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Old 06-17-2004, 01:56 PM   #1
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Seat belt/shoulder harness options

The seat belts on my recently acquired 84 310 limited are too short for me. (I mentioned in an earlier post that I had grown wider over the years). A friend has a new Beaver which has Flexsteel seats with integrated shoulder harness.

Since I'd much prefer a shoulder harness/seat belt combo to a seat belt alone I contacted Flexsteel to find out about the seats. It turns out they don't sell those seats to end users wanting to replace seats in older motorhomes. According to the person who called me, they are concerned that because these seats are heavier they might not be appropriate for an older MH.

So I'm interested in tapping the collective wisdom of the forum. If I could get the seats would they be safe and useful in the 310? What other solutions would you recommend? I assume I can get either a seat belt extension or a long seat belt for my MH? Is there a should harness solution which will fit the 84 310?

On the subject of safety equipment, are there aftermarket air bags (passenger restraints not suspension)?
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Old 06-17-2004, 02:11 PM   #2
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I have given these issues some thought, Argosy24 has retrofitted his to have the seat belts.

The shoulder mounted seat belts can be done if you are adept at taking stuff apart and putting it back together. The main bow or rib that runs just behind the driver and co-pilot seats is a structural member. If you make a mounting plate for the upper portion of the belt and attach it to this rib all you need to do is find new belts. I would look at one of the big truck (semi) places so you can get one that is long enough to reach from that far back.

On the issue of airbags, I know of no aftermarket system. There is a plethora of sensors and wiring that SRS requires that would be way beyond the capabilities of most mechanics. Not to mention the liability if it does not deploy correctly of if it does deploy and injures someone. I smell lawsuit.

Besides the only thing that is bigger than we are is a semi anyhow, an Airbag is not going to make much difference then
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Old 06-17-2004, 02:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guy99
...What other solutions would you recommend? I assume I can get either a seat belt extension or a long seat belt for my MH? Is there a should harness solution which will fit the 84 310?..

Both the right and left pieces of the seat belt retract. The left sometimes hangs up on mine......you may want to double check that both sides of the belts (left and right hand pieces) are extending fully.
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Old 06-17-2004, 03:24 PM   #4
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newkid

Alas, this sounds beyond my ambition and most likely beyond my ability as well. That's why I was interested in the seats with integrated shoulder harness. Any thoughts about whether the coach is strong enough to mount one of these?
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Old 06-17-2004, 03:25 PM   #5
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I think I did check that, but I will check again as soon as I get the mh back
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Old 06-17-2004, 03:33 PM   #6
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Shoulder harness- below is a picture of the upper mounts I made for the harnesses (you can see them right behind the windows). The only supstantial metal capable of mounting the harness is the main rib Brett mentioned, and it is only 1/8" thick. The plate you see is 1/2" thick aluminum mounted to the front of the rib, there is another plate behind the rib that is 1/4" thick. All of it is bolted together with 3 3/8" bolts. To do this you need to pull the inner skin back and will have to slot the trim around the window for the mount.

One other way possible would also use the main rib but you could mount the bracket flat. Use a bunch of nutserts, probably 8 or 10 per side into the rib, brake a plate at roughly 45 degrees and attach it to the rib using bolts into every nutsert. This would put the mount bolts pretty much in shear, not entirely but it should be enough (if you use enough bolts) to be safe. I would check them carefully if they were abused, you might need to replace some or all.

Shoulder harness on the seat- check you seat mount very carefully. My pedastal was mounted to 1x2" 1/8" wall tube with 3/8" bolts, sitting on 1/2" plywood. The plywood was falling apart and the seat rocked. If you put new seats in they need to have a very substantial mount, remove the plywood and weld steel plate down. The pedestal needs to be larger, especially front to rear, to resist forward motion under hard stops. If not you have a fairly long lever with the weight of the seat and your body pulling on the mount bolts whenever you stop. The harder the stop, the more stress.


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Old 06-18-2004, 07:53 AM   #7
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John
Thanks for the picture. I wanted to know what one of these looked like stripped and this helps. Did you gut the whole vehicle? or just the front? Do you have additional pictures?
The dash looks cool and custom or is it after-market?
Thanks for the info.
Rick
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Old 06-18-2004, 08:38 AM   #8
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The whole thing was stripped to the frame, sandblasted and started over. There are more pictures in my album on the Airstreamphotos site. The dash is custom, built from angle and .040 sheet, but I still have the jig if you want to give it a shot.

John
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Old 06-18-2004, 09:13 AM   #9
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Another option would be to purchase seats with integrated shoulder belts from one of the surlpus suppliers in and around Elkhart Indiana. There are a few online. Just do a google search for "RV Surplus". Sometimes they have stock overruns from suppliers to the coach builders. Seats are not cheap but at least they will sell them to you.

I also saw some shoulder/lap combination belts in JC Whitney for about $150 each. In either case, proper mounting plates and hardware would be required.
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Old 06-18-2004, 08:53 PM   #10
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John
Thanks for the offer of the jig. I will be asking for it in the future. Right now I am doing all my system checks and repairs because I will be leaving for a 2 month trip, Va to Seward, Ak and then back thru California. I will do the custom work after that trip. My coach has 15 K miles, original but it has sat for most of the 22 years so lots of ankle biters to take care of.
What did you do in the bath area, revised stock or complete makeover?
Rick
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Old 06-18-2004, 08:57 PM   #11
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If you know someone who does hobby drag racing, they have to change out their lap belts and shoulder harnesses once each year or every other year. They may have a take off set or know where you can get a set for small money. A friend of mine in NH had 10 sets before he started a family and gave up on racing for a while. Unfortunately he threw all that stuff out.
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Old 06-19-2004, 07:09 AM   #12
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Still no bath, too much work and had to take a few months off on the rebuild. Everything will go back pretty much as it was. I was not impressed with some of the quality and assembly, but couldn't beat the layout.

John
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Old 06-19-2004, 07:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guy99
Alas, this sounds beyond my ambition and most likely beyond my ability as well. That's why I was interested in the seats with integrated shoulder harness. Any thoughts about whether the coach is strong enough to mount one of these?
Why not buy used seats out of a wrecked MH? If not, why couldn't you find a RV dealer that sells RV's with the type of seats you want, and have them order a pair?
I agree with Brett, trying to install automotive airbags in your MH is a disaster-in-the-making. And if you get into a serious enough accident to need airbags, they won't make much difference anyway, you will have thousands of pounds of interior furnishings trying to exit through the windshield.
Terry
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Old 06-19-2004, 08:44 AM   #14
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Airbags also are going to require a glued in windshield. They inflate to fill the space between the glass and occupant. Gasketed windshields will pop out with all the energy they need to absorb.

John
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