cfvwtuner
cfvwtuner Reader
4/19/22 9:16 a.m.

It's the same ole story, 20 years ago track days and autocrossing was all the rage.  Then life came in and kicked you around for a little, and now there might be time and money again.

The biggest thing keeping me away is safety concerns, and how if helps with driver positioning. Back then my toy was a 01 Focus ZX3.  It had an Autopower roll bar, 5 point harness and Corbeau Froza seat.  Nothing amazing, but I felt safer than in a 3 point belt and stock seat.  It also was great to not brace your knee on the door panel, or use the steering wheel as a brace under braking and such.

The car I would use now is a 13 Jetta 2.5. I use it as a summer car, and dont want to go crazy with it too much.  The seat isnt that bad, but I'd like a harness in the car.  I have found Schroth makes a set of 4 point belts that pretty much clip into the car.  They have something in them that is supposed to stop submarining out the bottom of them.

So, without a roll bar to reinforce the roof, are harnesses a bad idea?  With the anti submarining of the Schroth harness, would that make it less dangerous? 

captainawesome
captainawesome Dork
4/19/22 9:30 a.m.

Autocross I say sure. For track just stick with the stock 3 point. The Schroth item you speak of is only approved in a couple different chassis last time I checked, and most organizations will require you prove it's been approved for your chassis before letting you on track.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
4/19/22 9:34 a.m.
captainawesome said:

Autocross I say sure. For track just stick with the stock 3 point. The Schroth item you speak of is only approved in a couple different chassis last time I checked, and most organizations will require you prove it's been approved for your chassis before letting you on track.

Some clubs outright ban 4 point harnesses.  

But WRT roll over safety, a '13 Jetta should be a lot better than an '01 Focus.  Should, but I'm not sure.  In theory, vehicle safety has gotten a lot better, and that includes roll over protection.  So a 5 point harness using a harness bar mounted in a good, structural location, should be good.

tb
tb Dork
4/19/22 9:49 a.m.

I used that schroth 4 point for a few seasons of autocross and a handful of track days and really liked it. Still have it in the garage somewhere and might put it in another vehicle if appropriate. 

 

I did a lot of looking into it and it isn't appropriate for all events or venues but for autocross or situations where stock 3 points are adequate it is fine as long as the sanctioning body approves. The advantage is that it can be installed along with the factory belts so you have your choice. 

 

In the end I decided I trusted schroth as a company and the clubs were fine with it too for a/x, t/a and track night level stuff. My best advice would be a couple quick calls to your safety steward for advice and schroth for fitment to be sure but the quality of the product is good enough for light duty performance use.

NOT A TA
NOT A TA UltraDork
4/19/22 10:34 a.m.

I also used the Schroth 4 points for several years back when they were first introduced. At that time they were left/right designated. I ran them in entry level classes at road tracks, one mile LSR's, and drag strips. Often I had to explain to tech officials that they were a "new" thing and twisted the person in the event of a crash so they didn't need a sub belt. Eventually I put a full cage and Schroth 6 points in the car.  It's been almost 20 years since I first used the 4 points and I'd think tech officials would be familiar with them by now.

dps214
dps214 Dork
4/19/22 10:54 a.m.

Harnesses and non-fixed back seats don't mix...once the seat back moves the belts aren't doing anything. Autocross is probably low risk enough but I still don't love it. Id rather use the stock three point and an extra lap belt. Or a cg lock or something similar that makes the stock belt lock better.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
4/19/22 10:58 a.m.

For autocross no problem.

For track events the answer for me is it depends:  

I presume the 4 points will be used in conjunction with a harness bar and race seat. If you're doing the 3ft run to the back then no way.

What tracks are you running and how hard are you planning to push? If you're going to just go out and have fun & drive 75-90% on tracks with lots of run off then fine.

If you want to go out and do 10/10ths on tracks with little to no run off then you need to at least get a roll hoop, 5/6 point harness and some kind of head and neck restraint.

Finally as others have said check with your local tech guys.

adam525i
adam525i Dork
4/19/22 12:24 p.m.

There are a few different flavours of the Schroth ASM 4 point harnesses, the more generic Rallye styles, the Quick Fits which are vehicle specific and the latest Quick Fit Pro's.

The Rallye style and Quick Fit's have there place and can provide a decent solution and an improvement in safety over a stock 3 point belt depending on the situation (eg, my 1984 525i with a stock seat all the way back for my 6'3" body has the B pillar in front of my shoulder, that means in an accident I'm moving significantly forward before the belt is doing anything so I think the Rallye style belts is a decent improvement over stock, for a vehicle from 2013 not so much). For Autocross these are great but you will need to be the judge on track whether you think the risks with it outweigh the benefits. Like I mentioned I think these belts can improve over the stock safety system in my very old car but I definitely ran into people that couldn't get past 4-point = BAD! no matter what vehicle it was installed in.

The Quick Fit Pro's are actually a really nice product for the few cars they make them for. They install easily using the factory mounting points in the car (like the Quick Fits above) but all of the belts come to a central buckle just like with a 5 and 6 point harness and these are actually approved to be used with a HANS device. I had an excellent instructor a few years ago with these in his Shelby GT350 along with a HANS and for a modern car this seems like a great solution without going to the roll bar, fixed seats and 6 point harnesses. I wish they would expand their offering in this line to the FRS/BRZ and beyond.

With all of these harnesses (and any 5 and 6 point) proper usage is important. You need to get the lap belt as tight as possible to keep it hooked around your femur properly. Once that is tight and only then do you tighten the shoulder harnesses. It's very easy to have the lap belt around your gut and that is very bad when things go wrong.

RX8driver
RX8driver Reader
4/20/22 8:57 a.m.

Try sliding/leaning the seat back, locking the seat belt's inertia lock  with a quick tug, then moving the seat back up. Works well to hold you in.

Also, you could add in just the lap belt portion of a harness in addition to the 3 point belt, which leaves your upper body able to move out of the way in case of a rollover.

You could also try a CG lock on the stock belt.

jfryjfry
jfryjfry SuperDork
4/20/22 9:10 a.m.

I personally would go with a 5- or, better, a 6-point harness and harness bar. 

this is a fantastic discussion about driver safety that touches on this stuff:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7CK8WAob8dU&feature=emb_logo
 

regarding race seats and no cage,  joe talks about that too and he gives very good reasons why the argument that you must have a cage is not necessarily true. 

Jerry
Jerry PowerDork
4/20/22 9:13 a.m.

I had the Schroth 4pt in both the Abarth and WRX, autocross and rallycross.  They worked really well for holding me in place, but I wouldn't have used them on street.  I did use the harness for a couple track days at Mid Ohio, under 2-3 different groups.  They had no issues with it.  In fact that's where I discovered them, someone in a MINI was clipping his in and I asked him about it, found out the exact same model fit the Abarth.

adam525i
adam525i Dork
4/20/22 10:57 a.m.
jfryjfry said:

this is a fantastic discussion about driver safety that touches on this stuff:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7CK8WAob8dU&feature=emb_logo
 

regarding race seats and no cage,  joe talks about that too and he gives very good reasons why the argument that you must have a cage is not necessarily true. 

This video is a really good watch, for the OP if you want to get to the applicable part for you got to 28 minutes in where they show a quick fit pro with a HANS being tested using a stock Golf seat. I think this is a really good option for a modern car that it is approved for.

As a data point of where this hobby leads, my E28 has a Roll bar now with FIA certified seats and 6 point harnesses along with a HANS, I hope I never need it but it's there if I do.

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