Piston Slap: Zoom-Zoom, Cramp-Cramp Edition

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

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]

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • 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

  • JK I grew up with Dodge trucks in the US, and now live in Turin, Italy, the home of Fiat. I don't think Italians view this as an Italian company either. There are constant news articles and protests about how stalantis is moving operations out of Italy. Jeep is strangely popular here though. I think last time I looked at stelantis's numbers, Jeep was the only thing saving them from big big problems.
  • Bd2 Oh yeah, funny how Trumpers (much less the Orange Con, himself) are perfectly willing to throw away the Constitution...
  • Bd2 Geeze, Anal sure likes to spread his drivelA huge problem was Fisher and his wife - who overspent when they were flush with cash and repeatedly did things ad hoc and didn't listen to their employees (who had more experience when it came to auto manufacturing, engineering, etc).
  • Tassos My Colleague Mike B bought one of these (the 300 SEL, same champagne color) new around June 1990. I thought he paid $50k originally but recently he told me it was $62k. At that time my Accord 1990 Coupe LX cost new, all included, $15k. So today the same car means $150k for the S class and $35k-40k for the Accord. So those %0 or 62k , these were NOT worthless, Idiot Joe Biden devalued dollars, so he paid AN ARM AND A LEG. And he babied the car, he really loved it, despite its very weak I6 engine with a mere 177 HP and 188 LBFT, and kept it forever. By the time he asked me to drive it (to take him to the dealer because his worthless POS Buick Rainier "SUV" needed expensive repairs (yes, it was a cheap Buick but he had to shell out thousands), the car needed a lot of suspension work, it drove like an awful clunker. He ended up donating it after 30 years or so. THIS POS is no different, and much older. Its CHEAPSKATE owner should ALSO donate it to charity instead of trying to make a few measly bucks off its CARCASS. Pathetic!
  • RHD The re-paint looks like it was done with a four-inch paintbrush. As far as VWs go, it's a rebadged Seat... which is still kind of a VW, made in Mexico from a Complete Knock-Down kit. 28 years in Mexico being driven like a flogged mule while wearing that ridiculous rear spoiler is a tough life, but it has actually survived... It's unique (to us), weird, funky (very funky), and certainly not worth over five grand plus the headaches of trying to get it across the border and registered at the local DMV.