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      11-06-2012, 01:48 AM   #1
brandobot
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Z4M seats - lower back pain

To begin, I'm 23 years of age, never had any back injuries or pains beforeS i've owned numerous cars including a Mini Cooper S, Porsche Cayman S, E90 3 series, E46 M3, z4 3.0 and a few Hondas, but none of them has given me lower back pains like the z4m does.

I've tried a few different seat positions but can't seem to make the back pains go away. They come fairly quick, within 15-20 minute drives.

How do you position your seat for comfortable driving?
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      11-06-2012, 02:41 AM   #2
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Same...

When I got my Z4MC I also experienced back pain. First time was when I was bringing it home from Reno (4 hour drive). Since then I've experienced it from time to time. I'm 51 so perhaps it's not entirely unexpected, but this is the first car I've ever driven where I get any back pain. I think part of it may be the stiff suspension since I seem to notice it most on rough roads. (Hwy 280 near de anza/stevens creek is like driving on a friggin' washboard, and @ 80mph it is a literal pain). I seem to have short legs/tall body syndrome. I put the seat to its lowest position and slide it forward until I can push the clutch in all the way without having to stretch my foot (much). I also have a the seat bottom cushion extended and tilted slightly back to support my thighs. Seat back is at a comfortable angle, not vertical, not way back. Because I sit so far forward I actually use memory position 1 as the "enter/exit" position and memory position 3 as the "driving" position. If I didn't move the seat back it would take some Gumby moves to extricate myself from the car. The back pain seems to have faded for the most part. Perhaps I'm just getting used to it.
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      11-06-2012, 03:29 AM   #3
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It happened to me, too. I'm 38, 5'10" tall, and I never experienced lower back pain before driving the Z4M.
I played a lot with seat settings, and the best position which suits my back is seat up about halfway from low to high, and almost horizontal (front of the seat just a little bit higher than rear of the seat), and backseat set rather forward than backward (but, of course still reclined a bit, not vertical).
The result is a driving position opposite to what I would like to have in the Z4M. It's rather hilarious when looking from outside - too high, too vertical and too forward, but I rather sit odd than suffer back pains.

However, although with this settings the back pain issue is significantly tamed, it is not eliminated.
The good news is that I can drive more than 3 hours without complaining too much.
I still find the Z4M seats as the most uncomfortable seats of all the cars I have ever driven in my life.
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      11-06-2012, 03:46 AM   #4
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I have a bucket seat, so I can't really comment on back pain

In all seriousness, my seat is actually quite comfy with its plush padding. Perhaps my back is stronger?
But I only get some butt cramps if I drive for over 2 hours or something.
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      11-06-2012, 06:13 AM   #5
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I have lower back issues & for what ever reason, the M seats are just fine for me.

FWIW
...if its really a problem there are options that a seat upholsterer can help with.
You can add a bit more padding in the critical area, or have one of those inflatable lumbar supports installed.
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      11-06-2012, 07:32 AM   #6
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I've noticed the same with my Z4MC, I think the problem is lack of lumbar support, for long distance drives I use a lumbar pad. Believe it or not taking your walled out of your back pocket will make a huge difference over time, think about it, sitting on your wallet causes your hips to be angled and putting your spine out of alignment.
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      11-06-2012, 11:52 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone. I knew it couldn't just be me! I drove my other car today and I think it is due to the lack of lumbar support as well. The seats in my Prelude have a lot more cushioning on the lower back compared to the M seats. I'm going to stop by a Walmart and see if I can pick up a little pillow to put behind my lower back and see if that helps.
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      11-06-2012, 12:17 PM   #8
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I'm 40 and have a really bad back (bulging lower disk) I have no idea why I bought this car, given my condition.
Anyways, sitting is ok, I use lumbar pillow to support my lower back it works very well.
I also found out that especially in the morning after driving to work getting out of the car was very painful. So I decided to get a ziplock fill it with water and rubbing alcohol, freeze it to the point that it becomes gel and place it between my lower back and the seat/ pillow. Works perfectly, it freezes the nerves and my back feels ok.
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      11-06-2012, 12:34 PM   #9
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I don't think it's as much seat design issue as a seat <-> person fit issue. Different torso and leg heights, different physiques, different weight--it all makes the fit different. Think about it, we all have different shoe sizes and widths, but stock seats come in one size only. And the Z4 doesn't have adjustible lumbar (or adjustible lumbar positioning up/down). A good professional racing seat is more or less custom designed for the intended user. So that makes the suggestions for lumbar support, and other changes to the seat are good ones--it's about getting a good fit.
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      11-06-2012, 03:41 PM   #10
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Never noticed. I have sore back after deadlifts and such and the seat heater feels great!
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      11-06-2012, 06:20 PM   #11
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Same with me and I moved over to the M3. Much better on my back. It is a combo of things for some people, bad suspension, overweight, shitty roads, etc. All contribute to bad backs. But it was really bad with this car for me too. Had to get rid of it. It doesn't help running 30 series tires either.
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      11-06-2012, 06:27 PM   #12
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It's due to lack of lumbar support. 3 Fixes:

1) Angle the front of the seat higher so you're sitting less upright. The more upright you are the more your core must do the work.

2) If that doesn't do the trick, you can add spacers/washers underneath the front of the seat have the front end raised even more

3) Lower back support belt (used to use this on track if I knew I was doing extended sessions/days)
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      11-06-2012, 10:33 PM   #13
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my z4 seat is uncomfortable, but so are my 3 inch heels---style over comfort
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      11-07-2012, 12:15 AM   #14
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[quote=brandobot;12948733]To begin, I'm 23 years of age, never had any back injuries or pains beforeS i've owned numerous cars including a Mini Cooper S, Porsche Cayman S, E90 3 series, E46 M3, z4 3.0 and a few Hondas, but none of them has given me lower back pains like the z4m does.
[quote]

Now that we've solved your back problems, let's move on to the more important question. How does a 23 year old have the luxury of driving such wonderful vehicles?! Is it because of those Rolex watch sales? If so, I need to start moving some watches.
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      11-07-2012, 08:53 AM   #15
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I had it too. Keep adjusting till you even the weight distribution properly and it will feel great. I love my M seats now. Wouldn't trade them for the world.
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      11-07-2012, 10:09 AM   #16
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Your body will adjust and get used to it in time. Just do some stretches in the AM and PM if you find stiffness in the lumbar area of your back.
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      11-07-2012, 11:53 AM   #17
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Quote:
Now that we've solved your back problems, let's move on to the more important question. How does a 23 year old have the luxury of driving such wonderful vehicles?! Is it because of those Rolex watch sales? If so, I need to start moving some watches.
I've been working right out of high school in IT as well as started my own small business. To top things off, I've been fortunate to live at home for just the cost of utility bills.
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      11-08-2012, 07:21 AM   #18
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I bought my Z4M without even test driving one. I flew to Chicago, picked it up, and drove the 5 hours back to Ft. Knox. The first hour was pure bliss....the next 4, I was worried I had made a horrible decision. I also think the seats are absolutely horrible....almost no cushioning, and a $60k car with no lumbar support....I have lower back issues as it is, and I was worried this car would make it worse.

3 years later, I've made several 12+ hour drives to Orlando and back and I've learned a couple of things when I go on long trips.
1) I have a small back pillow to help with lower lumbar
2) I bring the seat closer to the steering wheel, and lower the back portion. Not so I can barely reach the wheel, but more of a relaxed seated position
3) I'll alternate between that seating position and one with a more vertical backing.

Anytime you are seated for hours, you need to be able to change. To save time, I only stop for gas, so I make sure to change seating position after every gas change, as well as a quick stretch!
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      11-09-2012, 01:32 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brandobot View Post
To begin, I'm 23 years of age, never had any back injuries or pains beforeS i've owned numerous cars including a Mini Cooper S, Porsche Cayman S, E90 3 series, E46 M3, z4 3.0 and a few Hondas, but none of them has given me lower back pains like the z4m does.

I've tried a few different seat positions but can't seem to make the back pains go away. They come fairly quick, within 15-20 minute drives.

How do you position your seat for comfortable driving?
I am 61 and an orthopedic once told me that he had never seen a back as bad as mine. I don't have any trouble in my M and have routinely driven 6-7 hours with only one stop in the middle.

I found that one of the most important things is to make sure you are completely in the seat with your butt and lower back solidly against the seat back. You have to stay there as well. On long trips I have to rearrange and make sure I am sitting that way. Helps to rock the seat back a bit to make sure that the place where the seat back joins the seat bottom is lowest (gravity will help keep ou in place).

As someone said earlier you should not have to stretch your leg to push the clutch all the way to the floor. Be careful that you don't extend the front cushion to far as this can cause pressure on the back of your knees when shifting.
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      11-09-2012, 11:31 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puciorek View Post
I'm 40 and have a really bad back (bulging lower disk) I have no idea why I bought this car, given my condition.
Anyways, sitting is ok, I use lumbar pillow to support my lower back it works very well.
I also found out that especially in the morning after driving to work getting out of the car was very painful. So I decided to get a ziplock fill it with water and rubbing alcohol, freeze it to the point that it becomes gel and place it between my lower back and the seat/ pillow. Works perfectly, it freezes the nerves and my back feels ok.
I think he needs an applause for his dedication to drive a Z4! The engine sound must make up for it?
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      11-10-2012, 07:18 AM   #21
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I find the Z4M seats one of the most orthopedically comfortable ones of all cars I have owned. Not cushy or plush but supportive.

The overall most comfy seats prize goes to my MK1 Audi TT- those were cushy and supportive.

I am 5'11" and 150lbs (so pretty skinny) and find the seat a perfect fit. Earlier in 2011 I had put on some weight around my waist (I was just a touch over 160lbs) and the seats did not feel perfect. I have driven this car on many long distance trips- ~800mls to Road Atlanta, ~550 to VIR, ~900 to Chicago, ~1700 to Goliad TX, multiple 250-300 mls trips and find the seats quite refreshing on the back every time I get out.

My seat is set close to the back, sear back close to vertical but slightly angled back, front height raised to a point where it gently supports the thighs, the seat extender pulled out, and remeber to use the steering adjustment so your shoulders are relaxed and elbows slightly bent.
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      11-10-2012, 12:08 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkeye View Post
Never noticed. I have sore back after deadlifts and such and the seat heater feels great!
your lower back shouldn't be that bad after deadlifting. you need to learn how to hip hinge.
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