Targa Miata
January 30, 2007 - As part of checking the ergonomics, I test-fitted a seat with the cage.
It's a bit of a tight squeeze unless I reshape the transmission tunnel very slightly. We're still investigating various seats as well. Most Spec racers use aluminum seats, but they don't have the comfort we want for a week-long race.
entry 27 - tags: ergonomics, seats
February 13, 2007 - We would like to welcome Corbeau as a sponsor of the Targa Miata team.
Corbeau will be supplying the seats and harnesses for the car. We approached them because we found their seats were the most comfortable of all the ones we've tried - and we've tried quite a few.
The FX1 Pro seat is also a very compact one that will fit well in our small car while providing us the comfort and support we'll need for a full week of racing.
entry 55 - tags: announcements, seats
February 20, 2007 - Time to test-fit the cockpit!
The seat isn't the FX1 Pro that we'll be using, but an older Forza. But it lets us try things out while we wait. The pedals are the ones that were on our chassis originally, and have big MOMO pads on them. The one on the clutch pedal is in the way if I want to use a dead pedal, but the gas and brake ones should come in handy for heel-toe. The doodad taped to the transmission tunnel is the proportioning valve, as I'm trying to find a good place put it where it's out of the way, easy to plumb and accessible from the driver's seat.
entry 73 - tags: seats, ergonomics, brakes
February 20, 2007 - The co-driver's cell.
A panel from a 1991 Miata should fit in to give a nice solid foot rest. The seat is jammed in place pretty nicely - it's possible we'll have to do a little trimming. The passenger's side is slightly narrower than the driver's side, and the door bar ended up a touch more inboard than for the driver.
entry 74 - tags: ergonomics, seats
March 16, 2007 - Our Corbeau seats are here.
They're the FX1 Pro, a nicely fitted fibreglass seat that fits in small cars. We also have a set of Corbeau harnesses for each occupant of the car.
entry 91 - tags: sponsors, seats, ergonomics, safety
March 16, 2007 - As we've found with some other Corbeaus, the padding is a bit on the thick and firm side.
This puts the driver too high in the air while not providing the comfort you might expect. We've ordered some memory foam to fill this cushion. Well, what I really did after calling upholstery shops was order a mattress topper from Amazon. For about the price of 4 square feet, I can get a whole bed's worth of the stuff!
There's some experimentation ahead.
entry 92 - tags: ergonomics, seats
March 20, 2007 - In order to make the seat sit as low as possible, the rear factory seat mounts were removed.
So much for having the interior of the car nicely painted! I'll have to get some more of the paint in an aerosol can for this sort of fix. Then again, it'll be under the seat so nobody will see it.
entry 93 - tags: ergonomics, seats
March 20, 2007 - The next obstacle in the battle against seat height?
These nice little feet. The seats have both side and base mounting options, so we'll use the sides.
entry 94 - tags: ergonomics, seats
March 20, 2007 - The risers at the back of the seat are no longer.
They were actually wooden pegs inside, that was a bit of a surprise. This seems a terrible thing to do to a brand new set of race seats, but Miatas aren't that big and I have a tall torso.
entry 95 - tags: ergonomics, seats
March 20, 2007 - The result of all the seat abuse.
The driver's seat is well placed and ready to be bolted down. The codriver's seat is unmodified. There's a drastic height difference.
entry 96 - tags: ergonomics, seats
March 20, 2007 - The end result, being tested with the hardtop on the car.
It's a snug fit, but everything goes nicely in place. I always like to get the ergonomics sorted out early in a build, as an awkward driving position causes all sorts of problems down the road. All that's left to do is build the side brackets for the seats and mount the sub belt.
entry 98 - tags: seats, ergonomics
March 22, 2007 - The memory foam for the seats is here.
It's really odd stuff to work with, in a constant state of slow melt. It's easy enough to cut with a good set of scissors though.
How does it feel? Good. A single 1.5" layer in the bottom cushion to replace the stock hard foam (shown here on top of the memory foam sheet) lets me sink much further into the seat, while giving better comfort than either the stock foam or nothing at all. I'll call that a win.
The co-driver's seat has also been modified to sit a bit lower, so I'm almost done with them. I'm going to trim a little bit of 'glass off the side of the seats to allow them to sit inboard a touch, but first I have to figure out how to disassemble them far enough to do that without hurting the cover.
entry 99 - tags: ergonomics, seats
March 23, 2007 - One last bit of seat modification.
In order to move the seats inboard a little more, I had to cut a chunk of the corner off. Once I had the covers off it was easy enough, although I think the end result will look a little nicer once I get some glue under the upholstery.
With that done, I was able to sort out the final seat location and give myself an excellent driving position. The floor has now been drilled for the mounting points - I was able to use the rear mounts on the seat after all, as the threaded portion is embedded in the fibreglass and not the little leg I cut off. The co-driver's seat will be finished up later.
entry 100 - tags: ergonomics, seats
June 10, 2007 - I didn't just bolt on body panels this weekend.
I also finished the installation of the driver's seat, and that involved finding a way to bolt in the sub belt. Naturally, the anchor point has to go right in the middle of a longitudinal frame rail. This means I can't access the back side of it to put in a nut.
But check this out - Mazda put a nice little access panel in the floor for the frame rail! After cutting out a bit of seam sealer, the panel popped off. As an added bonus, I was able to feel that there were multiple layers at the base of the bulkhead so I had a very solid anchor point. A bit of "Automotive Goop" (a nice silicone glue) and the panel was back in place. This made me happy, as I was expecting to have to build some sort of odd bracketry.
I've also learned that it's hard to take detail pictures of a blinding white car. Sorry about the over-exposed shot here.
entry 201 - tags: seats, safety
June 27, 2007 - In anticipation of upcoming test drives with a computer jockey riding shotgun, I installed the passenger's seat.
It went in ridiculously easily. I'll pay for that later I'm sure. Due to the shape of the transmission tunnel, I was able to mount the codriver's seat about 1" further inboard than the driver's. It's also further back.
Eric's reaction to the proposed Martini schemes? "BBBBBBBBBBB!"
entry 227 - tags: seats, Martini
August 9, 2007 - The windshield fairy has been here!
Having the windshield in makes the car look so much more complete - and smaller. At least, that's what I think. Janel and Brandon think I'm nuts. This isn't the same windshield I pulled out a few months ago. It turns out that one had a small stone chip, and may not have survived the implantation process. New glass was only about $70 or so, so that was an easy decision to make. Now that there's glass between me and the bugs, the car is much more driveable.
Brandon came over and we tore into the car. He pulled the co-driver's seat and installed the sub belt for me while I worked on suspension and also installed the undertray for the engine bay.
entry 278 - tags: seats
June 7, 2008 - Janel, hard at work watching for instructions.
A TSD is more of a treasure hunt than the Targa is, and there wasn't as much navigation as we would have preferred. They have to be run in rural areas, though, and rural in Colorado means you don't get a lot of turn-offs because you're usually running along a valley or climbing a pass. Still, we did get much more familiar with communicating with each other, dealing with problems ("I said slow down!" "But it's sooo boring!") and Janel got to spend lots of quality time with the trip computer.
All joking aside, despite the warnings of others never to do a TSD with a loved one, we had no compatibility problems. Both of us were in pretty good spirits throughout the day. This was probably in large part due to our rally computer. See, the required average speed varied fairly frequently thoughout the stages. But for us, we set the Coralba to display the average speed and simply reset the tripmeter at each change. So I could simply look at the display and see that I was 0.1 mph high, or we could stop and wait until our speed dropped to the ideal level. Normally there would be much work with stopwatches and calculators along with a lot of stress. Our biggest problem was my apparent inability to drive very very slowly at times. We didn't get lost, though. That's the important thing. And any frustration was tempered with humor instead of anger.
We also learned quite a bit about the car. It turned out to be an excellent shakedown test as we'd never spent 12 continuous hours in the car before. First off, both Janel and I found we need more padding in the seats. My memory foam must not be thick enough. Our butts were asleep before we even got to the start line, over an hour from our house. Also, the car is hot and noisy on the highway and cracking the windows seems to draw in exhaust fumes through a number of small holes in the transmission tunnel. The latter is easy to fix. Hot, well, that's probably not going to be a big concern in Newfoundland. Noisy - it's time to look for some transit headsets. We won't be at a sustained 80 mph on the transits, but even the background nose at 40 would get tiring over the course of the day. I'm going to throw some light sound deadening at the back of the car to see if I can help this at all. I think I'm also going to go to a 4.10 rear end instead of my current 4.30, as I don't need such short gearing.
Mechanically, the car was faultless. Some sadistic organizer put a 20-minute stop in at Leadville. That's about 10,000' up, and you should have heard the poor carburetted British cars trying to struggle back to life. Let's hear it for fuel injection!
Okay, almost faultless. The suspension got a nice dirt bath after we spent about half an hour trying to maintain 38 mph on a fairly rough road, and it's creaking badly. I think I just need some bushing lubrication underneath.
A long day, but a good day.
entry 467 - tags: skills, testing, ergonomics, computer, seats
October 5, 2010 - Over the past couple of years, I've had a number of questions about the Backsaver foam that we used in the Corbeau seats.
It made all the difference in the world to comfort, but it's not cheap stuff. Well, a recent phone call from a customer made me dig up some of my old information, and I'm pretty sure it's actually Confor CF45 foam, 1" thick with an extra piece of fabric on one side and a rubber pad on the other. Armed with this knowledge, you can find less expensive sources elsewhere as long as you're willing to forgo the rubber and fabric. It's hard to believe, but aviation stores such as this one are actually a less expensive source.
If you're looking for a way to make a set of race seats more comfortable, this is a great place to start.
entry 767 - tags: ergonomics, comfort, seats