Seatbelt Issue - Forward Facing And Is Sideways Ok?

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by brodie, Jul 6, 2015.

  1. brodie

    brodie Funster

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    Morning

    We are going to be embarking on a panel van conversion as a 5 berth. We are struggling though with the 3 seatbelts in the back. 2 full seatbelts on forward facing seats are no problem but the 3rd is causing an issue.

    The third seating area is at the back, which will be a bunk area but the top bunks fold up to leave a side facing bench seat.

    We could make some alterations to possible make it into a dinette set up but don't really want to lose the storage drawer underneath as with 3 children we need all we can get. Although I definitely don't want to leave one potentially without a seatbelt - favouritism and all that ;-)

    My question is are you allowed to have lap belts on a side facing seat or do all seatbelts have to be on a forward facing seat?

    Many thanks
     
  2. Mack100

    Mack100 Funster

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    Not allowed:
    from here:
    http://www.caravanguard.co.uk/news/...usage-new-laws-latest-regulation-comply-6905/
     
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  3. andy63

    andy63 Funster

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    hi, sorry I don't have a link, but when I was putting my panel van conversion together I looked into the possibility of providing another belted seat in the back... im sure there were single folding seats available which had seat belts built in...im sure they could be rail mounted or bulkhead fixed... may be an option to consider..
    andy
     
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  4. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    It is theoretically possible to make a sideways facing seat safe but you need to provide a way of restraining the head and upper body. I've seen it done on a military vehicle but the seat is so big it becomes very difficult to get in out of it quickly, which is a problem in a military vehicle.

    As for the OP are you sure you are allowed to design your own seat belt mountings? Forward facing or otherwise. Do the regulations allow this? Or are you using existing mountings?
     
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  5. andy63

    andy63 Funster

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    good point. when I moved the double seat from front into back of the van I had to re mount the inside inertia reel belt on to the side of the van and provide a new anchorage for the outside belt on the seat frame.. I fabricated the necessary housings and welded and bolted them to provide this... the only check has been the mot inspector who was happy with it and it passes the mot... to have the seat certified or approved ,well im not sure who would do it and what the cost would be..
    andy
     
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  6. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    I think it can be done for one off vehicles, otherwise no one could ever build their own car but as you say it needs to approved at some point. Type approval and all that is for volume production, not single vehicles. I was only advising the OP to be sure they are doing it right.
     
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  7. Barclaybasher

    Barclaybasher Funster

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    If safety is the main consideration could you fit a standard bench seat in the cab?

    It would mean getting out of the cab to reach the living area though..............
     
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  8. brodie

    brodie Funster

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    We will be buying all the right gear as in seats and belts, anchor points etc. The bunks at the back measure 6ft 8 so there will be enough room to make it a dinette instead of a bench.

    I didn't really want to do that as it means making that bed up every time but obviously I can't risk one if the kids being thrown all over.

    Andy63, were they the 'rock n roll' seats/ beds?

    Ta
     
  9. brodie

    brodie Funster

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    We had thought about that but with being a family of 5 we need the front chairs on swivel to be able to make enough seating for meal times.
     
  10. brodie

    brodie Funster

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  11. Barclaybasher

    Barclaybasher Funster

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    Don't know how old your children are but won't you quickly 'outgrow' a panel van conversion?

    :)
     
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  12. Bailey58

    Bailey58 Funster Life Member

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    Would it be possible to make up the lower bunk from three seat squabs with the middle one removable to allow a forward facing single seat as many manufacturers do with their dinette arrangements? The middle squab could make up the back rest with a simple velcro fix.
     
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  13. andy63

    andy63 Funster

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    hi, no they were a self contained single seat... I didn't bother in the end, so have no other information stored...
    if I have a internet connection tonight ill have a look for the one I was consirering, but have a look at the link and see if its the sort of thing that might help.
    http://www.scotseats.co.uk/flipupseats.htm
    andy
     
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  14. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    Clever seats, you could fit those and not need swivelling front seats.
     
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  15. brodie

    brodie Funster

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    Hi they are 6, 9 and 14.

    Realistically it won't be that long before the 14 yr old doesn't want to come so it will be just the 4 of us.

    We had a 5 berth coach built before and we outgrew that in the sense the configuration was getting inappropriate for sleeping arrangements.

    The design we are going for enables everyone to have their own bed if we go for triple bunks or for the girls to share if we go for 2 bunks.

    We wanted something smaller as we do alot of wild camping and the plan is to tour Europe quite a bit so this option will be better for us.

    Andy63, they look interesting, thanks for the link
     
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  16. Ralph-n-Bev

    Ralph-n-Bev Funster

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    I can't help with the seating configuration . We've waited till our 3 no longer come to go down the PVC route. Though when we bought the van from Peugeot it came with 3 belted seats in the front.
    We chose a single seat( instead of the double) with all the lumbar supports , arm rest, and seat positioning system as the drivers , as an extra.
    So that could be an option. Keep the 3 seats in the front till one of the kids stops going. It might not be long , doing without the swivel seats. Then convert to 2 front seats , that can swivel into the hab area.
    That way you'd only need 2 belted seats in the back.
    But as far as storage is concerned.....
    Ralph is having some tanks made in Pontefract / Castelford that go under the van. They fit perfectly in the voids underneath. That way fresh water, waste and the gas tank will be under the van. This way we have all the cupboard space Inside is free for storage. The battery ( for the solar system) is one that lays on its side and goes under the fridge . That won't need to be replaced for 15 years. So that's not taking up space too. This frees up a lot of storage space. Something you can think about doing if doing the conversion yourself.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015
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  17. Barclaybasher

    Barclaybasher Funster

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    [​IMG]

    No bunks to build and plenty of storage, and you'll get all your money back when you sell

    Why not??????????



    (y)
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015
  18. Feltwell

    Feltwell Funster

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    I'd be a bit hesitant about putting kids at the very back end of a PVC. Would a rear end shunt not leave them very vulnerable to injury? Given that it's only supposed to be carrying goods and the driver is a long way away, I presume the back end deforms badly in a crash to absorb the impact. A few feet of van and a back axle in the way would make me feel better!

    Not to mention that if your kids are like my 3, I want them within earshot!

    We ended up buying a 7 berth coachbuilt van to get something right for 5 of us - we wanted it so none of the kids shared, to ensure a good nights sleep for all of us! Twin fixed bunks at the back end, single dinette towards the front converting into a bed for child No.3, and the double over the cab for us. Double dinette never gets turned into a bed, good to have somewhere to sit when the kids are all in bed. But of course this means having a relatively bulky coachbuilt to drive around in.

    Is a small tent for your 14 year old to sleep in an option? That was my parent's solution when I outgrew caravan bunks at about age 13.
     
  19. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    the type approval rules basically rule out any home made seats with belts. otherwise you will struggle with insurance and god forbid if you had an accident wouldnt be covered and made personally liable for any injuries
    not what you want to hear I know, but best you know the risks
     
  20. Ralph-n-Bev

    Ralph-n-Bev Funster

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    They still have to get from A to B though , seatbelt wise. But a tents a good idea once there.
    I'm with you on the crumple zone thing , but dont those VW's have a lock and roll seat with belts on ? Or are they just for when your there to sit on.
     
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