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Does the Lumbar Support actually work all 4 directions?

27705 Views 78 Replies 29 Participants Last post by  Cintoman
Not sure i this is just me...buuuuuuuuut...

For sure the Lumbar goes out and in...that is obvious. BUT...when I adjust up or down, I am getting the same effect as out and in.

For example, if I adjust the umber all the way out...it will not go anywhere when pressing "up"....If I press "down", however...the lumbar simply deflates/goes back in (as if I were pressing "in").

going from a completely neutral lumbar position, up and down doe the same as in and out.

In short...I see no difference between pressing up/down or in/out.

Anyone else have this?
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So I ended up taking my driver's seat apart so I can see what was going on with the lumbar support. As some others have said in this thread, it seemed like the seats were more comfortable with no lumbar at delivery, and then, after playing around with the lumbar support, now it seems worse with more lumbar, and you're not able to fully deflate the lumbar as to what it was (no lumbar at all) at delivery.

In order to get at the innards of the seat, you have to remove the rear plastic clamshell cover. To remove this, you have to remove the headrest, as the chrome metal posts hold the clamshell cover in place. Although the headrest looks to not be removable, it is, and can be done rather simply. I followed this video below:

Basically, there's 2 metal clips on the left side of each post that you have to push and hold left, then once done, you can remove the headrest.

Once the headrest is removed, sitting in the back seat, put your fingers between the top of the back of the seat and the clamshell cover, then pull it out towards you. The bottom of the clamshell cover is kind of hinged at the bottom of the seat, so it'll just plop onto your legs.

Once this is opened, you can see the inside of the seat back, which includes a large yellow plastic piece. This piece has a air bladder inflator (grey metal box), which has several air tubes coming out of it...in my car, I had a green and a blue air tube. These are what inflates each of the air bladders, which are behind the yellow plastic piece. I was able to slide my hand from the top of the yellow plastic piece down between that and the seatback foam and feel the air bladders. They were fully deflated. To confirm the buttons were working correctly, I had my son press the top button, and the bottom button. The top and the bottom bladders inflated respectively. I then had him delfate them, and they deflated fully. Pressing the forward button appeared to inflate both bladders simultaneously. Again, by pressing the back button, both deflated as expected.

So my issue wasn't what I thought....that the bladders did not fully deflate. Nor was the issue that they fully deflated, then partially automatically inflated again.

It now appeared that the issue with my seat is that by default, it's designed with too much lumbar. I had to somehow reduce this.

I started out by pulling at the two slanted black metal rods that come from the top and go into the yellow plastic. They are pretty stiff, but I managed to reduce their tension on the seatback foam significantly; hence less pressure on my back. By sitting in the driver's seat before and then after, I noticed a bit of difference. Still, this didn't really affect the lumbar area too much, as the lumbar area is lower in the seat.

I then had my son put his hands on the left and right side of the yellow plastic piece about mid-way down, and pull it back towards him as much as he could. With me in the driver's seat, I finally found the seat perfectly comfortable !! Once he released, it was back to too much lumbar. So I needed to figure out a way to keep the pullback tension that he was doing to being permanent.

What I ended up doing was using some pink rigid foam insulation and putting it about mid-way down on both the left and the right side of the yellow plastic, taking note not to pinch the tubes on the right side. This keeps the yellow plastic further away from the seatback foam, and significantly reducing the lumbar pressure that it was putting against my back. I didn't notice any additional pressure coming from the left and right side as a result of inserting those small pink foam blocks. It doesn't completely eliminate the lumbar, but I'd say it reduced it by 90% or so.

I think ideally, if you'd be able to pull back the yellow plastic piece at the very bottom of the seat back, it would be perfect. But that piece seems to be installed quite sturdy to some heavy steel frame supports.

I included some pictures I took of the headrest removed, the seatback, the black rods before and after pulling them back, as well as the pink rigid foam supports I installed.

Let me know if you have any questions on this.



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This write up is amazing. I ended up doing something similar, deflating the lumbar support all the way then innediately removing the power to the inflation motor, but it essentially made no difference. I'm considering doing what you did this weekend.

Question - do you also find the actual seat to be uncomfortable as well? Specifically the side bolsters?
Hi @Ramykha ...Welcome to the Forum. I hope you'll find a lot of information here as well as a bunch of wonderful people !!

Thanks for the compliments on my write-up. I do like to go into quite a bit of detail :)

What's interesting about the seats in the Model 3 is that prior to getting the car, I've sat in quite a few of them, and found the seats to be really comfortable. As anyone who has felt the seat material, it is super soft and luxurious, and feels so much better than leather. When I got my car at the end of Sept, my initial drive home (about a 3 mile drive), the seats felt great. As well as driving the next few days. No concerns at all. However, as I started driving a bit more, I started paying more attention to the lumbar on the seats, and felt there was waaaay too much, even if the bladders were fully deflated. So that's when I thought I might have had a problem with the bladders not deflating, and decided to remove the seat back to investigate and fix. That helped quite a bit for me.

However, as far as the side bolsters, they seem fine to me. What I find to be another issue seems to be with the seat bottom cushion. I'm a pretty skinny guy (5'7" and about 150 lbs), but it seems the bottom cushion, towards the back (where your butt sits on it), seems to be a bit narrow, and the seat cushion bolsters seems to get in the way. Example: I always keep my phone in my back left pocket. But now, when driving the 3, the bottom bolster on the left seems to get in the way and put pressure on my phone in my pocket. Wish the bottom seat cushion would have been a bit wider towards the back of it.

At any rate, I had a 2005 C230 Mercedes-Benz Sport Sedan for over 12 years, and I felt that those seats were among the most comfortable seats I have ever sat in. They were the Sport Seats, with some really big side bolsters and a manual lumbar support that I always left the setting to zero. The seats were firm, but exceptionally supportive, and cradled your body. You sat IN the seats rather than ON the seats. It tells you something about the comfort of the Mercedes seats when you drive 25 hours straight, non-stop from RI to FL, and at the end of the drive, you felt perfectly fine, with no back aches or fatigue.

I think for the majority of the people that check out and sit (and eventually own) a Model 3, the seats will probably be far better than the seats on their existing car. And the compliments will continue to pour in regarding the 3's seats. However, coming from what I think are the most comfortable seats I've ever sat in (my Mercedes seats) to these, they don't feel nearly as comfortable. I still think they're good and Tesla did a good job, but not great.

That's precisely my experience with the seats as well. The rails under the seat are too narrow to comfortably fit. I can't find a position without feeling like the lateral-most parts of me are right over metal.

Did you find that the lumbar modification made this seat cushion issue worse seeing as it allowed you to sit further back in the seat where presumably the bolsters are even narrower?
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