Seat Modification for big guys
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This is a discussion on Seat Modification for big guys within the Interior Mods forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; I'm 6'2', 230 lb. I fit just fine in the WRX except that the seat bottom cushion is too thin ...

  1. #1
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    Seat Modification for big guys

    I'm 6'2', 230 lb. I fit just fine in the WRX except that the seat bottom cushion is too thin for my taste. I like to drive with my legs spread but the side bolstering on the seat bottom cushion prohibits this and pushes into my thighs. On long journeys this gets uncomfortable. I found the solution. The seat cushion cloth is held on with clips that wrap under and hook onto the seat frame. Once you undo these clips the cloth can be pulled away to reveal the foam seat bottom cushion. Then you pull this foam up and you have exposed the bottom seat steel frame. Welded onto each side of the frame is a steel bar arch that makes the support for the foam side bolsters on the seat bottom (press with your hands and you can feel these right through the seat cushion). I cut these off with a bolt cutter, then re-assembled the cushion bottom and cloth cover. The seat is now just perfectly comfortable and yet still supportive. No one can tell the difference.

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    Registered User BoarderEight's Avatar
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    WoW thats really cool, too bad im not as big as you. That is some smart thinking right there. How did you know where to cut with the bolt cutter? Any pics? good work.

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    I did'nt take any pictures when I had the seat apart. Imagine the seat bottom frame as a steel square oriented in the horizontal plane. The seat bolster supports are two separate rods of steel shaped like arches, each welded onto opposing sides of this square; the half circles arch upwards from the seat frame in the vertical plane. You need to cut them off as close as possible to the seat bottom frame.

  5. #4
    Banned jedimaster's Avatar
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    I'm kind of a big guy myself- I'm planning on tossing in some of the sweet seats from an '04 as soon as people start replacing those.

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    Hi.

    Great mod. I'm looking to do this on the 04 model when mine comes in.

    BTW, the 2004 seats do look different. However, I too thought they would be a bit larger than the 02-03 seats. They are NOT. The seat bottom thigh bolsters are tighter than the 02-03 seats. The back feels about the same if a little better and the back return spring feels stronger when it pulls the seat forward to adjust. But, the overall seat bottom is narrower and the foam is even thinner. I don't like new seats as much as I thought I would. I love the new look but the comfort is not there.

    It's good to know that they are easily modded though. I'll be modding them for sure by taking the thight metal rails off and adding more foam.

    Also, in the 02-03 seats, the passenger seat had flexible thigh bolsters. The 04 passenger seat is just as tight as the drivers seat and just as unflexible.

    The sunroof is very small, the smallest I've every seen in a car, but I like sunroofs so I'll be ordering that option.

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    The flexible thigh bolster in the passenger seat is in the drivers seat also. This is nothing more than a high strength thin flexible steel rod with memory that arcs around the seat. I cut this also when I did the driver seat mod. There is no need to put in more foam when you do the mod. The bolsers just flop over when there is pressure on them (fat thighs), and they spring back just from the resiliency of the existing foam. Ive been daily driving mine now for 6 months and there is no negative impact on appearance. The seat is way comfortable now.

  8. #7
    Registered User Racenut's Avatar
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    WOW... This sounds way easier than the diet and excercise program I was planning... Thank Silverwagon for the sweat saving trick

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    I'm planning on the 04 model, so that seat will be a bit different.
    It's actually even narrower than the 02-03. But, my intent is to mod the drivers seat as you did on your WRX.

    As for the thigh bolster regarding passenger and driver, I felt a distinct difference in stiffness between the two and they are not the same.
    The 04 seats have the same stiffness in driver and passenger seat but the 02-03 bolsters are less stiff and more flexible on the passenger side whereas the driver side is much stiffer. Yes, they both have the metal frame but the frame on the drivers side is less forgiving and more uncomfortable for bigger people. When I sit in the 03 passenger side, the seat is nice and comfy, however, sitting in the drivers seat I notice the thigh bolster metal very much.

    Regarding the 04 seats, I feel like they have less foam than the 03 seats so that is why I was thinking to reshape the foam and possibly some "memory" type foam which I think would feel awesome and provide a nice "pocket" to sit in while performance driving.

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Knowing that it's possible has put the 04 WRX back on top of my list. Hopefully it will come soon.

    T

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    In my 02 model, both the driver and passenger seats have the flexible thigh bolster which is imbedded in the foam (high strength thin flexible steel rod with memory that arcs around the seat). The drivers seat also has the arches welded to the seat bottom frame. The passenger seat does not have the welded arches on the seat bottom frame which is why it is much less restricting and more comfortable.

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    Yes, thus they feel different as I was saying.
    In the 04 the bolsters feel the same for driver and passenger.

    Hopefully, the 04 seats will be just as easy to mod.
    I'm thinking of doing leather when it comes out as these new seats will look great in leather.

    Thanks for all the info.

    T

  12. #11
    Registered User ripcuda's Avatar
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    Is it possible to bend these arches outward (flatter) instead of cutting them off to give a little more thigh room?

    RR
    '03 WRX Silver Tailless
    Colorado

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    Yes, the arches can be bent down using a crow bar. I tried this at first. One issue is that then the ratchet lever that raises and lowers the drivers seat cannot be operated properly because the bent over arch on the left side of the seat is in the way. I did'nt have a problem with this since I never change the seat hieght setting and since I am the only one who drives the car. However, after bending down the arches, reassembling the seat cushion and driving the car for a few days, I felt that the arches were still imposing on my comfort. I then got out the bolt cutter. For me it is better with the arches totally gone as opposed to bent down. You could try bending the arches first and you may be satisfied. If not, you can always cut off the arches at a later time.

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    Silver,

    Do you feel there would be an value to adding some additional foam to the thigh bolsters? Is there enough support in terms of holding you in in hard turns?

    I was thinking of removing a lot of the stock foam and adding some foam such as is used in aftermarket sport motor cycle seats. The foam is a closed cell type and has a firm feel but the support is excellent as it breaks in to your shape after some use.

    T

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    I personally have not seen a need for this. The seat is still very supportive for me and fit like glove (no sliding in hard turns).

  16. #15
    Registered User LemonHerb's Avatar
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    Okay.. you know.. because im fat this seems like the coolest thred ever. But I would be nervouse just doing this mod on my own. Can anyone take some step by step pics of how to do this stuff.. I would be worried about just taking the seat covers off.
    -Andrew

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