Saturday, August 3, 2013

MGB Seatbelt Guide

Most drivers of MGB roadsters here in the States are well familiar with the hassle of finding the combination lap/shoulder belt from under the stowed convertible top. If the inertia reel retractor works, the belt has been drawn back under the folded top. If not, it is in a puddle around the seat waiting for you to untangle it before you snap it across yourself. There are ready made (albeit pricey) solutions on the market, but what British car owner shrinks from the challenge of creating a hack and saving a buck or two in the process?

My MGB-owning younger brother, Alan, is no stranger to scrapyards and it was during one of his recent forays into his favorite automotive recyclers that he found a solution to the seatbelt issue that was both cheap and a project. Here is a brief step-by-step how-to guide to creating your own pair of seatbelt guides for your MGB:

First, locate a suitable donor car in the form of a late nineties Chevy Cavalier two door coupe. They look something like this:

GM designed a heavy plastic seatbelt guide that attached under the headrest of this generation of Cavalier. This is what you're looking for:

You'll need to remove the seatbelt guide from under the headrest. This will involve raising the headrest to its full height and then removing a wire ring from around east headrest post. Access is gained by cutting the upholstery at the base of the two posts and cutting the rings with wire cutters. The headrest will pull out and you can remove the parts you came for - the guides.

Get them back to your workshop/lair/kitchen table and remove the headrests from your 1970 through 1980 MGB. Turn them over and you will see a plastic piece that holds the vinyl headrest cover on. It is attached with two screws. Remove the screws and slip the plastic piece off. This will be your template for the next steps.

As if by magic, the two screw holes on the plastic retainer match the two headrest post holes on the Cavalier seatbelt retainer. All you need to do is center the two sets of holes and mark the location of the MGB headrest post on the Cavalier seatbelt guide:

Once the location for the MGB headrest post has been marked on the Chevy seatbelt guide, you'll need to choose your favorite oval-hole-making tool from your arsenal and get to it. Since he does not have access to a well-equipped machine shop, Alan drilled two holes in the oval he marked out on the Cavalier guide:

The next step is to open up the oval. Alan used a jig saw with a coarse toothed blade. You could use a Dremel tool or other cutter to accomplish this step, too:

 At this point your adapted Cavalier seatbelt guide should something like this:

A little cleanup of the oval hole will be in order. A fine file or sandpaper will do the trick, although this part will live under your headrest. It's up to you. At this point, if you were not lucky enough to score a pair of the guides in a color that compliments you MGB's interior, you can paint them using any one of a number of fine spray paints formulated for vinyl or plastic.

Slip the plastic headrest cover retainer and the newly-adapted guide onto your MGB headrest in the correct orientation. Since the guide adds about 3/8" more thickness, you may need to replace the screws with some that are appropriately longer:

Return the headrest to the MGB seat and feed your unruly seatbelt through the split in the guide. Stand back and admire your work. A refreshing adult beverage is optional:

The guides can be obtained from your local you-pull-it scrappers for slightly more than the lint in your pockets. Alan bought a pair for less than five bucks from one of the local yards in Mobile. 



1 comment:

  1. Are there any cheap substitutes for seat belts that will work in a MGB


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