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New Seatbelts for my 1953 MGTD

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Fenner Avatar
Fenner Ferman Wardell
Charlotte, NC, USA   USA
1953 MG TD
My newly purchased 1953 MGTD came with 4-point racing-type harnesses, which were difficult to put on and uncomfortable. So, I went to Moss and bought two of their 3-point, inertia reel shoulder/lap belt sets.Once I determined which side I wanted the buckle on, I removed the original belts and simply used the same through-frame bolt holes. Luckily they were in just the right locations for the new belts. Photos included below. The new ones are easy to put on and are quite comfy.

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ozarkboy Avatar
ozarkboy Gold Member James Auer
Batavia, IL, USA   USA
1952 MG TD "Maggie"
1979 MG MGB "Ozarkboy"
Nicely done - safety fast!

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Mikelead Mike Leadbeater
York, Yorks, UK   GBR
1953 MG TD
Ferman,

I suggest you look at the recent posts on the subject of seatbelts, there are several, and they discuss the problems with shoulder belts causing spinal damage following an impact, also the importance of having mounting points attached to strong structural parts of the car, basically the chassis.
Sorry to be a little negative, but you should be aware of possible shortcomings., maybe check your installation.

I am a big fan of seatbelts, especially in a TD with many safety shortcomings, they were after all designed well before safety was an issue.
If you find a copy of Ralph Nader's book " unsafe at any speed", the guy who started the move towards car safety, it's very enlightening, if not scary.

Welcome to the forum by the way.

Mike

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MGTF1500 Ardeche France Avatar
MGTF1500 Ardeche France Thierry SUCHIER
TOURNON SUR RHONE, Rhône-Alpes Auvergne, France   FRA
Of course it's very good to have a seat belt especially a three-point with retractor.
I have on my TF a two points (a ventral) that I removed because it is very difficult and binding to use.
But I wonder if it is not dangerous to have the belt attached much lower than the shoulder itself?
I have attached a diagram to understand my thinking.
When do you think ?
Sincerely, Thierry de l'Ardèche, South of France

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Steve S Avatar
Abingdon West, Southern California, USA   USA
It's a "worst of both worlds" situation. You can install shoulder belts which risk severe spinal and neck injury if you're hit hard enough, or use only lap belts which risk head trauma if you fly forward far enough. You can bolt them to the frame and risk extreme abdominal injury, or bolt them to the wood and risk them tearing out. It's an individual choice. I run lap belts only.

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Tim66 Avatar
Tim66 Silver Member Tim Burchfield
Toledo, OH, USA   USA
1951 MG TD
1953 MG TD
In reply to # 3905668 by Steve S It's a "worst of both worlds" situation. You can install shoulder belts which risk severe spinal and neck injury if you're hit hard enough, or use only lap belts which risk head trauma if you fly forward far enough. You can bolt them to the frame and risk extreme abdominal injury, or bolt them to the wood and risk them tearing out. It's an individual choice. I run lap belts only.

Why would you risk anymore chance of severe abdominal injury with a belt bolted to the frame than in a modern car?

Tim



1951 MG TD TD26711
1953 MG TD TD12524
1980 Corvette

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Fenner Avatar
Fenner Ferman Wardell
Charlotte, NC, USA   USA
1953 MG TD
Hey, All, comments received and appreciated. Yes, my new belts are bolted securely to the metal chassis. I made sure of that from the start. I considered the shoulder belts being attached lower that shoulder height but felt that having them that way outweighed not having them at all. And they do loop over the squab for what help that might provide. Bottom line: "Safety Fast!"

Now, on to my next project: replacing dash light bulbs with LEDs.

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Steve S Avatar
Abingdon West, Southern California, USA   USA
Tim, as our cars are body-on-frame (and wood bodies no less), in a serious accident the body mounts can move or tear away, allowing the body to shift in relation to the frame. If the seat moves and the seat belt doesn't (because it's bolted to the frame) then the belt will be pulled back into your torso an amount equal to that movement, which I've heard can be several inches. Add that to the initial force of the belt due to the collision and it isn't pretty. This assumes a rear-end collision of course. But the other side of the argument is that an accident that serious might have torn the belts out of wood anyway. So once again it's choosing the least bad poison. The brass era car guys have the same basic discussions. I think that's where I first learned years ago how futile it really is trying to stay safe in a modern collision driving a car like this. But we have to try, since doing something sensible like driving modern cars is such a depressing thought. winking smiley

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TD4834 Avatar
TD4834 Bill Chasser
Sacramento, CA, USA   USA
1950 MG TD
1951 MG TD MkII
Here we go again. My position hasn’t changed on the subject of three point restraints and can be found in the archives. It is a subject that created some bad blood between opposing views and don’t want to go there and rehash it again. Check the archives and make you own conclusions.



Bill Chasser
TD-4834
TD/c-8151
TD/c-16920
TD-19408
TD-24060

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AZTD Avatar
AZTD Silver Member Mike Grogan
Glendale, AZ, USA   USA
1953 MG TD
Only with a roll cage. IMHO



1953 MG TD TD23816

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TF3819 Avatar
TF3819 Ian J
Drysdale, Victoria, Australia   AUS
1954 MG TF
Hi Ferman, this discussion really is about how defensive or aggressive one drives. I have driven my TF for 49 years now, have had 4 point harness belts, lap belts, and currently 3 point shoulder/lap belts - only because I need these for basic club competition. I do not use my belts for normal road use any more, knowing that ANY collision with a t-type is not going to be pretty. My wife and I have traveled thousands of miles around Australia to our national meetings, and never found that we required to wear them. Some may say 'just good luck', but also driving quite defensively. About 40 years ago my friend barrel rolled his TD and walked away, saying if he had worn his harness belts (in the car at the time) he would have been crippled / decapitated. Had to see photos of his car to believe it. Nevertheless, I would not drive my modern, normal car without them, as it is DESIGNED to have compliment belt wearing. I am driving to Queensland in April for our 50th MG National Meeting, and my belts are tucked in behind the seats awaiting motorkana and hillclimb use, only.

just my 2c worth,

cheers,

Ian

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Buckdendave David Hill
St Neots, Cambridgeshire, UK   GBR
1954 MG TF
In the UK if you have seat belts you must wear them. I fitted lap belts.
Dave H

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MGTF1500 Ardeche France Avatar
MGTF1500 Ardeche France Thierry SUCHIER
TOURNON SUR RHONE, Rhône-Alpes Auvergne, France   FRA
Same with us David.
Sincerely, Thierry de l'Ardèche, South of France

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Steve S Avatar
Abingdon West, Southern California, USA   USA
I think it's fair to say that being thrown from a car is beneficial only in extremely unusual circumstances. Since only 3% of crashes are rollovers, and I suspect most of those are large vehicles, my choice is to prepare for the most likely scenario which is a rear-end collision or possibly broadside. If broadsided in a T-TYpe, I don't feel that any type of belt will do much to keep you alive. But if rear-ended they will likely save your legs from being shattered. Just look under the dash panel to see what your knees are going to impact and you may start thinking about the benefits of lap belts! Of course that leads to other major safety items like headrests, which are especially useful in a rear end collision. But nearly all of us choose to not use them. We aren't exactly a rational group of people. smiling smiley

It's worth noting the decades of study showing that being unbelted almost always results in injury that being belted would likely have prevented. There was a well-known MG enthusiast who spoke out against seat belt use, and he died in a rollover that his wife (who was belted) survived without serious injury. To be clear this was in a modern car, not an M.G., however the irony was the same. But to each his own of course, and we all do what we feel most comfortable with. I'm not a fan of mandatory seat belt laws because people should be able to choose for themselves, but I do feel most comfortable using them when I drive.

Beyond the usual safety considerations, I also feel that being belted gives a far greater level of vehicle control during performance or emergency maneuvers. You spend a lot less energy trying to hold yourself in the seat when belted. In earlier cars solid axle cars (TC and earlier) it's especially useful, as they can get pretty bouncy at times. My wife said the single biggest improvement to her comfort and feeling of safety in our TC was when I installed belts, because she didn't feel like she was going to bounce over the door and onto the highway at 65 MPH. smiling smiley

I do agree with Ian that defensive driving is key. The nut behind the wheel is simultaneously the safest and the most dangerous component of any car.

By the way Ian, I also known of a guy who rolled his TC and walked away. I still have the crushed scuttle in my garage from his car. eye popping smiley

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Meadow01 Avatar
Meadow01 Silver Member Sonny Surles
Benson, NC, USA   USA
I too am a strong advocate for defensive driving. While in the US Air Force, I had to take a local safety course every time we transferred since I had a motorcycle. One of the best instructions I ever heard (and still retain) were two key points to drive by. One, assume everyone is trying to kill you. Two, when you come to an intersection, slow down until you can see their eyes - and can tell that they see you. I was recently reminded of that when a truck pulled out right in front of me.

Sonny

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