The FIA 1986 standard is no longer accepted on FIA events and organizations here in North America are starting to follow suit (no pun intended). So, I would avoid buying a used FIA 1986 suit just in case.
Another thing to consider is that the FIA 8856-2000 standard is rumored (I have seen reference to this on third party sites, but don't recall seeing it in the actual FIA specification) to have a 3 year service life, so you may start to see requirements indicating that your suit must be less than 3 years old if it is FIA only. I have not seen any service life aspects mentioned with regards to the SFI standard (yet).
Unless you are really trying to save some cash (in which case you'll probably be looking at SFI only), I'd go with a Nomex suit that is certified for both (FIA 8856-2000 & SFI 3-2A/5) and get it over with.
Yes, if you plan on going down to Mexico and competing in the WRC event down there, you cannot use a FIA 1986 suit. If you are competing in Ramada or Wild West or other FIA listed "International" rallies in the US, you can still use FIA 1986 suits.
Not sure where you got the idea that "North American" sanctioning bodies are going to soon following the FIA lead. This came up in the discussion around the 2005 R-A rulebook and we decided against it. As long as a sanctioning body allows SFI 3/2a-5 suits then it should allow FIA 1986 suits.
SFI 3/2a-5 does not require recertification or expire a given suit, but the higher performance SFI specifications do.
If you are buying safety equipment that you intend to use for a while, you should obviously buy stuff that meets the latest safety spec. If you are looking for something to run a season or two, a used FIA 1986 suit should be OK.
Rally America did pull the FIA 8856-2000 clause from their rule book for this year, but are rumored to be putting it back in for next year. Although, you'd probably know better than I given that you're part of that process, eh.
NASA has the 8856-2000 requirement in their rules, but are not really enforcing it. They are saying "get a new suit before the next event" at the moment. Not sure what they are doing for FIA listed events this year given that the FIA rules mandate that they require 8856-2000 suits.
CARS has avoided the subject all together and will probably continue to do so.
My point is more along the lines of don't buy an 86 suit expecting to be able to use it for the next five years. You might be disappointed. If you do go used, try to get one with an SFI tag on it so you don't have to rely on the FIA certification.
And I do hope you are right. I have an FIA 1986 OMP suit that is still in excellent condition that I'm not looking forward to having to replace.
>My point is more along the lines of don't buy an 86 suit
>expecting to be able to use it for the next five years. You
>might be disappointed. If you do go used, try to get one with
>an SFI tag on it so you don't have to rely on the FIA
I agree with this.
>And I do hope you are right. I have an FIA 1986 OMP suit
>that is still in excellent condition that I'm not looking
>forward to having to replace.
Not me. I have been looking for a reason to get a new suit (as well as a new helmet). I love the light weight of my suit, but the "shiny silver" yellowed very quickly. I really want one of those "Light 300" Sparco suits.
Here is a table of SFI vs FIA1986 vs FIA2000, FIA 2000 is all about meeting new EU rules and basically is no safer than FIA1986, the test are just performed by new rules, infact last I checked every FIA1986 suite tested passed the requirements for FIA2000...
FIA 1986 is still a better suite than SFI as far as saftey goes.