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I just bought a 2005 Town & Country and have a middle row bench seat for 2. Rather than having the space for the kids to walk to the 3rd row on the passenger side (where I never am), I moved the middle seat over to the right, so that it's the opposite of what we all probably remember minivans to be like when they had only one sliding door.

My question is that it doesn't appear this bench seat has seat belts built into it for either seat (though I could be wrong), so, are we supposed to use the seat belts mounted on the vehicle wall like we would if we had optional captains chairs in the 2nd row? I can see doing this for the seat that IS close to the window, but I'm concerned that the belt might not be effective when stretched from the side of the vehicle over to the left side of the bench, which is essentially in the "center" of the vehicle.

I'm just getting to know this vehicle and am concerned about proper safety belt use in the 2nd seat because I do have 4 kids! :)
 

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Do the right thing, and check the owner's manual (if you don't have one, visit Chrysler corp website look in "for owners" and download a copy)
I say if it doesn't look right it probably won't work correctly either :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have owner's manual

Hi :) I actually do have the owner's manual and I can't find anything regarding the position of the middle row seat.
 

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With the middle seat shifted toward the passenger side of the vehicle, there's no arm rest for the person sitting directly behind the driver, and the belt stretching across isn't going to contain them in the event of a collision, let alone an unexpected sharp right turn! the other side of the bench has an arm rest, right? I think they cheaped out by not putting an armrest on the left side of the seat.
 

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there's no arm rest for the person sitting directly behind the driver, and the belt stretching across isn't going to contain them in the event of a collision
Don't fool yourself into thinking that arm rest is there to 'contain' a passenger in case of collision.. (or that it can withstand the force of even 100lb accelerating at a modest 5G) :)
 

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Hi :) I actually do have the owner's manual and I can't find anything regarding the position of the middle row seat.
I've never used a 4th gen van with a middle bench, so I don't know if and how it fits/works when switched to the pass. side.
On the old 3g '98, the middle bench only locked in the tracks in one position (IIRC, 4th gen vans seemed to have very similar setup, except the ones with split rear bench and center captain seats).

The seat belts are mounted on the 'C' pillars and anchored into the floor on one side and bottom of pillar/bracket on the other. If the bench locks in the same forward/aft position, the only concern is the distance between the sliding door and edge of the bench. If you put the bench in 'correct' (driver's side) position and measure the (horizontal) distance from the side of the seat to the belt anchor and then switch to your preferred setup and repeat the measuring you'll have a pretty good idea of how similar the setup is..

Note that if your van is equipped with side curtain airbags, you do not want a passenger to be any closer to the sliding door than in the original setup.

If you want something authoritative, you should contact Chrysler directly (you can at least find out what your van originally came with -bench/captain).
 

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I would go to the junkyard or craigs list and buy 2 captains chairs. I live in New York and they are plentiful a d cheap enough.
 
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