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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anybody got harnesses installed, 4, 5, or 6 point?

With or without racing seats?

I hear some have installed the Recaro Sport Topline as I would like to do,
but nobody has hooked up the electric, heat and airbag stuff.

I really need the harness for the track -- I'm working too hard just to hold myself in the seat.

CG-Lock did not cut it.

What to do?
 

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It's been my esperience that the biggest issue is finding a harness bar to mount/install into the E39 M5 sedan. No one seems to have one for our car, except for BEASTPOWER, but hisa version is a full blown roll bar and harness bar all in one setup, which I personally would not want in my car. here is a copany that has the bars,
http://www.speedwaremotorsports.com/safety/
Give them a call, as I did a couple yeasr ago and they did not have one back in 03 for our car. maybe things changed. The below PIC shows what the IDEAL harness bar should look like in our car. Anything beyond what's shown in the photo i would want, it would be too much !!!
 

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i've used one of the schroth 4 point "clip in" systems. THey attatch to the oe seat belt receptacles, front and rear, and two additional hook ups that you bolt on to the lower drivers seat frame and to the rear seat lower shoulder belt bolt. When you go to the track, you clip in the 4 connectors and you're set to go. THey hold you in the seat quite well. The potential downside is that they go over your shoulder and seat back and then down to the rear seat lower cushion. The angle is a little steep, so you have some potential risk of spinal compression in a severe accident.
Mike
 

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Yup........ Mike is right.....

regarding Mike comment of; "have potential risk of spinal compression in a severe accident" I agree since I've heard this line from more than one person, that the angle of the belts/straps are beyond what would be considered acceptable/safe, and therefore it is risky for your spine! :nono:
 

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I have a 5 point harness installed. They are right about potential spinal injury. I have mine connected to a custom made Harness bar mounted on the rear shelf. I used the holes for the child seat connections that go to the frame of the car. This was the best way to install the 5 point system in the M5. I am going to take some photos that I will post for you guys to see.
 

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CBM5 said:
I have a 5 point harness installed. They are right about potential spinal injury. I have mine connected to a custom made Harness bar mounted on the rear shelf. I used the holes for the child seat connections that go to the frame of the car. This was the best way to install the 5 point system in the M5. I am going to take some photos that I will post for you guys to see.
Please take as many photos as possible, showing the harness bar and all it's detailed areas, attaching or mounting points, harness belt bolting/mounting points etc........ I look forward to the PICS, as Im hoping it will give me an idea of "how to" do what you've done, pertaining to the harness bar and the bolting point for the bar and its belt.
Thanks! :viking:
 

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I also have the Schroth 4 point harnesses in my car.

The other issue that you need to be aware of is that many people consider the use of a harness and NO roll cage to be a bad combination. The reason is that your head is now the high point inside the car, and when strapped in to the seat, no movement is allowed in case of a rollover. If the roof collapses a little your spine might take the forces. In a 3 point belt, your body can move out of the way of a collapsing roof.

TIP: I've found locking the 3-point belt VERY effective in keeping me in my seat in my M6.
1) Move the seat backwards by an inch or so.
2) grab the belt and yank it down to lock it.
3) Keeping tension on the belt, move your seat forward again until the belt is tight against your torso. It will stay locked until you move your seat backwards again.
4) Drive it like you stole it.
 

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I've seen a seat back break away, think it was dave zeckhausen's car, in a rear end accident. Not sure if it's by design or a fluke, but that might give away before your spine in a severe roll over. FWIW, in the bmw drivers school roll overs i've seen, the roof has held up quite well.
Mike
 

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I know enough to know this: what I don't know about seat/harness design and safety would fill volumes. We're just scratching the surface here. There are a lot of issues. Belt routing is critically important, and I'm not sure you'd be able to do it properly with the factory seats. And with any homegrown solution, you're not going to know if you've done it properly until your first big hit. I'd rather not be a crash dummy. The four point clip-in Schroth is not well regarded; some of the local CCA chapters here do not even allow them.

I've sent away for the DVD of the SCCA's 2004 safety symposium. Here's a link:
http://www.scca.org/News/News.asp?Ref=221

Bottom line for me: I don't like sliding around either, but I'm not making any changes to the factory restraint system. I can't be sure a four point harness or other improvised system will make me safer in the M5, and in fact it may do the opposite. I'll wait until I can afford a track car where I don't have to make compromises.
 

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You are just asking for trouble with this. This is an area I know quite a bit about.

I used to own a high performance driving school for 3 years. Also raced for some time as well.

The harness is just one part of a complete safety system. It works in conjunction with a seat designed for a harness and a roll cage or bar properly designed for the car it is going to be used in. Seats that are not "fixed" are not designed for harnesses. The harness has two functions, the first is a restraint and the second and quite frankly a beneficial result of the restraint function of the harness is the benefit of keeping you firmly in the seat so you don't move around. This does make driving at high lateral loads easier.

If you have a harness with no roll over protection you are simply asking to either die of be stuck in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. It is impossible to guage what will happen in a roll over. But it is safe to say your head, neck and spine will bear some the load of the now caving in roof. How much load? Don't know.

It is also iresponsible for Mottati to say what he did about the roll over he had seen and that the roofs held up well. What were the circumstances? What was the speed? What was the direction? What was the duration? What was the surface? What type of car? How many times did it roll? Too many variables to make a valid conclusion.

Why not call HMS and see what Joe Marko says about this.

For me as an instructor, I will not get into any car that has a harness with out roll over protection.

Lets say you loose the outside rear tire in a high speed corner and the rim "digs" in and you go over. How many times will you roll? Anyone? Nobody can answer that. Do you want to take that chance? Do you want a doctor to tell you wife and kids you are dead or in a wheelchair? That is easy to answer, isn't it?

Do yourself a favor and buy a track car with the proper safety systems in place. You will have a much better time and be safer than in the M5.

lastly, come Octobet whan the new Snell ratings come out I will be buying a Hans device. I will use it at drivers schools and while racing. People may say it is overkill but I would question what is overkill when it comes to safety.

Best,

Jordan
 

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jordantii said:
It is also iresponsible for Mottati to say what he did about the roll over he had seen and that the roofs held up well. What were the circumstances? What was the speed? What was the direction? What was the duration? What was the surface? What type of car? How many times did it roll? Too many variables to make a valid conclusion.
Jordan

I'm not quite sure how stating a simple fact can be irrresponsible. In fact, stating that roll overs DO occur at drivers schools and there may be an added risk with a harness and no roll protection(which is what i've said in my posts) would seem the opposite.

I've seen about a half a dozen bmw rollovers at cca drivers schools over the past 10-12 years. E30's, e36's and e39's. I was impressed by the structures, in all cases the cabins were intact, doors were able to open etc. The ocupants walked away. One of these rolls occured in the carousel at sears point, so what, maybe 80mph, that incident was an e39 M5 which rolled 3 times iirc.
That said, while i tried the schroth 4 point harness in my car, i do not use it personally nor am i endorsing a harness in a car without roll protection. I also do not use a harness in a student car when i instruct.
Mike
 

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I respect and appreciate all of the above opinions.

But for me, I like the Schroth 4 point harness. My wife at this time does not want me to have a dedicated track car, I do not want racing seats in my car due to clients in my car from time to time, so I feel the Schroth's offer better support and safety than the standard seatbelt. I believe it's the best option for those of us that want to track our cars, yet keep them somewhat stock.

Once I do have a dedicated track car, I can promise you I will have custom fit racing seats and at minimal, 5 point harnesses.
TripleD
 

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My point about iresponsibility is, what you say can be taken the wrong way. Are BMW's strong? Yes, we know this. Can it survive a roll over? Yes. I too have seen it. I too have seen it kill someone at a track in So Cal. In a car without roll over protection but with a harness. He never had a chance.

This is one too many times for me.

I think it is more responsible to promote the utmost in safety not the other way around.

Please don't take it as an attack. But in cases where you and I both know better as to what is safe we should be promoting that idea and leave out the stuff that may lead someone to belive it is OK to run a harness without roll over protection.

Respectfuly,

Jordan
 

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jordantii said:
If you have a harness with no roll over protection you are simply asking to either die of be stuck in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. It is impossible to guage what will happen in a roll over. But it is safe to say your head, neck and spine will bear some the load of the now caving in roof. How much load? Don't know.

It is also iresponsible for Mottati to say what he did about the roll over he had seen and that the roofs held up well. What were the circumstances? What was the speed? What was the direction? What was the duration? What was the surface? What type of car? How many times did it roll? Too many variables to make a valid conclusion.

Why not call HMS and see what Joe Marko says about this.
Jordan, I agree with what you say about complete safety systems and being better off in a dedicated track car. That is obvious. However, many of us here choose to refine our driving skills in enthusiast club driver education event by tracking our daily drivers. Of course there are trade-offs.

I dare say the most of the drivers I know that engage in the admittedly risky behavior of driver education events are many times less likely to do stupid things on public motorways. There are risks associated with most of the things we do these days.

If you're going to throw around loaded labels like "irresponsible," then take a look at your own writing. We try to communicate here in objective, non-adversarial terms. Yes, there are increased risks associated with a rollover in a street car without a rollcage. Saying someone has a death wish or is asking to be paralyzed for using a four-point harness that was designed for the specific purpose is inflammatory and unnecessary.

How many DE rollovers are avoided because the student has better car control and isn't sliding around the cockpit? Just like with your rhetorical question, we cannot say. There is no absolute answer.

Joe Marko is the nation's largest distributor of Schroth harnessbelts. I've heard him address BMWCCA Tech sessions before. He has extolled the virtues of the dynamic sled bed testing that Schroth performs on its belt systems for street cars. I'm not sure of your point here.

Bottom line: every driver needs to assess the facts and weigh the pros and cons of a given choice he or she makes to modify a vehicle, be it for safety or performance.

Some, like yourself, will decide it is an undue risk and limit yourself to a dedicated race car. Others will decide to track their daily driver without a rollcage and drive within the capabilities of themselves and their vehicles (i.e, 8/10ths).

FWIW, I too have witnessed an E39 rollover at a CCA DE and was amazed at the structural rigidity of the platform.

Educate yourself, weigh the options, and make a decision. No drama required.
 

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I used CG-Lock but my lower back got very sore on track, so I ended up purchasing Schroth 4-points and they were much better. Mine are now for sale - barely used - since I've retired my M5 from regular track use. Let me know if you want them.
 

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Teutonaddict said:
Jordan, I agree with what you say about complete safety systems and being better off in a dedicated track car. That is obvious. However, many of us here choose to refine our driving skills in enthusiast club driver education event by tracking our daily drivers. Of course there are trade-offs.

I dare say the most of the drivers I know that engage in the admittedly risky behavior of driver education events are many times less likely to do stupid things on public motorways. There are risks associated with most of the things we do these days.

If you're going to throw around loaded labels like "irresponsible," then take a look at your own writing. We try to communicate here in objective, non-adversarial terms. Yes, there are increased risks associated with a rollover in a street car without a rollcage. Saying someone has a death wish or is asking to be paralyzed for using a four-point harness that was designed for the specific purpose is inflammatory and unnecessary.

How many DE rollovers are avoided because the student has better car control and isn't sliding around the cockpit? Just like with your rhetorical question, we cannot say. There is no absolute answer.

Joe Marko is the nation's largest distributor of Schroth harnessbelts. I've heard him address BMWCCA Tech sessions before. He has extolled the virtues of the dynamic sled bed testing that Schroth performs on its belt systems for street cars. I'm not sure of your point here.

Bottom line: every driver needs to assess the facts and weigh the pros and cons of a given choice he or she makes to modify a vehicle, be it for safety or performance.

Some, like yourself, will decide it is an undue risk and limit yourself to a dedicated race car. Others will decide to track their daily driver without a rollcage and drive within the capabilities of themselves and their vehicles (i.e, 8/10ths).

FWIW, I too have witnessed an E39 rollover at a CCA DE and was amazed at the structural rigidity of the platform.

Educate yourself, weigh the options, and make a decision. No drama required.
This is what I do not follow. You agree with my safety point yet go on to talk about trade offs and weigh the options. In my mind there are no trade off's when it comes to safety related issues. You said take a look at your own writing. What I wrote are possibilities. They have happened. Just the same as an E39 rolled over and kept the occupant safe.

You talk to any safety authority about harnesses in an car with out roll over protection and they will all say, no dice.

We can take it a step further and argue that the M5 is just not the right car for the track. There are better platforms suited for the track. This point I will not argue since I think it is great that people track their cars.

Driving at 8/10 is fine. When you have a blow out or a mechanical failure you are no longer at 8/10. You are now at 10/10 and beyond. I have never seen anyone recover a roll over. Just can't happen. You are now a passenger along for the ride.

This is a calculated risk that can not be calculated.

Remember it was not my intention to attack with my post. But to educate with a bit of fear. To look at the big picture. The "what could happen as a result of my choices".

Nobody thinks they will have a car accident but they still wear their seatbelt, just in case. This is a safety precaution. The same holds true with driving on the track. The original poster wants a harness to hold him in the seat so he does not move around as much, not to prevent injury first. This is in my opinion backwards.

I refered to Joe Marko because he has become a safety expert, not because he sells harnesses. He is more about safety than he is sales.

I do agree that research should be done and the choice should be made based on that research. Just don't want some one to think that his/her car will survive a roll over and at the same time I don't want them to think their car will not survive a roll over. But I would think they would want to know how to minimize the risk of a fatality or serious injury, not potentialy increase it. Which in my opinion is what is going on here.

Respectfuly,

Jordan
 

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With the factory restraint system (belts, seats, airbags), you have a known quantity. No one will debate it is a highly engineered system -- the result of extensive design work and testing -- that has proven itself to be highly protective of the driver and passengers. Change that system by using different belts, different seats or some combination of the two, and you can only speculate as to the outcome. None of us can really predict whether 4-pt belts or another improvised system will always be better or always be worse than OEM. It will perform differently, that's about all we can say for sure. We're all adults; whether we're comfortable with that uncertainty is a personal choice.

I don't think it's realistic to say to an M-car driver who's already running, e.g., modified suspension and r-comps: go ahead and use a 4-point harness and just drive at 8/10ths. There will always be times when you try to push a little harder or when the car in front makes a mistake. Has anyone here not experienced a little red mist at least once? Our cars make a lot of power and go like stink. There's always going to be risk.

When I look at the cars in the instructor run groups, I see few if any street cars. At what point do you say -- I no longer feel comfortable driving at these speeds without better protection -- and get a dedicated track car? Personally, I think if you're tracking an M5 at advanced run group speeds on more than an occasional basis, that point has been reached.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
jordantii said:
...

Nobody thinks they will have a car accident but they still wear their seatbelt, just in case. This is a safety precaution. The same holds true with driving on the track. The original poster wants a harness to hold him in the seat so he does not move around as much, not to prevent injury first. This is in my opinion backwards.

...

Respectfuly,

Jordan
Actually, what I wanted first, as the original poster, was more information.

I got it. :)

Thank you all!

Ted
 

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Ted,

I was misled buy this statement:

"I really need the harness for the track -- I'm working too hard just to hold myself in the seat."

Best,

Jordan
 

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EdP said:
With the factory restraint system (belts, seats, airbags), you have a known quantity. No one will debate it is a highly engineered system -- the result of extensive design work and testing -- that has proven itself to be highly protective of the driver and passengers. Change that system by using different belts, different seats or some combination of the two, and you can only speculate as to the outcome. None of us can really predict whether 4-pt belts or another improvised system will always be better or always be worse than OEM. It will perform differently, that's about all we can say for sure. We're all adults; whether we're comfortable with that uncertainty is a personal choice.
Excellent points. An additional thought is that "most people" believe that a very stiff roll cage coupled with a harness system that will hold them extremely tight in the car will be "safer" under all circumstances. Perhaps many circumstances would be the better adjective here. With a very stiff structure (i.e. your roll cage) coupled with being very tightly belted to the chassis, your internal organs have the potential to see much higher acceleration (deceleration) rates under some circumstances. Where before, there was structural deformation absorbing energy, belted driver displacement absorbing energy and a compression of the air bag by the driver's body absorbing energy, the potential exists for all of that energy absorption to now be translated into much, much higher g-loads on the driver's body/organs. Obviously this is under a particular type of crash (i.e. a direct head-on into a barrier or tire wall for example), and under many, many other circumstances the cage/harness/etc is vastly safer of course.

One other additional thought is if you are going to wear a harness, my advice would be to ensure you wear a HANS or Isaac device. Once you positively locate your upper torso in a harness, your neck/skull will take tremendous loads in a frontal hit with the worst being just off center. It doesn't take much to create a basal skull fracture with a harness system. There are many potential circumstances where you would likely survive a front end hit with the 3-point harness but will not with a full harness without a HANS or similar device.
 
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