- Here are all the pictures.. Google changed picasa, so all the links broke.
Yesterday just felt like a day to do some tinkering. I decided it was time to try and improve the comfort of the seats. I went to a craft store and purchased some 1" high density open cell foam. The foam is actually closer to 3/4" thick. The foam was sold by the yard ($9.99/yard), with a width of around 3/4 yard. I bought a total of about 1.7 yards (I just picked a few pieces from their "already cut" bin), which covered both seats easily.
First, remove the seat belt from the outer side of the seat. Lift the gray cover to access the 14mm bolt underneath. Then slide forward to access the rear seat bolts, thease are 12mm. Once those are loosened (I had to use a pretty big ratchet, but not a breaker bar to get them open), remove the front bolts (also 12mm) as well (these are smaller and much easier to remove). When you are removing the driver side, you need to be cautious of the seatbelt indicator sensor wire. It need to be disconnected before you lift the seat.
With the seats removed, the installation I performed was as follows.
The seat backs are easily removed from the bottoms with 4 14mm bolts. To access these, you must unzip the cover slightly.
Once separated from the seat, unzip and open the cover as much as possible. Upholstry rings attach the cover to the foam support. For my installation, I just bent the two bottom rings with pliers enough to squeeze the cover eyelet through.
If you want to put more support in the shoulder or headrest area, you will need to remove more of these rings.
With the two lower rings removed, you can now access the lumbar support area. I decided on one thickness of foam for the whole area, with an extra thickness in the area shaded darker blue in the diagram below.
I also cut and placed foam in the side bolsters.
In the picture below, you can see how the foam need to be stuffed into the crack in the OEM foam. This was necessary to prevent hard edges showing up when the cover is back in place. The seam in the cover will mask the edges of the new foam.
Finally, I put a little strip under the lumbar area (between the fabric rings I loosened and the bottom of the seat back) to make it look a little smoother over all. To get the upholstery rings back together, I just used pliers the best I could. They aren't perfect, but they hold well enough. If I was removing all the rings, I would just buy and upholstery tool and some new rings. To get the cover back together, connect the black sheath fasteners first, by angling them.
Once those are connected, slide them closed then zip up the back. If you zip first and try to pry those together, you'll have quite a hard time with the new foam in there.
For the seat bottom, I decided to only do the seat area and the front seat area. The bolsters were left as is. I didn't want to increase the height of the seat too much, and didn't want the seat to have too much of a feel like it was squeezing.
To disassemble the lower portion, I removed the back and side sheath type fasteners. Then the gray plastic side covers. Finally, i pulled the seat up from the back and flipped it around until it was face down in front of the seat. Unfortunately, I took no pictures of this... Basically, on the first seat, I removed the front sheath as well, but has a hard time re-attaching it. I decided to leave it attached for the second seat and had a much easier time.
With the seat mostly removed, I cut and fit the piece for the front seat area, and reposition the seat onto the frame (lighter blue section in diagram above).
Next, I removed the rear most two rings to access the rear seat area, and stuff foam in there as well. Now is as good a time as any to mention foam stuffing technique. For me, it was easiest to push the foam in folded slightly, then flatten it into place. That is, fold it in half, get is positioned so that the rear is lined up, then stuff the front flat by unfolding it. Its hard to explain, but it just seemed like the best way to do it.
With that piece in place, it was just time to put it all back together. One note on the seat bottom, the sheath fastener on the outer side of the seat was folded around the bar it attached to. Again, hard to describe, and unfortunately I stopped tacking pictures, but just make a mental note of the orientation of the side connectors when you take them apart, and how they fit back together should be easy.
As far as where I decided to put foam support, I just based it on how it felt to me. Being 6-2, my taste may not be equal to everyone else. My wife said that she would prefer some more support in head area and especially the upper back area, as she feels to reclined in the seat (this was the case even before the added foam). I will most likely add a little foam to the upper portion of the passenger seat and possibly raise the back a quarter inch with some spacers under the rails.