Crash Pad Assembly, Care, Use, and Instructions

812 SAM and Temperature


Let it warm up!

812SAM becomes increasingly rigid as its temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, 10 degrees Celsius. It can be broken like a cracker at some point if you try to bend it quickly. Let it warm up and move it slowly as it returns to room temperature. This may be especially critical if just coming out of the shipping box from a cold delivery truck. This characteristic does not change the high-speed impact absorption capabilities or performance in a significant way. However, if you are using your Crash Pad in cooler/colder temperatures, you may wish to exercise caution by keeping it in a warmer area prior to installing it and strapping in.  You'll learn that even when using your Crash Pad in cooler/colder temperatures, that it quickly absorbs your body heat, helping to mitigate the rigidity.


812SAM is an open cell material. It will absorb water, mud, and dirt. 812SAM will lose its shock absorbing capabilities if the open cells are filled with material other than air. We advise that you do not use raw 812SAM without some covering - at least a cloth or plastic bag - to keep dirt and water out. 812SAM can be washed out like a sponge - avoid high pressure washing. Due to the small size of the open cells it may take some time for complete cleaning if it has been saturated with mud or dirt. When 812SAM is saturated, squeeze it out slowly against a flat surface. The best way is with a rolling pin, pipe, torsion bar or something similar. The key to the effectiveness of 812SAM is the manner by which it expels  air from its cell structure.  Therefore, total sealing is not recommended, and some venting space is appropriate. Do not place saturated 812SAM over an acute angle object as it may result in tearing of the material.

QUCK INSTRUCTIONS - Fitting to your Seat (Measure your headroom when you are done!)

(See detailed instructions further down)

1. Measure seat width from side to side at the back and front of the bottom.

2. Cut an equal amount from each side of the 812SAM center line to fit to seat width and taper.

3. Place upholstery face up and fold back the top covering.

4. Wiggle 812SAM material into the V and up against the front seam.

5. Center the 812SAM and pull the velcro loop material tight and around the back edge.

6. Pull the top cover tight and velcro the top at the back edge from the center out.

7. Flip the pad, tuck in the corners, and pull the side flaps around the edges. Velcro in place.

8. Follow a similar procedure to assemble the Lumbar or Back Pad. Center the 812SAM to start.

9. Velcro the bottom edge of the Lumbar or Back Pad to the back edge of the bottom. Use the two velcro hook strips to tie the back and bottom together.

10. Remove any foam or rubber from the seat where the Crash Pad rests.

11. Press the Crash Pad into the bare seat as far back as possible.

12. Sit in the seat for a few minutes to conform the Crash Pad to the seat bottom.



812SAM Shock Absorbing Material can be easily cut with a single edge razor blade, sharp extension knife, bread knife, or electric knife. Draw a line with a marker and follow to cut for a clean edge.  Two pieces of thin plywood can also be used to guide your cuts.  This can be especially helpful if making a tapered cut.

Crash Pad Thickness:

The thicker, the better. Take a measurement for roll cage headroom as instructed at the end of installation.

812 SAM                                                    Preload

Raw thickness                                          Thickness with driver seated and belted (typical)

3" best                                                       1.75" +/-

2" good                                                     1.25" +/- 

1" better than nothing                             0.6" +/-

Nothing is asking for trouble                  0.0" 




812SAM Crash Pad kits are all 18" wide when shipped. This allows you to custom fit the Crash Pad to your seat.

Measure from vertical side to side width to determine seat bottom width. Seats are typically wider at the front edge than the rear so measure both and cut to fit that taper. Subtract the measured width from 18" and divide by two to find how much to cut off each side of the V. Example: A 15" measurement would require 1 1/2" to be cut from each side of the 812SAM to keep the V centered. You may wish to acquire your seat width measurements slightly above the seat bottom surface to assure a tight fit.  Use the Typical Preload Thickness Measurements above as a guide for the height to acquire the widths.  Pieces of wood or a book can be used to simulate these thicknesses for width measurements.  Tapers can be cut front to back as well as top to bottom to make your Crash Pad fit your seat like a plug. 

STEP TWO: Length

Generally, you should not need to shorten the front to back length of the material. However, if you have a short seat bottom, you may let the front of the Crash Pad hang over the front of the seat or you can shorten it by cutting 812SAM off the back edge of the bottom pad material.  This insures that the V cut will fill the full depth of the upholstery but may also adversely impact the Velcro loop/hook connection of the Crash Pad back to the Crash Pad bottom at the back edge.  This makes the 4" Velcro hook strips more important to keep the two components connected. 

STEP THREE: Outer Covering

Once you have sized the 812SAM shock absorbing material to the seat bottom, you can insert it into the outer cover. Put the cover on a flat surface with the Velcro loop side down. Fold back the top over material and work the 812SAM all the way up into the V at the front and against the front band seam.


The Velcro is military grade and easily sticks together. Make sure everything is unhooked when you start. Once the 812SAM is in place and centered, pull the Velcro loop material tight and around the back edge to the top surface.

Pull the top cover tight and Velcro in place. Flip the pad, tuck the corners and fold the Velcro hook sides over and around the edges of 812SAM to the Velcro loop bottom.

The corners will have a finished look with edges tucked in and flaps neatly connected to the bottom surface. Check to see that everything is still centered.


The Crash Pad bottom should now be fully wrapped with an inch or so of loop material exposed along the back edge at the top. This is where the seat back or lumbar pad will connect.

STEP FIVE: Lumbar and Back Pad

The lumbar area material is important to allow the pelvis to roll in a nose dive impact while absorbing energy. It also adds comfort to the seat. The first 8" above the bottom pad should always be a minimum of 1" thick. In a full shoulder height back pad, the thickness can be reduced above the lower 8" for comfort, your feel, or position in the seat.

Cut the 812SAM to fit the seat width or try it wider if desired. You can try it at full width and cut it down as needed for the best feel. It will fill in gaps around your rib cage. Now that you have done the tricky bottom, you can follow the same procedure to load the 812SAM into the covering. Make sure the Velcro hook material strip on the smooth side of the outer covering bottom edge is free and not stuck to the Velcro back. This strip will later be used to connect the back to the bottom.

Center the 812SAM material on the inside of the smooth outer covering and fold the loop material over, tuck in the sides, pull the smooth covering flaps over, and Velcro in place. Flip it over, tuck in the corner material, fold the smooth covering flap over the top edge, and velcro in place.

STEP SIX: Installation

Center the lumbar pad over the bottom pad so that the strip of Velcro hook at the bottom edge of the lumbar (or back) pad sets on the edge of the exposed Velcro loop at the rear of the bottom pad and connect both pieces. Two 4" Velcro hook material strips are included to help hold the back to the bottom. These strips can be put on the back edge of the bottom pad, about 4" to 6" apart to reinforce the bottom and back connection. An important function of the back pad is to keep your spine over the 812SAM of the bottom pad component so it may do its job.

We recommend removing any foam, cushioning, or rubber from the seat. That material does not help in an impact and just takes up Crash Pad space. With the pad assembled, just put it in the bottom of the bare seat.

There is seldom a need to mechanically fasten the Crash Pad bottom to the seat. If desired, you may install adhesive backed Velcro hook on the seat bottom. Two 1" Velcro hook strips are supplied for the seat back to hold up the shoulder height back pad that may assist driver entry and exit.

The Crash Pad installation should be made so it is easy to remove when you wash the car.

STEP SEVEN: Measure Headroom

Once you have put the Crash Pad in the seat, put on your helmet, and strap in. Adjust your belts to your new seated height. Buckle up as you normally would. You will preload the 812SAM material some as it compresses and forms to your contours. After you have been belted in for a brief period, have someone measure from the top of the roll cage to the top of your helmet. The typical recommended minimum is 3" clearance. Also, reference the recommended headroom by the car builder and other safety equipment manufacturers.

Preload: When seated and belted in place, 812SAM will preload compress about 40%. That means a 2" pad will be 1 1/4" thick when a 170-pound driver is belted in place. The preload compression will vary with driver weight and other factors.


If you now have insufficient headroom, there are a few things you can do.

1.) Lower your seat. As long as there is seat bottom clearance, remove spacers or lower mounting bars to gain headroom.

2.) If the seat cannot be lowered, you can remove layers of the 812SAM material in the Crash Pad. Remember that the thicker the Crash Pad, the better, but if necessary, you can remove a layer or two and still have some benefit. The thickness and square inches of surface area of the 812SAM are the keys to providing compressible space and shock absorbing capability in an impact. It is better to adjust the seat height than remove material.

3.) Order your next chassis with a tall cage for more headroom.

Crash pad thickness is what it is all about.

812 SAM                                                 Preload

Raw thickness                                       Thickness with driver seated and belted (typical)

3" best                                                    1.75" +/-

2" good                                                   1.25" +/- 

1" better than nothing                           0.6" +/-

Nothing is asking for trouble                0.0"