I must be getting old. The Elise seats that used to feel so good on my ass? So supportive and awesome? Now they feel kinda like torture devices. Similar to sitting on a wooden crate. Not good.
Maybe the seats are getting old?
Anyway, it was time for action. I really like the Elise seats. They fit me well. They USED to feel pretty good. I’m not sure what happened…
I can make them feel good again.
This is a roll and a half of Kemmler’s SHOCKtec Air2Gel foam – a half roll of the 3/8″ HD and a full roll of the 1/8″ HD. There are threads about it on the Lotustalk forum, but they mostly deal with the more-common 2005 non-Probax seats.
Hit the Kemmler website to read about the foam in depth. Basically, it protects you from ever hitting the object on the other side of the padding. It absorbs and then bounces back. And it’s also impressively firm. Most of the Lotustalk comments are about how firm the padding is.
You know what’s firm? A fiberglass seat. This padding HAS to be an improvement.
I might be one of the first to tear apart a Probax seat. Or at least one of the first to post about it. I couldn’t find much information about what’s actually inside these seats and no photos. I know others have gotten into them to install crotch strap passages and reupholster, but I couldn’t find much actual info.
The Probax are pretty much considered the pinnacle of Lotus seats for whatever reason. They sell for more than the 2005 (non-Probax) seats, had articles written about how miraculous the padding is/was, and have pages upon pages of posts proclaiming how awesome and comfortable they are. And yet, no one seems to have torn into one.
Getting the seat to come apart is extremely simple. The Probax cushion (the center piece I’m pulling out) is just glued on, and not very well. I didn’t use any special tools. I just carefully peeled with my hands.
And here’s the big reveal.
Open cell foam – and not much of it. At the butt, where your ass hits the seat, there’s about 1/2″ of foam. At the front where your knees rest, there’s like 4″ of foam. Just a huge amount for the knees. For the butt? Nothin.
No lumbar padding.
Not much back padding. Nothing.
There’s another name for this type of foam – couch cushion foam.
I’ve been punishing my tailbone with a fiberglass seat and a half inch of couch foam for six years.
To restate what I bought – a half roll of 3/8″ HD foam and a full roll of 1/8″ HD foam.
If you have a solid plan and know what you’re doing, you could do four full seats with this much. I did not have a solid plan, so I had some waste and cut a few different configurations. I cut, sat, and tested. I snipped, I fitted, I tested.
The seats are totally transformed with this foam.
I could type several paragraphs about the various permutations and iterations of padding I sat on. Instead, I’ll not bore you with it and just say this – sitting on the seat in the garage is quite different than sitting on it while taking corners at speed. What felt really nice in the garage felt rather overstuffed and plush in the car.
I drove a lot. I adjusted a lot.
I ended up with 1/2″ of foam on the butt (a nice 3/8″ section all the way up past the tailbone with 1/8″ on top) and a sort of stepped 1/2″ back pad made out of 4 sheets of the 1/8″ foam. I also have a 3/8″ lumbar support (marked L) that I spent a week adjusting to get it in the perfect spot.
Seriously, the result is incredible. Sharka is SO much more enjoyable to drive. The seats actually absorb impact instead of transmitting it straight to my spine. The Air2Gel foam combined with the XIDA shocks have really transformed the car.
Anyone reading along with Elise seats should consider adding some of this foam and spending a week getting it just perfect. I can’t believe I didn’t do this earlier.