One of the things that I think really improve a vehicle is seatbelts... This is especially true for something like the M38 were you don't have the doors and the seats are flat (allowing you to slide around when going around turns or bouncing around offroad). I figured early on that I wanted to add some seatbelts and I spent some time looking at setups installed by other M38 and M38A1 owners. The seatbelts installed by other folks all were units out of other military vehicles or from aircraft. Since my local surplus dealers didn't have any belts that either fit my personal criteria for condition or price, I started looking into using newly manufactured belts. An internet search on "replacement seatbelts" led me to the Andover Companies, a firm that specializes in replacement, racing, and specialty seatbelts with a website at: http://www.andoauto.com/seat_belts.htm
I decided to go with an aircraft style latch with sister hook attachments since I like the big buckle that you lift up on to release the belt as opposed to ones with a little button (I think that they are easier to work when wearing gloves and they are easier to clean when they get covered with mud) and having sister hooks instead of bolting them directly to the floor allows them to be easily removed for cleaning, shows, or for use in other applications. I decided that a 60" belt was long enough considering how low the seats sit in the body, and confirmed that this would work by sitting in the jeep and stretching a tape measure across my lap from a point on either side of the seat where I planned to attach the belt ends.
Although the Andover website shows that the style of belt that I wanted was available in olive drab webbing, I was informed that olive drab was not available for the sister hook mounting but was available for direct mount belts. I thus decided that black webbing would work just as well.
I ordered a pair of 60" lap belts with chrome aircraft style buckles, eyebolt mounting, black webbing. Part number 873401. I also ordered a mounting kit that consisted of the eyebolt and reinforcing plates for installing the belts. Part number MH3. The belts cost $45 each and the mounting kits cost $5 each. The belts arrived three days later (a set of 74" belts that I ordered for use in my M37 that can be used in the M38 if I have a really large passenger were back ordered and arrived later). Total cost including shipping was $112.05 (in August 2003).
Installation consisted of sitting in the M38, holding the seatbelt in position, marking the location where I wanted the eyebolt, drilling a pilot hole and full size hole, inserting the eyebolt and attaching it with the provided washer, lockwasher, and nut. It took around an hour to install although most of the time was spent rounding up tools and crawling around and under the M38.
If you have questions about any of these photos, send me an email and I'll try to provide an answer.
|1||Black dot marks location to drill for placement of eyebolt for seatbelt anchor point for driver's outside belt.|
|2||Black dots mark location to drill for placement of eyebolts for inner seatbelt anchor points, one eyebolt in frame.|
|3||Underside of body showing proposed location of reinforcing plate (large washer) and nut for eyebolt attachment.|
|4||One seatbelt and two sets of eyebolts and other hardware received in the mounting kits.|
|5||Hole drilled for outer mounting point of driver seatbelt.|
|6||Bottom side of hole for outer mounting point of driver's seatbelt.|
|7||Eyebolt installed for driver seat.|
|8||Eyebolt with driver seatbelt installed.|
|9||Bottom view of driver's outside eyebolt after installation.|
|10||Driver's inside eyebolt installed.|
|11||Driver's inside eyebolt with seatbelt attached.|
|12||Driver's seatbelt in use.|
|15||Inner attachment points as viewed from the rear.|
|16||Outer attachment point for passenger belt.|
|17||Bottom view of outer attachment eyebolt for the passenger seatbelt.|