Lower back pain... STi Seat mod?
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This is a discussion on Lower back pain... STi Seat mod? within the Everyday Impreza Talk forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; I read a while ago about an easy seat mod that people over on iwsti were performing. I'm not sure ...

  1. #1
    Registered User Heide264's Avatar
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    Lower back pain... STi Seat mod?

    I read a while ago about an easy seat mod that people over on iwsti were performing. I'm not sure if this is applicable to WRXs or not - excuse the ignorance.

    Basically, you unzip your seat and undo 3 clips that hold a horizontal wire 'support grid' across the two vertical seat supports. This allows you to comfortably use the seat material and vertical supports to sink back into the seat more. You have more side bolster, and it does not appear to stress the seat (provided you carefully tape over the hooks when unhooked). Some people were fancy and took the whole grid out, some bent the thing and put it back in to make a more 'custom' fit seat.

    So my lower back has always gotten a bit sore when driving my STi. My genetics tend to have some rather unflattering extra 'cushion for the pushin' in the back. I think this combined with the rather firm support in the wrong place in the stock seats causes the slightly muscle strain.

    This past weekend, long story short, I ran into a slight episode of medium leg pain and minor pain above one side of my butt. I have a doctors appointment scheduled on Monday, and it's liveable until then. Just muscle tightness/soreness now. I'm not blaming the STi by any means, but I think I might give this mod a go and see how it feels.

    Has anybody here done this? I don't know how this mod plays nicely with larger 'behinds'. I'm about 5'9" and 175 (in a heavy phase.. normally about 155) for reference. Looking for any experience with it. Even though it's reversible, I don't like to mess with things on my new car that aren't 'broken' (*cough, holes in bushings, *cough).

    Thanks.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trainrex
    He was throwing balloons filled with sulfuric acid and shrapnel at the swat team. They finally had to take him down with rubber bullets.
    2011 STi Build Log
    -Part 1 - Reading, Data Logging, and Analyzing Data
    -Part 2 - Turbocharger 101 & Basic Boost Control
    -Part 3 - EcuFlash, Experimental Defintions, and a Drive By Wire Intro

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  3. #2
    \_(ツ)_/ Rambo's Avatar
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    I'll trade you my bugeye interior for your STI seats!

    Seriously though, I'm 6', ~200 lbs, and the bugeye seats fit me like a glove. I also get lots of lower back pain from work, but the car seats always feel great and are supportive in all the right places.
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    Registered User SamXp's Avatar
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    I struggle with many of the same issues in my 2011 WRX and I think I might try the mod, but only undo the top one, to allow my lower shoulders/lats to push back between the bolsters, but leave some lower lumbar support. I also wish the lower cushion had more rake to spread the load to hamstrings.

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    Registered User Heide264's Avatar
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    Like I said, I'm not blaming the car for the random pain, but my lower back is at least tight after driving for a while. The random pain just was a coincidence, and I notice the seat more now that its sore. I think I have to hold myself straight side to side with it to manipulate the clutch smoothly.

    Most said that removing the top two didn't really do much, but removing all three made a difference. One guy actually took the whole grid out and rebent the rows to different lenghts. I'm not going to even attempt that one, but it may be helpful to sit back a bit.

    I think I'll give it a go. I'll post up a write up similar to the one on IWSTI if I get around to it in the interior mods section. Was just asking if anybody here has done it and their results.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trainrex
    He was throwing balloons filled with sulfuric acid and shrapnel at the swat team. They finally had to take him down with rubber bullets.
    2011 STi Build Log
    -Part 1 - Reading, Data Logging, and Analyzing Data
    -Part 2 - Turbocharger 101 & Basic Boost Control
    -Part 3 - EcuFlash, Experimental Defintions, and a Drive By Wire Intro

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    Registered User 2002SubieWRX's Avatar
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    I too have lower back pain as well as neck pain from a 1+ hour communte to work, sitting at a desk most of the day then another 1+ hour commute home. I did something similar on my '02 but instead of remove the horizontal supports I took two of them out, bent them to give me more lumbar support and put them back in. This made for a more arched seat that followed the contour of the spine better.

    It's really very simple to do. If you find you don't like it, the supports can be bent back. Or if you choose to remove them, they can be re-installed. When I unzipped the seat cover on my driver's seat I found one of the brackets had broken off the seat frame so the middle spring support was already hanging free. I first tried JB Weld but that held until the first time I pushed the clutch in. Then I got serious and busted out the zip ties.

    The bottom of the cover kind of slides together to hold the back of the seat taught. You can undue this as well as the left and right sides to get full access to the seat back. Hope this helps and your back pain goes away!
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    Registered User mudferret's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if this is applicable to your generation of seats, but I unzipped the back of my driver's seat, and stretched the 2 or 3 springs that run laterally across the back. This did allow me to sink in further and get more side bolstering, but it didn't help in any other regard. The seats are just poorly designed, any change made to them will likely sacrifice some other aspect of comfort. It sounds like you need lumbar support rather than side bolster.

    I get back pain occasionally and the only think that's made my seats more comfortable is sitting up as straight as possible, jamming my ghetto booty into the back of the seat. I'm on the slender side however a hair over 6' and about 170.
    ...Rob.
    MMVI WRX - VF43 Airboy Tuned @ 3500'

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    Registered User Heide264's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudferret View Post
    I'm not sure if this is applicable to your generation of seats, but I unzipped the back of my driver's seat, and stretched the 2 or 3 springs that run laterally across the back. This did allow me to sink in further and get more side bolstering, but it didn't help in any other regard. The seats are just poorly designed, any change made to them will likely sacrifice some other aspect of comfort. It sounds like you need lumbar support rather than side bolster.

    I get back pain occasionally and the only think that's made my seats more comfortable is sitting up as straight as possible, jamming my ghetto booty into the back of the seat. I'm on the slender side however a hair over 6' and about 170.
    Same idea =/. I can't tell if its the lack of lumbar, or the fact that I'm using it to keep myself in place (due to lack of side bolstering). I bet I push harder than I should against the seat - that alcantara does a good job gripping you surprisingly =P.

    I think I am gonna give it a go. I think removing that panel might allow me to shove my butt back a bit further, while the 'lumbar' area would still be supportive through the padding and fabric tension. As it is now, the back butt area is very 'supportive'.

    Will post up my results. Worst case it goes back to how it was.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trainrex
    He was throwing balloons filled with sulfuric acid and shrapnel at the swat team. They finally had to take him down with rubber bullets.
    2011 STi Build Log
    -Part 1 - Reading, Data Logging, and Analyzing Data
    -Part 2 - Turbocharger 101 & Basic Boost Control
    -Part 3 - EcuFlash, Experimental Defintions, and a Drive By Wire Intro

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    Registered User Daddy_Digital's Avatar
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    bug eye seats are the best. i went on my first long ditance drive in my 02 wagon and those seats were the best ive ever sat in. maybe u should get a set?

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    The Fruit mangostick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heide264 View Post
    I read a while ago about an easy seat mod that people over on iwsti were performing. I'm not sure if this is applicable to WRXs or not - excuse the ignorance.

    Basically, you unzip your seat and undo 3 clips that hold a horizontal wire 'support grid' across the two vertical seat supports. This allows you to comfortably use the seat material and vertical supports to sink back into the seat more. You have more side bolster, and it does not appear to stress the seat (provided you carefully tape over the hooks when unhooked). Some people were fancy and took the whole grid out, some bent the thing and put it back in to make a more 'custom' fit seat.

    So my lower back has always gotten a bit sore when driving my STi. My genetics tend to have some rather unflattering extra 'cushion for the pushin' in the back. I think this combined with the rather firm support in the wrong place in the stock seats causes the slightly muscle strain.

    This past weekend, long story short, I ran into a slight episode of medium leg pain and minor pain above one side of my butt. I have a doctors appointment scheduled on Monday, and it's liveable until then. Just muscle tightness/soreness now. I'm not blaming the STi by any means, but I think I might give this mod a go and see how it feels.

    Has anybody here done this? I don't know how this mod plays nicely with larger 'behinds'. I'm about 5'9" and 175 (in a heavy phase.. normally about 155) for reference. Looking for any experience with it. Even though it's reversible, I don't like to mess with things on my new car that aren't 'broken' (*cough, holes in bushings, *cough).

    Thanks.
    We're about the same height/weight (I'm a little heavier than you are.. 180-185) .. but we're having similar seat issues. First I want to mention something that jumped out at me.. offset pain issue.. if you drive with your wallet in your back pocket, remove it and leave it in the cup holder. This helped me a lot with lower back pain and was recommended to me by a chiropractor friend. apparently the wallet raises one side of deh rear end and throws off spinal alignment (pinching nerves n other neat bad stuff). That might be contributing to your leg pain too.

    Second, I'm not sure that "less" lumbar support is a good thing? .. I found that the seats in my '10 are a bit tough to get into a good comfy position. I have a 32" inseam and 35" reach.. so for a not so tall guy have long arms n legs (great for boxing.. bad for clothes n seats..). Anyhow, that said I seem to be much more comfy if I keep the seat so that when I depress the clutch I'm not tippy-toeing the pedal when its on the floor.. which will force me to slump in the seat. If I keep the seat one notch forward of that point it keeps my rear back in the seat where it belongs and my back/shoulders lined up better as well. Took me some 50k mi to figure out where the seat feels best.. I've never been a huge fan of "click" adjustment seats anyway since I'm always looking for a notch in between where the notches are. I figure once my seats wear out I'll just save and and buy a really nice set of corbeau's or Recarro's that have better adjustment abilities. .. maybe heaters too
    OBP 2010 5dr *traded*
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    Registered User mudferret's Avatar
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    ^Good point on moving the seat up a notch. I started doing that recently (although not with the intent of alleviating back pain), but it has forced me to have better posture and made the seats more comfortable.
    ...Rob.
    MMVI WRX - VF43 Airboy Tuned @ 3500'

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    Registered User Heide264's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mangostick View Post
    We're about the same height/weight (I'm a little heavier than you are.. 180-185) .. but we're having similar seat issues. First I want to mention something that jumped out at me.. offset pain issue.. if you drive with your wallet in your back pocket, remove it and leave it in the cup holder. This helped me a lot with lower back pain and was recommended to me by a chiropractor friend. apparently the wallet raises one side of deh rear end and throws off spinal alignment (pinching nerves n other neat bad stuff). That might be contributing to your leg pain too.

    Second, I'm not sure that "less" lumbar support is a good thing? .. I found that the seats in my '10 are a bit tough to get into a good comfy position. I have a 32" inseam and 35" reach.. so for a not so tall guy have long arms n legs (great for boxing.. bad for clothes n seats..). Anyhow, that said I seem to be much more comfy if I keep the seat so that when I depress the clutch I'm not tippy-toeing the pedal when its on the floor.. which will force me to slump in the seat. If I keep the seat one notch forward of that point it keeps my rear back in the seat where it belongs and my back/shoulders lined up better as well. Took me some 50k mi to figure out where the seat feels best.. I've never been a huge fan of "click" adjustment seats anyway since I'm always looking for a notch in between where the notches are. I figure once my seats wear out I'll just save and and buy a really nice set of corbeau's or Recarro's that have better adjustment abilities. .. maybe heaters too
    Just a heads up, didn't have time last night. Will try to tonight. Fish tank needs attention though.

    Agreed. I have never been a back pocket wallet guy. Luckily it annoys me and I leave it in my front pocket. Back ones are reserved for butt scratching.

    I move the seat up as well. It helps. Keep the wheel pulled out as far as it will too. It does help.

    After reading through the thread on iwsti, I think the main idea is that it uses the seat fabric and vertical supports as the support, not that metal screen. While it seems like this may reduce lumbar support, it may actually increase it. Say for instance the seat pulls harder in the lumbar area (where the side bolstering starts)... it would only let you move back a half inch from when the screen was in. However, it may allow your butt to move back 2"... hence 'adding' lumbar support. Relative sort of thing.

    I really don't know. It's easy though, so I might as well try it and document it a bit. I will make sure to post up my results and opinions though. Will be interesting. I will make my skinny girlfriend try it as well as my not so skinny taller dad to get an idea from several different body types.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trainrex
    He was throwing balloons filled with sulfuric acid and shrapnel at the swat team. They finally had to take him down with rubber bullets.
    2011 STi Build Log
    -Part 1 - Reading, Data Logging, and Analyzing Data
    -Part 2 - Turbocharger 101 & Basic Boost Control
    -Part 3 - EcuFlash, Experimental Defintions, and a Drive By Wire Intro

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    The Fruit mangostick's Avatar
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    Nice.. yeah if you're motivated to try it def document what you run into. Having my seat a notch forward for the last few days I've been quite happy with it.
    OBP 2010 5dr *traded*
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    My name is Shawn, I'm a Devout Practicalist and I'm addicted to flat4's
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    Registered User Heide264's Avatar
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    Just a quick update. Not quite done with the ordeal.

    I removed the whole screen/grid thingy out of my seat. Was really easy... even for me. The clips are a bit different. Now the bottom one has a heavier duty clip on it.

    It is the opposite of the original seat. Now where it was an outtie, it's an innie. It is not what I want, but it isn't any worse than the original. Perk: Now my butt can slide back so it's under my shoulders. Con: My mid back can slide back so I feel like a hunchback. I need the 'bump' or firm part a few inches higher than it is normally I have decided after flipping seats a lot.

    So I'm going to modify the grid a bit. I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do. Hopefully it works out pretty well. Took some pictures of what I did so far, and going to get some more of the final product when I am done. I am glad I finally started to work on it a bit. The seat structure is probably the only thing about the car I don't really like. And the holes Subaru left in many important bushings.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trainrex
    He was throwing balloons filled with sulfuric acid and shrapnel at the swat team. They finally had to take him down with rubber bullets.
    2011 STi Build Log
    -Part 1 - Reading, Data Logging, and Analyzing Data
    -Part 2 - Turbocharger 101 & Basic Boost Control
    -Part 3 - EcuFlash, Experimental Defintions, and a Drive By Wire Intro

  15. #14
    dmk
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    Quote Originally Posted by SamXp View Post
    I struggle with many of the same issues in my 2011 WRX and I think I might try the mod, but only undo the top one, to allow my lower shoulders/lats to push back between the bolsters, but leave some lower lumbar support. I also wish the lower cushion had more rake to spread the load to hamstrings.
    I agree. I think the 2011 seats need more support for the lower back.

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