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#1074094 - 06/12/22 02:13 AM Harnessing a stock seat?  
Joined: Jan 2000
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mmc427ss Online content
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mmc427ss  Online Content
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Pottstown, Pa
Have been fortunate enough to participate in more than a handful of autox events over the past 6 or 8 years. Each year a new mod to help get the car around a course a little quicker and if lucky 8 runs for that year to try not to look to silly sliding around the course. Never enough seat time to ever have a handle on getting around an autox course in that car. One thing I did learn was as the car got better the need for better seat grip was starting to show up.

While we all got an unexpected year for most everything we liked to do in 2020 the opportunity to make more autox improving mods were done. Rear suspension got a lot of attention, front suspension was blueprinted and the ability to get 10 degrees caster was done. And the commitment to being better at the autox now included a set of 17x9 wheels and a set of sticky 200 tires.
The results of all that last year was managing to make two autox events and 30 runs total between my son and I. The car was lots better, quicker, way more fun and just made the chasing the tail more obvious.
But the seat grip was even a bigger issue, I knew I had to do something, but, as we do procrastinated on that issue.

Last Sat it was back to an autox, another 16 runs on the car between Jason and I. A Winter project to make the car quicker at the autox was now in testing mode that day, huge front sway bar upgrade. The car's handling has been changed again, much better and the stick is much better. And to top it off I'm much slower. HUH?

Have owned this car for 30+ years now, to many mods to list, but refuse to ever have the need to cage or roll bar it. I like the gray factory seats and near original looking interior. I know the stock buckets aren't even close to being good race seats, but.

So for years now knowing something needs to be done to hold the butt and trunk in place at an autox and not very compromising on any interior changes that has been a dilemma. At the last event i found my hands and arms in a death grip on the steering wheel. Driving the car around the course was secondary to keeping my body in place, more tire grip from more modes made that more of a problem. And, need to add the inner core strength of this 71 year old ain't what was 2 years ago.
SO I GOTTA DO SOMETHING.

So far:
Talked to my chassis/TIG guy and possible we can make a removable harness bar from side to side behind the seat. Not crazy about having to put an opening in the interior quarter trim at the jamb B pillar but open to that idea. Waiting on a friend to send me pics of that area with no trim on it. Need to see the sheetmetal structure there before i commit to that on my car. Adding just a harness bar is acceptable for autox. Many different companies sell a removable and or permanent harness bar for a multitude of cars, Vettes included. i know I can make a strong, suitable, removable harness bar, without the need to do rollbar.
That's an option.

Seats changes:
One option is buy a race seat with shoulder strap opening specifically for the use of a harness. i have a couple sets of stock bucket seat tracks that i could use to mount that seat directly to the original floor mount holes. The plan would be to remove the seat to floor bolts and swap in the race seat for the day. The PITA is now you have a race seat laying around for 363 days a year. That is very doable, just not practical.

Need to get a 12" long piece of 1" metal banding strap, ( spring steel ) this is used to make the tool to remove the stock headrests from the seats. When running over the shoulder/seat straps there needs to be some method of holding the straps in the correct position on each side of the neck. The slots in a race seat take care of that.
On a stock seat the headrest has a 1/4"x1" steel mount to the seat. Some stock headrests use two 3/8-1/2 round stock to attach and move up and down on. I've seen several over the shoulder straps are being used on a stock headrest with two rods to separate the belts. I feel i can produce a "guide" that would afix to the top of the seat using the stock headrest. Still running that idea through the safety mill. So trying to maintain the stock seat, and headrest as part of the harness install.

Belts:
When at UMI KOTM saw a few cars running Schroth 4 point harnesses. The Silent Assassin, a white Tesla, had a Schroth belt setup. No harness bar and the shoulder belts tied into the factory rear seat belt floor points. Did a lot of reading about that setup and how I could adapt that to my car. For an autox car that doesn't see very high mph, accepted by autox as being permissible and the Schroth even says they are antisubmarine with their unique belt setup on the 4 point system. At this point very interested in this approach. Stock seat, depending on which Schroth setup I'd choose could do it with or without a harness bar.

At this point Schroth is looking like a viable choice for a harness, the only time it would be in the car would be for autox. Removing the Schroth harness and or a harness bar wouldn't be a big deal. Setup properly it should do what i need done, hold the body core so i can relax the arms and drive course lines instead of trying to miss cones.
While their seems to be availability of Schroth harnessed right now i will get either a rear seatbelt or harness bar harness type on order before they disappear very soon.
https://www.schrothracing.com/item/rallye-4-asm/tuning-Harnesses

In this day and age getting stuff when you see it is necessary, He who waits is left out in the cold, got that one from my fortune cookie at diner today.
Bob

#1074101 - 06/12/22 02:24 PM Re: Harnessing a stock seat? [Re: mmc427ss]  
Joined: Dec 2007
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SSLance Offline
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SSLance  Offline
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Peoria, AZ
I can add my 2 cents from quite a bit of experience racing aftermarket harnesses in street cars. Frankly, if your lap belt doesn't have an attachment point holding it down around your hips, I wouldn't bother adding shoulder harnesses. Without the 5th point holding the lap belt in place, all the shoulder harnesses do when pulled tight is pull the lap belt up into your abdomen. They will not secure your shoulders to the seat back nor does the lap belt hold your butt secure in the seat. Period...

I'd rather have a VERY secure lap belt vs a loose goosey 4 point harness every single time.

And don't even bother trying to run the 5th belt up around the front of the seat and back, when push comes to shove...the front of the bottom seat cushion will collapse letting the lap belt ride up anyway. Been there, drove that many times.

A race seat with only a strong lap belt will hold the driver in place WAY better than ANY 4 point harness without a sub belt attached to the lap belt.


Lance
1985 Monte Carlo SS Street Car
#1074105 - 06/13/22 02:32 AM Re: Harnessing a stock seat? [Re: mmc427ss]  
Joined: Jan 2000
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mmc427ss Online content
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mmc427ss  Online Content
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Pottstown, Pa
Your 2 cents very much appreciated.

So I should order a big piece of velcro, have the seat bottom and back done in velcro, get velcro stitched into the back of my shorts and a shirt and be better off than a 4 point.
Another option would be to add a second belt under the arm pits behind the seat back and make it about 6" wide. Exhale as much as you can and pull the belt tight.

All just in fun.

Just hate the idea of having a race seat laying around for those couple times i get a little serious about being acceptable at the autox.
If you do one permanent race seat you need to do the twin, I know the wife would take one look at it and, well you can guess the rest.

A removable harness bar across the B pillar I'm OK with. I can hide the mounting brackets easily, and be strong enough to have any harness wrapped to. This is only for autox and intent is NEVER anymore than that. Very few 4,5,6 point harness are street legal, DOT approved. You can get a fine if they wanted to with a 6 point harness.

One of the reasons to ask about Schroth 4 point is because they say it's DOT approved because of it's anti subing design.


Soon after i bought this car and found out about Mike's Monte. I bought the last piece of OEM gray velour seat material he had for that time in the future when the factory seats needed refreshed. It's been safely stored away for that day I thought I may need to restore the front seats. There is enough material to do two seats.

We have two excellent interior guys in the area now. Is this the time that i bite the bullet and remove the factory seat and make one of two choices.

Take the original front seat out and have the cushions remade to fit me, add bolster to the seat and back sides to help hold me in place. Then do a little welding on the seat frame to incorporate a place to run a sub belt to the seat's frame. Add the slot for the sub in the seat bottom. All sounds like a lot of work, a lot of thinking , and something that would be another Winter project. Sure would be nice to have a used SS bucket seat to do that with.
With the harnesses removed no one would know it was anything but stock. And it would add that sub to hold the lap in place.

Another choice would be to find a race seat with convenient sub belt location and doesn't ridiculously looking like a race seat. Then have a covering made for it from the gray velour in the closet. My neighbor stitches for one of the seat shops so i know i can get in the back door there.
Gotta put that on this weeks list, talk to that upholstery shop owner about my seat options.

Neither option is just cut and dry and would be lots of thinking and doing to make me happy. Getting kinda burned out on the car thinking stuff. Just want to drive it hard and stay in the seat.

Last event thinking about it my car was the only CAM car there without race seats and harnesses. They should make that a rule, CAM cars must have race seats and 5 points harnesses. That would put an end to this silliness, I wouldn't race autox anymore.
Then pull the T56 and install a 6 spd automatic and drag race, run an 11.4 so you get kicked off the track because you don't have a roll bar.
Roll bars and seats, two pet peeves of mine for a street touring car.

Still got time to think about what to do. Goal is two autox minimum this year, one in the books already. But would like to make 48 run, three Saturdays for my son and I, on the car if possible. Only way to get an idea if this car is any good at autox.
Would need to register for the July event very soon, Aug, Sept and Oct is all that's left for the year. Time and things getting in the way always has a way of eliminating car things i like to do.
So need to find a quick fix to the seat issue if I want to go from almost the slowest guy out there to just another guy that is pretty fast out there.
My goals aren't unrealistic.
Bob

#1074107 - 06/13/22 12:14 PM Re: Harnessing a stock seat? [Re: mmc427ss]  
Joined: Dec 2007
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SSLance Offline
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SSLance  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2007
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Peoria, AZ
I'll send you my CG loc today. That will at least let you feel what it is like to have the lap belt clamped down around your hips tight.

I also have a strap that I used to wrap around my chest and the seat back I'll throw in the box. For as unnatural as it feels ( and unsafe) it actually holds one in place pretty well.


Lance
1985 Monte Carlo SS Street Car
#1074108 - 06/13/22 02:21 PM Re: Harnessing a stock seat? [Re: mmc427ss]  
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Hunter79764  Offline
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Grand Prairie, Tx
Just thinking out loud (and showing my ignorance), but how feasible would it be to get some good seat foam, which can be relatively tacky by my memory, and cutting it down thinner in the center, with good "bolsters" on the sides, and instead of installing it INTO the factory seats, set it ON TOP when you are at the AutoX (like those old wooden bead seat covers taxi drivers use). Cinching the belt tight and something like Lance's chest strap would hold you to the seat, and the foam would hold you centered in the seat. Surely not the cleanest solution, but it might be actionable to get you racing better this season. Then you have some literal seat of the pants feedback, and you can make a decision after the season on tricked out stock buckets vs dedicated race seats.

All that said, I like your thinking on the sock seats refoamed/recovered with harness points added. In my mind, you should be able to stitch a nice little flap that would cover the hold for the sub belt when not in use, keeping the factory look even more. Maybe pick up a used racing seat for not much, put it on the spare brackets, and do some swapping for this season until you can rework the gray seats for next year? Sell it at the end of the season and regain your storage space.


Shawn

'85 MC with budget 5.3L swap, TH350 with stock 2.14 rear end
It ain't much off the line, but it's nice on the highway
#1074110 - 06/13/22 03:15 PM Re: Harnessing a stock seat? [Re: mmc427ss]  
Joined: Dec 2007
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SSLance Offline
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SSLance  Offline
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I drilled a hole in the floor and bolted my sub strap directly to the floor under my seat using large washers and grade 8 bolts. It rides under the seat most of the time and I just stick it up through the seat bottom when I'm going to be using the shoulder harnesses. Doing something similar with a stock seat would be a way to go for sure.

I've also raced many times using just my factory 3 point belt with the race seat. I especially do this if I'm co-driving with someone not my size. It's easier to just slide the seat back and forth and the OEM belt accommodates rather than trying to readjust the lap belts every time we switch drivers. The factory 3 point belt with a race seat is TONS better than with the OEM seat or a 4 point harness with any seat, race or OEM.


Lance
1985 Monte Carlo SS Street Car
#1074120 - 06/16/22 03:00 PM Re: Harnessing a stock seat? [Re: mmc427ss]  
Joined: Jan 2000
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mmc427ss Online content
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mmc427ss  Online Content
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Pottstown, Pa
Thanks for the input, feedback, suggestion.

After thinking about what Lance said about a sub belt and how it effects the lap belt position to keep the shoulder belts in place, that all makes sense. The key is to keep the entire trunk from the crotch to the neck glued to the seat. That's why the Velcro joke.

Have spend time chasing harness installs on all the different forums looking for opinion on what works for autox. Lots of "upgrades" to butt planting done by a zillion guys in most ever car you can imagine and I find good, bad and ugly evaluations of benefits and primarily the safety aspects. My intent is ONLY autox use for improving belts as with most guys doing 4 point harnesses. If I was to road course the only way is to do a true race seat and 6 point harness. In autox the chance of a harness needed to protect from injury is rare, to say the least.

There are many installs with 4 points, no sub, and those guys say, "so much better". My take on that is the car seats they are putting the harness on are already well bolstered and provides lots of lateral support initially. Adding shoulder and a non slipping lap belt just improves on something that is already good.
I can see how Lance mentioned not using a harness when multiple drivers are using the seat. You already have very good lateral and the stock 3 point is very effective.

Back to a Monte seat that doesn't have much lateral, and about zero upper torso restraint.
Made the tool to remove the stock headrest from the seat and removed the pass headrest just so i know how that is done. That in case there is something that needs to be done to the top of stock seat to provide a 'guide" for the harness over the shoulder belts.

Corbeau makes a plastic pocket to be installed in the seat bottom to allow a 2" sub belt to pass through the seat bottom. Not sure if it's that easy to find one for sell but here's a video of how to install it.
I looked under the stock seat bottom to see what, where, and if that plastic part could be used on a stock seat, maybe is the answer. But it would be the easiest way to sub belt stock seat. Being the stock seat cushion really is nothing more than a foam pad on springs keeping a sub pass through in place would require a lot of design effort.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5MWkmrZs9I

There is plenty of room under the seat for an eye bolt and it doesn't appear to be a big deal to make and install an steel plate on the underside of the floor to reinforce the eye bolt location.

Well thank you Lance!!!!!!
The mailman dropped a CG lock at my front door yesterday. We talked about the CG last year and I never got around to ordering one. Now they are gone from production and if you can find one they are pricey. Again thanks Lance.
I do need to say Lance sent me a 2" orange belt and at first I thought it was a joke due to my reference about a 3"armpit belt wrapped around the back of the seat, crank it tight. Didn't realize that idea had already been done.
Bob

#1074121 - 06/16/22 03:47 PM Re: Harnessing a stock seat? [Re: mmc427ss]  
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SSLance Offline
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SSLance  Offline
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You are most welcome Bob...Hope it works out well for you to give you an idea of what being planted in the seat feels like. The CG lock doesn't attach to the belt clip like the instructions show, I just clamped it on the belt above the latch and slid it down forcing the latch down once belted in.

CG lock upgrade video I found...

https://youtu.be/0z-0pSceUxQ

Chest strap in use...

https://youtu.be/Z7jiobV1lTw


Lance
1985 Monte Carlo SS Street Car
#1074185 - 06/24/22 09:25 PM Re: Harnessing a stock seat? [Re: mmc427ss]  
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rpob5t Offline
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rpob5t  Offline
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Sandyston, NJ
I road race/hpde a bunch and aftermarket harness on a stock seat is a major no-no,any sanctioning body that you'd want to run with wouldn't let it past tech, and if they did and you were my student I wouldn't get in the car. Basically if you could get it tight enough it'll likely break the seat back in an impact if you didn't fray the crap out of the belt trying to get to route correctly or you didn't pass through the belts all together ...

The Schroth ASM stuff is decent for a stock seat solution, all it is is a loop of belt sewn lightly on one side so in an impact if gives way and you flop to that side, nothing fancy but effective. The annoying part is you're always playing a game of whack a mole with the lap and shoulder belts you never get the shoulders tight enough and keep the lap belt over your hips. if you have a power seat you can play lean the seat back a little andgetit all snug on you lap and snug enough on the shoulders then tilt the seat back up but that only helps so much.

For autox you really want to just keep your butt in the seat, if CG lok's still exist I'd look at those as they'll pin you down the best, I recall we used to a product for kid's car seat (mighty-tite comes to mind) because its was super cheap and didn't chafe the belt like the cglok could if you weren't careful, basically it winds up the factory 3 pt lap belt to pin you down... EIther of those would be a solid solution...

going seats and belts gets expensive quickly (don't buy cheap ones, spend some money on a decent fiberglass FIA shell) plus you have to figure out how to mount them which can quickly end up with holes in your floor board and the like to get it in there, not ideal stuff for something that is primarly a street car

#1074192 - 06/25/22 03:24 AM Re: Harnessing a stock seat? [Re: mmc427ss]  
Joined: Jan 2000
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mmc427ss Online content
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mmc427ss  Online Content
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Pottstown, Pa
Thanks for the input Greg. I agree with everything you mentioned.
The lap belt riding up as Lance mentioned because there is no sub belt to hold it in place. Adding a sub to a stock seat, not a good idea.
I've seen the 4 link Schroth on some very fast track/autox cars. I can say the driver's were 1/2 my age, that's a factor, not in my favor. Another reason why even a Schroth isn't my answer.

Lance sent me his CG. It's not designed to work with the Monte stock seat belt. When you connect the shoulder strap to the female between the seat and console the buckle is close to a 30 degree angle from the lap belt. When you just clamp the CG above that buckle to prevent belt from loosening it sits at an angle and doesn't clamp properly. Unacceptable.

To remedy that I turned the CG upside down and modified how it touches the buckle. A piece of black urethane, thank you Lakewood, air bags come with two 1" think 5" diameter black urethane "cushions". A piece was sized, cut at an angle and screwed to CG. Then a piece of .037" steel is TIGed to the CG and both the urethane and the steel now are the mating surfaces to align the CG correctly to the stock buckle, and not scratch it (urethane).
Have tested it and it works great. But because my son and I co-drive the car how easy the CG can be reset as we switch drivers 8 times in a kinda short period of time. It needs to be tested in battle.
CGs are not for sale anymore, don't know why, Occasionally Ebay will have one.

For the street use, drag racing my slow car, and even autox just about any belting will do as long as it's stock. My problem is the only reason for better belts is autox to keep me planted. Current setup is not ample. I don't need to cut up the car for 30 minutes a year of fun at the autox. Will use the CG the next event.

My son has run several hill climbs in his Saab 900, all the safety equipment and clothing needed. He took Oh xxxx at Pagoda at a hair over 100 and missed his braking zone due to correcting for to much drift, tagged the guardrail at 70 in the next corner. All that good safety stuff and he limped it back to the pits and I "adjusted" the crushed corner, he drove the car home. The good thing about that was the tech guy that oversaw the harness install, harness bar, race seat mounting, and roll cage install did him right. He just walked away unhurt, just a lot thinner in his wallet.

I have until this time next year to figure out what i will do.
Bob

#1074247 - 07/01/22 01:33 PM Re: Harnessing a stock seat? [Re: mmc427ss]  
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rpob5t Offline
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rpob5t  Offline
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Sandyston, NJ
no prob, I've seen alot of autox guys also just install a lap belt (I recall that's what strano used to do) basically you just use the lap belt off a latch/link set and pin yourself in that way, less work then a full belt setup and should be minimal mods as you can probably piggy back the OE seatbelt hardware, link below to what I'm talking about...

https://www.pegasusautoracing.com/p...qsc14atyggeq7shcrbV9JOlGv6oaAkpgEALw_wcB

but yeah a full race shell, belts and the like get pricey, on my E36 M3 racecar, I probably have about 1500-2000 worth of seat/belt/mounts/window and center nets in the car and I have to replace it all every 5 (2 on the widow nets) years so fun stuff when you have to meet proper saftey standard, all for a car that puts like 230hp to the rear wheels, lol... I def wouldn't do that on a street car that's used in a fun event like 5-10x a year at best, that said 80's GM do suck and I'm seeing what else can fit in there for my car, the germans do a much better job of buidling actual structure in their oe seats, GM didn't figure that out until the last 10-15yrs or so...


Last edited by rpob5t; 07/01/22 01:37 PM.

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