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Recreation Advocate

The OutdoorWire family websites feature news and information affecting outdoor recreation opportunities and access to public lands. 

Replacing Worn Seatbelts

b2ap3_thumbnail_seat-belt-extender.jpgSeat belts have been around since the front lap belt was required on 1965 and new vehicles with front shoulder and rear lap belts appearing in 1968.  The traditional 3-point front belt became standard in 1974. One of the more important pieces of safety equipment in an off-road vehicle is the seat belt.

Due to age and dust (especially in open top vehicles), seat belts can cease to operate.  Replacing worn seat belts is quick and easy.  And, if you have added aftermarket seats, chances are the seat belts no longer fit the new seat configuration.

There are direct replacement and upgrade options with the easiest being the replacement 3-point front belt and shoulder harness.  And, to accommodate the added height of of aftermarket seats, there are belt extender brackets that can be added. The seat belt extender adds an additional 7 inches of length to the buckle side.

My ’94 YJ Jeep was in need of new seat belts.  Factory replacements are readily available from QuadraTec, along with the seat belt extender brackets.  

Passenger side seat belt replacement is easy as the seat does pivot forward allowing access to the seat belt anchor bolts - three Torx bolts.  A T-50 Torx socket wrench is needed for the YJ series of Jeeps.  When adding a seat belt extender bracket, you will need to provide your own bolt and nut, a 5/8 x 1-1/2 inch grade 8 bolt.

The driver side seat belt replacement was more involved.  As a few mods to the rear cargo section of my YJ blocked easy access to the bolts and the seat does not pivot, the seat needed to be removed.

My personal recommendation is that when you replace the seat belts, remove the seats and carpet to give the floor a good visual inspection for stress fractures and cleaning. Sand, prime, and paint any rust spots.  While replacing the seat belts should be less than an hour, I needed to weld some cracks which added extra time for the cleaning, sanding, welding and painting.

Overall, keep your seat belts in good operating condition and hopefully you will never need to stress test them.

 

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