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The Jetta alternative for the rear seatbelt. It don't work.
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deprivation
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:43 pm    Post subject: The Jetta alternative for the rear seatbelt. It don't work. Reply with quote

I wanted to add my experiences to the Samba knowledge-heap:

I need to install a three-point rear seat belt on my '86 Westy. Having heard that the rear seatbelt for a mid-80's Jetta will work in a Vanagon (at a fraction of the GoWesty price), I set out for my local VW junk yard and got myself a seat belt. $20 dollars later, I installed my new belt.

Well...it works.

Or not.

See, it fits. The belt fits. But it doesn't work. The deal is, the Jetta belt thing, which is anchored in the Jetta's trunk, is designed to move freely at an angle of 330 degrees - almost pointing strait up - it's even indicated on the belt case. But in the Vanagon, the belt spool has to sit at about 270 degrees. So it will always be locked.

Now, I can take the spool apart and remove the little ball-bearing angle-sensing gizmo and the belt will still work as it should in terms of seizing up during a hard stop but the belt won't really work as designed during, say, a rollover or a really spectacular wheelie.

So, unless someone knows something I haven't discovered yet, the Jetta alternative does not work. I saw on another post that Kayakwesty used the Jetta alternative with success but I'm not sure how given the limitations of the belt-stop mechanism.

If anyone knows different, let's hear it.

Thanks!
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funagon
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 10:58 pm    Post subject: It Do Work, with some work and sweat and figuring out Reply with quote

I faced the same problem and found a good solution when I used junkyard belts from a VW in my last vanagon (RIP Funagon).

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I was adding junkyard shoulder belts to the backseats in an 87 vanagon, which means I had to drill holes and fabricate mounts myself. In other words, because I could choose the mounting location I mounted the spool where it would unwind straight up, in the proper direction.

Are you installing belts for the bench seat in the back? If so, the the spool mounts behind the wall panel in the rear luggage compartment, right? The Bentley section 68 shows this retrofit. In the illustration you'll see that the spool is bolted to a metal "T" which is part of the VW dealer's retrofit kit.

I didn't buy the dealer kit but I didn't want to bolt the seatbelt to the thin metal bodywork without the additional stregth of the "T." So I used a thick flat steel bar and drilled three holes in it, mounting the spool directly on the middle hole (therefore the spool is mounted a bit lower than shown in the Bentley). Since I had to drill holes in my steel bar I carefully measured and changed the position of the middle hole--both in my bar and in the bodywork--so that the spool would unwind at the correct angle (which was just about directly UP, as you've described).

I used bolts made of quality steel. It's been a while but I think they were at least 8.8, maybe stronger. Don't use cheap materials or you might be defeating the purpose of a seatbelt in the case of an accident.

I had to mount the spool inside the body cavity (as shown in Bentley) so that I could get the panel back on the wall. But the spool would not mount flush against the metal of the bodywork. If you try this you'll see what I mean. I solved this problem by screwing a nut on the other side of the bolt as a spacer, with the spool mounted after the nut to give it the proper clearance necessary to fit in place. If this doesn't make sense now it will when you're in the back of the van installing the seatbelts. Then finish with another nut or two on the end to lock it down.

Or maybe I used one nut with red loctite, I can't remember anymore.

Of course the other two holes get bolted to the metal of the body as well.

With this method you can get a solid seatbelt mount and a working seatbelt for $20, plus the cost of some bolts, and a good drill bit that you're going to ruin. And some time and effort, of course.
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Last edited by funagon on Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:35 am; edited 2 times in total
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deprivation
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's funny you should mention this method because I had considered it. But I couldn't figure out how to get the luggage panels off!! Embarassing but true.

I could get the panel most of the way off except towards the rear where the snaps are and towards the front near the bench seat armrest.

What am I missing here?

Thanks for the post, by the way!!

Andrew

P.S. what happened to Funagon?
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Dogpilot
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In a fit of extreme cleverness, VW pop riveted those snaps in place. You need to use a drill, to drill off the head of the rivet that is inside the depression of the snap. The snap will fall off at a point. You will need to push the shank of the rivet into the body. You can replace the pop rivet when done or use a screw.
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funagon
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I broke a few of the plastic panel snaps. it is inevitable that you will sacrifice a few of those any time you remove a panel. Don't remember what kind of van you have but I had to remove my A/C ductwork, both to remove the panel and to mount the pivoting thing that the belt runs through up above the spool. The later vans all have threaded mounting points on the wall in the back, hidden by A/C ducts or cabinets. I don't know about the early 80's vans, but assuming the mounting point is up there you'll have to pull everythig out to get to it.

Nothing dramatic ended the life of the Funagon. It was a high mileage, rusting, dented, dirty van that I got for dirt cheap. After I cleaned it up and fixed it up, I finally decided that I wanted a newer vanagon with "nice" paint so I got rid of the Fun van. I write "RIP Funagon" just because I miss it. It was solid enough that I should have kept it and used it as a beater.

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deprivation
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogpilot wrote:
You need to use a drill, to drill off the head of the rivet that is inside the depression of the snap.


That's what I was afarid of. I didn't want to go destroying the snaps if I didn't have to.

Thanks Dogpilot and Funagon. I'm off to the garage, now.
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campism
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is what kept me from installing soundproofing all the way back on that side. I was reluctant to drill to remove that panel. Everything else came off. Thanks for the heads up.
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OneBrownMouse
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to chime in with my experience with Jetta rear seatbelts.

I also read kayakwesty's post and thought it was a great idea. After a 3 hour trip to the junkyard and back, a stolen tool, and $30 for used seatbelts, I found that mine also didn't work. One side is 330 degrees and the other 30 degrees (both 30 degree from vertical). Other than this angle and they won't release. I tried to mount them in anyway, but there was too much rubbing for comfort.

What a waste of time and money.

Now I'm going to try to refit a front belt to fit the rear. Any ideas where to get that t-bar from?
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