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MG TD TF 1500 - Seatbelts...just a thought!

Was just looking over TD's on ebay and most had belts installed... One seemed to go down beside the seat in a 'non frame' area.
The 'just a thought' part is, if you are new to T's and have purchased one with seatbelts already installed, it would be worthwhile looking/having someone look to see how they were attached... bet there are a couple out there bolted/screwed through the wood floor boards and inner rear wheel arch without anything welded to the frame? You know some of those p/o's...."Hey honey, I'm installing seatbelts, where are the #8's"
gordon (always caring for his fellow T'ers)
gblawson - TD#27667

I thought there was some discussion regarding whether you really want to attach the belts to the frame, since the tub could shift with respect to the frame in an accident, with you in-between...


Now there is a new thought, Scott. Thanks.

I was considering lap belts. Shoulder belts in a T-Series could be a mistake unless they were attached to a roll bar, higher than your shoulder. Otherwise, severe downward forces are likely, and it is also possible that the shoulder belt would allow you to lurch forward anyway, as it crushed your collar bone, shoulder and ripped your neck sideways.

Dave Braun

Great! Something I can do that somewhat resembles driving, while my TD sits on jack stands waiting for me to finish the brakes...

I have a three-point belt system in my TD. As I am 6'2" my shoulders extend well above the seat back. I discovered sitting in the TD that the shoulder portion of the belt can be run comfortably under my left arm. In rapid deceleration the belt in this position won't keep my head from clunking something, but it will protect my chest from getting impaled on the steering column. While this is an unorthodox way to wear a shoulder belt, I wonder if it is preferable?

(This doesn't address the squish factor if the tub separates from the chassis, where my belt is anchored.)

(who has regretfully climbed back down out of the TD)
Larry Shoer

I have seen a few TD's with fair damage, as well as Model T's, etc... never seen the tub/body leave the frame... Not sure how many bolts hold it on (haven't done a restoration), however, think it unlikely that they would separate?
If one didn't weld attachment points to the frame, there isn't much else to weld to???
I have left it with all the safety features it came with!
gblawson - TD#27667

Larry: My neighbor got pulled over by the local police and got a TICKET for improper use of the seatbelt. She was wearing the over-the-sholder part of the belt under her arm!!!!!
Steer clear of White Heath Illinois *grin*

larry, another thought...i did install belts in my TD at my brides request, but my personal opinion is we are driving 60 year old, wooden framed roadsters with single circuit 4 wheel drum breaks, suicide doors and a solid steering column. i don't think you have to worry about staying away from the steering a front end collision it is coming back to see you. just my opionion, but nothing is risk free, but if having seatbelts in your car makes you feel better about things when you drive you should do it. drive 'em if you got 'em. regards, tom
tm peterson

The fact of the matter is that most serious injuries and fatalities come from people being thrown out, or partially out, of cars. This is true even if they don't roll over or hit something headon. To be sure, if you hit something headon in one of these cars, you are in trouble, and if you hit it hard enough to cause compression fractures from the belts, you would likely be just as or more badly off from the chest/head impacts. Even in a rollover, if you are restrained you have a chance to scrunch down in the cockpit - far superior to being half out of the car and smeared along the ground, as a buddie's girlfriend was. Cars rolling don't usually land flat upside down - they bounce on corners first, and it is not uncommon to roll without the top of the car ever touching the ground. Did that. I have lost a couple of customers because they were thrown out of cars that neither rolled nor hit anything hard, and the cars suffered minor cosmetic damage only; the people were not so well off after their impacts with trees and such. I have also seen a number of accidents that resulted from some fairly minor incident, like a big bump, knocking the unrestrained driver out of position, which then resulted in a significant crash. One of my earliest memories is of a serious racing crash where the driver/builder had gone to great lengths to circumvent the rules re seat/belt mountings, and the near fatal results that ensued; I would certainly never recommend such, but on balance ANY belt is better than NO belt. Go look at a lot of crashed cars with serious injuries, watch the news - many of the cars have ZERO damage to the passenger area - which the injured weren't in at the time of their demise.
FR Millmore

Back to the original question -
Seat belt anchors are described and pictured in Horst's book and seem to be worth the trouble. Metal brackets are added for the inside anchors and the outside anchors use one of the body bolts, which goes through the metal inner frome and the chassis. The wooden body frame itself is actually bolted through the angle iron inner frame to the chassis at several points, so if you were in an accident severe enough o sever the body from the chassis, you are already in deep doo doo. The belts will help in most accident by keeping the occupant from slamming into the windshield and sliding into the floor or out of the car. In the TD they actually help keep the driver in position on the slick unsupported bench seat during regular cornering.
Are they as good as modern shoulder belts or air bags- no.
Strange, we go up in very light framed airplanes and wouldn't think of not fastening our seat belt, when in realty it's only real usefulness was keeping one in an open plane during a loop. Mental comfort I guess.

Dallas Congleton

I have mine installed as described in Horst.. I put a large piexe of 1/4 steel behind the inner body mount.

I worked as a paramedic for a number of years, and FRM is correct. One of the reasons I wear a lapbelt is so I don't slide around the seat when cornering.

Figure, the belts add a little protection from being thrown out, but that is about it.
Bruce Cunha

As an orthopedic trauma surgeon, I went for the lap and shoulder harness described by Horst Schach. I seen countless survivals because of belts, even more from airbags. A roll over is obviously a problem but if one is thrown from the car, he is equally likely to have the car land on him. If one considers the physics of E=MV 2, any collapse of the front end before the driver hits a solid object such as a tree parked car, will greatly soften the blow.
Russ Oakley


I always found the seatbelts in the plane useful for the occasional bout with turbulance, keeping my kids in their seats and not wandering around the passenger area when they were small (although it never stopped them from opening the Bonanza's egress window in flight, but that is another story) and, if I'm ever lucky enough to plan my crash, I will be sure to slow the airplane to a reasonable speed before I tear off the wings and other structure to dissapate the considerable energy. In that case, the seat belt may be enough to save my life and keep me conscious so I may exit the aircraft in the event of a fire.


I do like Horst Schach's lap belts, but I find the shoulder belts to be incredibly poorly conceived, and probably dangerous. I'm a pretty big guy (6'3" and about 205 pounds) and I've never had trouble staying in my seat in the TD (i.e. not a lot of extra room to move). Because of my experience, I'm still on the fence regarding the lap belts, but I've never had a leather interior before either. When the boys were toddlers, I used to tie the suicide door shut from the window frame to the door handle to prevent an inadvertant opening. Never happened but that would have been tragic as well. I don't think the car will absorb much impact prior to me absorbing the steering wheel because as a large guy, to clear my thighs beneath the rim, I have the wheel adjusted full aft. I expect to hit the wheel about the same time the engine joins me in the cockpit. I'm counting on my beautiful wood to splinter in small peices, and the aluminum rim and flat spokes to spread the load on my chest, before the column comes back and skewers my midsection just below my breast bone.

Dave Braun

Dave, I was speaking tongue in cheek about aircraft belts- I have over two thousand hours in military aircraft, and I agree with you they were useful during turbulence, as well as some of the touch and go practice landings during training ;>) They certainly would be of benefit in a crash, which to me is analogous to an automobile crash.
I am still surprised at the reluctance of some people to use a seat belt - doesn't seem to be a real downside to using them and very possible benefits.
At least you are minimizing your losses if you should get in a crash.
But to each his own, like those people that choose to continue to smoke cigarettes after all the evidence that it is unwise.
Dallas Congleton

Gentlemen, I have really appreciated all of the various views of seatbelts. When I restored my car seat belts were installed without any hesitation.

Many years ago my wife and I were involved in an accident when someone ran a red light and the only thing that saved us were the seatbelts. We wouldn't even think of getting in a car without having belts on now.

Brian Smith


If one was to install seatbelts (assume lap belts only)would it be advisable to secure the belts to the body or should attach points for the belts be welded to the frame?

I can visualize if the belts were attached to the body and the body broke loose from the frame and slid forward the driver still has to contend with the steering wheel. A passenger might be OK as they would be moving with the body. If the belts were attached to the frame...and the body broke loose...then the driver would not be as succeptable to getting skewered by the steering wheel....but the mass of the moving body would then be pressing up hard against the driver and passenger perhaps beyond physical limits.

Nasty scenarios for sure (and more that could happen as well) but probably worse consequences without belts. Any conscience on where best to secure the anchor points...frame or body?



Jim Rice

What Moss seat belts shpuld I order?
Peter Jengo

Seat belt should harness combinations on pickups don't attach to the frame. They attach to the body and the body is bolted to the frame. Some pickup frames are similar to that of the TD-TF in that the frame is a ladder frame when viewed from above. My old Datsun pickup is very similar in it's a ladder frame with the main beam being under and between my legs just as it is in my MG. The cab is held to the frame on out riggers with six or eight about 3/8" bolts.

The TD has four bolts in the cowl, 6 bolts across the bottom of the tub and two more in the far corners of the side screen compartment.

The main problem I have with Horsht's method is the low mounting of the shoulder strap. It should be mounted as high as possible either at the top of a reinforced wheel arch or in the back top corner of the tub above the side curtain compartment. I agree that a low mounted shoulder strap would cause great damage to the shoulder area. I've seen new convertibles that have reinforced high back seats with a slot to keep the shoulder harness above the shoulder. I think that would be the best clue as to the proper routing of the shoulder belt.


This thread was discussed between 25/08/2006 and 30/08/2006

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