For the rear seat in the wagon I want modern seat belts. However they must make a nice appearance. Most retractors cannot be mounted at an angle. A possible solution could be to add a bar to change the direction of the seat belt like the Volvo 245 has.
Or twist the belt or use a retractor that can be installed at any position since those are available. Most of them are kart seat belts and not ideal. Some more information on seat belts.
Mono versus duo sensitive
Seat belts of which the retractor can be installed at any angle are mono-sensitive. This seat belt type locks on a firm pull of the belt. Nowadays these are not being used in modern cars anymore since they do not meet the safety requirements and do not get an E-approval.
A duo-sensitive seat belt not only locks due to a firm pull of the belt but also due to strong deceleration (heavy braking or collision) or tilting. It as a mechanism with a ball that sits on a horizontal plane. Mounting the retractor at an angle would activate the ball and thus lock the seat belt.
ALR versus ELR
ALR or ‘automatic locking retractor’ has replaced mono-sensitive. The seat belt tensions automatically and locks on sudden movements. A disadvantage is that you cannot move forward while being strapped in.
ELR stands for ’emergency locking retractor’ where under normal conditions the seat belt follows the movements of the person. You can lean forward normally and the belt will remain tensioned. It locks during an emergency brake or collision. It is the ideal combination between comfort and safety. All duo-sensitive seat belts are of the ELR type.
Which seat belt to choose?
OK, so I want a duo-sensitive seat belt with ELR that can be installed under an angle. I am looking for type Ar4m. Which means:
- A = 3-point
- r = with retractor
- 4 = emergency locking retractor (ELR)
- m = multi (or duo) sensitive
And then of course one with ECE approval. After an extensive search I found one that met my criteria. It is adjustable so after mounting it you can make sure the ball is aligned horizontally.
Installing it in the car
From a fellow Volvo enthusiast, Joost Buiting, I had seen some nice examples. Behind the side panels there is quite some room available even though I have installed my AC chargers over there. There is even some space left for a small speaker.
So I determined the location of the belt and picked up the grinder.
The hole needs to be quite large to be able to feed the buckle and upper and lower mount through. I made a mounting bracket for both the felt and right hand side for the retractors. These are attached to the flange of the inner wheel box and at the top.
I will replace the two upper bolts with ones with a lower head so they will be hidden behind the interior panel. Unfortunately the hole at the top is quite big.
So I got a piece of thin aluminum and my mill.
And made two covers.
They will be painted black and fastened with the same screws as the aluminum sill covers. The retractors are nicely hidden now.
And after fine tuning the locking mechanism they work perfectly.