Adding Lumbar Support to Seats / Lowering the Seats

Go directly to:      Lowering the Seats

seats construction

The seats in our Spiders are relatively lightweight (around 30 pounds due mostly to the frame fabricated in steel) with no springs and foam like previous generation MX-5 seats, so all of the comfort and support in both the seat bottom and seat back is attributed to the combination of the outer covering and the tight mesh fastened along both sides of the frame underneath that skin.  Other than the outer coverings, the construction is exactly the same whether they are:

  • Classica’s premium cloth seats
  • Lusso’s Italian Nappa leather seats
  • Abarth’s premium cloth, Nappa sport leather options or the Nappa leather with Alcantara suede (microfiber) inserts used in the Recaro seats2017-fiat-124spider-interior-Seatizer-3.jpg.image.1440
  • MX-5’s various assortment of seats

I’m not sure what the various colors in Mazda’s mesh illustration above signify, but if anything, it may have to do with different levels of elasticity.

It is my understanding that the Recaro seat bottoms are said to sit a little taller than the stock seats, and that they are not constructed quite the same either.

Mazda MX-5 Sport Recaro (2016) Seats

Recaro seats

I personally find the premium cloth seats in my Classica to be supporting and comfortable, even though there is no lumbar support designed into the seat per se.  I also appreciate the fact that they aren’t as cold in the summer (requiring seat warmers) and hot in the summer sun as the more expensive leather seats!

classica seat

Classica seats

So this is another one of my articles intended to help others, even though I’m not considering the alteration myself.

 loftycomfort started a thread in the Miata forum with his “quick and dirty” lumbar support alteration, which involved simply unzipping the seat covering partway, and stuffing a towel down near the bottom, and then supplementing that with a cushion behind the seat.


bill keksz added:

At least for the cloth seats…
There are two vertical zippers on the back side of the seatback, but you don’t need to unzip. You just need to undo the three-part tounge-in-groove strip near the bottom of the back of the seatback. That releases the flap that goes under the seatback; you can then see the ends of the zippers, but leave them alone. Push the flap forward to the front. Push your choice of pillow up under the cover fabric. Refasten the tounge-in-groove strip, adjust the seat, and drive. You’ll probably need to reposition the pillow.

The leather seats may be different. Be especially careful of the heater and its wiring.

 cruise42 found the easiest solution – a pillow that is simply placed on the seat.  It looks custom-made for  Abarth seats 😉

It’s real perforated leather with a memory foam core. Super comfortable and (most importantly) doesn’t look terrible. Highly recommended.

lumbar cushion

 ronk1030 added the idea of placing an inflatable lumbar pillow like this one, in place of a towel, and have the pump valve come out the side.  At $19, it may cost a little more than a towel, but it seems to me to be the most practical solution that is easily adjustable to the seat occupant and the particular driving event at the time.

lumbar pillow

runohio had this advice, but of course you have to be short enough to be able to move the seat forward:

If you bring the seat forward on the rails and recline more than usual, you will be able to get the seat to press against your lower back simulating a lumbar adjustment. Only way I can drive without pain. There is zero lower back support in a more upright seating position.

Lowering the seats

On a sidenote, lunchbox660 has a great write-up on lowering the seat height by “meshectomy” – unfastening one side of the load-bearing seat-bottom mesh, which essentially transfers all of the seat support to the outer covering only, allowing the occupant to sit lower yet.  This may not be applicable to the Recaro seats though, since they are constructed differently.  For those interested in the seat construction, the thread contains a nice selection of photos of the seat underside.

[UPDATE 7/8/2019]

Sergey (ssh16) is developing a kit that lowers either seat by 30 mm (which you can read more about here), but since the slider is eliminated, you lose the ability to adjust the seat for other drivers and/or passengers.


notice how the driver’s seat is 30 mm lower than the passenger’s seat

[UPDATE 1/11/2020]

I’ve written another article regarding seat lowering brackets produced by Paco Motorsports.

[UPDATE 12/5/2022]

If you install aftermarket seats, like these Bride seats made for the ND/124 Spider, you will no longer have seat bolster airbags, and you’ll need to trick the SRS module that they exist, and are in working order. See my article for more details.

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