Performing a Foamectomy

What do you do when you are six feet tall, and own one of the smallest (internal cabin space anyway) mass-produced vehicles you can buy in North America?

For one thing, you get reminded that there isn’t much headspace every time you go over a bump. In my case, I hit my head on the roof. Some people will go out and purchase a race seat, but being economically efficient (i.e. cheap) I performed some surgery on my car.

In my case, this is called a “Foamectomy” – in which case you remove some of that excess (foam in the seats, that is). The bigger reason for doing this, is so that I can take my car to competitions while wearing a hardtop and not having to majorly adjust my driving position.

I’ve tried my best to document the process here.

Step 1: Remove the seat(s) from the car

Need to remove these two bolts at the front of the seat.

Need to remove these two bolts at the front of the seat.

...and these ones, just aft of the seat.

…and these ones, just aft of the seat.

Step 2: Remove the slider rails underneath the seat

View from under the seat. I had to remove the cable by carefully stringing it out of its guides

View from under the seat. I had to remove the cable by carefully stringing it out of its guides

On the side with the seatbelt buckle there are a couple of bolts that need to be removed...

On the side with the seatbelt buckle there are a couple of bolts that need to be removed…

..and here are the bolts I'm talking about.

..and here are the bolts I’m talking about.

Then remove the four bolts holding the rails in place....

Then remove the four bolts holding the rails in place….

...and this one...

…and this one…

And this one...

And this one…

..ok last one.

..ok last one.

Step 3: Separate the seat bottom from the back

Pull the handle up all the way to ensure the spring has the least tension possible.

Pull the handle up all the way to ensure the spring has the least tension possible.

Just under the level there is a screw that you need to undo...

Just under the level there is a screw that you need to undo…

Once you undo the screw, lift up the plastic cover...

Once you undo the screw, lift up the plastic cover…

You see this bolt? Yeah ...you know whats next...

You see this bolt? Yeah …you know whats next…

...Take it out!!!

…Take it out!!!

In addition to the two bolts I just undid, there is a small screw which holds a bolt in place from the other side. I had to undo this one too.

In addition to the two bolts I just undid, there is a small screw which holds a bolt in place from the other side. I had to undo this one too.

This "bolt" is what allows the seat to pivot on.

This “bolt” is what allows the seat to pivot on.

Step 4: Remove the “Hog Rings”

Basically these “hog rings” are what are used to tie the cloth down over the foam padding. Some people online have done this before using pliers, but I just wedged a small flat had screwdriver with a really long handle on it and was able to pry it off. A set of needle nose pliers can be used to help with this process.

These are the hog rings...

These are the hog rings…

I just wedged my flathead screwdriver in between and was able to pry them off. Some of the rings would deform the metal plate but...well nobody will know.

I just wedged my flathead screwdriver in between and was able to pry them off. Some of the rings would deform the metal plate but…well nobody will know.

Keep going around until you have done them all. Here's one side down.

Keep going around until you have done them all. Here’s one side down.

All done! Well this step anyway.

All done! Well this step anyway.

Now you can pull the cover off. note the steel pan has some bits embedded into the foam so I just left it like this.

Now you can pull the cover off. note the steel pan has some bits embedded into the foam so I just left it like this.

Step 5: Foamectomy!

Shave off the foam. Some people online shave the foam from the other side, but I thought this method would be much cleaner. Since I need around 2″ to make up the space from my helmet, I shaved off the entire chunk that sticks out. Some use an electric knife, but I found I had pretty control using just the blade from a hack saw.

I cut this using a few passes.

I cut this using a few passes.

Trying to make it as flat as possible. When I put the pan back in, this foam will sink into the indentation in the pan itself, thus lowering myself into the seat. I hope.

Trying to make it as flat as possible. When I put the pan back in, this foam will sink into the indentation in the pan itself, thus lowering myself into the seat. I hope.

Step 6: Replace the hog rings. Sort of.

Pan put back into its rightful place. Looks like more than 2" of space now! Probably will be less once it compresses into the spot.

Pan put back into its rightful place. Looks like more than 2″ of space now! Probably will be less once it compresses into the spot.

Didn't feel like bending the hog rings back into place, so I used good ol' nylon zip ties.

Didn’t feel like bending the hog rings back into place, so I used good ol’ nylon zip ties.

I was taught to clip the ends off so they are neat...

I was taught to clip the ends off so they are neat…

Look at that! Now you just need to reverse the steps and you are done!

Look at that! Now you just need to reverse the steps and you are done!

I also looked at removing some foam out of the back rest as well, but it wasn’t as fruitful…

On the back, you can unzip the cover and see hog rings there too. I removed them here.

On the back, you can unzip the cover and see hog rings there too. I removed them here.

..but then I realized that the front of it is tied into the foam using hog rings. Didn't think it was worth the effort at this point, so I left it.

..but then I realized that the front of it is tied into the foam using hog rings. Didn’t think it was worth the effort at this point, so I left it.

And now, I am done. Actually space for me to sit inside with a helmet on!

Hard to tell, but my head clears!

Hard to tell, but my head clears!

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