Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher Emeritus
1/4/24 8:53 a.m.
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To complete our Mustang’s safety gear, we would need to install roll bar padding. This padding has come a long way since we installed what essentially seemed like pool float noodles decades ago.

We obtained modern Longacre roll bar padding from I/O Port Racing. It feels hard yet gives away under impact. The padding comes in two sizes (regular …

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AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/4/24 10:12 a.m.

Yes I have.  I just ordered padding and a leather cover from Bethanis garage for this Black Friday purchase.

BA5
BA5 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
1/4/24 10:37 a.m.

Looks like it already came fully padded! :D

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
1/4/24 11:11 a.m.

I feel it's important to mention that padding is still designed for a helmeted head, not your bare noggin'. For those that drive cars with a roll bar on the street. 

I didn't worry about it too much in my NA since I had a fixed-back seat that meant if it moved enough for my head to hit the bar, I was probably already doneski anyway. 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
1/4/24 11:23 a.m.
z31maniac said:

I feel it's important to mention that padding is still designed for a helmeted head, not your bare noggin'. For those that drive cars with a roll bar on the street. 

I didn't worry about it too much in my NA since I had a fixed-back seat that meant if it moved enough for my head to hit the bar, I was probably already doneski anyway. 

Yeah, that's the case in the Manic Miata.  Technically it's a bad idea, but realistically the only way I'll ever contact the bar is if there is significant structural damage to my spine.

 

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/4/24 11:57 a.m.
z31maniac said:

I feel it's important to mention that padding is still designed for a helmeted head, not your bare noggin'. For those that drive cars with a roll bar on the street. 

I didn't worry about it too much in my NA since I had a fixed-back seat that meant if it moved enough for my head to hit the bar, I was probably already doneski anyway. 

Agree but head ~> padding ~> bar is still preferable to head ~> bar.  Yes head ~> helmet ~> padding ~> bar is the best.  
 

I've seen a lot of Miata's that figured head ~> bar was okay too.  
 

I'm sufficiently vertically challenged it's not a huge issue for me personally.  

TR7
TR7 Reader
1/4/24 1:07 p.m.

They make dual density padding that while not really a solution, should help. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/4/24 1:23 p.m.

I used dual density padding in the caged Targa Miata. We'd pop the top layer on for transit sections and remove it for timed stages where we were wearing helmets.

The formed Hard Dog padding with the leather cover is really nice. It's shaped to fit the leading edge of the bar and doesn't get in the way of the top.

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/4/24 1:24 p.m.

I actually was thinking about my roll bar padding recently.  I ran across the photo below of me sitting on the fender of  my first race car and thought "Wow! I can't believe I thought that roll bar padding was a good idea and that it passed tech!"  Of course, I learned to weld by building that cage and at the time I thought the hair and the cheesy mustache were good ideas as well so clearly my judgment was lacking in a number of areas.

 

I'm about to show my bias for street cars being on the street and track cars being on the track.  My opinion is that if there's any chance for your bare head to hit a roll bar or cage, padded or not, then it shouldn't be in your street car.  If that limits the things you feel safe doing on the track in said car, so be it.

Any way you look at risk, exposing a head to a roll bar in a traffic accident is a problem.  Likelihood, severity, preventability... all are a problem.  Rear end accidents happen hundreds of times every day.  The consequences of your head hitting a bar in such an accident are extreme.  And you can do absolutely nothing to prevent it from happening.

Obviously this is irrelevant if you can install the bar in a way that the seat protects your head from it.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 PowerDork
1/4/24 1:35 p.m.

Yes, Champcar requires us to run rollbar padding that could quite possibly be harder than the actually steel used for the roll bar. 

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
1/4/24 1:58 p.m.
APEowner said:

Side note: That's one of the raddest photos I've seen.

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/4/24 2:19 p.m.

I often wonder about padding inside regular cars. Like the upper seat belt pivot point - what if your bare noggin hits that in a side-impact accident? Or any older single cab pickup where the head rests are more like shoulder rests, that rear glass would sure hurt.

I am currently struggling with what to do to the interior of my hot rod. Lots of steel structure near my head. What kind of foam do I put there? Certainly not roll bar foam, since I won't have a helmet on. 

Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
1/4/24 5:40 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

I used dual density padding in the caged Targa Miata. We'd pop the top layer on for transit sections and remove it for timed stages where we were wearing helmets.

Ditto for the One Lap Miata for the same reasons.  Great minds... wink

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/4/24 6:05 p.m.

An acquaintance took his track car on a multi-day group drive and  managed to get his head bashed in when he rolled it. This is no-fooling stuff. 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/4/24 6:11 p.m.
maschinenbau said:

I often wonder about padding inside regular cars. Like the upper seat belt pivot point - what if your bare noggin hits that in a side-impact accident? Or any older single cab pickup where the head rests are more like shoulder rests, that rear glass would sure hurt.

Or the roll cage in a Jeep?

Personally I'm OK with a roll bar in my Miata, but I draw the line at cages in a street car.

 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
1/4/24 8:22 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

The formed Hard Dog padding with the leather cover is really nice. It's shaped to fit the leading edge of the bar and doesn't get in the way of the top.

Yeah, that's what I've got.  I'm sure it's still hoping you'll have a helmet on, but it's better than bare steel by a long shot.

 

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/4/24 8:33 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

I used dual density padding in the caged Targa Miata. We'd pop the top layer on for transit sections and remove it for timed stages where we were wearing helmets.

The formed Hard Dog padding with the leather cover is really nice. It's shaped to fit the leading edge of the bar and doesn't get in the way of the top.

I ordered the cover and pad from them this morning.  I had a vinyl cover and pad from them on my 94 Miata.  They make really nice things.  

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
1/4/24 11:12 p.m.

In reply to maschinenbau :

So have I. Those guys that spazz about cages on the street, I always want to ask, what about the stock interior? None of that E36 M3 is soft in any way.

dps214
dps214 SuperDork
1/4/24 11:44 p.m.
Appleseed said:

In reply to maschinenbau :

So have I. Those guys that spazz about cages on the street, I always want to ask, what about the stock interior? None of that E36 M3 is soft in any way.

It's substantially softer than steel and probably still an order of magnitude softer than roll bar padding. (I don't remember the numbers, but the best way to sell yourself on dual density padding - even with a helmet - is to go look up the specs for the single density stuff). But it's also generally much harder to come in contact with. I'm sure there's a lot of normal cars where you can position the bars such that they're plenty far away that's it's basically a non issue. But in convertibles it usually ends up about an inch behind the driver's head.

SkinnyG (Forum Supporter)
SkinnyG (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
1/5/24 12:17 a.m.
Colin Wood said:
APEowner said:

Side note: That's one of the raddest photos I've seen.

PINTO!

(Recovering Pintoholic)

Coniglio Rampante
Coniglio Rampante Reader
1/5/24 12:27 a.m.

Agree with the proponents of the roll bar/padding/helmet usage.  There have been several posts/threads on the Miata site over the years that showed where one's head may end up in relation to a roll bar when the seat breaks in an impact.  

akylekoz
akylekoz UltraDork
1/5/24 6:15 a.m.

I've been known to wear a helmet on the street in a caged car.   A race car on the street already gets a lot of attention, a helmeted driver isn't really over the top.

And yet the padding is toast on the door bar.

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