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Nautilus install question.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I sure seem to be posting here a lot, lately. I would really appreciate some feedback on an issue with a Nautilus. Actually, it's probably more of an issue with stbx... He drives a regular cab truck and got a Nautilus for ds to ride in.  Like I said, I think it's more to do with people than seats, but he hasn't managed to install it in a way that seems "correct" to me.  When he has it installed the way he thinks is correct and I test it, with one hand I can easily wiggle it from side to side, not a lot at first, but gradually up to a couple of inches I would guess; same thing moving it front to back, with maybe more wiggle room.  It's been the same way every time I've checked it, and I've made sure that ds is riding in the car instead in a Radian that I can't really budge, unless I was trying to tackle it, I think.


Nothing about his install seems safe, and there are other reasons I don't feel I can rely on his judgement in this matter, but today he seemed to be implying that the Nautilus was installed "just like" the Radian, and I don't find that to be the case at all.  I could use some feedback just to make sure I'm not being nutty--what I'm describing is far too much wiggle room, especially ff in a front seat, right?



post #2 of 12
The rule is less than an inch front to back or side to side when tested at the belt path (right where the seat belt goes through).

Some seats feel tighter than others, and some installs are tighter than others.

It's a three seater cab truck with the seat up front? Older? You'll want to make sure the seat belt is locked in some way, either by switching it into the locked position or locked at the latch plate, there is likely not a tether anchor in that situation, but it should be attached if it's there.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks!  It's a 2006 Mazda, and I found the tether anchor for it.  I'm really bothered by how easily I can wiggle the seat loose.  I've reiterated the 1" rule a few times.  In the car (2007 Nissan Versa), I've had a Graco Snugride, a Boulevard, and now the Radian, and when they've been installed, there's been little or no wiggle room, especially unless I'm using my whole body to try to shift those seats.  This Nautilus slides around so easily, I can't see how it could possibly be correctly installed.  Not to mention, the most recent "fix" involved using both the seatbelt and the latch, although I made it clear that was nowhere near acceptable/safe/correct.


Also, I miss Michigan.

post #4 of 12

Anna, is the seatbelt being locked?   It sounds like it's just being drawn tight and not locked. 

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

I believe it's been locked at the retractor the times I've checked, and I think it's just been a loose install, not sure; but the Nautilus comes with lock offs, right? or a locking clip could be used instead of locking the belt?  I've pointed those things out.  I don't know that he's experimented with the angles of recline on the seat or in the truck, either, and I was wondering if that might have to do with it.  The seat appears to be flush against the truck seat, but I just don't understand how the install could be so squishy.  Maybe he isn't actually pushing down on the seat when he's buckling/tightening things?

post #6 of 12

My guess is that he's simply not compressing the seat when he locks the belt, because as it stands, the Nautilus is one of the easiest seats out there to get a tight install on.   

Can you do it for him and just walk through the steps?   

(The Nautilus Elite has lock offs but the Nautilus does not).

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

That's what I'm thinking, too.  It's been two months and I've tried to offer information, but I've been waiting for him to take some initiative/choose to deal with it like a responsible adult/parent.  Maybe the next time he has ds in the car, I can fool around with the Nautilus.  I suggested the Nautilus to him for the same reasons you list.


Are there other good online resources aside from/in addition to car-seat.org?  Maybe if I can get him to look at some online info...

post #8 of 12

We had trouble getting a good install w/ the nautilus in DH's old car when we had to use the seatbelt, and in my CRV where the latch points are in the "fold" in the seat between the seat & back. I think it's because the straps on the nautilus anchor the seat a few inches up from the bottom, if that makes sense. When we install it in a car that has the latch points a few inches up the seat back (his new vehicle) it's easy as pie. My neighbor has a seat that is tough to install in my car, and it also has straps that anchor a little higher.


I would have my knees on the seat, bracing my back on the ceiling of the car to push it down, when that didn't work, I had my 200 lb DH do the same. The strap was so tight it wouldn't bend at all if you leaned on it, but still the seat would shift (like sort of rotate up around the belt path). It was impossible. But like I said, give me a car w/ a higher latch point & it couldn't be easier.

post #9 of 12
If you were in Michigan, I could help you, IRL! (In theory anyway, it is a big state!! But I know techs all over the state.) However, since that isn't helpful...

I would probably direct him to stick with a LATCH install. No belt, no locking clip. Locking clips are hard, and prone to misuse, there is not a lock off except on the Elite, like Maedze said. And yes, it's just belt or LATCH, not both.

I'm guessing what has been guessed, he's not pushing into it enough. Also, it really helps to tighten right at the opening to the belt path. Pull back the padding and, reach into the belt path, and pull up. For lower anchors, they just kinda behave better if you pull up and towards the seat, instead of back and away, or at an angle. Doing so will sometimes jam the adjuster.

Best luck! It is an easy install, so I suspect he's missing something...
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks all.  Not to take this into Parents as Partners territory, but yes, he's missing a lot of things.  I'm hoping to have a chance to check things out today, and I really appreciate all the feedback (and wish I was in Michigan right now, I'd love a real, live second opinion so I wasn't the big, bad whatever).  I didn't realize that latch anchors could be anywhere but the fold in the seat--they definitely are in the truck.  If I can wrangle a Radian with the belt clip/long belt stalks, etc., etc,, I can surely take on a Nautilus.  I'll focus on the latch install as simplest and hopefully have this all straightened out in short order.  If only my bank and stbx were as relatively uncomplicated.

post #11 of 12

I wanted add that I'm totally neurotic about car seat installs and I had a really hard time getting our Naut installed with the shoulder belt.  I keep reading (here) how easy it and while it's easy to set it up, it was REALLY hard to compress the booster into the actual car seat enough to retract the belt and not have some wiggle room.  The belt retracts, locks, and then sort of releases a bit.  I can't explain it, but it's what I've found in every single shoulder belt so it's not a problem with my car. It's just not easy.  Even if you're trying to do a good job. 

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

I know just what you mean about the seatbelt thing, NN; you have it pulled just as tight as you can get it, which is just right, and then as a part of the locking mechanism, it seems to release just a click or two, which is just a click or two too much to keep the tight install.  Stbx found a car seat clinic and had it installed with the seatbelt there; it's a million times more secure, although it seems to still have a bit more give (especially front to back movement for some reason) than I feel super happy with.  I suspect my margins are narrower since it's the front seat of a truck, although the rf installs I've done in our car have been rock solid, or I've kept trying until I figured out how to get them that way.  Is there any reason that a ff facing seat like the Nautilus would just feel different (wiggle more?) when installed?

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