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MG TD TF 1500 - Seat Belts

The wife won't ride in the TD without seat belts. (Am I crazy why would I add them?). Anyway I've decided to bite the bullet.

Does anyone know the best way to anchor seat belts in an MG TD. I'm sure it would do no good to anchor them to the wood floor.

I do recall that someone fashioned a bracket or retainer to weld to the frame and they were selling them. Does anyone know how to contact this person.

Is this the best way?

Thanks for your input.


52 MG TD Chicago

I put in moss seat belts according to the instructions in Horst Schachs book. The inside mount is welded to the frame but could probably be bolted to it. You do need to cut a hole in the drive train tunnel. The outside mount and shoulder harness mounts are held by the bolts which mount the bucker to the chassis. It is necessary to fabricate flanges out of 1/8 steel plate.
Russ Oakley

I fitted seat belts as per the book that Russ mentions. If done when the car is up and running, you will need to remove the seats and floor to gain access to the centre chassis member. Quite a longwinded job but well worth it.

I did the same as Russ, but bolted the inside mounts. Horst's book has clear step-by-step instructions. Be sure when you copy the page with the patterns on it you use a good quality copy machine that doesn't shrink and/or stretch the image. When I got my parts from my metal fabricator, they were noticeably smaller than the patterns, due to the fact that he copied the copies I gave him on a cheap copier. They still work ok but close to not mating well with the car.

Good luck and hope you never have to test them.

52 TD MkII
B Sieling

Don't know of mant TD owners who don't have insurance...
Robert Dougherty

My best recollection; it was about 10 yrs ago. I forgert which looked too weak, the inboard or the outboard mounting points. I think the inboards were the puzzle and I made a pair of brackets that bolted to the tubular cross member. I present my solution here only as a stimulus to your thinking on the topic--absolutely not as as a finished or tested design.

I got two pieces of extra stout, maybe 1/4", 2 x 4 ( 2 x 6 ?) steel tubing each about 6 or 8 inches long and a big Rotabroach cutter the same diam as the cross member. On a mill (don't try this w/ a hand drill)I angled the cutter thru the wide face of the tubing to correspond w/ the bend of the cross member. Then I cut the tubing in half lengthwise thru the wide face. Next I drilled holes top and bottom thru the narrow face on either side of the milled hole. These holes were to bolt the bracket to the cross member. I used big, high-grade bolts, and made tubular spacers out of 1" diam aluminum as to not crush the ends of the brackets when tightening the bolts. In the middle of the top bracket drilled a hole for the seat belt mounting bolt; this went go thru the floorboard. I chose a nice thick high-grade bolt, and used a nice thick washer under its head. I think there's a tubular aluminum packing between the top of the bracket and the bottom of the floor board. I also used a nice, big thick washer when attaching the seat belt to the mounting bolt.

Presumably this will work -- but I'm not a mechanical engineer. Even if I were, knowing to a reasonable degree of engineering certainty would require verifying the design by running a number of TD's piloted by test dummies into brick walls. I hope never to find out.

There are lots of things that can go wrong w/ a seat belt installation in a crash, and lots of ways to be hurt if they do. Things to think about other than failure of the mounting points include the location of the mounting points, where the seat belt falls across your lap, angle the belts make with the floor, etc. Not to mention periodic replacement of the belts, checking the hardware for corrosion, etc.

I wonder if lap belts alone actually make our T-series cars safer. Yes, ejection kills lots of people in car crashes--but would a lap belt in T-series just hold you down while the upper body pivots forward so you bash your brains out on the dash. Well, I wear my lap belt, but I sure would like a shoulder belt. And the mounting points for a shoulder belt--that's a question for the ages.
JM Williamson

i just did the belts without the shoulder harness. i did not see enough "above the shoulder support" to keep you upright without crushing you down in the seat as the body strains forward. the whole project was undertaken for the same reason as you stated, the bride wanted them. as i see it, we are cruising in a 50 year old wooden framed roadster with a rigid steering column just inches from our chests. without a roll bar in a low bodied car the seat belt will keep me in place as i roll over and get crushed so the authorities will have an easier time finding the body. driving these old single circuit, drum braked open roadsters is not without risk. the only reason i have the belts is to have a driving companion. just my two 'em if you got 'em ... tom
tm peterson

The two things that had the greatest impact for improved handling of my TF were conversion to radial tires and the addition of seat belts. Before seat belts,it was hard to prevent myself from sliding around on the leather seat. Now I can comfortably power through a curve while stuck in place. I didn't go to great lengths to engineer the mounting points but did use large diameter bolts and fender washers to give as much surface area as possible through the wood and overlapped the metal structurals that are under there as much as I could. I don't know if I am really any safer, but I feel naked without a seat belt on, and it really is amazing how much better the handling seems when using them.

Safety? Fast?
Scott Ashworth - '54 TF
S. R. Ashworth

Having been at the scene of Frank Churchill's accident, I believe he might be alive today, had he been wearing a belt, especially a diagonal.

Gord Clark
Rockburn, Qué.
Gordon A. Clark

I know a lot of TD drivers who don't use belts. I am now planning on doing the Horst installation, using bolts, rather than welding the brackets in place. I think one of the big factors in my decision is how close the steering wheel is to my chest. The benefits Scott mentions, and Gordon's comments above are especially convincing. If I was vacillating before, I'm not now.

If anyone knows, should I order the long kit or the short one from Moss?

Dave Braun

I ordered the long 3-point kit from Moss. I couldn't find anyone to tell me which was more appropriate for the TD, nor what "long" really meant. I figured it was better to have too much length than not enough, that it could always be cinched up. Now that it's all installed, I think I could have gotten by with the short kit, as I have about 12"+ of strapping rolled up on the floor to the outboard sides of the seats. But there was no way to really know which size was best until the instllation was complete and you are sitting in the seat adjusting it around yourself.

Also, when your passengers vary in size from adults to children, it takes a fair amount of manual adjustment to make them fit. There is no spring loaded retractor like modern cars to adjust to various body sizes.

Good luck,
B Sieling

If I wreck the TF ...I don't want to live!
It was cause undue stress on the wife.
My will says I am too be cremated and used as "oli dry" under the rear oil seal!
David 55 TF1500 #74276
David Sheward

I have had seat belts in my TD since it was first restored in 1973. Quite frankly, I can't see how you can drive without them. Not from the safety side (which is important), but they keep you from sliding around on the seats when you are doing the quick turns.
Bruce Cunha

I installed seat belts (Schach method) during my restoration. Over the past few years, there have been several debates over whether the belts would help or hurt in an accident. The argument of the belts holding you in a flipped car is valid, but that is a small percentage of accident outcomes. If the car flips, your changes of survival are poor anyway.

Many likely outcomes would have the driver slamming into the steering wheel, spearing his/her rib cage. A 3-point belt will definitely help here. The shoulder point is lower than is should be, and might cause injury as it compresses the drivers torso. To me, this is better than hitting the steering column.

The third point will also keep your passenger's head from bearing the upside-down LUCAS imprint in your early TD....
Evan Ford - TD 27621

I guess it's not fair for me to compair "TD" & "TF" here as, according to the sales litature and owners manual: The TF is equiped with the "new saftey padded dash scuttle"! So...given the average height of most of the SUV and pick-up truck bumpers around here if I put about 1/2" of foam rubber in the back of my ball cap I should be good to go! (at least for a rear-ender)
All kidding aside (rare for me)...I will admit it would have been nice to have a belt the other day when I discovered my door hindge has been "sprung" and it flew open "whilst cornering robustly"....but give the size of my butt there is not much room for me to "slide around" and not much fear of falling out!
Cheers & Best Regards,
David 55 TF1500 #7427
David Sheward

I, too, installed seat belts based on Horst Schachs' instructions. Rather than welding the inner bracket, I made it about two inches longer and bolted it to the frame with three quarter-inch bolts. My local restoration shop found a set of tan belts with chrome buckles. They match the interior nicely and look absolutely appropriate.

50 TD
Steve Markman

Not a huge fan of seatbelts, but they do stop you falling out of the car.
(insurance for suicide doors)

Best accident prevention device is still a super-powerful pair of Horns. Make sure yours works well & hard.

I put belts in my TD and I even wear my cycle helmet when on weekend rides as protection against SUV driver's that 'don't' know how to drive period! In 1956 when I was driving my '52TD as every day transport I wasn't askeered of the big Detroit gas guzzlers but I sure am askeered of them SUV idiots.
Greg & Grimm
G.J. Cenzer

I installed seat belts when I restored my TD. Bolted them through the floor to the frame. I guess they will just keep me from falling out of the car because if someone in one of those big ole SUVs hit me I know I will be toast with lots of splinters in my #$#.

This thread was discussed between 13/09/2005 and 20/09/2005

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