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  1. #1
    Senior Community Member canadianmom2three's Avatar
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    Question tips to tighten tricky center seatbelt

    Hi all,
    I want to install my DS's seat in the center, but there are no LATCH attachments there, and previously I have had no luck getting the center belt to tighten nearly enough. It is one of those types of belts that just retracts into the seat, and you can kind of help it a bit, but there is no way to manually tighten it. I just went out again and re-bought the Radian65 after hearing what the price on the Radian Premier (80) would be...it is a bit steep for me. I did have a really nice outboard install with LATCH last time I had the Radian installed, but now DS is really bordering on 48lbs, and I want to give it a go with the seatbelt (well actually I have to I guess ), and center would be my preference. Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by canadianmom2three; 01-24-2007 at 03:30 PM. Reason: for clarity

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  3. #2
    CPS Technician Victorious4's Avatar
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    Re: tips to tighten tricky center seatbelt

    What is the vehicle year, make, model?

    Sounds like a retractable lap belt -- you probably need a Belt Shortening Clip: this is NOT a Locking Clip (this is bigger, stronger & used totally different) ... check the vehicle manual to see if they even allow center install & if you have a retractable lap belt then you should find your local CPST
    TIFF ~ doula & all hours childcare provider
    SCARLA: winter '02 . . . Jr. Roller Derby level III
    BEAR: spring '11 ... Recaro Sport + Clek Oobr
    RAHNE: summer '17 ... MicoMax30 + RadianRXT
    childcare: 0-7yrs... Contender + Frontier Clicktight
    {emergencies: Scenera Next, Highback, Topside}

  4. #3
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    Re: tips to tighten tricky center seatbelt

    If you pull it all the way out does it lock? When you let a little in and try to pull it out, does it allow you to? If it doesnt then it locks.
    “Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes...
    That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away AND you have their shoes.”

  5. #4
    Senior Community Member canadianmom2three's Avatar
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    Re: tips to tighten tricky center seatbelt

    Thanks - I drive a Pontiac Montana - it is a 2003 8 passanger extended version. In it, the second row is actually 3 individual seats if you now the kind that can fold and flip, and each can come out seperate from the rest. In the owners manual it talks about center being a suitable position to install with lap belt... behind that is a smaller split bench, which is more crowded and harder to get to for DS, and the two bigger kids sit outboard there, not much room in the center for carseat. Anyway, the seatbelt locks at whatever length you pull it out to, and usually that is a hassle when installinig seats there because I have to pull it way out and then try to hold it out and prevent it from ratcheting in too far to run through the belt path, but the bigger hassle is that is doesn't ever seem to go in tight enough - I sit on the seat, jump on the seat all the while trying to force the belt back in more, but it never gets as tight as the kind that you manually pull on the piece of loose webbing to tighten. I have never seen a belt shortening clip, or whatever you called it, and the belt is not exactly long, it is actually kind of hard to keep it long enough to run through the belt path...anyway, hopefully this is more clear or detailed than my first. Thanks again!!

    Oh that reminds me - where do you think I would find out about where to find a tech in Canada, I have checked that one website (safekids or something?) and also called a bunch of dealerships that used to promote checks, but I think they only seem to do that kind of thing in the summer around here!!! Even the local health clinic has stopped for the winter!
    Last edited by canadianmom2three; 01-24-2007 at 03:48 PM. Reason: to ask another question

  6. #5
    CPS Technician Jewels's Avatar
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    Re: tips to tighten tricky center seatbelt

    Oh that reminds me - where do you think I would find out about where to find a tech in Canada, I have checked that one website (safekids or something?) and also called a bunch of dealerships that used to promote checks, but I think they only seem to do that kind of thing in the summer around here!!! Even the local health clinic has stopped for the winter!
    Try this this site to find a Canadian tech or check stop

    HTH

  7. #6
    Admin - CPS Technician
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    Re: tips to tighten tricky center seatbelt

    Quote Originally Posted by papooses View Post
    Sounds like a retractable lap belt -- you probably need a Belt Shortening Clip: this is NOT a Locking Clip (this is bigger, stronger & used totally different) ... check the vehicle manual to see if they even allow center install & if you have a retractable lap belt then you should find your local CPST
    Most center lap belts with a retractor are ALR and would not require a belt shortening clip. The belt shortening clip would only be with an ELR retractor. Cars newer than 1996 should have ALR retractors if they are lap belts with retractors.

  8. #7
    Admin - CPS Technician
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    Re: tips to tighten tricky center seatbelt

    I have a hard time installing my Radian with a lap belt because of the angle of the belt/buckle.

    Generally though, the way I install seats with this type of belt is to buckle the belt with it really loose. Then I kneel into the seat and unbuckle the belt, let it retract in a little and try to rebuckle. When it's finally tight enough, it's really hard to buckle and I have to rock back and forth in the seat (to "squish" the air out of my car's seat) to get it to buckle again.

  9. #8
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    Re: tips to tighten tricky center seatbelt

    I love installing with ALR lapbelts! I have found I get it tighter if I get it to the "right" length, then let it retract one more notch, then buckle. It's hard as he$$ to get it to buckle, but by bouncing around on top of the carseat or having someone help, it can be done, and is usually pretty tight. You can also try reclining the vehicle seatback while installing, then once belt is buckled raise the seat back up. That usually tightens it even more.
    ~Jenny

    "When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people." ~Abraham Joshua Hesche

  10. #9
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    Re: tips to tighten tricky center seatbelt

    I did what jenny discribed, when i had to install in the center of my friends expolorer with the ARL belt int eh center, it was hard, but i just unbuckel let it retrace 1 more click then buckle, i took my friend sitting her weight into the seat (pooh sized mama) vs my 120lbs in the seat to get the buckle back in... but it worked very well.
    Becky CPS Tech, driver of '05 Quest, and Mama to
    DS 8y 6m (51.5" 61# torso 20") Backless Turbo and parkway
    DD 6y 4m (47" 42.5# torso 16") Parkway and Radian F/F
    DD 4y 1m (42" 35# torso 15") Marathon F/F

  11. #10
    CPS Technician Victorious4's Avatar
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    Re: tips to tighten tricky center seatbelt

    Quote Originally Posted by bensmom View Post
    Most center lap belts with a retractor are ALR and would not require a belt shortening clip. The belt shortening clip would only be with an ELR retractor. Cars newer than 1996 should have ALR retractors if they are lap belts with retractors.
    Right, should have clarified more -- thanks for adding that

    (ALR = Automatic Locking Retractor, ELR = Emergency Locking Retractor)

    Also, FWIW, even though my 1999 Chevy Blazer supposedly had ALR belts no one at the dealership nor the 3 CPSTs at the time could get it to engage ... the manufacturer supposedly claimed that to be part of the reason for not allowing center carseat installation None of it ever made any sense to me, but I was glad to be rid of that vehicle! I decided against a Belt Shortening Clip & just had the technicians install it outboard (this was when I was invited to become certified )
    TIFF ~ doula & all hours childcare provider
    SCARLA: winter '02 . . . Jr. Roller Derby level III
    BEAR: spring '11 ... Recaro Sport + Clek Oobr
    RAHNE: summer '17 ... MicoMax30 + RadianRXT
    childcare: 0-7yrs... Contender + Frontier Clicktight
    {emergencies: Scenera Next, Highback, Topside}

  12. #11
    CPS Technician Victorious4's Avatar
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    Re: tips to tighten tricky center seatbelt

    You may need an extra pair of hands:
    • 1st try installing it so that the other person is in control of the seatbelt to prevent it from ratcheting back too far ...
    • put all your weight on the side of the carseat farthest from the buckle while the other person helps tightens the seatbelt (but without allowing to retract) ...
    • then shift all your weight to the other side of the carseat nearest the buckle while maintaining pressure to tightening the seatbelt ...
    • buckle it & pinch the lap/shoulder portions together while you unbuckle ...
    • have the other person let the belt retract just one or two clicks & rebuckle.
    TIFF ~ doula & all hours childcare provider
    SCARLA: winter '02 . . . Jr. Roller Derby level III
    BEAR: spring '11 ... Recaro Sport + Clek Oobr
    RAHNE: summer '17 ... MicoMax30 + RadianRXT
    childcare: 0-7yrs... Contender + Frontier Clicktight
    {emergencies: Scenera Next, Highback, Topside}

  13. #12
    CPS Technician Splash's Avatar
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    Re: tips to tighten tricky center seatbelt

    Do you have LATCH on the seats beside it?
    To get my center installs really really tight, I use the outboard anchors to install it as tight as humanly possible. Then I buckle the belt in and tighten that as much as I can. Then release the anchors and *poof* perfect install. If you have outboard anchors, you might try that one.

  14. #13
    CPS Technician AdventureMom's Avatar
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    Re: tips to tighten tricky center seatbelt

    Splash -

    Just jumping in here, but thanks for that tip - ! I think I may try that tip as well...

    Maria

    DS|2002|FF in Britax Frontier 85 and Graco TurboBooster
    DD|2007|FF in two Britax Frontier 85's

  15. #14
    Senior Community Member canadianmom2three's Avatar
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    Re: tips to tighten tricky center seatbelt

    Thanks all for the great tips,
    Went out to try it last night, but waaaaay too cold - will have to try when the heater has been on for a bit, and my fingers aren't so numb!!

  16. #15
    CPS Technician Victorious4's Avatar
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    Re: tips to tighten tricky center seatbelt

    Quote Originally Posted by Splash View Post
    Do you have LATCH on the seats beside it?
    To get my center installs really really tight, I use the outboard anchors to install it as tight as humanly possible. Then I buckle the belt in and tighten that as much as I can. Then release the anchors and *poof* perfect install. If you have outboard anchors, you might try that one.
    Good idea -- never thought of that before! (

    Just a reminder to release the anchors, though: only one or the other, not both )
    TIFF ~ doula & all hours childcare provider
    SCARLA: winter '02 . . . Jr. Roller Derby level III
    BEAR: spring '11 ... Recaro Sport + Clek Oobr
    RAHNE: summer '17 ... MicoMax30 + RadianRXT
    childcare: 0-7yrs... Contender + Frontier Clicktight
    {emergencies: Scenera Next, Highback, Topside}

  17. #16
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: tips to tighten tricky center seatbelt

    Hi, I have an '03 venture with the same seat. There is a replacement buckle stalk you can have GM install that is more flexible. We had our dealership install it and I get much better installs with it. It is still tough to do but I get a tighter fit. My rf Marathon works great there.
    HTH, Danielle

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