mxandcx5 New Reader
8/23/21 8:27 p.m.

I recently purchased a base 2017 BRZ and after a 4 hour drive home my back was in immense pain. In the short amount of time I've driven these cars before I always thought the seats were very comfortable and never realized they lack adjustable lumbar support. I've tried adjusting my seating position, but still have not had any luck alleviating the pain it causes me. The seat seems to force a hunch. I ordered a memory foam lumbar pillow that should be arriving soon. 

Anyone out there have tips, tricks or advice with these cars (besides to get a backiatomy or to stop getting old)?

Can confirm. I've had my 2013 FR-S from new, and after a few years of pulling over shortly into any longish drive, rummaging around in the car, and shoving a wadded up sweatshirt/towel/whatever I could find behind my lower back, I got a memory foam black pillow and just keep it in the driver's seat. Interestingly, when I've ridden in the car with someone else driving, I find the passenger seat more comfortable.

There are days that I fantasize about modifying the stock seats and reupholstering them to retain stock appearance, but with more lumbar support, and with the "wings" near the top of the seat back for lateral support repositioned...I feel like they are in very much the wrong spot and contribute to the problem. They could be a little higher and maybe slightly further apart and brace the outside of my upper arm/shoulders, or they could be lower at the same spacing the grip my ribcage below my upper arm (like a low-back vintage bucket seat) but the current spot just makes me feel like the seat wants to mold me into another Quasi Modo.

Vracer111 HalfDork
8/23/21 11:31 p.m.

Get a better seat that properly fits you... I bought mine new knowing the stock seat sucked... finally saved up enough to put a proper driver's side seat in it which I knew worked for me, and custom mounted. Absolutely worth the expense in the long run, and all day cross country comfortable driving. Drove straight back home from the 2017 24hrs of Daytona to Houston in like 12ish hours... only stopping for gas. Comfortable the entire way.

Another thing that really helps too is getting the 949 Racing 50mm steering column extender... especially if anywhere near 6'0" or taller -  will never get a perfect seating position without it.

Also, the stock headrest can be installed 180°... facing backwards. Believe that's for when using helmets.

+1 on the column extender for taller folks. Mine is so much better with the steering wheel in a position where I can set the seat slider to the right spot for my legs, instead of to the right spot for my arms on the steering wheel, and then making my legs compensate.

I've thought of replacing the seat with something aftermarket before. Does going aftermarket have any impact on the factory passive crash safety features like airbags, pre-tensioners, and so on? I ask because mine is mainly a street car, and I haven't examined what all is involved with these features, I just know there are more of them than my usual 80's/early-90's E36 M3boxes I've driven in the past.

Vracer111 HalfDork
8/24/21 12:06 a.m.

In reply to ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) :

If you use 3.3ohm resistor only thing it affects is not having a seat airbag, the SRS system will otherwise function as intended. There is curtain airbags from A pillar to C pillar plus steering wheel airbag.

I installed an aftermarket Recaro Sportster CS, there was a Japanese version (BRZ STi tS) that had the factory versions of the Recaro CS with airbags, both driver & passenger:


The Recaro Sportster CS + 50mm 949 racing steering column extender which were in my FR-S:

Have a cloth Recaro Sportster GT custom mounted in my Nissan Frontier - because the factory Frontier's driver seat sucks even worse than the FR-S seat... and is too high.

In reply to Vracer111 :

Awesome info...thanks!

Jerry PowerDork
8/24/21 7:40 a.m.

Even in 30 min trips to work/back I've found myself shifting around, trying to sit up taller.  Hmm.  Pillow.

racerdave600 UltraDork
8/24/21 12:21 p.m.

I bought a new BRZ in '15, and the seats are the main reason I sold it.  I even modded the seat foam trying to fix it.  My back just couldn't take it so it was replaced by a BMW.  It was a shame as I liked it otherwise, but the seats were just awful.  I know some people like them, but a few lumbar adjustments would have been nice.  

mxandcx5 New Reader
8/24/21 8:32 p.m.

Very good info, thanks! I purchased this BRZ hoping it wouldn't eat up too much of my time as I have a '90 Miata and '99 Boxster I am in the process of getting fully sorted. I like the idea of a column extender as my long legs do make the seating position awkward. I can look into replacement seat options too. Good to know that modding the seat foam didn't seem to help. I am thin, yet the shoulder wings still Quasi-Modo me!

I just got the memory foam lumbar pillow in and will take a long drive on Friday night. If I can't get comfortable I'll have to look at my options and maybe it will make it's way onto the chopping block much, much sooner than I expected.

Vracer111 HalfDork
8/24/21 10:15 p.m.

Also, another benefit of a good performance seat is how much better it ties you into the chassis... huge difference from the stock FR-S seat to the Recaro Sportster CS... you sit 'on' the factory seat and don't get that great of a chassis feel in comparison. With my custom mounting brackets (to get more bottom rake) and Sportster CS on Recaro sliders it was like you were tied directly into the chassis and sitting 'in' the seat not 'on' it - basically you were melded/bonded to the car just like a full blown race seat. And no more bracing with feet to keep from sliding and flopping around like with the stock seat... held very well in place. The car feels different to drive and takes some adjusting, but it's a very good thing because of how tied in to the chassis you are and it's direct response. Could never go back to the stock seat and the isolation it adds between you and the chassis.

Also true for my Nissan Frontier though it's nowhere near as good a chassis - have a much better feel for what the rear end is doing with the Sportster GT driver's seat in it.

mxandcx5 New Reader
9/4/21 1:50 p.m.

Update on my solution for the time being: I purchased a memory foam Aukee lumbar support pillow off amazon prime for $46 and used a long serrated kitchen knife to carve it to my liking (making it thinner and chopping the wings off it). It took some trial and error, but I have it about 90% complete. It will still take some fine tuning to get just right. Very simple and cheap. It was nice not to worry about carving into seat and to have less than $50 at risk if I made a mistake. I'll see how it hold up on my next long road trip.

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