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My $0.50 Seatbelt Fix


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I forgot to take pics of this over the weekend, I'll add a few in the next couple of days.


It always bugged me that our seat harnesses loosen over time, and that none of the fixes seem to be both easy and inexpensive.  In my airplane the problem is pretty bad, I end up re-tightening the shoulder straps every 5-10 minutes.  Then they pull up on the lap belt (which has also loosened), and it ends up riding around my belly instead of properly on my hips.  


I've been trying to think of something that is a cheap & easy fix for some time.  I didn't really want to replace all my perfectly serviceable belts, buy an expensive aftermarket harness, or anything similar.  In thinking about the problem, it occurred to me that the problem is really one of inadequate friction in the system, allowing the belts to slide through the buckles and loosen.  So how to add more friction?




Yes, simple friction tape.  I used black "bat tape" from the local Academy Sports store.  You just want to make sure it's a self-adhesive variety.  There are some tapes out there that won't stick to themselves without a tape strip...you want to avoid those.  


Put the tape on all four harness strap friction locks.  I wrapped the bottom of the friction lock, and (most importantly) the center bar that the strap passes over.  It's a little tricky to get to that center bar and wrap it, but it can be done.  You could also wrap the top side of the buckle, but I didn't do that.  I might later though that is probably the point of least contact/friction in the system.  It does not take a ton of tape, I used two strips (1" wide tape I think) in each location, just enough to totally wrap around and stick to itself.  


Once you've done that, you've added a ton of extra drag in the system.  You can still adjust the strap by pulling on it, but it will take a LOT more effort, probably 3-5X more.  Once it's set it's MUCH less prone to loosening over time.  I flew all weekend and NEVER had to adjust the lap belt.  I adjusted the shoulder belts a couple of times, but I'm not sure if they really needed it or it was just habit.  They stayed much tighter throughout two days of flying.


The overall improvement is excellent.  I won't say it fixes the problem 100% without more testing, but I will say unequivocally that you will be pleased and impressed with the improvement.

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Andy, please post some pics if you can.  This is a winner if the tape stays put.  Even if it turns out that the tape needs replacement every so often, it will be worthwhile to do this.


I'll get them up ASAP.  Weather has been crap this week and I haven't gotten back out to the hangar.  In the video I posted about the deer I almost hit last weekend, you can see the two strips of back tape at the bottom of the belt tensioner on my right shoulder.  Basically do the same thing on the center bar the belt passes over, and the top of the tensioner like I have on the bottom if you want, and that's it.  


Will get some some pics though.

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