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Child seat tether anchor options for 87 Westy
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cheeseisgood
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:04 pm    Post subject: Child seat tether anchor options for 87 Westy Reply with quote

So I finally got the interior back in after 2 years and I need to install the car seat. My son is almost 2 and will be front facing in the rear seat/bed. I will eventually upgrade to the lap/shoulder belts and booster seat, but for now will stick with the lap belts.

I want to use the top tether harnes on the car seat, but there is no anchor latch in the Westy. I have searched the net and here are my top 3 options and concerns in order of preference.

1. Use the passsanger side mount hole for the shoulder belt and pick up a latch and bolt from the hardware store---seems easiest and cheapest, but my only concern is that the teather will go in a diagonal line to the mount and not straight)

2. Gowesty Tether Bracket Kit for Child Seat--a little more work and a little more $ ($30)

3. Mount a low profile latch behind the seat on the deck over the engine compartment---still pretty simple, but not sure how secure it will be and possible interferience with the bed

Bottom line is safety......but cheap and easy is always a bonus.
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j_dirge
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

you can buy stainless steel "eye straps" from any marine supply store

Westmarine
Defender

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Between 5 and 10 bucks.. drill holes and use large fender style washers as backers behind the seat and under the bench (so they don't stick up when using the area as a bed.

The larger the strap the stronger the structure.

edited to add
even this little puny thing has a breaking strength of 3000lbs.
http://www.hallspars.com/ItemForm.aspx?item=HAR-13...073849e9ea
$2.24
(HallSpars is very expensive, BTW.. use Defender.)
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cheeseisgood
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any one else?
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twscott
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We ran a cable between the attachment bolts for each end of the lap belt. Plenty strong, stays out of the way when we fold the bed down, the tether runs straight - not at an angle, and easy to reach. If you're interested I can post a pic next week.
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Westy-Life
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I ran into the same issue with mine and my buddy's.

We simply drilled a hole in the floor and used a proper child safety tether bolt and hook. I used large washers on the back side of the bolt to make sure the impact force would not rip it out.

Then looking at another van that I now own (and is for sale!!!) they simply placed the tether hook on the bolt for the existing lap belt.

Cheers!
Dave
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cheeseisgood
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

westy-life I like the idea of hooking on the bolt for the existing lap belt. Did they just hook it on the existing belt bracket or add another bracket to hook it on?
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Westy-Life
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will snap a picture tonight when I get home and post.

What they did was take the bolt out that holds the lap belt to the van. And when re-installing it, they simply added the tether anchor as well.

Cheers!
Dave
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cheeseisgood
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where is a good place to find tether anchors?
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cheeseisgood
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found one in babies are us in canada, but n
ot us??????
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climberjohn
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello all,

I've been meaning to post this for a few weeks now, but since this thread just came up I will do my best to answer it and hopefully help out those who are trying to figure this out.

I have two kids, 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 years. Both are in forward facing car seats. Each car seat has the modern LATCH supports. I've had my Westy since January 2008. After just one camping trip, I discovered that swapping car seats in and out, and in and out, and in and out . . . was a major pain in the a**!! To compound this drudgery, I ended up actually breaking one of the seatbelt buckles as I put my weight on the car seat and tried to crank down on the seatbelt strap at the same time. Clearly, a new approach was needed.

A lucky trip to the junkyard scored me a new seatbelt clasp (whew!) to replace the broken one. The LATCH system that is available on newer kiddie seats is far superior to trying to use the actual seatbelt to secure the kiddie seat. So, the issue became how to craft some solid and accessible attachment points for the LATCH system. I sure did not want to mangle anymore of the expensive and hard to find adult seatbelts, and have these stock seatbelts available to reinstall in the van when the kids are big enough o use them. Here's how I did it.

But first . . . A few disclaimers.

People can have very strong opinions on the right and wrong way to install children's car seats, especially when it comes to homebrew solution such as these. I make absolutely no claim at all that this is a safe and secure way for you to transport your children. That is strictly a judgment call for you to make. Having said that, I have researched the various strengths of the equipment I chose to use, and it seems well in excess of what is currently on a LATCH system car seat. Therefore I feel confident that the hardware and nylon I choose to use will keep my kids safe. I'm also a rock climber of many years, and a student of anchors, breaking strength of rock gear, and real world forces that are applied to this sort of stuff.

Strength ratings:
A kilonewton (kN) is a metric measurement of force. One kN is approximately 220 pounds.
A loop of 1” tubular webbing tied with a water knot breaks at about 20 kN, or about 4,500 pounds.
The quick links I chose to use have a working rating of 3,500 pounds, or about 16 Kn. They actually will break at closer to 5,000 lbs – or so said the guy at the hardware store.
All components of the latch car seat system are tested up to 15kN. Based on this, I'm confident that my homebrew system exceeds the manufacturer’s capacity for strength.

Shopping list
- 6 feet of 1 inch tubular nylon webbing, cut into three 2-foot lengths (climbing store or REI)
- Three quicklinks (should be in the chain/rope section of a decent hardware store) Get the biggest ones you can still clip your LATCH clips to. (Yes, you may have to bring your car seat into the hardware store to determine this =^)

If you lift up the rear bench seat and peer underneath it, you'll note that there are five attachment points for the stock seatbelt straps. On my ‘86 Westy Vanagon GL, it appears that three people can (provided they are very good friends and skinny), theoretically be belted at the same time on the bench seat.

I'll describe these 5 points as if you had lifted up the seat and are looking at them, facing toward the back; therefore “left” refers to the side of the seat closest to the sliding door.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


To make the LATCH attachment points, I removed 3 of the stock seatbelt attachment points and replaced them with what I’ll call seat belt brackets – the sturdy metal L shaped pieces that are sewn to the seatbelt webbing on one side and bolted to the car body on the other. I managed to score VW van brackets at the local junkyard. However, I think that you could pull these 3 brackets from almost any car in the junkyard and it would probably work - just be sure you bring one of your bolts with you to the junkyard to be sure it can fit through the hole.

The latch system is not complete unless the strap that comes off top rear of the seat is attached to something solid. I decided to add two more webbing loops to the two brackets in the middle as anchoring points for these straps. I tied these little bit longer so they stick up above the cushion when they are attached, making it easy to clip the rear straps.

When I was all done, this is what I had:
attachment point number one (far left) : six-inch tied loop of tubular webbing

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


point number two: junkyard bracket, quick link, and six-inch loop of tubular webbing ties through hole in bracket

point number three: stock black seatbelt and bracket (not used for LATCH system.)
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


point number four: junkyard bracket, quick link and six-inch loop of tubular webbing ties through hole in bracket, bolted to frame on top of the bracket to the other half of the stock seatbelt.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


point number five: junkyard bracket and quick link.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


This gave me three quick links and one tied webbing loop to attach the four LATCH clips from the two children seats. The rear straps are attached to the two webbing loops, that stick up a an inch or two between the back of the seat and the sleeping pad.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I hope all this is not too confusing. Start poking around under there and I am sure you will figure something out.

I'm quite happy with this current set up. It takes about two or three minutes remove the two seats when we are ready to make camp, and about the same time to install them. Once all the LATCH straps are clipped and properly tightened, they feel extremely secure. The one remaining center seatbelt stays tucked underneath the bench seat, available for use by one person when the children seats are removed. Replacing all of the stock seatbelts, when I need to do this, takes about five minutes with a socket wrench. I'm not damaging any of the stock seatbelts by torquing on the buckle in a strange way.

Moderator edit: Original image links replaced with Samba links.
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cheeseisgood
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great pics! I will be using the lap belts so I will probably just go with one ectra seat belt mount and use that to hook the top tether. Now I just need to get to the junkyard. I just have no time. I dont supose anyone has an extra one they are willing to part with???
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Zero419
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Be carful using the lap belt. With my son's seat, I am able to rock the seat back and forth and the belt loosens on its own.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Decided to go with the gowesty latch kit after factoring in the last bit of info.......wife likes it and feels it is safer.

$30 + CUT HOLE + DRILL A COUPLE HOLES = HAPPY WIFE

if only it was always that easy!

Thanks for all the good imput
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheese,

I'm glad it worked out for you.

The SAF (Spouse Approval Factor) is more important in this particular van enhancement than perhaps any other. I had a few long discussions with my honey before she signed off on it.

Safe driving - I hope you never have to test it!
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Zero419
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cheeseisgood wrote:
Decided to go with the gowesty latch kit after factoring in the last bit of info.......wife likes it and feels it is safer.

$30 + CUT HOLE + DRILL A COUPLE HOLES = HAPPY WIFE

if only it was always that easy!

Thanks for all the good imput


Do you have a link? I cant find it.


Edit

I found it. http://www.gowesty.com/ec_view_details.php?id=4246&search_phrase=child&start=

It is only for the upper single strap and not the 2 lower strap point.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great ideas here. thanks for all the details and pics.
I put 4 fat eye-bolts through holes under the center seat of my '87 GL. The first batch didn't work becuase the metal loops were too thick for the car seat clip... ended up with 1/2 inchers. These are the forward facing middle seats so it does not really apply to the westy, or the rear facing jump seats. I'll post a pic... but I'm new here and I have figured out how to post pctures yet
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am reviving this thread since I have two on the way...tomorrow I am very interested in doing this....twscott..did you ever get any pictures of your setup? That sounds like something I might do.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good stuff. ClimberJohn, it looks like in your photo of attachment point #1 you have the webbing looped directly through the seatbelt. This sort of webbing to webbing loop could be problematic in an accident; extreme tension causes friction = heat which weakens the nylon (or spectra etc) and it could fail. As an improvement I'll suggest a metal link.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:57 pm    Post subject: LATCH system Reply with quote

Hey guys. Nice work in the posts above. I did something very similar to most of the solutions. I purchased the expensive GW 3-opopints belts for the L and R rear bench passengers, as well as the 3-point belst for my jump seats. I also got the LATCH brackets that GW sells and then bolted them through the rear deck lid for the middle seat. The GW LATCH brackets are nice and flat so that if and when I want to set the bed up to sleep, they do not interfere with the mattress.

I agree that the GW solution is pretty expensive, but how can you put a price on your kid's safety?

I think that I may put the next set of Latch brackets on the driver side jump seat......

Adam
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi everyone, I'm new to the VW world, but old to car seats. I am a registered a Canadian Child Restraint Safety Technician (CRST). I am so impressed with the fact that VW people care so much about their children's safety. Not something I see enough of during car seat checks in the real world.

I thought I'd update a few things about child restraints and best practice, Since some of this was written a few years ago. I'm so thrilled that I can contribute to the community rather than just asking dumb questions in my pursuit to buy my first Vanagon! LOL

The AAP and NHSTA now recommend you rear face (RF) until 2 years old OR the maximum of the height and weight of the seat. My oldest, went forward facing (FF) at almost 6 years old. Before you think I'm crazy radical, it was his choice past 4years old and he preferred it b/c it was more comfortable, he could play with his brother and most important of all, with 1 RF and 1 FF child, they can kick each other in the head! Not so funny.

The *best* part of a RF seat is that it can easily be done on the bench/bed w/ the lap only belt with no modifications. None. If the belt is *not* holding/locking, either replace the locking plate (little thing inside the seat belt male end that locks it) or use a locking clip (little H clip that is found on every car seat). Both a baby bucket or a convertible car seat can be installed this way with the lap only belt. Just as safe.

Lower latch, now in current cars, does not have to be used and is not safer. Actually, current research and information, has made many manufactures limit the weight allowed to be used on these. The lowest I've seen is 40# and there is debate about the weight of the child and the seat...So, no lower latch needed, it's not safer!

Clek Foonf makes one that RF to 50#
http://www.albeebaby.com/clek-foonf-convertible-car-seat-drift.html

Diono Radian makes a seat that RF to 45#
http://www.albeebaby.com/diono-radian-rxt-convertible-car-seat-storm.html

Safety First Complete air 40#
http://www.albeebaby.com/safety-1st-complete-air-65-montross.html

And, the good old $40 Scenera 35-40# depending on model.
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Cosco-Scenera-Convertible-Car-Seat-Renaissance/16932760



Next comes a forward faced harnessed seat. A bit more work. As has been discussed, a top tether is recommended (required in Canada). This will stop the seat from flipping over, especially b/c there is nothing in front of it. This is for 4-7 year olds. Yes, I said seven.
http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?p=2007655

You can do something called a temporary tether. You can use an unused male end and clip the top tether to that. If you have two rows of seats in the back, you can put the seat in the middle row, then use the male seat belt end on the seat belt from the row behind to top tether it.

I've read some of your wives comments and got a good laugh out of them. I am *the* wife with regards to seat belts, car seats and safety and I am fine with a temporary top tether. They call me Safety Mom at school. With a regular harnessed seat, you can still use the lap only belt. No problem. If it is slipping, again, you need a locking clip. Or any of the following with proper hardware. Remember the amount of force being exerted on these things during a crash.

http://www.gowesty.com/ec_view_details.php?id=4246&category_id=&category_parent_id=

http://www.ezonpro.com/products/accessories.shtml

Canadians:
http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/browse/3/HouseHome/...?locale=en


You want that seat to last as *long* as possible. You don't need a lap shoulder (3pt) seat belt. You don't need head rests. As the facebook car seat lady says, each step down in car seats, is a decrease in safety.

Britax Frontier
http://www.amazon.com/Britax-Frontier-Combination-...s=frontier

Graco Nautilus
http://www.amazon.com/Graco-Nautilus-Car-Seat-Matr...o+nautilus

Evenflo Maestro
http://www.amazon.com/Evenflo-Maestro-Seat-Booster...ds=maestro

Those seats are in order of most expensive (and tallest so longest lasting) to cheapest and shortest.



The final stage in car seat safety is the booster seat. A lap shoulder belt is *mandatory*. A head rest is important. Though, a high back booster, is a good alternative to in car head rests and better than nothing.

There are three approved high back boosters that do not require head rests.

Graco TurboBooster
http://www.amazon.com/Graco-Highback-TurboBooster-...rbobooster

Britax Parkway
http://www.amazon.com/Britax-Parkway-Booster-Seat-...ax+parkway

Clek Oobr
http://www.amazon.com/Clek-Oobr-Booster-Seat-Drift...cleck+oobr

The first two are fine, the last one, Oobr, is questionable, while it's the only one I'd want my kid in with out a head rest (metal poles hold the head rest of the seat on), it is a heavy booster and we really like to see heavy boosters latched in. No latch in these Vanagons, so really not your best option...

Now, if you can not get the 3pt belt together before a child needs to be in the vehicle, not to worry, there are no airbags and the passenger seat has a head rest and 3pt. A booster seat can go there...

I know car people really like the Recaro seats. They aren't available in Canada, not approved. I asked an American friend. She likes the Recaro ProBooster. The manual does not require a head rest, BUT when pressed, they went back and forth before agreeing that it did in fact need a head rest. I'll leave this for you to explore further if this is your first choice, it's a bit of a catch 22, the Graco and Britax boosters use a thinner plastic than say the Diono Monterey, but Diono has out right said, "head rest mandatory". We car seat people are really particular about following the rules, especially when it comes to recommendations. I personally got rid of my Monterey b/c I have no head rest in the middle of my car or in my SILs car. But, while allowed, there is no question the Parkway isn't as sturdy....



Finally, safety for YOU. We like people to start watching their seat belts at the 20 year mark, so everyone now needs to start the annual belt check. Check for frays, damage and problems. By the 30 year mark, we like you to replace them. I was *so* impressed to see how many of you guys had already done this! I've seen belts at regular checks in newer vehicles that dogs have gotten at, and told the person the belt needed to be replaced, with no luck! LOL

And, that back seat/bench/bed, you could not pay me any amount of money to sit back there with a lap (only) belt and no head rest. A lap only belt treats your body like a tube of toothpaste and squishes you on impact. No head rest, nothing to stop your head from going back in a collision. Pass.

In a Vanagon, my 7 year old will ride in a Frontier, harnessed. It will either be top tethered or a 3pt seat belt installed and I will use the old male end of the seat belt for the top tether. My 4yo will be rear facing. As safe as can be!

If you have any questions, please feel free to PM me. Happy to answer questions now or in the future! Here or on the car seat group:
http://www.car-seat.org/forumdisplay.php?f=2

Safe travels!

tam
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