After modifying basically all of my personal cars at one point or another I can safely say that one of the best improvements or modifications I made was installing a well fitted seat. Installing a well fitted seat helps to remove any unnecessary lateral movement and I’m sure you can recall throwing the car into a corner with confidence just to find yourself holding on for dear life because of the lateral G force pushing you out of your seat.
In this article, I wish to inform you of the components of a fixed back seat and what it takes to install a fixed back seat. It should be understood that all the seats we offer are going to be universal; not vehicle specific. Each seat will be either bottom and/or side mounted.
We are going to jump right into seat mounting so let’s start from the bottom and work our way up.
First we will have a vehicle specific seat base.
Then an optional slider track set (allows movement forward and back).
You have your vehicle specific seat base, optional slider track set and the next component would be the actual seat. All of these components should be fastened with the manufacture recommended bottom/side mount hardware kit.
If you choose a side mounted seat, then you will need side mount brackets in addition to the base, sliders and hardware. The side mount brackets can be bolted to the sliders or directly to the base if you choose to not use sliders. There are two types of side mount brackets, offset and standard. Offset brackets are used when the seat you are installing is the same width as the mounting holes on the base or sliders, and standard brackets would cover the lower mounting holes.
Installing a seat is relatively straightforward. When installing my seats, I first started by preassembling the seat with the necessary mounting components outside of the vehicle. This next step is a necessary safety precaution. While wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment disconnect the negative cable on the battery and be sure to remove any leftover charge in the vehicle’s electrical system by pressing on the brake pedal for a few seconds. Disconnecting the battery is very important when removing any airbags or disconnecting airbag sensors.
Next I moved into the cabin of the car. A stock seat is usually only mounted by approximately 4 bolts, which secure the base to the chassis of the vehicle. Remove the stock seat mounting bolts, make sure all wiring harnesses below the seat are disconnected and remove the seat from the vehicle. Next, take your preassembled seat and maneuver the seat into the cabin of the vehicle, this might be a little tricky so be patient. Finally, fasten down all chassis connecting points and double check all seat mounting component connections as well.
I used the term “well fitted” earlier and I’d like to elaborate to give you some perspective. I currently weigh 180 LBS, stand at 5’10 with a size 32 inch waist. My personal favorite seats are the Sparco Pro2000 and the Sparco Evo 2 because they hold my hips in position and their high bolsters provides for lateral thigh support. The main difference between the two seats is going to be the kidney bolster support because the Pro2000 is going to be slightly more aggressive therefore provide more support. Therefore, I would consider the Evo 2 more suitable for more frequent use or getting in and out more frequently.
Another item of business to consider is the seats FIA certification. FIA stands for Federation Internationale de l’Automobile and it was founded in 1904 in Paris, France. The FIA is the governing body for motorsports worldwide. According to FIA standard 8855-1999, the usable life of a FIA certified seat will be 5 years from the date of manufacture indicated on the seat. An extension of up to 2 further years may be authorized where the seat has been returned to the manufacturer for re-validation. This certification is not necessary in all types of racing, therefore I recommend consulting your local racing program and its standings regarding certifications.
I hope this article was informative and an enjoyable read. As I said, a properly fitted seat is one of the best car to driver and driver to car upgrades you could possibly do. If you have any more questions, myself or any of my other coworkers would love to assist you.