More seat shenanigans

Since pal M brought me the nifty low-boy adjustable seat track from pal D in St. Louis via a relay at last weekend’s Peru National Tour (in Indiana), I hauled back down to MRT this morning for what I most sincerely hope is the last word on this particular project for a good many years.

This involved:

– Disassembling the old race seat from the original power seat track, saving the cool custom adapters that pal and fab-wizard R made for me back in 2002 or 2003. Saved the track, too. And the wiring. The old race seat? Dumpster. Too broken to take a risk on someone else using it.

– Cutting off the original seat belt anchor, which R had removed from the original seat and very nicely welded to the original seat track. We would reuse this.

– Removing the new seat and its fixed mount from the car.

– Trial-fitting the seat and its side mounts to the new track. My original idea was to bolt this together, but upon seeing where some of the bolts would be (over the slidey-bits of the seat track), MRT tech, trained welder (I’m a total hack, and since we’re talking about a seat mount and seatbelt mount, I was willing to pay for a good job), and fellow Mustang junkie J and I determined the best bet would be to weld the sidemounts to the new track’s upper bracing directly. Good thing I got the steel sidemounts — trying to weld aluminum to steel is virtually impossible.

– J says “It’s your seat, and YOU’RE the engineer, YOU figure out where it goes”. So I did. Got it pretty much centered and relatively straight. Marked it. Clamped sidemounts to track. Removed seat from sidemounts. Then J did some grinding (to remove paint) and tack-welded the sidemounts into place.

– Test fit. Is good.

– Finish welding. J welded every place he could weld. Pretty beads. Let it cool, ate lunch.

– Test fit. Is still good.

– Out back to the spray-bomb table for a coat of paint. Let dry.

– Finish assemble seat to track, and inside seatbelt to track. Assemble track to car.

– Test drive. I’m sitting lower. This is actually good for racing since it lowers the CG of the car a smidge. And I have more than enough room for my helmet. The seat moves as it should on the tracks, then holds firm when it shouldn’t move. The seat is at a comfortable angle for long driving. I might prefer to sit more upright for racing, but I can fix that by moving the rear seat mounting point up a slot or two (two M8 bolts) if I really need to. Right now, I’m thinking not, though, as it leaves room for the HANS device I plan on getting in the next year or two. Mostly, I need to get used to the new position.

Which I’ll have a chance to do tomorrow, at the annual Corvette Club of Michigan Gary Griffith Memorial Autocross at the Waterford Hills road course. It’s a high-speed event (in SCCA, it would be classified as a Solo Trials event) and I’ll get deep into 3rd gear on the back straight unless the slalom into Big Bend (the sweeper that feeds the straight) is more open this year — if so, hello 4th gear! This will test my new shifter as well as the seat.

I’m just glad to get the new seat finally the way it needs to be. Now I can concentrate on the driving thing again instead of the “hanging on for dear life” thing. It’s safe. It’s secure. It’s about 20lbs lighter than what was in there. Makes me happy. 🙂

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