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Fitzauto
Fitzauto Dork
3/31/20 2:55 p.m.

The time has come to pick a new seat for my AE86 as it transistions from street/autocross car into a track car. Budget is $700 or so for the seat. 
 

My questions are:

which is safer?

do aluminum seats really need a back brace?

can aluminum seats be side mounted?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
3/31/20 2:58 p.m.

I'd pay more attention to ratings than to material. 

Fitzauto
Fitzauto Dork
3/31/20 3:04 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

What would be the key ratings to look for? Only FIA rated seat Ive ever bought was a Sparco sprint for my old NA.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
3/31/20 3:40 p.m.

I like aluminum.  I have run a Kirkey intermediate road race seat for years, and find it very comfortable.  Sparcos and such with the tube frame dig into the side of my legs because I'm tall as berkeley, it seems.

I always add a back brace.  I "trust"FIA ratings, but I see no reason to trust the sheet metal floor of an old car.  It is not terribly difficult to build a slider if need be.

My scenario:. Back the Neon into the wall at 96mph, front seat mounting bolts pull out of the floor, car bounces off the wall in front of a passing Corvette and your belts are no longer tight...you can take it from there.

Fitzauto
Fitzauto Dork
3/31/20 4:21 p.m.

In reply to Streetwiseguy :

Luckily I wont have need for a slider. My co-driver and I are the same height and build so it will be fixed. Im gussing the back brace is tied to the cage?

Paul_VR6
Paul_VR6 Dork
3/31/20 4:45 p.m.

Back brace is *mandatory* for the aluminium seat. Will tie to the crossbar. If you don't have one, I wouldn't recommend an alum seat.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
3/31/20 5:32 p.m.

I'd be looking for an FIA rating. I'd probably put a back brace on any seat - I have them on my fiberglass seats just because more bracing and support is better than less.

Rons
Rons Reader
3/31/20 5:57 p.m.

Don't spend your money on FIA seats if you will be bracing the seat, or at least check the literature. When designing a brace system best not have two knives pointed at your back.

Tom1200
Tom1200 Dork
3/31/20 5:58 p.m.

For the Datsun I use an aluminum seat, braced to the cross bar (I thought SCCA required of all seats) and then fill the seat with impact foam as one would with a single seat car. As I've had various single seat cars over the year I happen to have the pour foam. My thing beyond ratings is how do I fit in the seat, the fat me is 5' 7" and 140lbs so I have trouble with seats fitting well.

Also I prefer a seat that has provisions for a 6 point harness.

 

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
3/31/20 8:57 p.m.
Rons said:

Don't spend your money on FIA seats if you will be bracing the seat, or at least check the literature. When designing a brace system best not have two knives pointed at your back.

Everyone says that, usually on SCCA forums where anything that might have come from stock car racing is stupid.   What exactly am I going to hit backwards hard enough to shove a 4" by 4" flat piece of 12 gauge material through an1/8" aluminum seat back and into my  spine?  A back brace is not a sharpened steel punji stick coated with dog feces.

Rons
Rons Reader
3/31/20 9:27 p.m.

In reply to Streetwiseguy :

Unfortunately some people do design that is basically two rods pointed at the back. One of the how to build a race car books has a design which uses a double bend which allows some flex so not all the force is directed at the back.

Tom1200
Tom1200 Dork
3/31/20 9:33 p.m.

This is why I like to put padding (the impact absorbing kind) in the seat.

 

amg_rx7
amg_rx7 SuperDork
3/31/20 9:35 p.m.
Streetwiseguy said:

I always add a back brace. 
I see no reason to trust the sheet metal floor of an old car. 

My scenario:. Back the Neon into the wall at 96mph, front seat mounting bolts pull out of the floor, car bounces off the wall in front of a passing Corvette and your belts are no longer tight...you can take it from there.

To address the risks associated with your scenario, everyone should reinforce the floor mounting points for all types of seats - aluminum or fiber - when not mounting to OEM attachment points 

Regardless of back brace

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr UberDork
3/31/20 9:38 p.m.

I have run a few different aluminum seats.  Even with the back brace they still seem to flex more than I like.

 

As for the death scenario above...  that could be true for a poor installation on either seat.

 

Also, when you hit a concrete wall at 100 mph, lots of things pierce lots of other things that you wouldn't think would happen.  Like a header flange going through a cast iron engine block.

 

I find fiberglass seats considerably more comfy than kirkey, ultrasheild, and butlerbuilt.  I have raced in all of them.  The $700 or 800 fiberglass fia seats are worth the money in my opinion.

 

That being said, I just bought a Bimarco futura fia seat for 500$ shipped.  I figure I'll give it a try because of the great reviews it gets.

 

Make sure the mounting is solid and you have spreader plates for all connections through sheet metal.  Attaching to the roll cage is best.  Next best is welding in a support that goes from inner rocker to trans tunnel and mounting the seat to that.

grafmiata
grafmiata UltraDork
3/31/20 9:56 p.m.
wvumtnbkr said:

I have run a few different aluminum seats.  Even with the back brace they still seem to flex more than I like.

 

As for the death scenario above...  that could be true for a poor installation on either seat.

 

Also, when you hit a concrete wall at 100 mph, lots of things pierce lots of other things that you wouldn't think would happen.  Like a header flange going through a cast iron engine block.

 

I find fiberglass seats considerably more comfy than kirkey, ultrasheild, and butlerbuilt.  I have raced in all of them.  The $700 or 800 fiberglass fia seats are worth the money in my opinion.

 

That being said, I just bought a Bimarco futura fia seat for 500$ shipped.  I figure I'll give it a try because of the great reviews it gets.

 

Make sure the mounting is solid and you have spreader plates for all connections through sheet metal.  Attaching to the roll cage is best.  Next best is welding in a support that goes from inner rocker to trans tunnel and mounting the seat to that.

Good point about the "flex" in aluminum seats.  They will also BEND in certain types of crashes, resulting in bad outcomes, regardless of how it is installed, back-braces, etc.  Harnesses will also stretch much more than you would ever expect in some situations.  I would also recommend some sort of Halo or full-containment seat.

The driver I crew for crashed at Mid-Ohio in 2008.  This was before HANS-type devices were mandated.  He was running a Kirkey Intermediate aluminum seat, properly installed and braced, in a full tube-frame GT-3 car.  No HANS.  His impact was relatively low-speed, but it was a pancake-hit to the driver's side into a bare concrete wall.  The harness stretched just enough, and the aluminum seat bent just enough, that his helmet met hit a part of the rollcage that you would NEVER think it could hit.  Getting helicoptered out with a TBI has changed his mind on safety since then. 

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
3/31/20 10:02 p.m.
grafmiata said:
wvumtnbkr said:

I have run a few different aluminum seats.  Even with the back brace they still seem to flex more than I like.

 

As for the death scenario above...  that could be true for a poor installation on either seat.

 

Also, when you hit a concrete wall at 100 mph, lots of things pierce lots of other things that you wouldn't think would happen.  Like a header flange going through a cast iron engine block.

 

I find fiberglass seats considerably more comfy than kirkey, ultrasheild, and butlerbuilt.  I have raced in all of them.  The $700 or 800 fiberglass fia seats are worth the money in my opinion.

 

That being said, I just bought a Bimarco futura fia seat for 500$ shipped.  I figure I'll give it a try because of the great reviews it gets.

 

Make sure the mounting is solid and you have spreader plates for all connections through sheet metal.  Attaching to the roll cage is best.  Next best is welding in a support that goes from inner rocker to trans tunnel and mounting the seat to that.

Good point about the "flex" in aluminum seats.  They will also BEND in certain types of crashes, resulting in bad outcomes, regardless of how it is installed, back-braces, etc.  Harnesses will also stretch much more than you would ever expect in some situations.  I would also recommend some sort of Halo or full-containment seat.

The driver I crew for crashed at Mid-Ohio in 2008.  This was before HANS-type devices were mandated.  He was running a Kirkey Intermediate aluminum seat, properly installed and braced, in a full tube-frame GT-3 car.  No HANS.  His impact was relatively low-speed, but it was a pancake-hit to the driver's side into a bare concrete wall.  The harness stretched just enough, and the aluminum seat bent just enough, that his helmet met hit a part of the rollcage that you would NEVER think it could hit.  Getting helicoptered out with a TBI has changed his mind on safety since then. 

Ryan Newman was in an aluminum seat at Daytona this year...  They don't all flex.

grafmiata
grafmiata UltraDork
4/1/20 8:16 a.m.
Streetwiseguy said:
grafmiata said:
wvumtnbkr said:

I have run a few different aluminum seats.  Even with the back brace they still seem to flex more than I like.

 

As for the death scenario above...  that could be true for a poor installation on either seat.

 

Also, when you hit a concrete wall at 100 mph, lots of things pierce lots of other things that you wouldn't think would happen.  Like a header flange going through a cast iron engine block.

 

I find fiberglass seats considerably more comfy than kirkey, ultrasheild, and butlerbuilt.  I have raced in all of them.  The $700 or 800 fiberglass fia seats are worth the money in my opinion.

 

That being said, I just bought a Bimarco futura fia seat for 500$ shipped.  I figure I'll give it a try because of the great reviews it gets.

 

Make sure the mounting is solid and you have spreader plates for all connections through sheet metal.  Attaching to the roll cage is best.  Next best is welding in a support that goes from inner rocker to trans tunnel and mounting the seat to that.

Good point about the "flex" in aluminum seats.  They will also BEND in certain types of crashes, resulting in bad outcomes, regardless of how it is installed, back-braces, etc.  Harnesses will also stretch much more than you would ever expect in some situations.  I would also recommend some sort of Halo or full-containment seat.

The driver I crew for crashed at Mid-Ohio in 2008.  This was before HANS-type devices were mandated.  He was running a Kirkey Intermediate aluminum seat, properly installed and braced, in a full tube-frame GT-3 car.  No HANS.  His impact was relatively low-speed, but it was a pancake-hit to the driver's side into a bare concrete wall.  The harness stretched just enough, and the aluminum seat bent just enough, that his helmet met hit a part of the rollcage that you would NEVER think it could hit.  Getting helicoptered out with a TBI has changed his mind on safety since then. 

Ryan Newman was in an aluminum seat at Daytona this year...  They don't all flex.

I believe that Newman runs one of Randy Lajoie's seats, and yes, they are STOUT.  We've actually talked with Randy at the PRI show about ways to alleviate the seat issues that dropped up in my buddy's crash.

Fitzauto
Fitzauto Dork
4/1/20 8:52 a.m.

For reference this is the seat I am looking at: https://www.ultrashieldrace.com/catalog/product/seats-road-race-drag-racing/pro-road-race-seat/

 

It will have a back brace tied to the roll cage.

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr UberDork
4/1/20 3:24 p.m.
Fitzauto said:

For reference this is the seat I am looking at: https://www.ultrashieldrace.com/catalog/product/seats-road-race-drag-racing/pro-road-race-seat/

 

It will have a back brace tied to the roll cage.

I had that same seat.  Most comfortable aluminum seat I have ever had.

 

Imho, nowhere near as comfy as a good fiberglass seat.

 

P.s. there are cloth covered tubular seats.  They were mentioned early on in this thread.  Those things suck out loud.  They are usually cheap and one size fits none.  No me gusta.

 

P.p.s. If you are going anywhere near Charleston sc, or know somebody that is, you can have my ultrasheild spec miata seat OR ultrasheild Rally seat.   I need to keep 1 for passenger ride alongs.

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
4/1/20 3:41 p.m.

Count me in on the FIA side.  We ran the mandated aluminum seat in Nascar and I was not a fan.  At a Daytona wreck the top part of the seat ended up facing one way, the bottom part another.  It was properly mounted.  If you put enough force in them, the outcome is not always pleasant.  

Fitzauto
Fitzauto Dork
4/1/20 4:25 p.m.
wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr UberDork
4/2/20 5:53 p.m.

My buddy has that seat In His e30.  Super comfy! 

bigben
bigben Reader
4/4/20 8:22 a.m.

Can someone expound on why flexing or bending of an aluminum seat is so undesirable? I would think from a crash impact stand point you may want to engineer in a certain amount of flex or bend into specific areas of the seat or mounting to absorb the impact energy instead of delivering it all to the driver.  Also I'm willing to bet that the fiberglass seats also flex when subjected to these extreme forces, but they bounce back instead of yielding so you don't know it.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
4/4/20 9:13 a.m.

In reply to bigben :

Seat moves, belts may loosen, head may hit something it wouldn't have hit.  The problem with engineering flex is, how much force?  2 G's?  20G's?

adam525i (Forum Supporter)
adam525i (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
4/4/20 9:18 a.m.

In reply to wvumtnbkr :

I bought a pair of Bimarco Futura's last summer for my track car to go along with the roll bar and 6 point harnesses. I was just under $1000 for the pair with steel mounting brackets shipped from Poland. I'm pretty happy with them but these are my first race seats so it will be interesting to hear your opinion. 

For me it came down to the FIA rating, there are a lot of cheap options and clones of more expensive seats available (NRG as an example) but if they haven't passed a test proving they have been built to a standard then how can you count on them when you need to.

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