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  1. #1
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    1998 Chevrolet Tracker 2 door, no anchor points. How to proceed?

    Hello,

    Our second car is the vehicle mentioned above. It has no latch system or anchor. What is also concerning is there is no place to install an anchor (like most 1989-2000) vehicles.

    We have 2 car seats, a Evenflo Triumph LX and 4-5 year old Eddie Bauer front facing seat as a spare.

    I figured I could just install an anchor in the Tracker but I read this in the manual:

    ďIf your child restraint has a top strap, it should be anchored. If you have a two-door model, don't use a
    restraint like that in your vehicle because the top strap anchor cannot be installed properly. You shouldn't use this type of restraint without anchoring the top strap. If your vehicle is a four-door model and you need to
    have an anchor installed, you can ask
    your dealer to put one in for you. If you want to install an anchor yourself,
    your dealer can tell you how to do it.

    Use the tether hardware kit available from the dealer. The hardware
    and installation instructions were specifically designed for this vehicle.Ē

    So what are my options? Is there a front facing seat that I can use without a tether strap? Can I install an anchor even though for some reason the manual says not to do that in 2 door models like mine?

    I need a front facing because my little one is too big for an infant carrier now, and trying to get a child in a rear facing seat that stays in the vehicle is practically impossible in a 2 door.

    So just looking for some options other than getting the vehicle. Itís only a second car but there is times when we need to use it.

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  3. #2
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: 1998 Chevrolet Tracker 2 door, no anchor points. How to proceed?

    Hi there.

    How old, tall, and heavy is your little one? A top tether is an absolutely vital safety feature of a forward facing seat, and it sounds like your little one is quite young. At that age, a top tether could mean the difference between life and death.

    Luckily, or not, the seats you have are quite bulky. So yes, I can see easily the issue you're having trying to fit them in your vehicle. Like trying to climb around a sleeping Andre the Giant in there without waking him. However, there are other seats that are MUCH smaller. And then, what I'd do to get a child in rear facing, is probably put the child in on the passenger side, and then get in from the driver's side. That way you can sit next to your child, get them buckled in rear facing, slide back out, put your driver's seat back in place, and then get in your own seat. That's what we used to do when we put our daughter in our old Porsche 911 rear facing. So we know the joys of putting a child in a small car rear facing. It's definitely doable. And given the risks of forward facing without a top tether, especially for a young child in a small car, I'd definitely do it.

    To explain the whys more, not just the, "Do it because I said so," here you go.

    The top tether holds the top of the seat back. It means the head stays back more. Without the head staying back more, the head can impact the back of the front seat or the center console. In a small car, you run the risk of the face hitting the back of the front seat and either traveling up and hyperextending the neck (especially trapped between the front seat and the carseat), or traveling down, and pushing the head so far down that it basically pinches all the way to the chest. Take your own head, touch it gently to your chest, now imagine me coming around behind you and shoving HARD.

    Combine that with the fact that a young child (potentially under the age of two when spinal ossification starts) has a spine that cannot handle the crash forces very well. Everyone knows about the soft spot in the baby's head at birth. Well, the spine basically has the same thing. Instead of being one bone, it's three bones held together by cartilage. If you had ultrasounds, you may remember how that looked. Like morse code for the spine. Dot dot dot. That's the way it still is for now. So that can stretch quite a lot. Which sounds like a good thing in a crash. And it probably is for the bones. Until you remember the spinal cord is in there. And that can't stretch at all. Nosiree. I don't even want to discuss the outcome of that. I'll let your imagination go there. I'll just say, it's as bad as you can imagine, or worse.

    Ok, so back to your original question, what to do about it? Well, ideally, we recommend different seats to rear face your child once we know their size. That would be absolutely the safest, and in line with the AAP's 2002 recommendation to rear face to the maximum limits of the convertible carseat for optimal protection (March 1, 2002, restated August 30, 2018. https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-...-Children.aspx). Barring that, you talk to a Chevy/GM dealership and see if they can retrofit a tether. I don't have specifics for your vehicle as to a part number, or if parts are available. It's service bulletin 99-09-40-004B. If you can't get one, ideally you rear face to a mature booster age, so you can skip the need for that tether all together. Like I said, you have two of the most bulky rear facing seats, so finding something that fits better should be the easiest part of this whole process. Finding a tether is hopefully the second easiest. Fitting your seats rear facing is probably doable, but likely third easiest. Or most difficult, depending on if you're an optimist or pessimist.

    Let us know your kiddo's height, weight, and age if you'd like recommendations, and a budget, and we'll be happy to help you move forward.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 100#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 53", 92#, Nuna Aaces, Chicco KidFit
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic


  4. #3
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    Re: 1998 Chevrolet Tracker 2 door, no anchor points. How to proceed?

    There isnít a reasonable way to open the back, is there? It looks like it would be easy to load from the back in terms of being able to reach the car seat if it were at all accessible.

  5. #4
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: 1998 Chevrolet Tracker 2 door, no anchor points. How to proceed?

    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 100#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 53", 92#, Nuna Aaces, Chicco KidFit
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic


  6. #5
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    Re: 1998 Chevrolet Tracker 2 door, no anchor points. How to proceed?

    Thanks for your response. My child is 13 months currently, about 23 pounds and 28 inches tall.

    This vehicle is our summer fun backup car so she wonít be in it until May or June at the earliest.

    Iím familiar with that service bulletin, but it seems to only apply to the 4 door models. This is because the 4 door models have a threaded hole with a rubber cap fitted into a box section of the floor just inside the rear cargo door.

    Unfortunately the 2 door doesnít have these threaded holes, just a note in the manual not to use a seat that used a top strap.. :/

    While I know I could fabricate a tether to work, I donít think itís the answer as for some reason the manual for the tracker and sidekick (sister car) say to never use a tether in the rear seat of a 2 door.

    For anyone who wants to scratch their head at what suzuki engineers were thinking in 1995 check out this borderline inside way to use a front facing seat with tether in a 2 door sidekick (same as tracker)

    That manual says to move the car seat to the front passenger seat, put the tether under the seatback head restraint, then hook the tether into the locked rear shoulder belt?!?!

    I know Iím getting off topic here but here is the link if you donít believe me. https://www.manualslib.com/manual/38...page=21#manual

    I guess they donít include this in the 1998 manual (like mine) due to the passenger side airbag being added in 1997 or 1998

    Anyway......

    I think Iím going to go with the advice of the more compact rear facing seat. Iíll even play with the idea of loading through the rear hatch, worth a shot!!

    Even though the little one wonít be in this vehicle very often rear facing is going to be the only way this will feel right in my gut I think. Itís already a hell of a lot less safe than our other car (2014 Toyota Yaris) so I cant take any chances.

  7. #6
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: 1998 Chevrolet Tracker 2 door, no anchor points. How to proceed?

    Luckily she's petite. The Cosco Scenera Next would be a suggestion, the Graco Extend2Fit (which is absolute overkill in general, but this would DEFINITELY allow you to rear face to a mature booster age), Britax ClickTight convertibles. They're all compact seats.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 100#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 53", 92#, Nuna Aaces, Chicco KidFit
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic


  8. #7
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    Re: 1998 Chevrolet Tracker 2 door, no anchor points. How to proceed?

    Thanks for the suggestions. I like the price of the scenera! But the extend to fit is tempting as it can but used right up to 65lbs, which is a huge plus.

    I assume both of these seats are ok to use with the rear shoulder belt only in the rear facing position? As this vehicle also has no latch system.

    Thanks for all the help, you guys are amazing.

  9. #8
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
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    Re: 1998 Chevrolet Tracker 2 door, no anchor points. How to proceed?

    Seatbelt install is absolutely fine. Extend2Fit rear-faces to 50 lbs; at that point (if not before) your child should be ready for a booster.
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, arriving May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

  10. #9
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    Re: 1998 Chevrolet Tracker 2 door, no anchor points. How to proceed?

    Just ordered my extend2fit, seems like the best solution to the problem for sure!

    Thanks everyone.

  11. #10
    Senior Community Member Dillipop's Avatar
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    Re: 1998 Chevrolet Tracker 2 door, no anchor points. How to proceed?

    I think you picked a great solution!

    I wanted to touch on the tether situation you mentioned from the 1995 manual. Tethering to a locked seatbelt in the row behind a car seat used to be an approved way to tether. Iím not sure any current vehicles would be in a position to offer it as an option with mandatory tethers but when tethers were first coming out, it was an approved tether spot. Worked really well in 3 row vehicles and in cars without airbags, it could be a good solution. There was at least one manufacturer that their retrofit was a buckle with a tether on the end that was inserted into the female stalk of a third row belt, if I recall correctly.


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