Adding Shoulder Belts to the Rear Seat of an Early Jeep Cherokee
Shoulder straps were not available in the rear seat of a Jeep Cherokee until 1991. However the engineers who designed the body must have had them in mind from the beginning.
Scott decided to add shoulder straps to the rear seat of his 1989 Jeep Cherokee. He used belts from a 1993 donor. Removing the belts from the donor involved heating the under body nuts with a torch to allow the torx headed bolts to come loose. PB Blaster just did not loosen the rust and locktite enough to get them out with the limited torque of a torx bit.
After removing the interior panels, we found that the lower mounting points are all there in the exact same place as the 1993. The reel bolted right up and even the stabilizer tab hole is punched it the right place.
The slot that the belt passes through is there as well, however, we had to open up the front of the hole to allow the bolt to pass through without rubbing and to line up with the holes in the 1993 interior panels.
The anchor points at the roof were a bit of an oddity in this Jeep. On one side, the entire anchor point was welded in place but never tapped for threads. On the other side, the hole was punched in the sheet metal and the two plug weld holes were there, but the backing plate was not mounted.
For that side I fabricated a plate from ½ inch steel and tapped the appropriate hole in it. I also added a bolt hole to bolt it in where it would have originally been plug welded.
The mounting points under the seat are in a slightly different place than the 1993 donor. However, simply bolting the shoulder belts in where the original reels were mounted worked fine.
I was amazed that we only had to fabricate one plate and tap one hole to make this update. I really don’t understand why AMC did not offer rear shoulder belts in the early Jeeps since all the mounting points are there. Just for curiosity, we checked our 1984 parts car and found that it has the mounting points in it as well. So Jeep planned for shoulder straps all along but did not actually offer them until 1991.
Scott used the interior panels from the donor Jeep which matched the color of his older panels exactly. He had to cut two holes in the head liner to allow the roof bolts to go in but that was easy to do. He now has a nice safety update to his older XJ.