Installing Rear Shoulder Belts


I have a 1986 Toyota Tercel Wagon and I need to install rear shoulder belts.

Toyota implemented the design for shoulder belts but for what ever reason, perhaps cost, they were not installed. I took off the rear panel and sure enough, the inserts for the retractor and belt were there.

I believe the first wagon to have rear belts was in '88. So my question is…can I place the belts from an '88 Wagon and place them in my '86?

Two Toyota dealers said the car wad not designed to have rear belts.

Perhaps not in assembly however, I think Tre design was always there.

Toyota had thought ahead or indifferent compared to it’s competitors, yes? Please send done advice, as these two dealers, a body shop and a recycling parts place did not have any info going back to '86.

Lastly, I have kids Nd need ghe shoulder belts. This car has close to 192,000 miles and averages 30+ mpg!!!

It is a gem of a car.



So, lets say you obtain a set of shoulder belts from an '88 Tercel at a recycling place (junk yard). OK, you have a set of twenty-one year old shoulder belts which you are going to install in a twenty-three year old Tercel.

How does any of this make you feel safer? More importantly, how does it make your kids any safer?

You’re kidding yourself. You know that, don’t you? You have no idea whether or not your car was designed for rear seat shoulder belts. You want to think it was, but you don’t really know.

You THINK you know what the Toyota engineers had in mind for the future. Great. Can you tell me tomorrow’s winning lottery numbers?

Listen, I have nothing against an '86 Tercel Wagon. I’m sure it’s a gem, as you say, and I’m delighted that it’s still running and returning great mileage. All I’m saying is; It’s an '86 Tercel. That’s all it will ever be. You can’t re-engineer the car into something it was never intended to be.

Please don’t convince yourself you’re an automotive safety expert or a structural engineer. If Toyota wanted to put rear shoulder belts in an '86 Tercel Wagon they would have. They had reasons for not doing so, and those reasons, even if they were based on legal technicalities, are probably valid.

Many of us older folks survived years of riding in cars with no seatbelts, and more recently my children survived riding in cars with lap belts only.

Why, all of a sudden, do your kids need shoulder straps in your '86 Tercel Wagon?

Hi, In fact Toyota did make the Tercel wagon with rear shoulder belts although not for the American market. In fact in some markets, like the UK, rear shoulder belts were a dealer installed option. So what you have found when removing the rear panel is all the mountings are probably there… I say probably because there may be ‘captive nuts’ which were not included in the US market body shell… Easy to figure out. What I would do is go to a friendly junk yard and have a dig around a later model Tercel and see if the mounting points look the same. If so I’m sure you can get the belts, hardware and everything you will need for a song… you may also need teh rear panel as it might have cut outs to pass the belts through. In any case this will probably be a fun and rewarding conversion. Just make sure you are using all original hardware that isn’t rusty and it fits EXACTLY, all bolts are realy tight, and it will be safe. Although moparadise is correct that seatbelts will deteriorate over time, By the late '80s materials were so good that I would be surprised if any apreciable deteriation had occured. If this was a serious issue, state inspections would require us to ‘refresh’ our seatbelts once they got to a certain age. Have a go, you obviously love the car and adding some original upgrades is a great way of continued enjoyment. Any questions just ask… and make sure you use all the original washers in the correct order!

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How old and tall are your kids? If they are old and tall enough, you should get aftermarket racing belts/harnesses for the back seats. They are made to be installed on a car outside the factory. Anything else will be much more of a headache.

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