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Thread: Cairns Leather helmet modifications????

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    Default Cairns Leather helmet modifications????

    For the record, I did a search and came up with nothing that answered my questions.

    I have heard and read the the biggest complaint about the New Yorker and Sam Houston was that they rode too high on the head. Then I read an easy fix is to remove the rachet system. My question is, after removing the rachet system from the helmet, is the fit of the helmet still at all adjustable? How is the rachet system removed or is it pretty self explainatory when looking at the system(I don't yet have the helmet)? Last one, anything else one can do to improve the fit of the helmets?


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    Forum Member BFDNJFF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cashton
    For the record, I did a search and came up with nothing that answered my questions.

    I have heard and read the the biggest complaint about the New Yorker and Sam Houston was that they rode too high on the head. Then I read an easy fix is to remove the rachet system. My question is, after removing the rachet system from the helmet, is the fit of the helmet still at all adjustable? How is the rachet system removed or is it pretty self explainatory when looking at the system(I don't yet have the helmet)? Last one, anything else one can do to improve the fit of the helmets?
    If my memory serves me i think the new ones come with ccushions you can stick in the helmet to make a better fit, and i think there is still the band on the inside that is adjustable, I took my ratchet system off because it does not fit as well for me. The reason it sits so high is there is a cushion in the direct center that the old ones did not have. Now with that you make your own decisions.

    Someone else may be able to shed more light on the subject.



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    Quote Originally Posted by BFDNJFF
    "And now sit back and listen to all the people yell about MODIFICATIONS to gear and eqipment"
    Yeah, I figured that would come.

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    MembersZone Subscriber tunkleahterhead's Avatar
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    Here is a link to a thread I started a few years ago when I was having the same problem hope it helps http://forums.firehouse.com/showthread.php?t=40912
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    If it is too big, get some foam weather stripping and put it in strategic places in the helmet. The newer helmets aren't as good as the old ones. The pre-MSA helmets were definitely better.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PuffyNPFD
    If it is too big, get some foam weather stripping and put it in strategic places in the helmet. The newer helmets aren't as good as the old ones. The pre-MSA helmets were definitely better.
    That is what I understand, the older ones being more comfortable. What is the last year that the helmets were made in the old style?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tunkleahterhead
    Here is a link to a thread I started a few years ago when I was having the same problem hope it helps http://forums.firehouse.com/showthread.php?t=40912
    Yeah, that seems like really good info. Now, how about the adjustability after taking out the rachet system? Is it still somewhat adjustable or does it need some "fabrication" to get it to fit tight?

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    Forum Member BFDNJFF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cashton
    Yeah, that seems like really good info. Now, how about the adjustability after taking out the rachet system? Is it still somewhat adjustable or does it need some "fabrication" to get it to fit tight?
    dont forget you want it to fit tight with hood and mask on not so much before hand
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    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    I removed the ratchet system and the pad that sits in the center of the webbing in the center of the helmet, and pryed up the copper trim ring to remove the ear flaps!! Its all self explanatory.

    Say what you want, it fits much better now!!
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    Sounds good. Thanks everyone for your responses.

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    So along the same lines. . .
    The sizing (Medium or Large) refers to the size of the helmet if the ratchet is taken out? I wear a size 7 3/8 ball cap, and the Cairns/MSA website says the Sam Houston Medium is up to 7 1/2. Therefore I am guessing that I should go ahead and go with the medium, even though I am close in size to the large? (Then I will look at the above instructions in reference to removing the ratchet, etc to customize the fit.)
    I hope that was clear. I have a Conway leather now, but am in need of a new one and am making the switch. . .

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    just out of curiosity, if you remove the ratchet system, doesn't that mean any impact that the helmet sustains will be directly transmitted to your head at the point of impact?

    or to rephrase, does the ratchet system provide any additional protection to your head, and if you remove it, are you putting yourself at greater risk for injury if something impacts your helmet?
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    Forum Member BFDNJFF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrParasite
    just out of curiosity, if you remove the ratchet system, doesn't that mean any impact that the helmet sustains will be directly transmitted to your head at the point of impact?

    or to rephrase, does the ratchet system provide any additional protection to your head, and if you remove it, are you putting yourself at greater risk for injury if something impacts your helmet?

    i dont believe so the ratchet actualy is only there to tighten the back neck area up and imo sits to low on the neck and is irritating.
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    Hey Has anyone removed the inner webbing inside of your helment? I removed the pad and rachet but it seems to still set kind of high. Just curious if anyone had ever removed the webbing and what was the results?

    Thanks!

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    If you remove the webbing, then the shell sits right on your noggin. That's not only VERY uncomfortable, but it also removes an element of shock absorption that has been in those helmets for many, many years, including the classic 5A.

    I removed ratchet, the crown cushion, and the rubber ring inside the liner (that rubber is crap and falls apart anyways). I roll the ear flaps outward, away from the center of the helmet, then I tuck them slightly inside when I put the helmet on. Not all the way, or the rolled up flaps get between the top of my head and the suspension, making the helmet ride high and loose. In this manner, the helmet fits lower on my head without a hood, and very snugly. With a hood, I unroll the ear flaps, and the hood makes up for the flaps. The helmet rides a little higher, but still snug. The higher ride height is necessary with a facepiece on to keep the front of the helmet from pushing down on the mask and breaking the seal.

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    Footrat summed it up well. Do NOT take the webbing out the helmet. You will render your helmet useless for impact protection. Cairns sells foam pad kits for less then $10.00 that are designed to adjust the fit on your head.

    I understand that a lot of people like the look of a helmet that rides low, but you should never compromise safety to look cool. The factory webbing suspension makes the helmet sit right where it should be to allow clearence for a mask. If the helmet sat any lower you would have to tilt the helmet back when wearing a mask.

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    Several guys on my dept have hacked up their leathers. Most have completely removed the ratchet system and taken a razor blade to the ear flaps to remove them. Without exception they regret it, especially after seeing how I simply slit the center pad and removed the foam pad instantly dropping the helmet a .25 to .50 inch. I leave the ratchet wide open. Maybe its my head but its completely out of the way that way yet i can still crank it down and keep it secured when needed. Guys seem to not know how to stow the ear flaps so they cut them off. I just tightly rolled them outward and took an iron and ironed them down. Now they stay rolled up and the of the way. I'd be very leery of doing to much to a leather as the N5a is already non NFPA compliant and hacking them up gives shiny badges all the more incentive to order them off the line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cashton View Post
    For the record, I did a search and came up with nothing that answered my questions.

    I have heard and read the the biggest complaint about the New Yorker and Sam Houston was that they rode too high on the head. Then I read an easy fix is to remove the rachet system. My question is, after removing the rachet system from the helmet, is the fit of the helmet still at all adjustable? How is the rachet system removed or is it pretty self explainatory when looking at the system(I don't yet have the helmet)? Last one, anything else one can do to improve the fit of the helmets?
    i have a new yorker and i found it rode high on my head too but the ratchet system has nothing to do with how high or low the helmet rides. the ratchet simply tightens to the back of your head. the way to remedy a high riding helmet is to untie the lace thats laced on the brown flap around the inside of the helmet. the tighter you make it, the higher it rides. i just untied mine completely and my head rests on the suspension straps now.

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    Forum Member LT.Chouinard's Avatar
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    I took the ratchet out, and the foam pad... ill have to try and roll the flaps outward.... thanks footrat
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    Quote Originally Posted by footrat View Post
    If you remove the webbing, then the shell sits right on your noggin. That's not only VERY uncomfortable, but it also removes an element of shock absorption that has been in those helmets for many, many years, including the classic 5A.

    I removed ratchet, the crown cushion, and the rubber ring inside the liner (that rubber is crap and falls apart anyways). I roll the ear flaps outward, away from the center of the helmet, then I tuck them slightly inside when I put the helmet on. Not all the way, or the rolled up flaps get between the top of my head and the suspension, making the helmet ride high and loose. In this manner, the helmet fits lower on my head without a hood, and very snugly. With a hood, I unroll the ear flaps, and the hood makes up for the flaps. The helmet rides a little higher, but still snug. The higher ride height is necessary with a facepiece on to keep the front of the helmet from pushing down on the mask and breaking the seal.
    After your modifications, sounds pretty much the way they were worn back when SCBA first came around, NFPA didn't revise every few years and Cairns still made helmets. (No offense meant, footrat. Just waxing nostalgic.)

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