Child Seat Ideas

** DISCLAIMER **
I can in no way vouch for the safety of the arrangement shown on this page.  This page is only intended for the sharing of ideas, and has not been proven to be more safe or less safe than any other arrangements for mounting child seats in any vehicle.  I am not aware if this setup is legal to use for small children, and have not checked to see if it meets Federal standards for child size or child safety.

PLEASE USE COMMON SENSE



Tools I Used

Left to right in picture:

  • seat belt retaining clip - this is very important to have because if the seat belt retracts all the way into the housing, you won't be able to pull it back out, and I don't think there's anything you can do to get it out
  • Dremel Tool - always handy
  • Griot's lug socket - any 17mm socket will do
  • T45 Torx socket - be sure to have a good one, I stripped this one
  • Torque wrench - I bought a new one on this project, too. Not pictured.
  • Socket wrench
  • Screw driver
  • lap belt - 964.803.015.00.70B
  • tether bracket -1C3Z-28613D74-AA
  • trim plug - 911.555.627.00.01C

What you don't see: my vise, utility knife

    

Seats I Used

Left to right in first picture:

  • Cosco Alpha Omega
  • Evenflo Odyssey Comfort Touch V (my preference of the two)

Both seats will fit in the back of the 911. My wife bought the Alpha Omega, and I would have bought one like it but the only one I found was a terrible color. The Evenflo was cheaper, and well rated by consumers, so I went with it for my 911.

The blue pads on the straps of the Alpha Omega were added by my wife to support my son's head when he tries to sleep. They work...kind of. But they didn't come with the seat. The small shoulder pads on the Evenflo were included. Being more narrow up top, it is much more comfortable for my son to lean his head against the side of the chair and sleep on long trips.

These are the two types of tether straps/clips that came with the different seats. The one on the left can be adjusted to a shorter length, which was necessary for my 911. I couldn't get the one on the right, which came with the Evenflo, to be short enough. At it's smallest length, it was still about an inch too long.
This is how I installed the Alpha Omega tether strap to the Evenflo seat. The directions on the Alpha Omega call for it to be installed in this manner.
The seat belt removed. This was swapped with a lap belt only. This was done to secure the bottom part of the seat. Otherwise, the shoulder belt is NOT effective to keep the bottom of the seat from moving forward. Note the yellow retaining clip keeping the belt from retracting into itself, rendering it useless.
    
Pictured above is the inside of the trim back panel. The outline of the tether hole can be seen here. I cut it out from behind, not disturbing the vinyl. I cut the vinyl from the front with a very sharp utility knife. I did both sides since we plan on having two kids, and I figured I'd do everything at once. When making the cut in the back panel, I made a small slit to allow the tether hood to pass through, but didn't open up the hole more than necessary so it wasn't obviously visible. It is not necessary to make this slit before installing the back panel back into the car. It is possible to complete this DIY without cutting the leather/vinyl, and coming back and doing that part later as needed.

This is the tether bracket that I used, which secures to the back panel (speaker shelf). It is a Ford part, and is the tether bracket that is used in the 2002 Ford Super Duty pickup trucks. It should be available to order from your Ford dealer. It's a new part, they won't have it in stock.

1C3Z-28613D74-AA

$5.17 each

The tether comes with a black strap on it. I cut this off because I didn't need all that length. That's also why I used the tether strap from the Cosco. The child seat sits very close to the back panel. I also removed the retaining ring from the bolt and used this child tether bracket upside down. I put the bracket in my vise and straightened the anti-rotation tab as well. Probably not necessary to do, but I did it anyways. If the child tether bracket is installed with the attachment point angling down, it will fit on the back panel. But it will not be possible to engage the tether clip to the tether bracket with the back panel on. The end of the tether bracket will be nearly covered by the back panel, and it won't work. Trust me.

And now for the easiest part of all - installing the bracket. It just so happens that the threads of the bolt match the threads of a weld nut that is welded to the back panel! Install the tether brackets on either side, or both, at your own risk. Use the T45 Torx socket. I am not sure what the proper torque to use is. I torqued mine to about 50 N-m, but this is a guess and is unproven/untested. The back panel will fit over the brackets, and it is still not necessary to cut the vinyl/leather until everything is in place.
In this picture, one side has the vinyl cut, the other is not cut yet. My wife was the first one to drive the car, and she noticed that there was a lot of noise coming from the back of the car. Turns out that there is an oval hole in the sheet metal that has a piece of tape over it on both sides. The tape over my right side hole was torn, allowing engine/road noise into the cabin. It was a very different noise. Not exactly pleasant. Higher pitched, a mix of induction and road noise. Definitely something that was not intended to be so prevalent. A few pieces of duct tape over the hole solved the problem.
I was skeptical of using the lap belt at first, because it didn't give me a tight fit right off the bat. I spent a lot of time trying to get it to fit right. Which, by the way, was impossible to do using the shoulder harness. So in my opinion, the lap belt IS necessary. After switching the seat belt anchor position, I could get my Channel Locks on the end of the lap belt and really pull hard to cinch it down.

Conclusions/Final Thoughts

    
By this time, I had gone back and forth many times experimenting with the setup. That may be noticable in the pictures since the lap belt is missing in some and later it's not. I tried putting the seat on the passenger's side and the driver's side, with and without the seat base, and I tried switching the location of the seat belt anchor as well. This turned out to be important. Leaving the anchor in its original place makes it nearly impossible to really cinch the lap belt down securely. This is necessary to getting the best possbile fit. Otherwise, the lap belt doesn't fit any tigher than when using the shoulder harness.
I was skeptical of using the lap belt at first, because it didn't give me a tight fit right off the bat. I spent a lot of time trying to get it to fit right. Which, by the way, was impossible to do using the shoulder harness. So in my opinion, the lap belt IS necessary. After switching the seat belt anchor position, I could get my Channel Locks on the end of the lap belt and really pull hard to cinch it down. Now it is as secure as the Cosco is in my wife's A4.
Installing the child tether hole cover is simple. Assuming you cut out the hole in the back panel the same size as the casting, take a utility knife and cut through the vinyl horizontally across the middle of the hole. Stop at the edge, then make a vertical cut up and down, on each side, so it is close to the top and bottom of the hole cutout. Then pop the cover into place.
Initially I was using the seat without base. When I was having problems securing the seat tightly, I put the base back on. This lifted the seat higher, giving more distance between the pass-through on the seat and the top of the seat belt anchor. This also turned out to be significant, and I would recommend leaving the base on for this reason. Because of the curvature of the front seat, raising the height of the baby seat further reduces my son's leg room. But he doesn't mind trading off crossing his legs for the better view. : )
I know this is pretty long-winded, but I am a detail person and I wanted to cover all the bases. Hope it helps, and if you've read this far down, you must be a detail person, too!

Finished Product
Child_Seat.mpg (2.3MB)
Child_Seat2.mpg (1.4MB)

Thanks to Derek for his contributions and assistance on the project.
Click HERE for the original child seat info from Derek.

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