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Manufactured By: Schroth
Website: N/A
Application: All E46 Models

Want a harness and don't want to really alter the car? Don't have race seats or roll bar? No problem. Schroth Rally 4 clip in 4 point harness addresses all of these problems.

Why does one need a harness? Well, hopefully not to try to keep up with the ricer crowd of harness equipped cars that never see the track but sport colorful and "racy" harnesses to match their 3 foot high wings. A harness does a few things. For one, it helps keep you in your driving position without having to use the car's controls as bracing points during high G maneuvers. The other issue is safety - a well designed harness should provide better protection in case of an accident - I am hardly qualified to opine on the safety aspects of any harness system so I will leave the reader on his/her own there.

My primary reason for spending the dough and taking the time to install the harness is Auto-X. I simply got sick of being tossed around the car when on course. I did not want to go the hard core roll bar and racing seat route in my M since it is a daily driver and one of the main reasons for buying the car in the first place is that it is the epitome of civilized aggression and I don't want to lose any of the civilized parts. Even with my adjustable width seats I could not get myself strapped in securely enough so that I did not get tossed around and had to resort to bracing myself on the steering wheel - not good.

The installation of the harness is pretty straight forward and takes less than an hour. The completed installation leaves only 2 tell-tale signs of the harness: A connecting tab on the shoulder belt rail is visible as is the connecting tab for the second rear attachment point (it can be fairly effectively hidden under the rear shoulder belt). The harness is available in a number of colors so getting something that is close to your interior color should not be overly hard.

Once the connections are installed, clipping in the harness takes less than a minute. The rear section slides through the opening between the front seat's headrest supports and clips into driver's side rear passenger's lap belt and to the connection point installed at the rear seat's side bolster. The front of the harness (lap belt) simply attaches to the new connecting point on the left and to the factory seat belt latch on the right.

Once snapped in first time adjustment does take a bit and my experience is that its best to tighten down the lap belt section of the harness first and then to adjust the shoulder belts. Just like the old trick for pre-tensioning the regular seat belt - it is a good idea to move the seat about an inch back, get things in place and then move it back forward to your driving position - makes things very nice and snug.

My driving impressions of auto crossing with the harness on are excellent. It does exactly what I want it to do: That is it keeps me planted in my seat, period. Even during a spin at around 60mph I did not get jostled out of position (at least physically) at all. I would definitively not skimp on the optional shoulder pads - get them! The belts on the harness are not overly wide and they will bother the driver's chest, shoulders and neck without the additional nicely padded pads. Additionally the quality of construction is excellent on all items involved.

I do have a few gripes about the harness. This big one (well maybe not) is that the rear attachment point has a small plastic clip that rattles when the harness is out of the car. This is generally annoying but easily solved with a rubber band wrapped around the clip. The other gripe is that because it is a 4 and not 5 point harness the lap belt has a tendency to ride up a bit. This can also be solved but it takes a bit of trial and error to get the lap belt adjusted down in such a way that it is comfortably snug and that the shoulder belts are snug as well without pulling up on the lap belt.

Overall the Schroth harness is great. Driving now does not involve hanging on to the steering wheel for dear life. Being planted in the seat allows you to concentrate on your line and thus cut your times. As I said above I have no idea if it actually makes driving the car safer and honestly that is not my first concern. SCCA does have a series of rules regarding harness installation for Solo events (track) but is more lenient in regard to Solo II events (auto cross). Keep in mind that some tracks require that your car has "equal restraints" for both the driver and the passenger meaning that at some tracks you will not be able to use your driver's side harness if you do not also install the same harness for the passenger (Schroth also makes a passenger side model of this harness).

Hope this has been at least somewhat helpful…

Schroth Harness w/Pads

Rear Attachment Points

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