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FIA bar

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  • FIA bar

    I just installed an FIA roll bar in my '97 De Dion chassis car. I am about 6'2" and the clearance between my head and the bar is about 1". I don't have the headrests in my stock seats (I am looking for a leather set if anyone has them).

    I am not sure I could even run the stock headrests at this point because I am not sure they will fit with the way the FIA bar comes forward. Anyone else running the FIA bar and the stock headrests? Anybody have issue with clearance and the FIA bar?

    I don't think the car is very safe to drive at this point because I think even a decent goose of throttle would have a passenger smacking their head on the FIA bar.

  • #2
    Yes, I run the leather seats and a FIA bar. I'm 6'-4" and it really did not work with the stock setup. I fitted a set of lowered floors and now have much better clearance. I've also made a foam (bag seat) that lowers me even more, but need to create a new one that is not laid back so much. The leather seats and headrests work fine. My headrest ends up being smooshed against the crossbar of the FIA bar, but it protects my noggin from the bar!
    Tom "ELV15" Jones


    • #3
      So, you had the FIA bar before you put the lowered floors in? Did you not have clearance for the headrests or did you simply not fit in it with your height etc?

      I have been pondering the lowered floors myself. Did you install them or have someone do it for you?


      • #4
        Well, I could drive the car, so I "fit", but I was looking over the top of the windscreen, so I really did not "fit". :D

        I put the floors in myself. It's a weekend job - lots of drilling out rivets and putting new ones in. An air powered pop rivet tool will help!
        Tom "ELV15" Jones


        • #5
          I have the opposite problem. My seat is too big... actually too wide & no lumbar support.
          Do you think I could make a foam type seat just for my back and sides, using the aluminum seat I already have? I think it would be great to keep the original seat and pull out my mold if someone larger wanted to drive it.
          If so, where would I look for the stuff?


          • #6
            Easily find what you are looking for with our main categories in alphabetical order.

            Is just one source. This type of foam may not be the recommended kind for racing. I think they recommend a bead seat kit that uses styrofoam beads and epoxy.

            There is some info on this list if you search on foam seat you should find it.

            Also the same search on blatchat should turn up a lot of reports from users.

            The two part foam is not difficult, once you've done it. BUT! if the foam gets away from you it sticks to EVERYTHING. Kind of like the Great Stuff that home depot sells.

            Practice outside the car first and cover everything you care about with plastic sheet.

            There are different densities available and you may be able to find kits for less. I have not done this myself so cannot tell you more.

            Last edited by Doug Liedblad; November 2, 2010, 08:56 AM.


            • #7
              Thanks Doug


              • #8
                I am still having an issue with this. Now with photos and more explanation. Not sure if I am ready to go through the hassle (and expense) of the lowered floors yet. My post from USA7's.

                So, I ordered an FIA bar for the Caterham this past summer and it took some time to get here (October). I was a little concerned with the forward lean of the bar, but that was more from a cosmetic standpoint than anything else. Then I installed it. And the uh, oh's ensued.

                As you can see, not exactly a lot of clearance between my soft head bits, and the very hard FIA bar bits. I am lacking the headrests on my stock Caterham seats, and originally I thought they might do the trick to protect me from the bar but was skeptical. Then I had my wife take these photos of me sitting in the car. The one that really made think this was not going to work was this one.

                Basically zero clearance with the helmet on. I could maybe fit a 1/4" pad between the helmet on the bar. After sending these to Ben at Caterham USA he still seems to think that I should be able to use the headrests to protect me from the bar, but I don't see how, even with the 1/2 versions ( that this will work.

                Thoughts from any other FIA bar owners? I am 6'2" which makes this more of a challenge.


                • #9

                  I'd go with lower seats before doing floor lowering. I just installed a pair of race seats, which should be a bit lower:

                  Foam seats would do it too.

                  /Magnus F.


                  • #10
                    I believe the general recommendation* is to have the top of your helmet 2" below the top of the roll bar. I'm going to take a wild guess and say that even with a thin seat you're not really going to have 2". You can easily test this by removing the seat bottom and taking another picture. Note: a foam seat will sink you in the car even more since you can vary the angle - just don't make the mistake I made and lay down too much! My current foam seat has me looking directly down the bonnet! This puts strain on my back and I can't see as well as I would like. I'm going to try making a seat again, but with a slightly more upright position.

                    Regarding your head and the roll bar - I find that the stock leather seat headrest works fine. It does prevent the seat from sliding all the way back - and the back of the headrest gets compressed by the cross bar, but it will protect you and your helmet (note, I've not had a chance to test this!). I recently purchased some SFI roll bar padding and will fit that for trackdays. It is very hard, but in an accident really dissipates the energy so your noggin does not contact the metal of the roll bar. Link here:

                    *A better recommendation is that you have 2" from the line formed by the top of the roll bar and the top of the chassis rail at the front of the car.
                    Tom "ELV15" Jones


                    • #11
                      Turns out that I have a somewhat limited clearance between my helmet and the top halo hoop of my roll cage. I used to have foam padding, which would remove any clearance, so I'll definitely go with the padding you listed.

                      Thanks for the tip.

                      /Magnus F.


                      • #12
                        Remember that SFI padding is designed to protect a helmeted head - if you have an accident without a helmet it will not be a pretty sight. If you intend on driving the car helmet-less you should consider the dual durometer padding:
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