Piston Slap: Zoom-Zoom, Cramp-Cramp Edition

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap zoom zoom cramp cramp edition

Nezir writes:

Sajeev, I drive a 2004 Mazda RX-8 that I bought new. It currently has around 48k miles. As of late the seating has become uncomfortable and I seem to get strange cramps in my hamstrings from how the seat is pushing into my leg.

I’ve looked at some possible cars to replace it with such as the Evo X, etc. Love the Recaros on there and that alone would make me want to switch. However, I still love the RX8 and short of buying another one in R3 guise is there anything I can do to upgrade my seats?

As has become the custom these days, the seats have the side airbags built-in. So I’m not sure what options I have in the aftermarket for this. I know Recaro has the Sportster CS with airbags though I’m not sure how ‘universal’ they truly are. Mazda wants like 4k per seats for the R3 Recaros, so that’s not really an option either.

Also, I’d be ok with going for a seat without airbags, but I don’t know what effect that has on the rest of the SRS system.

Sajeev answers:

There are many options if don’t mind losing your side airbags. I’ve had good luck installing non-airbag racing seats to a C6 Corvette Z06. And, in that car, the difference was worth every penny.

Your best bet is to ask an RX-8 forum like the RX-8 Club. Find the pitfalls of modifying the Mazda seat tracks to adapt aftermarket seat mounts: the remedy should be nothing more than regular tools in your garage and a little brainpower. (Or, perhaps, a BFH.) Ask if fooling the air bag harness with a resistor is an option, or if you can unplug-n-play without upsetting the dashboard or the traction control system. What good are those seats if they figuratively put the brakes on your fun?

So before you buy, do a little research on the nanny-logic inside Mazda’s microprocessors. There’s a good chance you can get away with it and get a great pair of seats for a reasonable price.

[Send your technical queries to mehta@ttac.com]

Join the conversation
2 of 26 comments
  • Dasko Dasko on Jun 11, 2009

    Two suggestions 1. Get the seats restored by a professional. By far the most cost effective option. 2. Get the seats out of Viggen Saab or a Volvo R car. They show up in specialist yards. Do a bit of research or just hit ebay.

  • Rix Rix on Jun 11, 2009

    A specialist in Fremont, CA redid my seats in leather, leaving a small, lightly stitched panel for the side airbags in the seats. Total cost was about $800 but I found out later I overpaid

  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Ed That has to be a joke.