floor first. I used the supplied floor nutplates as is. The retracter assembly mounts toward the outboard side of the truck. It was easy to find a spot for it. This shows the driver side.

retracter    

inboard mount    

The inboard side wasn't so easy to find a place. The obvious place would be the hump that runs from side to side on the floor. But the floor nutplate was too wide to fit in the bottom side of it. If you go aft of the hump, the buckles might not come up high enough. I ended up putting them just forward of the hump. I mounted the outboard and the center belts in the same holes. Many people will tell you this is a no-no. I did it anyway. If you do it and they don't hold in a collision, don't sue me. I warned you.


I sat in the seat and had an assistant hold the bracket to the pillar to determine the comfortable height. For me it was about 5" from the top of the window frame. After she marked it for me I laid out and drilled a hole in the center of the pillar. WHOA! This aint going to work. As soon as the drill cleared the skin it hit some structure inside the pillar. I forgot to take a picture of my mistake before I got the belt mounted but you can see the shiny metal inside the extra hole in the picture. I started my next hole with a small pilot drill right next to the edge of the seam, then drilled it out to 7/16".

extra hole    

I started by cutting my 48" stock in half to give me two 24" pieces. The idea was to have something to hold onto while starting the bolt. Now with the hole aft of center and the extra metal I didn't know about, it took a bunch of grinding to make the nutplate fit inside the pillar. The inside of the pillar is not square so after grinding, an end wiew of the nutplate looks similar to this- / /. (I couldn't get an end view picture to come out right so you'll have to use your imagination.) I also had to grind some of the "handle" to make the nutplate line up with the hole. I said to myself, if I ever do it again, I'll use round stock for the handle. Well I did have to do it again for the passenger side. I found some rusty, pitted round stock in my scrap pile. You might want to buy new.

These pictures show both sides of the passenger side nutplate after grinding to fit. Keep in mind, the driver side plates will be ground opposite to these. I used the hole I'd pre-drilled in the pillar to eyeball the fit.

outboard face    

inboard face    

Notice the holes appear off center. It's an illusion. The sides are ground to an angle that matches the angles on the "B" pillar. Also notice where I tack welded the nuts on. They came spot-welded in the corners and the corners were ground off.

finished product    

Once I had the nutplate ground to fit the hole, I stuck the assembly up the "B" pillar with one hand and started the bolt with the belt bracket on it with the other. After installing the bolt cover it looks like the picture at left. It almost covers my mistake hole.


DISCLAIMER

This is the way I did it. That does not make it the right way or the safe way. I'm posting this for my entertainment only. You must decide on your own if you want to pull something like this off.


ALL TEXT AND PICTURES

2007

by CHARLIE HARDIN

My TRUCKS website