The previous owner of my car installed some Corbeau 4-point harnesses and ditched the stock seat belts. In de-pimping my ride, I wanted to ditch the 4-point harnesses (they aren’t competition or DOT approved, nor was the installation safe) and reinstall some stock belts.
A friend was upgrading his 88 hatchback to an all-black interior and passed along his mismatched gray and blue belts to me for free – a deal I rarely pass up. However, seat belts from an 88 won’t bolt in to a 92. It turns out, the stamping on the inner panel changed on the 91 model year, and so earlier belts won’t bolt in. So began my search.
Since I too am wanting to migrate my interior over to the ever popular all black, I first started searching for some black seat belts. In my few weeks of searching, the best price I could find was $300 for a set of used 91-93 black belts. There were a few cheaper, but the sets were incomplete. I began looking at using black sn95 seat belts, as they aren’t as desirable, thus less costly — there was a set on eBay for a “buy it now” of $80. Using these belts meant modifying the brackets to get them to mount up, and there were stories of the locking mechanism not working correctly if the assembly is mounted at the wrong angle. I then moved on to buying a set of 91-93 belts in whatever color was cheapest. The best I found were a set of red seat belts for $130.
Something just doesn’t set right when relying on seat belts that are used, first of all. These things are designed to hold you in your seat to save your life, and you’ve no idea of a belt’s previous life when buying one used. Did the belts come out of a car that was in a serious accident, where the belts and assembly have been seriously stressed? Also, there are many threads about the fact that the factory belts sometimes fail to lock when they get old. I’m sure in most cases used seat belts can be safe, but it’s an odd risk to take.
I ran across one thread where someone had used a set of aftermarket belts with good success. A little more searching and I came across a set of belts that are new, meet or exceed federal ratings, and cost less than the used black belts I was able to find. I purchased a set of black seat belts, with a neat chrome “aircraft style” latch, for about $140 delivered.
The seat belts went in just fine, with little to no drama. The mechanism bolted right up to the inner panel. The factory insulation has a cutout for the stock belt. All you have to do is match this angle when you mount it up.
The upper shoulder mount bolted up, just like factory. The only issue was the mounting of the lap belts. I planned on reusing the factory bolts, and so did not order a hardware mounting kit. The factory bolts are designed for a lap belt with a 5/8″ mounting hole. The mounting holes on the new belts were just a little too small.
I simply opened up the holes a little with a 5/8 drill bit (which I’m sure voids any warranty these belts may have had), and everything finished up nicely.
And there you have it, a very attractive, cost effective, and safe solution.