One of the things that I think really improve a vehicle is seatbelts... This is especially true for something like the M37 were 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 M37 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 74" belt was long enough to get from the floor up to the seat and over the occupants and confirmed that this would work by sitting in the truck 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 74" lap belts with chrome aircraft style buckles, eyebolt mounting, black webbing. Part number 873801. 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 weeks later as they had to make them whereas a set of 60" belts that I ordered for use in my M38 arrived three days after placing the order. Total cost including shipping was $112.05 (in August 2003).
Since I had already installed a shorter pair of these belts in my M38 (see the page on my M38 seatbelts located on M38 photo page six), installation consisted of walking out to the M37 with drill in hand and putting the holes for the eyebolts in the floor as far back in the cab as possible while providing enough room around them for the hooks to attach. I drilled a pilot hole and full size hole, inserted the eyebolt and attached 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 M37.
A future project will be to install a low mount bar, similar to a roll bar, at the correct height to anchor a shoulder belt. Not only does Anderson make a shoulder belt that is design to mate to these lap belts, but I have an aircraft four point harness that uses sister hooks for the lap belts that would be a direct swap for the currently installed driver belt once an attachment point for the shoulder harness is provided.
If you have questions about any of these photos, send me an email and I'll try to provide an answer.
|1||Passenger side attachment for the driver's seatbelt showing eyebolt and seatbelt with sister hook arrangement. Battery cable is ground line running from the battery box under the passenger seat to the disconnect switch located under the driver's seat.|
|2||Outer attachment for the driver's seatbelt showing the eyebolt that the sister hook will be attached to. Also seen in the photo is the handle for the battery cut off switch on the driver's seat support panel.|
|3-4||Underside of the passenger side mount for the driver's seatbelt that is shown in photo 1. Truck has rubberized undercoating in this area supplied by the USMC and a bit of moisture from rains earlier in the day (and a little bit of gear oil slung off the t-case).|
|5-6||Underside of the outside driver's mount that is shown in photo 2. Notice that this area of the cab didn't get undercoated when the rest of the truck was done, and I never bothered to replace the rusted lower panels or to paint this area when I last did bodywork. Mount is in sold steel with plenty of solid reinforcement still provided to the floor plate it is bolted to, so I still feel rather secure...|
|7||View of the driver's belt draped across the seat, passenger belt still to be installed.|
|8||Close up view of the chrome aircraft style buckles. I like this style as they are very easy to operate with gloved hands.|