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MG MGA - De-Luxe seats; Seat Belts

Good morning all,

I am considering fitting a pair of the De-Luxe seats in my MGA 1500, work on the car will start soon with Bob West.

My existing seats are shot, the sponge inside has literally turned to dust and the leather is torn. It's a case of restoring the existing seats completely or just my idea to go the route of the so-called competition seats as I believe were fitted in the twin cam.

My question is do any of you guys have the De-Luxe seats and what are the pros and cons [if any]? They look to me to be so much more comfortable! Any photos most welcome, prefer to my email - douglas@gendingkedis.com

Second, I heard a story about an MGA owner whose wife was badly injured in a crash, not wearing a seat belt. I drove the MGA thousands of miles over Europe and the UK in the '70s and '80s with no seat belts fitted, always feeling happy with the feeling of freedom. Now, I have a different perspective [as one forum member recently wrote - the wisdom of age!], and have decided to fit belts.

Is there any advice on the types of seat belts best suited to our MGAs?

Thanks in advance. Pic from 1977, West Country UK

Doug

DRP Wallace

Doug, you're going to the right man for the restoration....might be a little costly, but does a great job. Bob will have all the answers to the seat belt question, and will insert all the necessary brackets as he does the resto.
Gary Lock

Just for your information Doug,
you will lose up to 4 inches of legroom with the deluxe seats as the seat backs are much thicker.
I am 6 ft 1" tall and I really wanted to fit deluxe seats to get some more leg support for long journeys.
Unfortunately, when I got into a car with them fitted I found that I struggled to drive the car.

I have wondered if it was maybe possible to fit a deluxe seat base with a standard thinner seat back.

Cheers

Colyn
c firth

I second Colyn's comment - I am just 5 ft 7" and only just comfortable for length in my twin cam with the de-luxe seats, so forget it Doug unless you do something very special with the de-luxe seats, like thinner back as suggested above (though that might negate the advantage of the seats) or some other drastic mod. I'm sure Bob will advise best.
Bruce.
Bruce Mayo

I had deluxe seats fitted in my 1500 when I bought it and they are very comfortable.

I am 6'1" with long legs and don't find the length a problem.

My wife finds them a bit low so has a cushion. She also puts the seat right forward and we have to make sure that it doesn't get in the way of the handbrake.

dan
Dan Smithers

Deluxe (same as competition) seats are way too thick for me!

You can buy seat belt mounts from Todd Clarke as stock in Mk 2, and weld them into your earlier car. There are lots of seat belts out there - Moss etc. sell them.

http://www.clarkespares.com/CSR_CATALOGUE-2011.pdf
Bill Spohn

I put seat belts in my car and, although I wouldn't be without them, they are an absolute pain and, because they are non inertia reel belts, not all that convenient and comfortable! Also if you are in the habit of putting your hood up frequently the belts are an added nuisance and you have to dismantle the frame bracket fixing each time.

However, I have no complaints about the quality of the belts which I got from Quickfit SBS. If you are keen on them looking 'original' these are excellent and , unlike Moss, Bob West etc. belts they have all the metal buckles chrome plated (see pic.). Plus the belt material is very 1950s looking.

Quickfit SBS can also supply an inertia reel belt for the MGA with the reel mechanism fixed inside the boot against the firewall and it's not too noticeable.

Finally, when welding the frame brackets make sure they go further back on the frame than Todd Clarke says or else your leather seats may get torn when you move the seats back..............................Mike

m.j. moore

Mike is spot on about the seat belts.


The Bob West belts that I fitted are the chromed metal lift-buckle type very similar to those used on passenger airlines.
Mine clip on to metal rings which are bolted to the chassis and onto a re-enforced plate on the rear wheel arch. You have to unclip the rear fastener each time you raise or lower the soft top which is not easy.

Also you always have to check that the fasteners on the outside edge of the seat are laid vertically against the chassis. If they fall forwards they can easily tear the covering on the seat back like they have on mine.

My wife struggles a little with them, the buckle usually falls down between the seat and the tunnel and can be a bit temperamental in that sometimes they don't want to latch.

I may change the belts for the more modern type which have the hip fastening on semi rigid stalks sticking up from the floor.
But I think that they dont look quite right in the MGA and so they am still in the things to do list for now.

(It depends on how much more ear bashing I get on the subject)

Cheers

Colyn
c firth

The Securon retractable belts used in the MGB GT work really well in the A...have them in both A's that are "on the road", and always retract out of the way when not in use.
Gary Lock

I relaxed the seat base cushions in my car a few years ago. The old ones were still the original Dunlopillo latex cushions, which had started to perish and were quite uncomfortable. I bought the early MGB cushions and attached them with a bread knife to cut them to the right contour. The improvement in comfort was huge.

I recently replaced the seat covers and fitted seat heaters under the new covers. This works very nicely! The seat backs have the new covers, but the old innards are still in place, and they are still comfortable to lean back on.
dominic clancy

Now with the corrections of the autocorrection....

I replaced the seat base cushions in my car a few years ago. The old ones were still the original Dunlopillo latex cushions, which had started to perish and were quite uncomfortable. I bought the early MGB cushions and attacked them with a bread knife to cut them to the right contour. The improvement in comfort was huge.

I recently replaced the seat covers and fitted seat heaters under the new covers. This works very nicely! The seat backs have the new covers, but the old innards are still in place, and they are still comfortable to lean back on.
dominic clancy

Now with the corrections of the autocorrection....

I replaced the seat base cushions in my car a few years ago. The old ones were still the original Dunlopillo latex cushions, which had started to perish and were quite uncomfortable. I bought the early MGB cushions and attacked them with a bread knife to cut them to the right contour. The improvement in comfort was huge.

I recently replaced the seat covers and fitted seat heaters under the new covers. This works very nicely! The seat backs have the new covers, but the old innards are still in place, and they are still comfortable to lean back on.
dominic clancy

Thanks all for the varying opinions on the de-luxe seats, I guess it may come down to individual tastes. I am the same height as Bruce, although Dan you mention they are fine for you.

Mike, thanks for the pic of the Quickfit SBS belts, they look very smart.

Colyn, do you mean the inertia reel belts are the best option to go with?

Thanks all for the assistance.

Doug

DRP Wallace

I found a picture of the Quickfit SBS inertia reel mechanism fitted in the MGA boot sent to me by Quickfit several years ago.............................Mike

m.j. moore

Mike,

Thanks for this pic. Would you have any idea if this type will interfere with the hood?

cheers, Doug
DRP Wallace

Doug,
I was just thinking of fitting a different set of fixed seat belts which have the semi rigid type of stalk that stands upright from the floor on the tunnel side of the seat.
You could then buckle up one handed instead of having to use two hands like we do now.

Im not convinced that you really need inertia belts in an MGA, I can already reach everything on the dash with the fixed belts.
The only advantage of inertia reel belts is that in theory, they would allow you to reach forwards to get something in the footwell.
Not such a great idea whilst you are driving though. :-)

You will need to have some method of quick release on your seat belts whether you go with fixed or inertia-reel as you need to release the belts each time you raise or lower the soft top up.

Colyn

c firth

I am just finding my way around the issues involved in fitting seat belts! I have a Mk2 so have mounting points fitted , so that's a bonus. However, I has dawned on me that on the roadster the hood and seatbelts are not mutually compatible since the belts get in the way of raising the hood (sorry, only had the car a fortnight!).
THere would appear to be a necessity to be able to unclip the belt either at the top mount or at the sill mounting point so it can threaded under or over the hood frame when required. All the belts readily available seem to have conventional bolt holes in the lugs. How is this overcome or do people like Moss just ignore it?
Graeme Williams

Go here:

http://mgaguru.com/mgtech/interior/int1.htm

Scroll about 3/4 of the way down the page. Lots of info on the seat belts.

-Del
D Rawlins

A suggestion for handling the shoulder belt/hood issue... Go to about 2:45 in the following video, look at the "pass through" brackets for the shoulder harnesses:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-mNd71Bk3I

Brackets like that are fairly common for aerobatic harnesses in aviation. Both of the guys in the video are good friends of mine, and I got to ride in that plane after it was finished.

-Del
D Rawlins

What is the generally held opinion of the ex-works top mounting as fitted to the Mk2? It looks pretty lightweight and in danger of distorting the metal tonneau cover, but presumably there would have been some sort of standard applied when MG designed it?
It does have the advantage of pre-existing and easy to connect up to!
Graeme Williams

Gary-can you contact me regarding fitting the MGBGT retractable seat belts in your A
Steve Ash- esselay.123@btinternet.com
S Ash

I must admit that when I was welding my top belt mounting in place (ex Todd Clarke) I wasn't filled with confidence as to it's strength. The rear weld is basically to the 19 gauge firewall which itself doesn't appear to be all that strong and the front is welded to the edge of the tonneau. However, I couldn't see a better alternative at the time. It would have been nice to get a fixing to the chassis frame.
Interestingly there is the tubular 16 gauge crossmember just behind the rear upright floorboard but it's a bit low down. But if the top mounting was fixed to this it opens up the possibility of having seat belts that don't have to be dismantled when the hood is raised.
The problem with raising the hood is that the lateral hood bows which travel the full width of the car are, when stowed, only 12 inches from the floor whereas the factory top mounting point is 24 inches from the floor. So to get the hood up to where the mounting bows are 36 inches from the floor they have to pass the horizontal rear part of the seat belt.
If the 'top' mounting point were say 7 or 8 inches from the floor the belts would not need to be dismantled.

However, the snag with this idea is that the seat belt from the shoulder position would have to travel almost vertically down at the back of the seat. With this geometry the increase in belt tension with forward movement of the seat top would be less than if the belt travelled horizontally to the originally designated fixing point.

Perhaps though, going back to the original arrangement from a seat belt design perspective it might be better to have a bit of 'give' or 'crumple' in the belt fixing points. If they were too rigid the body deceleration in an accident might cause too much body damage?

This poses the question - what are the belt fixings like on a modern sports car with no chassis frame and presumably without the need to undo belt fixings when the hood is raised? ..........................Mike
m.j. moore

Mike:
This is quite an involved topic which for me started as "let's just fit seatbelts"! which then opened up a whole can of worms.

One further difficulty with the factory top mounts is that individually each of the twin bolted mounting points in each rail look a bit small. But to use both would need an additional bracket. That would be the best place for the quick release and Moss sell a neat MGA style push button release but when you check out their "original-style" seat belts, they appear to have a conventional bolt down lug not the key-hole style the q/r needs.

On the plus side, the standard attachments are an ideal place for q/r as they can easily be reached. I wonder what sort of load would cause distortion. I don't like the thought of a "that was close" emergency stop causing secondary damage behind the seats.

I like the idea of using the wing attachment bolts in the side of the tonneau well (I think the US terminology is "fender") and there seems to be lots of information about making up brackets for these.

I will approach a couple of the specialist suppliers in the uk to see what I can buy otherwise is might be a hacksaw and file job.
Graeme Williams

Graeme, Todd Clarke supplies the adaptor bracket for Mk.II cars which converts the original two point fixing to the single 5/16" threaded one. His number for the part is M70-09. .........................................Mike
m.j. moore

Mike: thanks for that. Todd's name comes up a lot in conjunction with the MGAGuru pages and I have looked at his website. Would be nice to buy from the uk if I can if only to avoid high postage costs.

Graeme Williams

Graeme...Looked at the seat belt issue about 10 years ago and decided I wanted inertia belts so designed and fitted a very robust system with the reel anchor point in the boot , and the belt points each side of the seat with door side fitted with disconnect to allow for hood. The belt leaving the reel is high and above the seat level ( see pic ) with reel just behind the seat and mounted onto the bulkhead but directly onto the boot mounting bracket. Did the same on driver and pax side and been using ever since...with no problems ..but luckily no accidents either. Will attach pics showing reel mounting, boot bracket and disconnect ..

Neil Ferguson

pic in boot

Neil Ferguson

Disconnect shackle on door side. pic

Neil Ferguson

Neil: thanks for all the photographs. The disconnect shackle presumably makes it a non-standard belt. I see on ebay that shackle-style belts are readily available from the States but not from the USA.
Graeme Williams

It is a standard inertia reel belt and I bought a heavy duty disconnect shackle with a massive load capability and fitted it instead of the standard end bolt connection. The connection points are locally reinforced ( load spread plates under the floor). All very robust . I am a mechanical engineer and did the calcs to ensure it would hopefully arrest the momentum of my 85 kg weight moving at 100kph before the windscreen and motolita-mg-steering-wheels-and-bosses.htm>steering wheel did..All a long time ago !!I just checked and it was installed in 1990. Very pleased with it and it does not take up any useful room behind the seats or in the boot. The belt can be connected/disconnected with one hand as I mounted the central actual belt disconnect so it is proud of seat and in a fixed position without a stalk. The belt is in a good position over the shoulder , and stays there and moves freely over the seat top. I added extra pads for the shoulder and hip bones .
Neil Ferguson

i used the wrong term for the floor disconnection point. It is not a shackle but and spring loaded openable chain link..
Neil Ferguson

Graeme, the seatbelt quick release brackets can be bought from Leacy and others
http://www.leacyclassics.com/ahh6139-40.html
Neil MG

Here, 7 more, but with a picture!

http://www.ahspares.co.uk/austin-healey/performance-parts/seats-safety-harnesses/bracket-seat-belt.aspx
Neil MG

THanks Neil, I hadn't seen those. That AH Spares one looks very "agricultural"! No chrome plating there then - looks galvanised!
Graeme Williams

Yes, they weren't chrome plated originally as far as I know. I expect the one from Leacy to be the same. I have a set like this and also a set of bright plated, but otherwise identical, ones. They appear to be to the original design and I believe, the same as the ones Todd Clarke sells.
Neil MG

Found some chrome plated ones from a supplier in Europe. About 50% more in price.

Could someone confirm threads used on seatbelt fittings and those associated with seat belt mountings on the car? UNF?
Graeme Williams

These brackets are exactly the same made by Todd Clarke, and I wouldn't be surprised that they had come from him.
Gary Lock

Ordered the bits from Todd! At his suggestion I will use the factory fitted mounting points under the tonneau panel.
Graeme Williams

Here's a set of images to illustrate a system used by an MGB owner who travelled with us around Hungary. It uses a standard inertia reel belt, and the shoulder mount on the B frame uses the socket from an MGB pack-away hood frame and a bar as the means to have a detachable mount and raise the belt level at the shoulder



dominic clancy

and another

dominic clancy

and finally

dominic clancy

So, if I am understanding this correctly, that flat metal bracket raises the shoulder mount up above the occupant? Not applicable to an MGA I would have thought. Looks a bit flimsy?
Graeme Williams

Not flimsy, and very well made. It always would be in compression, and all the metal was at least as thick as the brackets used for a seatbelt mount. I am pretty sure it could be used on an A as well of the right bracket was made
dominic clancy

I wasn't suggesting they weren't well made Dominic, just wonder how that would convert to the A.
Graeme Williams

This thread was discussed between 22/04/2015 and 20/05/2015

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