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Old 04-06-2017, 08:43 PM   #1
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A Safer Bench Seat

Trying to solve worrisome safety issues with the forward facing bench seat.

Step 1 was to install removable headrests (see the post entitled "RB-50 Bench Seat Headrest Installation).

Step 2 was to improve the SMB provided seat belts. As many of you know, SMB installs one shoulder belt (passenger side) and two lap belts on the bench seat.

The shoulder belt's buckle end was way too long and, as a result, rode dangerously high (well above waist level) on both adults and kids. I ordered a 11.5" (from center of mounting point to buckle end) replacement buckle from Seatbelt Solutions in Jupiter, FL. This instantly solved the fit issue with the shoulder belt.

The lap belts are simply not safe for kids. Initially, I used the E-Z-ON 86Y to turn the lap belts into three point shoulder harnesses. The kids outgrew the E-Z-ON and they weren't really suitable for adults to begin with.

This led to the recent installation of four point passenger belts (purchased through Wesco Performance). Had to modify the center attachment point so that it would be removable and allow the bench seat to fold into a bed. To do this, I simply reused the hardware from the E-Z-ON. Did have Seatbelt Solutions professionally attach the E-Z-ON hook to the four point harness' center mounting belt. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to color match the seat belt webbing to the material used by SMB but I'm more than willing to overlook that cosmetic issue.

The end result is a safer bench seat.


2014 Ford RB-50
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Old 04-06-2017, 10:20 PM   #2
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I really like your headrests. Not only do they make it safer for passengers in a crash, they make it waaaay more comfortable. I find my bench to be too low for long distance travel. I am definitely going to follow up on your previous thread and do this addition!

2009 E-350 Lopes 55
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Old 04-07-2017, 10:24 AM   #3
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Yeah, that's awesome and I will be putting those in when my kids move from the car seats.
Tim - 2013 EB V10 Agile 4x4 SMB PH Ginger Army All Terrain Mobile HQ
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Old 04-07-2017, 12:12 PM   #4
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Nice work. A+ for safety.
"PhoTo" - 2014 Ford E350 5.4L RB - Agile 4x4 - CCV Poptop
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Old 05-25-2017, 03:10 AM   #5
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Excellent, very well done. I am in the planning stages but have a one year old so need to consider this. I guess at first the car seat will take care of the issues but that won't work for ever.

A few questions if I may. The bench seat was from a Sportsmobile build? How big does the "bed" become? Is there not some way to have that bench seat on a slider of some sort so you could vary the interior or cargo space?
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Old 01-24-2018, 06:44 PM   #6
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good problem fixing!
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Old 01-24-2018, 07:49 PM   #7
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I love it!
1995 E350 7.3 Diesel, 4x4 high roof camper, UJOR 4" lift
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Old 05-05-2018, 11:52 AM   #8
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Looking for help installing this solution

Hi all,

Our kids have graduated from carseat to boosters, and we need this exact solution for our bench. We tried contacting a number of places to see if they'd do it but no luck so far (even Sportsmobile Indiana, who did the original setup, won't do it). We are in SoCal but willing to go wherever we can find help.

We'd love to hear from those of you who have successfully installed these headrests and seatbelts. Thanks so much!
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Old 05-05-2018, 12:09 PM   #9
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After finding all the parts, I had a local auto restoration company do the upholstery and metal work. Its not that hard really. A hole was simply drilled in the bench seat frame for the guide sleeves (to hold the head rests). Then everything was buttoned up. Note, the head rests have to be removable for the bench seat to fold down. I found the original plans online somewhere but can't locate them now. Cost for parts and labor was about the same. Good luck. Really worth all the trouble.
2014 Ford RB-50
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Old 08-09-2018, 05:01 PM   #10
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Hope this isn't too dumb of a question, but are the head-rests critical to this installation/safety?

Muy Bonita - 2000 Ford E-350 V10 Quigley with 285/75 R16s, SMB-West RB50, manual PH
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