Disclaimer: Anything you read in this blog may or may not kill you. I’m not suggesting you follow along or modify anything in a similar manner on any car anywhere. This is simply a documentation of my own choices with my own car.
Really, this blog post was only a matter of time. I’ve been thinking about doing this for years. The right day finally came and it was time to hack a few holes in my Elise seats.
This is not a new or groundbreaking mod. These little Elise seat harness slots have been around for years. They are super controversial on the Lotustalk forum. Because of that, there’s a little disclaimer at the top of this post.
Honestly – I don’t think any badness will happen from these harness slots. The Exige harness slots are in exactly the same spot (while having larger wings to provide larger harness holes) and none of the structural area of the seat is touched. However, lots of things can happen and I’m REALLY not advocating that anyone should do this mod. Since I’ve already voided the warranty on my seats with the Kemmler foam, I felt it was time to make some holes for harnesses. I’ve had the grommets for years. They finally got to come out into the light.
While there are tons of post about this on the intartoobz, there’s not much in the way of step by step actually showing the seat cutting. Even the official Sector111 instructions don’t go much in depth about the actual seat cutting. It’s more about measuring before hand and cutting the seat material (leather) after.
So. Here’s what I did.
Figuring out exactly where to cut is the hard part. The slot’s outer lip doesn’t allow you to be too close to the actual seat backbone (thick part in the center) or too close to the seat edge. And the seat has a pretty good curve to it on the shoulders. I discovered there is exactly ONE place that the seat grommets fit.
After tracing the inside of the slot hole with a pencil, I sliced with the dremel. Accuracy is always important with this sort of thing, but the hole needs to be enlarged quite a bit over the inner slot diameter. Accuracy isn’t really huge on this step. I used a reinforced cutoff wheel to do these cuts.
And this shot is the result of about 30 minutes careful work with the dremel sanding drum. That tool turned out to be the best thing to carefully worry away on the fiberglass. The burrs and metal cutting bits didn’t do nearly as good at this as the spinning sandpaper.
The hole has to be big enough for the large side of the seat grommet to pass through. I discovered this on the first seat (you’re looking at the 2nd). I got my hole all perfect so that the back half of the grommet pressure fit… and then I discovered the front half was way way bigger. Heh – back to work.
The seat grommets are not sided. In other words, the “large” half pokes through the front of the seat on one side and the back of the seat on the other. It’s really hard to get it to poke through the back half while arguing with the fabric. I had the idea of gluing the fabric down temporarily to let me install the slots. It was kinda brilliant.
After I got the grommets installed and “done,” I sliced the visible fabric edges with an X-acto knife. It’s not really visible on the back anyway, but I wanted clean edges.
Another thing I discovered – the grommets are mated pairs. Maybe it’s because mine have sat together, pressed together, for like 4 years? But my 4 grommets ONLY fit into each other in a single combination. I discovered this when I went to snap my first pair together and found that they didn’t fit. I had to pull them out of that seat (I’d already taken each pair of grommets apart) and test fit all of the halves into each other to find slots that would work together.
Also – fiberglass gets everywhere. Every time I stopped sanding a hole, I’d turn on the shopvac for a second to suck up the fiberglass dust. This wasn’t just to make the pix look good, it was so I could see what I was doing. The sanding drums really love to send dust everywhere.
DONE!!! So excited! The slots even hit my at a nice spot. They ride right above my shoulders, just where they should.
Now I just need to figure out an anti-sub passage…
Again, I’m not advocating that anyone cut their seats. This is just something I wanted to try.