The Lotus Cars Community banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 40 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,094 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to open up a discussion again about the sector 111 seat grommet modification for the stock Elise seats.

First let me say that I have nothing personal against the company or the owner of this business. When I had my car they were helpful with questions, and the owner himself even got on the phone to speak with me about an item I bought.

That said, it has been no secret that I think the seat grommet, for modifying the stock Elise seat to accept a harness, offered by sector 111 is not a safe product, nor do I believe that it has had any testing other than "it fits the seat" prior to it being marketed.

I seriously doubt that there has been any kind of test on this product as to how it performs when its actually used, and if it has been tested, please publish the results and show us the testing process. By used I mean, not "a guy sitting in the seat and buckling his harness", but performing in an actual impact.

I know that there is testing of any racing seat before it comes to market, and ultimately recieves any type of FIA/SFI certification.

The manufacturers of safety gear clearly state to NEVER MODIFY A SEAT BY CUTTING HOLES IN IT FOR A HARNESS.
http://www.schrothracing.com/docs/Competition_Instructions.pdf

I bring this up in light of the recall of a tow hook that was just offered for sale, and then very quickly recalled. I guess there was something wrong with the tow hook when its was used to function, not just being attached and fitted to the car, but to actually function as a tow hook.

This makes me see that this product (tow hook)was not tested BEFORE being sold to its trusting customers. That being said, it makes me think even more strongly
(than before) that the sector 111 Elise seat grommets are in the same catagory, tested for fitment only, but never actually tested for their applied usage, which is protecting the user in the event of a wreck.
I am not trying to bash sector 111 with this post, only trying to protect the users of this product(seat grommet), and make them rethink their choice of using it.

This seat grommet in question cost $25, so do you think that low price includes any R+D testing for safety?

Sadly, I do think that this product will ultimately be tested, but it will be done by the end user(customer). I feel its bad enough that this product is being marketed, but you guys buy it instead of protecting yourself with other methods that are more $, and used with sucsess, as well as being safety certified(SFI/FIA)........... But worse, I think that it would be horrible for someone to buy a second hand Elise, that has this modification, and doesnt even know about this subject to trust this product, and take his car to the track and think he is protected, and ultimately find out he is not.

I guess even if a sense of responsibily were to surface, that the seat grommet could also not realistically be recalled, since it would also mean the vendor having to replace the many seats that were modified at the vendors instructions.

I guess being a small corporation in america ultimately protects the owner of the company, personally, from liability, but my concern is for the safety of the user, not the reputation of a vendor that would do no wrong according to some.

IMO, these grommets should be removed from the market place, and also recalled until they have actually been tested (in a wreck) by someone other than the customer for function, rather than just fitment.

Too many people take simple safety issues very nonchallantly. I am all for driving cars hard on the track, but I am also one who prepares for the unexpected (as best as I can) before it happens, by using equipment that is tested and provides confidence because of it.

If I am wrong about this item, I will publically appologize to the vendor, here on this site.

I just want people to think about their choices in their approach to safety modifications. You do get what you pay for most cases in life.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,322 Posts
If it can possibly save a life, i see no problems with Fishguy's concerns and I do realize this issue has been discussed before but we are talking about life here gentlemen.
Too many do-gooders are worried about other people's lives, and not worried enough about their own.
Caveat emptor.
 

·
Supporting Vendor
Joined
·
4,457 Posts
Please look at the back of an Elise & Exige seat for clarity. Note that our grommets are designed to be placed in the same area that Lotus places their Exige holes. Also please note that the central spine, on both seats, is what provides the strength and rigidity to the seat. This spine does not get cut with our grommets - keeping the strength intact.
 

·
Supporting Vendor
Joined
·
4,457 Posts
Pictures of the seat backs (Elise on the left & Exige on the right) and areas that get cut:
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,094 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Shinoo, for arguments sake, lets say your hypothisis is sound;

look at the amount of material that is left on the lateral portion of the seat near the side hole after this is cut out, there is very little material left. what happens when this part shears laterally, and the occupant is launched out of the seat because the harness now slips right off their shoulders.


Have you read (carefully)what schroth says about modifying seats for a harness in thier installation guide?

I know you have a guy who says its OK, but how can there be such conflicting info coming from the same manufacturer?

the stock Elise seat is a plastic POS to begin with, but to make modifications on it like this and "improve it" to accomadate a harness, are you kidding me?


so shinoo, do YOU use this set up to track your car or drive it around on the street? please answer honestly

also, please share the test results from the pre sales testing that i am sure that you did with this product which is important since its a safety product.

its not a stupid tow hook that rips the rear sub frame off a car the first weekend it was actually field tested; that ( damage to a car) can be easily fixed, this is something that is to protect someones body/life.

show us the test results as to how it performs in an impact. you did test for more than just fitment on the seat didnt you, before sending it of to be marketed?

at least answer that part, has this product even ever been tested, even once, in an impact and verified to perform safely?

I used to have trust and faith in your products, but this seat grommet is a loser.
The fact that when the 4tress harness bar was discovered to be the wrong height for about %90 of the end users that you simply put it on clearance, not saying anything about the recommended height of the person who should be using this particular bar on your website(again, a safety product designed to save people in a wreck, not injure them further) you lost my confidence completely.

please show me the test results from the pre product R+D on the seats, and that this is in fact a safe item, and i will appologize to you, if you cannot give any data, other than "a guy told you it should be OK", then you should take it off the market.

tyger, thanks for the input and writing
"Too many do-gooders are worried about other people's lives, and not worried enough about their own.
Caveat emptor
."
Fair enough;
I also worry about my own safety, which is why i spend the money for a proper seat, use a H+N restraint, and do the installation per the manufacturers directions, and dont cut corners with these items.

I am not wishing to do harm to sector 111, or shinoo, I am just saying that if you are going to market items that are safety related, you better be darned sure that they work, prior to selling them to your customers.

People see this item and think, hey, here is the cheap solution to my seating needs in the Elise, and dont realize that they are now the crash test dummy with this item.
maybe if this item were sold as "AX mod only, and the seats are not to be used for street driving after having this mod done", that might be a way to approach this.
I have heard the argument that "no club would allow this seat out on the track anyway..........."well that is wrong, i know a club here in my state that has no tech, you just show up and run what you got, no belts are inspected, nothing.
is this item really worth the $25 that it sells for, and the implications it has towards customer safety?
I imagine that if we were talking face to face that i could convince you, just as those at the track were able to convince you to recall the tow hook, though i heard it took a lot of screaming in your face to make you listen.
I understand that an internet forum isnt the best venue to do this, but its the only avenue that i have at my disposal
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,366 Posts
the stock Elise seat is a plastic POS to begin with
Then where is your post to Lotus telling them that they should take their car off the market until they prove that their seat is the safest seat in the whole world? :rolleyes:

Josh, we get that you feel like the seat grommets are not safe enough for you. Well, guess what, you don't use them! (Or even drive a Lotus for that matter.) Others don't feel that way. The theoretical loss of structural rigidity is MORE than made up for by the increased retention ability of a harness system for those people.

Need I remind you again, you take risks that other people would consider unacceptable (you race an open wheel car without a full cage), but you are O.K. with them. How would you feel if someone who didn't even have an open wheel car kept posting about how formula fords should be pulled from the market until they have a full cage and enclosed wheels? :shrug:

Obviously Shinoo didn't crash a car to test seat grommets. And he's not going to. And I think that anyone who purchases seat grommets doesn't expect the manufacturer of seat grommets to crash a car to test a $25 grommet. You think otherwise... and we all get that. We got it the first 200 times you mentioned it. It's there for people to find. Why do you feel it necessary to make yet another post with the same exact content?

I know you have a guy who says its OK, but how can there be such conflicting info coming from the same manufacturer?
You are not a stupid guy, but I'm frankly amazed at this question as it reeks of ignorance. Obviously what a company has to say in printed literature for a general audience is much different from what they know to be right in a specific case.

And, for the record, I do know of someone who put his car into a wall while using the seat grommets in modified Elise seats and he walked away from the event as did his passenger. Amazing! (For Josh at least, but for anyone with common sense... it was a little obvious.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
100 Posts
Then where is your post to Lotus telling them that they should take their car off the market until they prove that their seat is the safest seat in the whole world? :rolleyes:

Josh, we get that you feel like the seat grommets are not safe enough for you. Well, guess what, you don't use them! (Or even drive a Lotus for that matter.) Others don't feel that way. The theoretical loss of structural rigidity is MORE than made up for by the increased retention ability of a harness system for those people.

Need I remind you again, you take risks that other people would consider unacceptable (you race an open wheel car without a full cage), but you are O.K. with them. How would you feel if someone who didn't even have an open wheel car kept posting about how formula fords should be pulled from the market until they have a full cage and enclosed wheels? :shrug:

Obviously Shinoo didn't crash a car to test seat grommets. And he's not going to. And I think that anyone who purchases seat grommets doesn't expect the manufacturer of seat grommets to crash a car to test a $25 grommet. You think otherwise... and we all get that. We got it the first 200 times you mentioned it. It's there for people to find. Why do you feel it necessary to make yet another post with the same exact content?


You are not a stupid guy, but I'm frankly amazed at this question as it reeks of ignorance. Obviously what a company has to say in printed literature for a general audience is much different from what they know to be right in a specific case.

And, for the record, I do know of someone who put his car into a wall while using the seat grommets in modified Elise seats and he walked away from the event as did his passenger. Amazing! (For Josh at least, but for anyone with common sense... it was a little obvious.)
:clap:
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,592 Posts
Fish, I appreciate your concern for proper safety mods and am considering adding a proper seat and harness into my car next year for the LCS if I'm financially able to participate in it. So I like being able to come here and research my options. I for one appreciate your passion on the topic.

Please don't take my question the wrong way, it's really just a question.

The harness manufactures recommend never modifying a seat by cutting it to put in harnesses. This I can certainly understand. However do to the fact that over 99% of factory seats out there are made of foam and springs I can certainly see this recommendation and how the spine could easily be compressed if someone had harnesses going through that type of seat. To my knowledge the factory Elise/Exige seat is the only factory seat I've seen of it's kind that is of similar construction to many race seats with a solid plastic back. Since that is the case, I wonder what the harness manufactures think about being used in this kind of strength. For some reason would it be significantly less strong than the factory Exige seat to have the inserts cut into an Elise seat? Is the Exige seat of inadequate strength to be used with racing harnesses in case of an accident? (I'm sure the crash testing is done with the factory harnesses, not race harnesses, but if someone knows of a test otherwise please point it out to me/us)

I'm not trying to argue, just asking since some of you are clearly more researched on this than I.

Also I'm slowly thinking about what solution I would put in my car next year if I'm able to do more track events. I really don't want to cut my seats anyway, but is there a reason why swapping in Exige seats would be less than adequate? What is the most reasonably priced proper solution that still looks decent? I have no problem either doing it right or not doing it at all, but I certainly don't have the funds if my only option to not actually reduce my safety is going to be several thousand dollars.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,094 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
look at the size of the holes that the grommet for the Elise seat makes, and how restricitve it is on the harness, and look at the size of the holes on the exige seats and how they will not restrict the harness when in motion...........


I brought this up again to show that IMO, this item is about as well thought out as the tow hook was, "it fits, lets sells it" that tow hook lasted less than 1 month.
the result of the tow hook was a bent up car, this item has far worse consequences.

the funny thing about this forum is the diverse group that is here;
street racers, AX guy, canyon carvers, some racers, they are all here.

I bet if i posted the seat grommet on one of my forums that is frequented by racers, it would be laughed at and have so many remarks about its design etc that the poster would never want to come back on the forum.

I think the disgust for my opinion on this subject is now more about the messenger, and not the message.

the product is designed for the ignorant.

it sells for one reson, because its been made, and someone will sell it.

its like george costanza pitching the idea of a TV show about nothing to NBC.
when asked why will people watch a show about nothing
he replys, because its on TV.
I guess he and this vendor are correct.

can someone post some after shots of the installation of this for me, maybe both with and without the person seated in it.
I think it would be interesting to post this on 2 other forums that i have in mind, and see what the reaction is.
bear in mind, these forums are populated by people who have been racing for a long time.
I predict the product would be laughed off these internet IP addresses.

RichS,
I would think the tow hook could work some of the time as well, not fail every time, but the consequences of the seat gromment failure would be much more catasrphic than a tow hook. also, thanks for verifying that there are clubs, other than the one here in my state, that would be stupid/careless enough to let someone out on track with this item as their restraint.

Rich, the fact that you (likely) run with that club doesnt do much for your arguments on safety.

RichS wrote;
"Need I remind you again, you take risks that other people would consider unacceptable (you race an open wheel car without a full cage), but you are O.K. with them. How would you feel if someone who didn't even have an open wheel car kept posting about how formula fords should be pulled from the market until they have a full cage and enclosed wheels? "
well rich,
I already know the feeling (well), i am arguing the merits of track safety with a majority of people who are showing they dont have much of a true concern from what i am reading.

to the guys who feel so strongly about this item, go take the car with your cut up seats out to the tracks. its those who are thinking of how to better enhance their safety that i am reaching out to, the ones with some common sense, which doesnt seem to be so common sometimes.

to me the seat gromet is a no brainer..........in so many ways

the picture with the smaller guy (white tee shirt), shows how the holes must be aligned correctly, and there is not much room for error not sure what harness bar this one depicts.

the other picture with the bigboy wearing the googles..........enough said, that set up is a joke. look at what would happen to the seats if the harness was used.

a proper seat has a much larger hole that allows for the harness to move w/o being impeded by the seat............as designed.

ok, now for the small body.
the lady wendy depicted in the seat is most likely smaller than any guy here.
on her, the angles look close, but happens when her body gets contorted in the impact, and her torso lengthens from the gforces. then her asm lets go, and her body moves some more......... will that seat with those tiny holes hold the harness?

let hope none of this ever gets tested.

thanks for the loan of the pictures you 3. you should be covered in yellow, and have impact points on your body , like the other crash test dummies have.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Obviously Shinoo didn't crash a car to test seat grommets. And he's not going to. And I think that anyone who purchases seat grommets doesn't expect the manufacturer of seat grommets to crash a car to test a $25 grommet. You think otherwise... and we all get that. We got it the first 200 times you mentioned it. It's there for people to find. Why do you feel it necessary to make yet another post with the same exact content?
+1


Do you own an Esprit? And is your real name Larry M.?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,524 Posts
The manufacturers of safety gear clearly state to NEVER MODIFY A SEAT BY CUTTING HOLES IN IT FOR A HARNESS.
http://www.schrothracing.com/docs/Competition_Instructions.pdf
I don't mean to throw fuel on the fire, but I think Schroth's position is simply a prudent liability stance for them. Wouldn't you do the same in their place? If they stated or implied that a user can safely cut a seat, they would open the door to liability claims from any injured party, including a user who botched the job or chose an unsuitable seat to start with.

On the other hand, Sabelt (who place their harnesses in just as many pro race cars as Schroth) has installation guidelines that allow slotting for anti-substraps, with cautions.

I've looked for guidance from seat manufacturers, but can't find specifics.
I note however, that there are makers who will cut anti-sub slots in any of their seats as an option. I have not found a maker who offers shoulder strap cutouts in any seat back (that is, all the seats with shoulder strap holes that I've seen are designed that way, not cut down from a non-harness design).

Shinoo's argument about the strength of the seat back spine is pretty convincing... but not convincing enough to me to ensure that anti-whiplash protection is definitely not compromised. So I would not cut shoulder strap holes in my seats. I do think that a user can, with care, prudently add an anti-sub slot to a seat with no loss of safety margin. I base that opinion on the facts that seat manufacturers (and the UK Lotus Trim Shop) do so, and at least one respected harness manufacturer allows it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
284 Posts
Without crash testing, nobody can say whether or not the seats are significantly weaker with the cutouts. Although the spine of the seat is not cut by using the grommets, the fact is that Lotus' design for the Exige seat is different and they did not do the same thing as Sector111's provides for.

Look at the part of the seat that surrounds the cutouts, it's wider on the Exige than the Elise. Now that could simply have been done to allow for a wider opening or structurally it improves the head support. I don't know, and nobody on here does either.

It may be as safe, it may be less, nobody knows. I chose to get a seat that was designed with harness cutouts, but that's just me.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,339 Posts
I guess we all take apparent risk. I'm sure all of us have taken just as big of a risk changing lanes late to make an exit. The only way to know how safe the seat really is to either model them and do FEA on them or actually put them thru stress test. Anyone want to volunteer a seat?

Also, I say you post this question in a forum of Engineers, not race car drivers. They don't know any better then anyone else on this forum. You'll just get a bunch of un-educated guesses as you do here. But then again, as an engineer, anything I say is an educated guess. I don't even know and that's my career.

And for my last comment, I'm a mechanical engineer who does FEA with ANSYS and COSMOS once and a while. I am always surprised by results I get on stress and deformation test. Looking at the difference in seats and thinking about if the grommet holes have an effect. I couldn't say what would happen and think I would have more experience then most here. It also depends on how the holes are cut, when you don't have clean cuts and jagged edges, you introduce stress risers which may cause the plastic to have a high stress conenctration area and would be more pronounce to failure. But then again, maybe Lotus or whomever design the seats over-designed them with some crazy saftey factor and nothing may happen. Like I said, I no one can tell by looking. You would be surprised.

Oh, and fishguy, I don't personally know you and I understand you concern and need to educate people on safety. But how do you qualify as a person of safety. I don't think i't cool to drop the dime as you did on the company who provides the grommets without an incedent or proof thay they are unsafe. You just assume they are. I do too, to a degree, but you don't know for sure. Do you work for the DOT or something? I'm just looking at both sides of the story here. I agree with RichS though. There is no need to keep slandering the company. You have many post on this topic and I'm sure anyone looking to do this mod will find many of those post.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,094 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Oh, and fishguy, I don't personally know you and I understand you concern and need to educate people on safety. But how do you qualify as a person of safety. I don't think i't cool to drop the dime as you did on the company who provides the grommets without an incedent or proof thay they are unsafe. You just assume they are. I do too, to a degree, but you don't know for sure. Do you work for the DOT or something? I'm just looking at both sides of the story here. I agree with RichS though. There is no need to keep slandering the company. You have many post on this topic and I'm sure anyone looking to do this mod will find many of those post.
fair enough, and thanks for the thoughtful post macdady.

I dropped the dime as you put it because i see a history of (lack of)testing products that is as follows.

1) the lidbone, went out to market, found out that it couldnt do the job as advertised, then had an upgrade sold after the fact. shows me not much testing prior to being sent out to market

2) the 4tress harness bar was sold and then placed on clearance when it was determined (by someone other than the vendor)that it was not the correct height for most end users and was not safe. no problem with that except that this info that it was not the right height for most people was never mentioned when put on clearance...........makes me think the seller does not care about the SAFETY of the end user, and is more concerned with the bottom line in business. again also not much testing in its applied use other than it fit into the car, and not in its intended usage.

3) the tow hook, epic failure in its first outing. again doesnt show much in the way of testing before being approved to be sold.

4) the seat grommet issue i bring again seeing this pattern of 'behavior"

I dont really care about items #1, or #3, as it just a car that gets damged in a failure, but items #2, and #4 are safety for a person, and IMO, its just not cool to be peddling this crap w/o a concern for the end user.

my qualifications are none more than seeing guys wadding their cars every weekend when i am racing. most just walk away, but i do see guys getting choppered out to the hospital. the last one i watched have that happen didnt even have any padding on his cage, and the car did pass tech. he hit his head so hard, he was sleeping at the wheel when help arrived.
I have also crashed my cars, though as bad as things i have witnesses, but it gives me RESPECT for what i am doing, and the forces that happen when retrained.
IMO, one doesnt have to be an expert with a degree. just having things happen to oneself, and seeing things that happen around you is an equally good way to become educated when you are tuned in.
I ask questions as to why something is good or bad when its presented as a rule at the track.

I do know that you do not want the holes in a seat to be able to bind up the harness. lets forget all the other arguments against the seat grommets, those holes are way to small and restrictive. lok at the size of the hole compared to the exige seats. that alone should be the end of the issue. look at the pictures in my post above, the woman is small, the teeshirt guy looks average, and the holes are obviosly mispalced, and then the bigboy in the seat is,.............well he is a projectile waiting to happen when those seats let go under the strain of the harness.

i am NOT slandering the company, i am bringing to attention this product, and since I am being pressed, i am showing a history of poor designs going to market that are flawed.
this one bothers me to no end, because someone is going to end up hurt.
this product is a joke.
I understand its a good intentioned solution, but its not the approach to take with this type of item. save that for the lidbones, and tow hooks where is an easily fixed car that gets hurt, not a person.

so when this company emphasises a high standard of quality in its products i applaud them. i want to beleive them, but does this seat grommet, and its applied use, show a "high quality of standard"?

do i, or anyone else, need to be a PHD to see this?
c'mon people wake up and look at this item.


RichS, since you seem to love this item so much, how about i buy one for you as long as YOU promise to use it for your trackdays. you said the group you run with allows it out there:crazyeyes.

I will buy it for you as long as you show me proof that it is you driving the car with it, at all your trackdays.

I also noticed that the seller of this item is doing TT with the LCS. my question was never answered , do the seller of this item use it himself while he is tracking his car?

I would even be happy if there were just a large disclaimer on the website, and sent to all those who have bought this thing in the past saying NOT to use it on the track ever, or the street, or for anything other than AXing.

remember, just because someone is/isnt qualified on paper, that does not mean that they do, or do not know what they are talking about.

I underlined the last part of the quote because this assumes that everyone who owns a lotus is on this site, this isnt even close to the truth, so just because its posted on this site, it doesnt mean anything in reality for the end user.

i guess with my list of #1-3 it might look like i am attacking the vendor( I am not), but since i am being pressed so hard by so many, i decided to show the events that opened my eyes up.


RichS,
let me know about the set of grommets, and if you take me up on the offer, i need a way to know that i can verify that you are using them at all your trackday events.
i will then pay for this item for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,117 Posts
Look at the part of the seat that surrounds the cutouts, it's wider on the Exige than the Elise. Now that could simply have been done to allow for a wider opening or structurally it improves the head support. I don't know, and nobody on here does either. .
its done to allow a greater range of fit. you want the belts at the specified angle, not binding through the hole, and everyone is a different size. so, the bigger holes allow for fit of a greater range of people sizes.

i am not getting into this argument - but the aftermarket holes would need to be placed i nthe best possible position for the particular user - that is - they would be in a different place in the seat for different sized people.

i do agree with fishguy's reccomendation that they should be should with a disclaimer - "verify the safety of altering manufacturers seats, all safety equipment should be installed by experainced installers, check harness manufacturer reccomnedations, bla bla bla, cya..." in the end its up to individuals to decide for themselves, i mean.. after all.... have you seen some of the stuff in vintage race cars?!?!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
538 Posts
I've heard both Nick Adams and Roger Becker state in public that modifying an Elise seat (cutting holes) for harness belts is not recommended at all and they'd never drive in a car that has it. I remember 2-LOGS ago one of the Lotus field engineers had to inspect vehicles before going out to the track and cars with seat grommets were NOT signed off by him. I like sector 111 and their owner however, it makes me wonder if it were someone else, would people still be this lackadaisical about it. :shrug:
 
1 - 20 of 40 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top