Originally Posted by h.grenade
Thanks for the heads up. I wish that I knew about them back when it mattered for me haha. That ship has sailed!
I ended up cutting two buckles off of the bench seat and took it to an auto restoration guy in town. He sewed the buckles on to new web belt. It was pretty quick and easy, unlike everything else in this build!
Honestly, if I were to do it again, I wouldn't stress so much about getting a passenger van and using the OEM seat mounting points. I spent more time and money finding the "perfect" passenger van, only to be constrained by the resulting seating choices. Next time I would just buy whatever van met the drivetrain/size criteria, then bolt up some custom seats. It's not exactly rocket science to add steel backing plates and use a seat with integrated seat belts. But I was overly fixated on having an OEM (which, in my mind equated to "safe") seating setup for our kid.
In other news, we have a nice snow pile that built up in our yard from shoveling the driveway. We had a few warm days followed by some colder days, so I figured it would have iced over nicely and I might be able to drive the van on it. Well, it was certainly iced over, and the front passenger tire slid off sideways and crunched the passenger door against the corner of our garage. Had I gotten out to look where the tire was placed, I would have easily figured out what would happen. But I was "just messing around" in a casual environment and didn't bother to check my wheel placement. So now I have a nice dent in the passenger side door.
Luckily it still latches shut and the sealing surfaces don't seem to be affected. However, the window seems to be binding, and the power lock doesn't actuate any more. I'll pull the interior trim and try to push the dent out to the best of my abilities for now. Might try to source a new door from a junkyard, or take the van to a body shop to see what they would charge. Feels really dumb, but I'm glad the damage was limited to the door, and I certainly learned my lesson about letting my guard down. It seems like with every hobby, the worst injuries/accidents occur when you're just goofing around.
The next day, I met up with a huge group of Jeeps to hit some easy OHV trails nearby. The trail network is pretty flat, but the snow was deep and many Jeeps got stuck several times. The snow was packed pretty firm along the tire tracks, but just walking around I fell in waist deep several times. So I would estimate 2-3ft of snow on the ground.
Started out with 20 psi in the tires, but slid off the packed tire tracks and got stuck about 1000 ft from the trail head. Buried to the axles in dense, icy snow. Luckily the person behind me (coincidentally the only other non-Jeep) was able to yank me backwards and back onto the hardpack. From there I aired down to 12 psi and didn't have any problems moving forward. Ended up pulling out that same person at another point down the trail, so we were even. He also high centered his rear diff on a tree stump, but was able to winch himself out of that situation.
It's amazing the difference going from 20 psi to 12 psi made. I was real nervous at first about dropping the pressure that low, but there were some seasoned offroaders there who said that at my van's weight, with the Method bead grip rims, 12 psi would be no issue at the slow speeds we were going. For reference, this is what a 7800 lbs van does to 35" E-rated tires at 12 psi (photo taken on firm parking lot):