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Old 02-12-2006, 12:38 PM   #1
brycerichert
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helmet clearance in 1999 328i w/power seats and sunroof

Hi.

I'm trying to get things ready for my first go at it with my car in Bremerton in March (posted @ BMWCCA Pugetsound Chapter as well). I'm working on the helmet now.

Seems when I put a helmet on, it bumps the top of the roofline. I've got the seat all the way down. For there to be enough clearance I've got to put the seat back and it seems in an unnatural position for driving. I've got to tilt my head slightly right for clearance. This obviously isn't going to work. Do different helmet types have "thinner" tops than others? Seems even a half inch would help.

I'm just an average size person, about 5' 10.5" and it's a 1999 328i with a sunroof.

Has anyone else dealt with this in an E46? Are there any "adjustments" to the seat I'm probably not aware of to make a helmet work in this car? Has anyone put an aftermarket drivers seat in only when they track or is that a pain? Would an aftermarket seat give me more clearance?

Thanks for any info on this.

Bryce R.
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Old 02-12-2006, 12:51 PM   #2
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Leaning the seat back a little may help
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Old 02-12-2006, 12:59 PM   #3
brycerichert
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I've tried all the obvioius items: seat back, arms stretching further than natural, telescoping the steering wheel, of course the power seat is as low as it will go. I'm just looking to see if anyone else deals with this in a way I overlooked. I'm not tall by any means and I wouldn't think I have that unique of a situation.

thanks.
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Old 02-12-2006, 01:19 PM   #4
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just stick your head out the sunroof
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Old 02-12-2006, 01:24 PM   #5
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My head hits the roof with a helmet on sometimes. What brand helmet do you own? I'm about the same height as you.
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Old 02-12-2006, 04:52 PM   #6
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It's actually a motorcycle helmet with the SA snell 2000 rating. I wonder if they have taller "tops"?
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Old 02-12-2006, 07:24 PM   #7
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You just found out why sunroofs suck. The urban cruising layback position does not lend itself to good driving and is best left to chromey-go-fast Civics. The proper solution involves putting your butt at the right height and position for your torso and arm length.

Manual seats are supposedly an inch lower which may be all you need. Beyond that, you might want to try a good quality aftermarket reclining seat such as a Recaro Speed or SRD. Most clubs require equivalent seats for driver and passenger (instructor) which means you need two racing shells, not one, if you go that route. Seat bottom height of aftermarket seats is highly dependant upon the adpaters and brackets used. I suggest you deal with a local shop that is willing to take back the sea, brackets, and sliders if they do not lower you enough. FWIW, I have dealt with Speedware Motorsports in Redmond with good results.

http://www.speedwaremotorsports.com/
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Old 02-12-2006, 08:45 PM   #8
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I'm in the same boat as you but slightly worse (6'2"). I grabbed a set of used M3 seats hoping they'd sit me lower but no dice I'm resigned to sitting leaning back more than I'd want and having my head against the roof if I want to autocross or track my car.

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Old 02-12-2006, 09:37 PM   #9
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I think I'll be leaning back as well, but I feel like I'm in a ***** when I do it, and for driving, I just don't see how safe it is. I'd think for good driving the body must be in perfect driving position and then good things follow.

It would seem that everyone over 5'11" in an E46 with a sunroof would have this problem if they are running stock. I'm hoping to hear from one person who hasn't run into the problem who is running stock, then I'd ask them what helmet they have, assuming that's the only different variable.

Most promising to this point is the above advice on a Recaro seat; seems it might sit an inch or more lower. But I think it will look kinda goofy driving around with a racing seat because this is my driver as well. Who knows. I'll do the first couple drivers classes at Bremerton and SIR (BMWCCA) and then see where I should proceed from there.

I just can't imagine tilting the seat that far back and tilting my head 5 degrees to the right for clearance, lap after lap after lap.
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Old 02-12-2006, 11:07 PM   #10
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I'm 6'7" and have an 00 328i. Sport and Premium, stock seats. I can sit without being aggrivated by the roof. Perhaps the difference is that I have my seat far enough back that it isn't an issue? I also recline some from my normal driving position, but it's not so much that I can't drive the car. It's not optimal, but maybe the fact that I have long arms may make it possible. I may also slouch some. I do use Schroth 4 pt belts, so once I'm in there isn't much option for me to change position such that I would hit the roof.

I have a G-Force Pro Force 1 helmet, in case you're wondering.

Good luck.
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Old 02-13-2006, 01:30 AM   #11
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I'm imagining that your legs are so long that your seat is farther back, and because the roof line continues up the farther out you get, that you are sufficient space.

Maybe if I put 10" blocks on the pedels???
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Old 02-13-2006, 07:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brycerichert
I'm imagining that your legs are so long that your seat is farther back, and because the roof line continues up the farther out you get, that you are sufficient space.
Exactly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brycerichert
Maybe if I put 10" blocks on the pedels???
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Old 02-13-2006, 07:46 AM   #13
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Nope - no headroom with a helmet on, that's just the way it is. I end up cranking down the Schroths, and scrunching my rear down in the seat to "make" the headroom. I think the only answer is race seats, and not the plush ones either.................
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Old 02-13-2006, 08:27 AM   #14
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I end up cranking down the Schroths, and scrunching my rear down in the seat to "make" the headroom.
That's what I am talking about.
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Old 02-13-2006, 11:39 AM   #15
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6' here with no problems. I have worn a helmet in my 99 328i sport/prem with no problems. I do have the ass of the seat dialed down as far as it will go. Remember good driving position dictates slightly bent knees with the clutch pushed in and the ability to hold the steering wheel without taking your sholders off of the seat back. So don't lean the seat back farther. Perhaps just playing around with the adjustments at home with no pressure will help. I have my DE/autoX seat setting saved in memory spot three on my car so I don't have to mess with it everytime I get to the track.

I am using an open faced Snell 2000 helmet if that helps too.
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Old 02-13-2006, 11:48 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brycerichert
It's actually a motorcycle helmet with the SA snell 2000 rating. I wonder if they have taller "tops"?
If it has an SA rating then its an "automotive" helmet. If it were a Motorcycle helmet it would have an M rating.

Im 5' 10"-11" and I hit the headliner(coupe, power seats) with a helmet on. I just tilt my head a little bit into the sunroof area

PS-I just an M helmet.

Last edited by vaio76109; 02-13-2006 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 02-13-2006, 11:01 PM   #17
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I've got the worst of both worlds, tall torso and short legs. That puts me way forward with my head close to both the windshield and the headliner. In my old Taurus SHO, I used the slightly scrunched down, legs splayed, seatback reclined style. Still binged my head around a little when autocrossing, but not too bad.

Ultimately, the only way to truly solve the problem is either to buy aftermarket seats and mounts, or take the sunroof out. Aftermarket seats (especially ones that are side-mounted) can give you up to several inches extra headroom by mounting the seat lower.

Big investment though.....

-Mirror
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Old 02-18-2006, 10:30 PM   #18
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for once I am glad I am only 5'8. I rub my head when I have my visor open but closed or off I clear with 1/4 of an inch.
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Old 02-19-2006, 12:03 AM   #19
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I am 6'4" with manual seats and have to put my helmet in the sunroof opening but it isn't that bad.

I think it is odd that you are having problems with your height.

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Old 02-24-2006, 06:12 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tim330i
I am 6'4" with manual seats and have to put my helmet in the sunroof opening but it isn't that bad.

I think it is odd that you are having problems with your height.

Tim
It's not an overall height issue. It's a torso height issue (butt to top of head) and arms length. I'm only 5'10", have slightly shorter arms and legs compared to my torso length, and brush the top of my roof with a helmet. It's not quite enough to be annoying, but is noticable. I've got my seat all the way down and at the proper position to work the pedals and reach the wheel. I don't know of any good solution for this one. The steering wheel doesn't telescope as far as I would like, if it did I could angle the seat farther back and avoid the problem

Anyone heard of a telescoping wheel or adjustable pedals mod?
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