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  1. #1
    CPS Technician aaminnky's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
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    Cincinnati, OH (area)
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    Your thoughts on conversion vans...

    We are going on a trip with my parents and have been planning on flying then renting a car. But last night my mom suggested it would be cheaper to just drive the 8 hours in their van. They have a 1996 Ford full size conversion van. I have not had the chance to look at the seat belts in the back of the van (2 captains chairs and a bench seat), so I don't know what I'm working with there yet. DS will be RF in a Marathon if we ride in the van.

    Anyway, my main question is what are your thoughts on the safety and crash tests of large conversion vans? My gut feeling is no way are those things safe and we should just fly and rent a car.
    Angela, CPST
    DS- Samuel 4/9/08
    DS- Due April 2014

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  3. #2
    Carseat Crazy
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Re: Your thoughts on conversion vans...

    Quote Originally Posted by aaminnky View Post
    We are going on a trip with my parents and have been planning on flying then renting a car. But last night my mom suggested it would be cheaper to just drive the 8 hours in their van. They have a 1996 Ford full size conversion van. I have not had the chance to look at the seat belts in the back of the van (2 captains chairs and a bench seat), so I don't know what I'm working with there yet. DS will be RF in a Marathon if we ride in the van.

    Anyway, my main question is what are your thoughts on the safety and crash tests of large conversion vans? My gut feeling is no way are those things safe and we should just fly and rent a car.
    i have a dodge conversion. the belts can be tricky. they come out of the wall or ceiling depending on the conversion company and they come out of the floor for the captains chairs. and loooong belt stalks. the bench seat can differ ive seen alot of different set ups. as far as safety i have no clue. i think u probably are right. i dont even want to look myself. i just try to keep them the best protected i can with their seats. ours is paid off so im stuck with it for a while its a 2002. i do have top tethers but thats it. oh and i have light weight locking latch plates on my belts. but no switchable retractor so if the angle is perfect it wont lock. but u can flip the buckle and see if it will lock.

    good luck!

  4. #3
    CPS Technician Kegracin's Avatar
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    Jul 2009
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    IL
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    Re: Your thoughts on conversion vans...

    My parents had a gmc conversion van, it was a 2002. I dont know about its safety ratings, but I always put the RF marathon in one of the captains chairs normally the one away from the door so the seat could be tethered and people could get in and out with out climbing over the tether.

    My only thought isnt about the safety of your LO but does it have shoulder belts in the bench for adults that need to ride in the van.

    What about renting a bigger/newer vehicle if they think driving will be easier.

  5. #4
    Carseat Crazy
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    Jul 2009
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    Re: Your thoughts on conversion vans...

    yes that is a good point about tethering. we installed a tether anchor that we purchased from britax, in the base of the drivers seat. there was no where else to put the tether. our seats are one large unit. no bars to attach a tether.i could have installed it on the back bench seat and used the captain chair in front of its tether anchor but i cannot get a good install due to where the belt feeds out of the retractor. our chairs swivel and pop out if needed. i have no idea on the older ford conversions. the gmc are sooo nice. and if im not mistaken the newer ones i was told by the sales rep have roll cages of some sort. though i have no idea if she was being truthful. our dodge my hubby said is the widest of the vans so roll overs are not AS likely. who knows. the 1996 ford will not have top tether anchors. unless they are installed after market. we did that with our first conversion van it was a dodge 92.
    however they were quite chincy. the bent.

  6. #5
    CPS Technician aaminnky's Avatar
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    Cincinnati, OH (area)
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    Re: Your thoughts on conversion vans...

    That's what I was thinking on the belts, all crazy and maybe lap only. I asked my mom last night what kind of belts were in there and she thinks they are locking latchplate lap/shoulder. They live about an hour away so I'll have to check it out next time I am there. Our trip is not until the end of Oct so I still have some time to figure things out. Thanks for the replies!
    Angela, CPST
    DS- Samuel 4/9/08
    DS- Due April 2014

  7. #6
    CPS Technician bobandjess99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    3,955

    Re: Your thoughts on conversion vans...

    Seats install easier in our conversion van than anywhere else on earth. True locking patchplates are da BOMB. Here is how it works....put belt through beltpath, insert male buckle into female buckle. Pull on shoulder belt to tighten at latchplate. Done. That was in real time. LOL.

    Alex, 8 Katie, 12 and Annabelle Jan 2017

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