Hi Bruce, Paul, and everybody,
I was following with interest the posting about the shoulder harnesses that must go back horizontally or be angled downward by not more than about 20 degrees from the horizontal.angle of the belts. I'm ashamed to say it but so far I had my 6-point harness on my GTV6 attached directly to where the backseats seatbelt are usually mounted. Being a little tall (6'3) and concern about the effect of a rollover on my spine I decided I was going to buy a used harness-bar from Graham and attach it to where the front seat belt are now mounted. Being Graham the great guy he is, he decided to set aside his personal monetary interest
and advised me to not buy his harness-bar and instead he talked to me about how much safer it would be having a roll-bar even if only for Time Trial.
Here is an extract of few message we exchanged, we thought that this conversation could be useful to others as well.
Sorry for the long posting if you have the time to read it I would appreciate everybody thoughts and personal experiences about this. I'm still for buying his harness-bar for $75 and use the difference of the money for making the car faster
, but I have a feeling it may not be the smartest thing to do
Below are some of our messages.
"So, would you like the harness-bar? You can see what it is like and read about it here......
"I think the price for the harness-bar is all right, do you have a photo of it mounted on your car? My only concern is that when I looked at the seat belt attachments of my car I remember seeing that they are still a little lower than my shoulders (I’m 6'3), It could be the prospective, maybe I should have another person looking while I'm seating. I tend to believe that with the bar it should be much safer that the way the harness is attached now, directly to the back seat belt mounts. Maybe I should ask the director of safety? I just don’t want to put a roll cage yet What do you think?
So, at risk of talking myself out of $75, my opinion is that when you drive a car fast on a track (and make no mistake, under 1:50 is fast!), you should have all the protection you can in a car. $380 may sound like a lot of money when you're sitting on the sofa, but if you find yourself hanging upside down from the harness straps, with the car on its roof after rolling end-over-end through the bushes at 80mph, $400 will sound pretty cheap. The roll bar is not too intrusive once you remove the cross-braces for street driving, and lets face it, if you cram someone into the back seat of a GTV6, they're not going to be comfy, roll-bar or not.
Now, having said that, the harness bar is safer than no harness bar. a 100 degree angle is better than a 160 degree angle. Also, as I recall, the "B" pillar has a plastic cover, doesn't it? It seems that it would not be too difficult to remove the cover, have someone weld in a small reinforcing plate as high up on the "B" pillar as you can, then drill and tap a new attachment point a few inches higher than the seat belt mount. At the same time, you could consider moving your seatbelt to the higher attachment point. in a collision, a seatbelt would apply a similar downward force on your spine if your shoulder is really that far above it. Talking to Bruce or Paul Ellis might be a good idea. There's a sticky thread on the AROSC forum about safety. This would be a good discussion for everyone I think.
Graham yours are words of wisdom and I guess that between spending $450 on race tires and make the car 10 second faster and spend the same money and make the car safer with a roll bar, common sense would have chosen the later. Now buying a 22-year-old Alfa and driving to and on a racetrack while using it almost every day does not make much sense neither. I also remember reading that GTV6 are pretty strong structurally and most likely the roof should hold the weight of the car in case of a rollover. Did you mount the roll cage yourself? If not do you recall how much (how many hours) it was to put it on? I have a feeling that $380 is the net price of the roll bar, after adding a harness bar on it shipping, tax and eventually labor; the final cost is going to be more like $600. I would love to be wrong about this estimate.
So my roll bar cost $380 total, including the removable horizontal and diagonal cross-braces. It looks like it's a bit more expensive now, but not too much ($458).
Here's the link:
As an added bonus, I found that it made a huge difference to the handling of the car. I never noticed how much the rear body flexed until I bolted in the roll bar and it stopped doing it. The car felt a lot more definite in the corners, especially when transitioning from hard-left to hard-right and back. If I had a bone-stock GTV6 that was my daily driver, and I wanted to track it every so often I would not bother with the harness-bar. The roll-bar is the way to go.
In terms of installation, I did it myself. I was in a big hurry to get to the track, so I didn't take as much care as I should have, but still, it turned out well. You need to take all the seats out of the car (it looks like you could get away with only removing one seat, but trust me, you can't!). Then you need to trial-fit the harness, and mark the position of the supports on the rear wheel arch covers and on the floor. If you don't mind doing a hack-job you can just drill some holes and bolt it in, but I thought that would look a bit too bad. I cut slits in the wheel-arch covers, and a circular hole for the bar to fit through. once the bar was installed, I re-installed the wheel arch covers so that the support goes through the hole, and the cover hides the bolts and the support pad. You should also cut enough carpet away so that the front support contact bare metal, not carpet or underpad, but leave enough carpet to cover up the pad and the bolts. I just cut a slit, hacked out the undercoat, then stuffed the extra carpet in behind the front bar. Not a concourse installation, but i've had a few compliments on how clean an install it looks, and besides, it's pretty dark back there now that I had the windows tinted.
I'm confident you could do it yourself with minimal risk in less than a day. You may even be able to draw on the expertise of the roll-cage gods, Colin and Jes, if you drive over to their neighborhood one weekend.
And by all means post our conversation. I found everyone has their own opinion about what is save and what is not, but listen to everyone and do what makes sense to you. It's your life, the decision should be yours.
Oh, I remember the thread on how strong a GTV6 is when it's on its roof. I think it was in response to one of my roll-bar questions, and it may very well be true, but consider this.....The drain-hoses for the sunroof go through the A-pillar. They tend to fail, and leak, and GTV6's tend to rust at the base of the A-pillar. If your car does not have rist at the base of the A-pillar, it has either never seen rain, has been repaired (most likely with bondo, glue and a soda can), or you've got the magic GTV6 that doesn't leak and you should buy a lottery ticket or two. In a roll-over, the A-pillar would take most of the inital load, since the car would be decelerating moving the weight-balance forward of the B-pillar. Having seen a few A-pillar repairs, I decided I'd rather have a little extra support keeping the roof of the car off my head. Again, there'll be hundreds of reasons why I'm wrong, do what makes sense to you.