I had high-back, second-row seats put in my 1997 110County Station Wagon about eight years ago to accommodate three child seats. I also fitted a roller three-point seatbelt system to secure a baby seat to the middle seat. This worked great for four years but, as the kids grew bigger and adults used the seat, it was obvious that the system had its flaws. The shoulder strap kept falling off my son’s shoulder and getting stuck between seats.
When an adult used it, the pain from average braking of the vehicle told me there was a problem. From what I’ve discovered, it’s really
dangerous to have the shoulder strap attached directly to the floor because, when heavy braking occurs, the force of momentum actually causes the belt to loadthe shoulder/neck area with downward pressure, forcing the rest of body downward into seat. I know the latest Defenders have belts incorporated into the seat assembly.
Would fitting a three- point belt be a safe option? I’ve thought about fixing a piece of heavy-gauge tube behind the second-row seats to mount inertia reels at shoulder height. I’d pad out the tube for safety.
Shaun Green, Romford, Essex
As you say, the later County Station Wagons have a
60/40-split centre-row seat with an integral three-point belt in the seat. This is the route I would go down to have safe seatbelts.
I’ve heard of people fitting a bar across the back of the seats to mount the upper (shoulder height) fixingbut I’m really not keen on this idea because the only time you’d find out how safe you’ve made it is inan accident. Would yoube willing to take that risk?I wouldn’t.
The other option would be to fit a chassis-mounted roll bar, which would be completely safe and secure to mount the belt to.
This workshop advice appeared in the December 2015 issue of LRO. Back issues are available to download on digital devices here.