How-To Replace A Wilson Umpire Chest Protector Harness with a Force3 or Delta FlexJan 12th, 2016
You've read about the benefits of replacing your umpire chest protector harness if yours is no longer snug and/or is sagging.
Here's how to replace it, focusing on the Wilson Gold or Platinum.
Before getting started, turn your chest protector over and take a good look at how your current harness is threaded. You will basically be using the same setup using the Force3 or Delta Flex harness with a few exceptions.
Chest Protector Top Strap Removal
First, remove your harness from your chest protector by unthreading the top connection points. Set the threadable plastic rectangular strap holders to the side as you will need those later.
Chest protector side strap removal
Second, unthread the old harness from the metal buckles. You will need those metal buckles to put on your new harness as the plastic ones on the Force3 or Delta Flex have no place to connect to the Wilson Chest Protector. The buckles are left/right specific so it's best to set each to the side from where it originated.
NEW Harness side buckles removal
Third, take your new harness and unthread the Force3 or Delta Flex plastic side buckles. You will not need them.
New harness into top of chest protector
Fourth, thread the two top straps of the Force3 or Delta Flex into your umpire chest protector by first inserting each strap through each small strap holder you set aside previously (up one side then down the other), then into each connection point on the CP itself and lastly threading excess strap back into the strap holders (up through one side and back down through the other).
New harness into sideS of chest protector
Fifth, thread the elastic straps of the Delta Flex on the sides into the metal buckles from the old harness paying particular attention to which metal buckle fits which side (Looking at the back of the CP, the insert faces outward and downward).
The fifth part is the step that you can easily struggle with. The key is to look at how your Wilson buckles were threaded to your old harness before removing. Then, realizing the System Seven straps are thinner, you need to take one additional step to ensure your straps will not come out of the buckles when you stretch it to strap yourself in.
Detalied steps for part 5 are:
- Thread your strap up through the largest opening.
- Thread your strap down the next opening. (see photo in step #3)
- Thread your strap up through the last opening.
- Thread your strap back over to the large opening.
- The additional step (not used on your old Wilson harness): Thread the strap back over to the opposite opening. To do this, it helps to pull the strap tight around the current harness threading to provide enough room to fit what will be two layers of straps into this smaller opening. Pull the strap tight. This step may only be necessary with the Delta Flex harness, not the Force3 as the elastic is slightly thicker on the latter.
The 6th Step is to to thread the remaining strap into the plastic buckle going under the first opening then down the second. This will help you keep any remaining strap under control.
Below is what this looks like when buckled.
To make any adjustments to the side straps, go in reverse on the steps above until you unthread just one strap in the metal buckle. This step provides enough slack to pull the buckle down the strap to tighten or up the strap to loosen. Then, go back to step 5 within the 5th overall step and work you back down.
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About the Author
President Jim Kirk
Jim is a leading expert, educator and author on umpire gear, safety & appearance. After playing baseball at Centre College, he worked as a high school umpire. He became involved in E-Commerce while working on an MBA in the early 2000s and bought Ump-Attire.com in 2006, He eventually led it to the leading umpire gear & attire retailer worldwide and a “Best Places to Work in Louisville” honor in 2020 & 2021. He maintains long-standing relationships with Minor League Baseball Umpire Development & Training Academy and the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO). He serves as an adviser to UMPS CARE Charities, the charity of MLB umpires, served as a 2-term board of director from 2012-2018, and was named their 2015 Ambassador Award recipient. A supporter since the inception of the Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy, he was named to their Board of Directors in 2020.