F150 Overly Aggressive Lumbar Modification (2015-2017)

Truck

The new NeedThatCar 2016 F150 is proving to be a great vehicle, which will fill many roles.  But there was a problem with the seat comfort that had to be rectified before I could drive it very far.  It has FAR too much lumbar support, and even though it’s adjustable, even in the most relaxed position, it’s too much.  So much, in fact, that it would cause back pain after as little of 10 minutes of driving.  I do not have previous back issues, so this was very unsettling after just a few days of ownership.

I am certainly not the first one to have this problem.  I found a very informative thread over at f150forum.com that details how to unzip the back of the seat and disconnect the lumbar adjuster.  I followed those steps and found that it improved the comfort, but it just wasn’t enough.  So, I went a few steps further, and those are detailed here.

Labeled assembly

The back of the seat is supported by a wire mesh grid, which is connected at the bottom only by the lumbar cable (not shown in photo), connected in the high middle by to wire hooks, and connected at the top by two built-in hooks.  The first thing I tried was removing the entire back support system.  The motor, the cable, and the wire mesh “spring” system.  this resulted in not enough support for the back of the seat and it would sort of “taco” against the pressure of your back.

I reinstalled the mesh, without any of the lumbar adjuster stuff and found that the hooks in the high middle were also too aggressive.  They are lower on my back than I originally thought (I am 6’5″).  Sitting in the seat and having someone push on the back at that high middle connection point, I found that those were also causing discomfort.  So, I lengthened them about 3/4″ each.

longer-hook-labeled-e1502475867550.jpg

Hooks labeled

I built new hooks out of a wire coat hanger, adding about 1.5″ overall to their length.

Then I started looking at the seat frame and realized that, without any modifications to the lumbar adjustment cable or mechanism, the lumbar adjuster could be reinstalled.  I could use a different hole in the seat frame that would relax that mechanism about 4″ total, and still be able to use the lumbar adjustment. (Some of the users at f150forum have done this, but by extending the original clip like I did with the upper ones using a wire hanger.)

motor-cables-labeled.jpg

Cable connection points labeled

My photos aren’t great, but basically what happens is that the lumbar cable comes attached to the front edge of the side support of the seat back.  I used the hole (green arrow) about 2″ to the aft of that edge on both sides.

Wiring hole labeled.jpg

On the LH side, there is an electrical harness clip in the hole I used, so it needs to be removed.  I cable tied the harness somewhere else to keep it from moving around in the seat.

RH side assembled

Using all the original equipment that came out of the seat, I attached the cable to these holes.  The photo above is of the RH side of the seat.  The holes are oblong, and the little clips are pretty sloppy and rattly in there, so I modified a 1/4″ plastic rivet to hold the clip more tightly in the hole.

Rivet

I repeated this basically the same way on the LH side

LH side assembled labeled

I then zip tied the motor to the wire mesh unit (which is how Ford installed it) in a place where it seems happy with regard to the new mounting of the cable.  The motor has limit switches at either extreme, so there isn’t really a concern about it being too slack or too tight.

Even loosening the tension of the lumbar cable by 4 inches still allows quite a lot of available lumbar adjustment, which is nice if someone else, who wants more lumbar support, drives my truck.

(Edit:  After a couple of longer drives, I found the middle/upper hooks that I made were still too tight, so I just clipped them.  Now my seat is only attached at the very top and at the lumbar adjuster.  This is the best comfort I’ve found to date.  I do not intend to change it from this point, though I could make still longer hooks for the middle/upper attachment points.)

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One Response to F150 Overly Aggressive Lumbar Modification (2015-2017)

  1. Jason Bringhurst says:

    I don’t know who is more weird. You for the step-by-step instructions which are very good, or me, the person who read it all and doesn’t even have a Ford F150. Ha ha. But seriously, this will probably be very helpful to a lot people though. Nice work. 🙂

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