Bodywork, Paint, Interior, Trim, & Wiring

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BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5834 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Kangol
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: March 01, 2018 04:18PM

If you recognized that subject then you are aware of the rare, exotic and virtually irreplaceable seat belts found in top end sports cars around 1970. The US Export MGB roadster was fitted with these belts in 1971 and perhaps other years as well. If you can elaborate on the history and current status of the company please do so here.

The exotic part was in the manner of buckling the belt which consisted of a hook which engaged a magnetized mating piece, constructed in such a way that the buckle was held securely but was very quick and easy to close and then open even if you happened to be hanging from it.

Obviously some people didn't like them, as they haven't taken over the market, and indeed have essentially disappeared. But some people do and I'm one of those. To me they are the very best that were ever fitted to the car by a wide margin. And so, being 47 years old and getting right ratty I resolved to restore them to usable condition, and having seen a set properly restored in someone's car began to look into it.

I found my way to Snake-Oyl products in Tyler TX, and after a short exchange where I was quoted $135 each for restoration, shipped them off. This was followed by a quote which didn't exactly make me happy. You see, the base price in the quote of $140 ea essentially only covered re-webbing the belts, and maybe some rechrome of more obvious pieces. It's still unknown if that would have included polishing out rusty areas but as they stated the chrome would be pitted (as they recommended expensive replacement parts) I would question it. They were happy to supply new hooks at $125 each, new plastic parts at around $75 each depending on the part, and new labels and decals for about $30 ea IIRC. The bottom line? North of $800 by the time all was said and done. I had not budgeted for that and could not justify it. Maybe if they were going in an antique Ferrari, but for an MGB $300 was a lot to me. So after paying them a $20 ransom my seat belts were shipped back and I embarked on a different approach.

First, I bought 10 yards of black seat belt webbing online for $10. Then I addressed the corrosion issue. It has been my practice on this car to replace steel parts with stainless whenever it has been practical to do so. That seems like an easy choice here, the only complicated part being the hook ends. So I sorted through the scrap box and came up with pieces to cut all the ends from, except the hooks and in short order had them cut out and buffed. But, you'll recall I mentioned magnets. Those magnets embedded in the buckle have to engage the hook. That is what keeps the belt from coming undone if it happens to be fitted loosely with slack in the belt. (Not proper but who would that stop?) Common stainless is not magnetic. This meant I had to go on a search for magnetic stainless, which we know exists of course, but the surprise was the cost. The best deal I found was a 6 x 6" square of 11 ga. 17-4 for about $40. But that was enough.

I won't go into all the steps involved in making these parts due to the complexity but for such an apparently simple thing it is anything but when it comes time to make it. Suffice it to say that it's a good thing I wasn't charging by the hour because that one bit would easily cover the cost from Snake-Oyl and more besides. But at least they will never rust again.

Interesting project and I still have to add the webbing and finish it up, possibly tomorrow. I'm glad I did it and learned a thing or two in the process. Would I do it again? Nah, I don't think so. Not if I could find an alternative. Anyway here is a photo.

Jim
IMG_0001.JPG


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5834 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: Kangol
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: March 02, 2018 03:25PM

Here is a repair if your belt end pieces are broken as so many are:

IMG_0002.JPG

As you can see there is a clear band around the end piece. I made these from a Dr. Pepper bottle. Simply cut off a band from the middle where it is straight and shrink it around the plastic piece with a heat gun. It helps if you use a form first to keep it straight but it is big enough to slip over the buckle.

Jim


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5834 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: Kangol
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: March 03, 2018 11:30AM

Here is a finished seat belt. The lesser of the two in some minuscule ways, it will be on the passenger's side:

IMG_0003.JPG

Total investment including the 39/64 drill bit to match the ends was about $65. Not bad.

Jim


MGBV8
Carl Floyd
Kingsport, TN
(3791 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 11:32PM

Main British Car:
1979 MGB, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Kangol
Posted by: MGBV8
Date: March 05, 2018 10:09AM

Hope you didn't use Edith's black cotton thread to sew them together. :)


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5834 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: Kangol
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: March 05, 2018 06:49PM

Nah. I have some heavy thread in the industrial machine for stuff like this.

Jim


EKStarzinger
Erich Starzinger
Atlanta, GA USA
(2 posts)

Registered:
12/11/2017 08:30AM

Main British Car:
1974 1/4 MGB GM 3.4L

Re: Kangol
Posted by: EKStarzinger
Date: June 05, 2019 10:16PM

Jim,

Next time try these folks - aircraftseatbelts.com. They are a bunch of retired Eastern guys and have built a business re-webbing seat belts for private aircraft. They do cars as well, I'm told.

Regards,
Erich



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/07/2019 03:14PM by MGBV8.


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5834 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: Kangol
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: June 08, 2019 09:25AM

I've found that the webbing comes in more than one thickness and a thinner webbing does not work well in the early seat belt buckles and tensioners.

So now I need a specification for the webbing thickness as used in the Kangol seat belts in 1971, etc.

Then I need a source for that specific webbing.

Anyone have this information? I'd like to rework these before driving the car much.

Jim



RDMG
Dave R
Northern Virginia
(123 posts)

Registered:
04/07/2016 08:29PM

Main British Car:
1979 MGB 4.6L Rover V8

Re: Kangol
Posted by: RDMG
Date: July 04, 2019 08:23AM

I have a set of late 70s Kangol belts myself, and am following your progress closely. In partial response to your initial post, I stumbled across this history of the Kangol company:

[letslookagain.com]

I had no idea the hat maker was the same company. I also found this post on spridgetguru that might give you some leads on sources for the various decals and plates:

[www.spridgetguru.com]

The replacement belts I have in my assembled, driver-quality, actually useful MG are cheap internet-sourced, airline-style retractable belts with chrome buckles. The webbing on them is indeed thinner than the Kangol type.

These folks seem to be a real brick-and-mortar business, and might have the institutional knowledge regarding webbing thicknesses and sources:

[www.seatbeltsplus.com]

Dave


MGBV8
Carl Floyd
Kingsport, TN
(3791 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 11:32PM

Main British Car:
1979 MGB, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Kangol
Posted by: MGBV8
Date: July 04, 2019 09:14AM

Mine have Kangol on them, but they are nothing like yours, Jim.


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5834 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: Kangol
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: July 04, 2019 02:01PM

No, I suppose the specifications were different in the later years. Or perhaps Marmon discontinued the design.

The second link prompted me to send my belts to snake oil. The quote came in doubled for a basic webbing replacement. I thought seven hundred bucks was a little high. Bought webbing for $15 and did it myself. They do work but a thicker webbing would be better. I just love my magnetic stainless hooks. Couldn't have come out any better.

Unfortunately I do not have the thickness specification for the webbing. That can be remedied but may take some time.

Jim


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