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Early Klippan seatbelt restoration


Shawn Piper

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A goal of my restoration is to keep certain model-year specific details.  In 1969, the 2002s came primarily with an airplane-style Klippan seat belt and in 1970 switched a clasp-style that hooked a bar over the transmission style. I have seen one example of a 1969 clasp-style seatbelt (inferring the transition might have happened in late 1969)  but its condition was unrestorable.  Anyways, the clasp-style was used up to 1972, which is when the Autoflug retracting belts became more popular.  

 

Here you can see the airplane-style (bottom) and the clasp-style (top);

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If you're searching for either style, the model numbers are as follows:

 

Clasp - Mod 222 & 221 (rear), 225 (long front)

Airplane - Mod 407 &, 407C & 407P (rear & short front), 517 (long front)

 

I knew my car came with the airplane-style seatbelts because those were still attached in the rear when it received it.  The front seatbelts had been upgrade to some generic 80s style, and the retractors were broken. The issue with the airplane-style belts is that they were used on Dino Ferraris and Porsche 356s (here is a Dino restoration blog that shows how to refurbish the seatbelts).  Because you are competing with these collectors, good sets can cost a lot - upwards of $300-500 a pair.  

 

I didn't want to spend that much money so I went to Autobahn Dismantling and hunted around their spare parts bins until I found a wad of various super greasy seatbelts.   That score, plus a lucky find on eBay, helped me piece together a complete seatbelt set.  I soaked the seatbelts with Simple Green and Laundry Soap and laid them out to dry. 

 

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I then dismantled the mechanism and sent the internal parts out for zinc plating.   

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The parts that couldn't be removed due to the webbing were gently scraped at using a dull kitchen knife.  This removed the oxidation. Here is a before/after. 

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The chrome parts were soaked in Metal Rescue and then polished with White Diamond.  Here is that before/after:

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Another challenge was the rivets. They were rusty.  I removed the rust using Metal Rescue Gel and then repainted the rivets using Eastwood's 2K Underhood Black.  The masking process for every rivet was incredibly time consuming but the end result was worth it! 

 

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The last part to restore were the larger plastic pieces.  These were oxidized and had a gray/white tinge to them that looked really bad.

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I tried multiple things to restore the plastic.  Here are the things that DIDNT work:

- I tried remove the oxidation with Meguiar's PlastX -- since this removed oxidation from plastic headlights, I figured it might work on these pieces as well.  Unfortunately, it didn't do anything other than remove some really stuck on dirt that I hadn't previously noticed.  

- I tried soaking the pieces in Meguiar's Back to Black for several days. They looked awesome at first but returned to their original state within a few days.  

- I tried spray painting a test piece with Krylon ColorMax Satin Black.  The color was right but the paint is too thick and obscured the texture of the plastic... it looked obviously painted.  

 

So finally I found this Vinyl Paint, which alleges to be super thin.  A test piece looked perfect so I painted all the pieces, including the adjuster knobs, and reassembled the seatbelts.  Note, DONT try to remove the sliding adjuster knobs ... they are glued in place and will break immediately if you try to remove them.  These should be painted in place.

 

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Here are the final belts.  I think they look awesome and I cant wait to install them.  

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Edited by Shawn Piper

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Nice.  Last summer I put my old klippen seat belts into a bucket of water with Tide detergent to clean them.  The difference was amazing and the water was extremely dirty.  Very satisfying.  I hadn’t considered painting the vinyl. Thanks for the post.  

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