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Champ51
02-07-2017, 10:02 PM
On both previous occasions when I've driven our '51 Studebaker long distances, I've ended up with a very sore back at my destination. Since we want to drive to South Bend this year, I'm looking for any hints on how to arrive less bent over after 2 days on the road.

The seats were restored to original condition and certainly don't feel soft.

Has anyone had luck with some kind of cushioning?

JoeHall
02-07-2017, 10:13 PM
I can identify with the problem. Though comfortable to sit on, my 56J's bench seat is the worst on the lower back. For years, I have used various sizes and shapes of cushions between lower back and seat. I have used round ones shaped like a fire log, and a seat back formed cushion with extra firmness down low. While driving along, I shift the cushion around bit from time to time, high to low, and that helps too.

The ultimate fix was done a few years ago to the two GT Hawks, with 2005 Chrysler Sebring convertible seats. To me, they are more comfortable than any of the brand 'X' cars in the family: Buick Park Ave, Lexus 330, Honda Odyssey.Two years ago, I drove a GT to California and back, a little over 5000 miles all total, and did not even take along a back cushion. But I doubt you are ready to go to that length, and neither am I, with the 56J. :)

Lou Van Anne
02-07-2017, 10:22 PM
I feel the same way about the Avanti seats.

GrumpyOne
02-07-2017, 10:56 PM
The answer is a lumbar support pad. Later seats had the seat back angle changed to favor distribution of the load on the backside rather than the spine...

Hallabutt
02-08-2017, 05:25 AM
Take your wallet out of your back pocket, if you haven't already done so. I hate the new car seats, and bench seats! New car seats are as hard as a rock and you kind of sit up on top of them. I didn't know how uncomfortable I had been, until we got a 1996 Ford Thunderbird which allowed both Mary and me to sink down into the seat and still allow me to stretch out my long legs. Mary has an arthritic back and the dread of a long driving trip has changed to one of anticipation and enjoyment! Try putting a shim under the front legs of your bench seat and tipping the seat back a bit. It has worked for me, but the big steering wheel can be an obstacle.

what huh
02-08-2017, 06:32 AM
Try putting a shim under the front legs of your bench seat and tipping the seat back a bit. It has worked for me, but the big steering wheel can be an obstacle.

I was just getting ready to say that, the seat needs to cradle with equal support everywhere. Tilting the seat back helps with that in my experience. Then there is always a seat swap. Friend of mine had a late 80's Ford ranger with vinyl bench, similiar in construction to Studebaker. He had the same problems with his back. We swapped it out with a new (at the time) S10 PLUSH bench/bucket seat and all his trouble were gone. Im sure that seat had proper lumbar support also, like was stated above. Could have been the the ford seat was just FLAT out WORN out but, in that case it needed fixing anyways

Hope you get it figured out. Its one of those problem that you can live with but more often it makes you take the family's car to the grocery store instead

57pack
02-08-2017, 07:29 AM
You need that Bamboo Cushion as seen on tv! Only $19.95 but wait buy now and get a second free! Just pay separate shipping and handling­čśü

Commander Eddie
02-08-2017, 08:11 AM
I have found simply placing a small pillow on the seat against the back so it presses against my spine really helps. It is basically a lumbar support and keep your spine straight so your muscles don't get fatigued. Ask your Chiropractor about that.

Studeous
02-08-2017, 09:04 AM
Get ya a pair of 2013-2017 Nissan Altima zero gravity bucket seats. They were designed in conjunction with NASA. That ought to do the trick. But, I personally have not set in them.

jclary
02-08-2017, 09:40 AM
The answer is a lumbar support pad. Later seats had the seat back angle changed to favor distribution of the load on the backside rather than the spine...

I agree with the above quote along with some other comments. Back in the 1970's when I bought my 1955 truck, one of the first things I noticed was the void where the seat back is nested into the rear of the seat bottom. I was much younger then, and the physical aspect was not what bothered me. Instead, as the truck bounced down the road, with every bump, I didn't like how the design would cause my shirttail to escape from being neatly tucked in my pants.:oops:

I cured the problem by using a cushion to place the small of my back higher on the seat back where there is better support. After buying more Studebakers, I came to realize that all of the seats are made about the same. (Including other makes of the era.) It greatly helped for me. However, for you folks who are tall enough that you already are challenged to "fit" in a Studebaker, my solution might not work so well. Then there is those who have a stomach that is too tall:rolleyes: ...the lack of a tilt steering column provides another challenge.

Let's face it, life's full of compromises, and what fits one individual is problematic for another. Similar problems exist for pedal height, clutch & accelerator return spring strength, etc. The longer the trip, the more these problems are amplified. For some, the best solution is to take more frequent breaks. Downside to that, is the trip takes longer. Sometimes, stopping to smell the roses (or make a pit stop) is more important.:)

jackb
02-08-2017, 10:13 AM
A counter problem with the front shim will be hamstring pressure. If the seat bottom is raised enough to press on your hams... you'll get impeded blood flow and real sore legs that may eventually get to your back. I'd suggest cruise control for seat shifting...

Greenstude
02-08-2017, 10:27 AM
Many years ago, drivers often bought flat triangular cushions which were perhaps 10 cm (4 inches) high at the back, and tapered to a point at the front. My parents used one with their 1952 Dodge, and I would love to find one for my 1947 Studebaker. Instead, I sit on a blanket folded to the shape I want.

Corvanti
02-08-2017, 10:34 AM
this should help, and priced for us CASOs: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mesh-Lumbar-Back-Brace-Support-Office-Home-Car-Seat-Chair-Cushion-Cool-Black-New-/331907756521?hash=item4d473e71e9:g:LkUAAOSw7s5XhmcA&vxp=mtr

rockne10
02-08-2017, 05:51 PM
My '51 Commander was also uncomfortable on long cruises. I got one of those folding seat cushions that's intended to let air circulate under your butt and back. It folds flat, is only about a half inch thick, with metal coils covered by a plastic weave. They are old school and cheap. It just distributes my weight enough to keep me up on the seat. I lay a mechanics seat cover under it to protect the cloth upholstery. Fatigue solved!
Bill Hallett mentioned "take out your wallet", and he didn't mean get ready to spend big money. Put it in your shirt pocket rather than sitting on it.

karterfred88
02-08-2017, 06:18 PM
My wife swears by this--allows her to drive and remain seated in the car-either one-new or old. I don't have the problem so can't comment, but for $20.00 it may be worth a try.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/PharMeDoc-Coccyx-Seat-Cushion-Gray/140423249?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=675&adid=22222222227056138865&wmlspartner=wmtlabs&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=159491886644&wl4=pla-271889969012&wl5=9007515&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=113516036&wl11=online&wl12=140423249&wl13=&veh=sem

Ron Dame
02-08-2017, 06:19 PM
Besides seats, consider two other things: Is the floor the same height at your feet between right and left? Not so on my '63 Champ. Is your left foot in the same plane as your right, or is it stretched out further? I made a wooden dead pedal for my left foot that both keeps it at the same distance as my right on thee gas pedal, and puts it at the same height as my right foot. It made a huge difference for me.

TWChamp
02-08-2017, 06:23 PM
As Hallabutt said, remove your wallet from your back pocket. I never gave it a thought until I saw a news report about 10 years ago on the problems it can cause. I've carried mine in my front pocket for the past 10 years, and have had more comfort while driving.

In the 60's I bought a seat pad that felt like a heated seat within seconds of sitting on it. Sure wish I could find another one. It was soft and flexible, but I'm not sure what was inside of the cloth cover.

Ron Dame
02-08-2017, 06:34 PM
I've kept my wallet in my front pocket for the past 40 years at the advice of my chiropractor. I've got other structural issues, like one short leg, but this was a huge benefit to me.


As Hallabutt said, remove your wallet from your back pocket. I never gave it a thought until I saw a news report about 10 years ago on the problems it can cause. I've carried mine in my front pocket for the past 10 years, and have had more comfort while driving.

In the 60's I bought a seat pad that felt like a heated seat within seconds of sitting on it. Sure wish I could find another one. It was soft and flexible, but I'm not sure what was inside of the cloth cover.

jts359
02-08-2017, 06:48 PM
I believe the pedal you made Ron for your left foot is known a Paddy Hopkirk in racing cars , And removing the wallet from the rear to the front helps also, Ed

Champ51
02-09-2017, 08:57 AM
I have taken most of the advice offered, inclining the seat back just far enough that some of my weight is supported at my knees, but not so much as to impede circulation. I've procured a lumbar cushion to try. And I'm glad Mr Hallett's advice does not mean I have to actually open my wallet and possibly lose my CASO credentials.

Now we just need to wait for another warm day to take a drive. Thank you all.

sals54
02-09-2017, 02:56 PM
And don't forget to do your sit-ups. A strong gut makes for a well supported back. Jus sayin'...

vetteson
02-10-2017, 08:25 AM
Try driving a '56 Corvette 350 miles! Groans and moans after only 50 miles! All advice above good, I would only add that as we get older....

Quentin
02-10-2017, 05:28 PM
63 Hawk. While my bucket seats look good, they are not very comfortable. The back is too far inclined with no adjustment to make it more upright, and subsequently the weight is on my coccyx, not my buttocks. A more upright seating position is better for crook backs, so I modified mine accordingly. Better, but still needs a cushion. I miss that bench seat, much better ergonomically.

wlfrench
02-10-2017, 07:32 PM
Cruise control, push the seat back as far from the steering wheel as you can and still reach the pedals and lumbar support cushion. Being able to move your legs around a bit as you drive helps a lot.

GrumpyOne
02-10-2017, 07:48 PM
63 Hawk. While my bucket seats look good, they are not very comfortable. The back is too far inclined with no adjustment to make it more upright, and subsequently the weight is on my coccyx, not my buttocks. A more upright seating position is better for crook backs, so I modified mine accordingly. Better, but still needs a cushion. I miss that bench seat, much better ergonomically.


The most comfortable but yet simple seats I ever sat in were in a 1986 Renault Alliance. It had the regular forward/backward, seat back angle and a third adjustment that let it roll on its axis. I wish that I could find a similar pair to fit into my daily driver 1982 Honda which itself has reasonably comfortable seats.

RadioRoy
02-11-2017, 12:53 AM
In the 60's I bought a seat pad that felt like a heated seat within seconds of sitting on it. Sure wish I could find another one. It was soft and flexible, but I'm not sure what was inside of the cloth cover.

They used to call them hot seats. Every year for Christmas I would ask my parents to send me one from Minneapolis, because they were not sold here in California. They had a layer of Styrofoam and a layer of foam rubber inside. The Styrofoam insulated and reflected body heat and the foam rubber did something, I guess.

Electrically heated seats in the new cars probably put them out of business. These days, you can get thin rubber heaters to put inside the upholstery and hook to the battery to make your own "bun warmers" as some folks call them. They look like water bed heaters.

RadioRoy
02-11-2017, 12:55 AM
Try driving a '56 Corvette 350 miles! Groans and moans after only 50 miles! All advice above good, I would only add that as we get older....

Try riding a 72 Triumph Bonneville motorcycle long distance. I used to stop and rest just before the crack in my butt got almost up to my shoulders. :)

ETLMT
08-08-2017, 09:44 PM
If your back is sore you can decompress it by doing the following isometric exercises...

Lay on your back
Bring your knees up as close your chest as possible, ( you want them to be more than 90┬░, if you cannot keep reading***)
Put your hands on your HAMSTRINGS
Lift your head a few inches up
Deep breathing through the nose, slow and long. (Adding the Darth Vader Quality audio will help your muscles relax even more.)
Pull back with your hands and "trying" to push forward with your legs.(Your arms need to win here, because you want the knees to stay close to your chest.)
Do this as hard and long as you can.

Bring your knees up as close your chest as possible, ( you want them to be more than 90┬░, if you cannot keep reading)
Put your hands on your KNEES
Lift your head a few inches up
Deep breathing through the nose, slow and long. (Adding the Darth Vader Quality audio will help your muscles relax even more.)
Push forward with your hands and pull back with your legs.(Your legs need to win here, because you want the knees to stay close to your chest.)
Do this as hard and long as you can.

*** If you physically cannot bring your knees back that far and you have someone that can push on your feet to get your knees up closer to your chest, then you push on them and this works even better!

This should make your back feel much more better.

DieselJim
08-09-2017, 07:42 AM
Try riding a 72 Triumph Bonneville motorcycle long distance. I used to stop and rest just before the crack in my butt got almost up to my shoulders. :)Same with a 75 Kawasaki 900.

bensherb
08-09-2017, 05:20 PM
Same with a 75 Kawasaki 900.

Humn, as long as I stop to get gas every 150 miles or so, I've never had a problem with my '78 KZ650 I've had for 39 years. My '68 and '96 Harleys on the other hand....

I haven't been able to drive the Stude far enough to tell, haven't made it more than 200 miles without stopping to fix something. Right now it's trans, secondary shaft bearings. It's crazy, I can drive around home forever with no trouble at all, but if I get away from home, look out!

JoeHall
08-09-2017, 06:39 PM
Humn, as long as I stop to get gas every 150 miles or so, I've never had a problem with my '78 KZ650 I've had for 39 years. My '68 and '96 Harleys on the other hand....

I haven't been able to drive the Stude far enough to tell, haven't made it more than 200 miles without stopping to fix something. Right now it's trans, secondary shaft bearings. It's crazy, I can drive around home forever with no trouble at all, but if I get away from home, look out!

I have had a 1986 Harley FXRD for the last 15 years, and its comfortable for long haul. Admittedly, I have done several mods to make it fit my body better, mainly with dresser parts: forward foot boards & controls; fairing lowers (I am a wimp about wind nowadays); backrest; rear air shocks, and 5.75 gallon gas tank, etc.. I have not ridden farther than 100 miles in awhile, but planning a trip to Syracuse in the next month, about 700 miles each way. Have made that trip several times on the Harley, but not in the last 3-4 years.

Sorry to hear of your bad luck with the GT, I have had excellent luck with GTs over the years (knock wood).

Studeous
08-09-2017, 07:19 PM
A tip I read several years ago. I have tried it on long trips and seems to work. Makes sense to me. Your results may vary. Every once in a while, try to push your belly button into the back of the seat by tightening your core. Not your 327 Chevy :)

Milaca
08-09-2017, 08:29 PM
Leave your wallet in your back pocket, then put your wife's money in your other back pocket. This will level your position and you will have twice as much money to spend.... I'm obviously not married...