Dry out my Yamaha!
October 16, 2006 8:59 PM   Subscribe

My scooter has a wet seat. Not at first glance, but the foam cushioning seeps out water when I sit on it (I left it outside a while ago in some heavy rain), making it necessary for me to sit on a plastic bag every time I ride. It's been dry everyday for two weeks, and the thing still seeps water! How can I dry the seat out?

I've considered dismantling the seat to remove the foam to dry or even replace it, but I simply don't have the tools, and it looks like a royal pain in the ass. My McGuyver skills have failed me.
posted by zardoz to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total)
If your seat still has a seat cover that's vinyl or leather, then I don't think it's gonna dry out on its own.

My first impulse would be to at least open up the seat, remove the cover, etc. then maybe use a hairdryer to drive off the moisture (careful tho! the hair dryer on too hot or in one spot too long could melt the foam). Though I dunno what tools you have or what you'd need...

What scooter do you have? It's been my (limited) experience that the seats aren't as hard to remove as they seems, once you figure out the right things to undo. Could you permaybehaps acquire a service manual for your scoot? I've got access to a few Kymco's, or maybe you can try here to find your model.
posted by toomanyplugs at 9:12 PM on October 16, 2006

Put a very thick wad of very absorbent, wicking material on the seat -- perhaps a 30-thick stack of paper towels underneath a folded bath towel, or some such. Then sit on the seat. Bounce up and down. Put as much pressure as you can on it.

Replace towel when it's too wet. Repeat until wicking material no longer gets wet. A tiny bit of dampness will remain, but it will evaporate eventually.
posted by ROTFL at 9:14 PM on October 16, 2006

Happens to my bike seat all the time when it rains. I just cover it with a tarp when the rainy season starts. If I forget, I try to wick as much as possible by pressing a dry towel on it. Usually takes two good days of sun to dry completely.

I feel your pain zardor, Its no fun walking around with a wet ass.
posted by special-k at 9:23 PM on October 16, 2006

You could try sitting an inch-thick layer of old newspapers on it, and binding them tightly with many turns of rope to compress the seat foam at least as much as your arse usually does. Leave it wrapped up like that for a couple of days.

The trouble is that the seat upholstery, being nonporous, is stopping water vapour from escaping from the highly porous foam. So you want to compress the foam as much as possible for as long as possible to squish out the water, while simultaneously providing a way to wick up the driblets of water that the compression drives out, so that the foam doesn't just suck them straight back up as soon as the pressure is off.
posted by flabdablet at 10:40 PM on October 16, 2006

What you need is a desiccant. You could try sealing it in plastic and placing a moisture wicking Silica Gel (or ten) inside. Silica Gel is inside those little "DO NOT EAT" capsules that come with medicine or other items that degrade quickly.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:26 AM on October 17, 2006

If you're going to try the silica gel thing, you'll need a lot of it. You can get cat litter that's just silica gel granules - comes in big bags and it's cheap.
posted by flabdablet at 3:43 AM on October 17, 2006

Remove the seat. Find out which side exposes the most foam (probably the bottom). Put it in an oven with that side up at the lowest setting with the door cracked open. Leave overnight.

posted by plinth at 5:16 AM on October 17, 2006

You could also use Calcium Chloride (sometimes sold as Dry-Rite, used as a dessicant for mouldy cupboards etc) - it is a more powerful dessicant than silica AFAIK. You'll have to put your seat in an airlight container (plastic garbage bin?) with a container of CaCL2. Whatever you do, make sure that absolutely no CaCl2 touches the seat, or the seat will be hygroscopic (water-absorbing) for ever.
posted by claudius at 5:52 AM on October 17, 2006

Squeeze the hell out of it to get every last drop of water out then leave it somewhere very warm for a couple of days. I don't know about putting it in an oven though. Especially if you have a gas oven, you are looking at a major fire hazard. Vinyl, foam, and flames do not mix.
posted by JJ86 at 6:00 AM on October 17, 2006

I figure that the temperature of a scooter seat on a hot day < 150f degrees, which is the temperature of an oven pretty much its lowest setting with the door cracked open. if the vinyl is pvc (chances are), it has a a href="http://www.vinyl-guys.com/">flash point of 990F.

If you couldn't get a scooter seat to 150F without it combusting, there would be a lot of parked scooters going up in flames. There would also be a lot of automobile seats going up in flames too.

If you're really worried about combustion, make sure the seat is away from the heating element. In most gas ovens, the heating element is underneath. In electric ovens, it's up top. Use common sense.
posted by plinth at 8:12 AM on October 17, 2006

In Bermuda, the scooter seats always fall apart and thus leave us with wet seats as well. Most people go to an upholsterer and have him / her make them a high-quality leather seat that is weather resistant.
posted by jasondigitized at 11:45 AM on October 17, 2006

plinth mentioned: if the vinyl is pvc (chances are), it has a a href="http://www.vinyl-guys.com/">flash point of 990F.

A little bit of science knowledge is a dangerous thing, plinth! A vinyl motorcycle seat is not equivalent to the building products you linked to. Let's try linking to something more equivalent like this maybe? It mentions a flash point of 440 degrees F and also mentions that above 250 degrees the material "may liberate modest quantities of plasticizer". That could be a health risk, my friend.

Also if you understand the mechanics of a gas oven you will realize that each time it ignites, there is a flame that can expand up to reach objects on the rack. The flame lasts for a very short time but there is a risk of igniting flammable substances of which vinyl coated fabrics are. This flame presents a hazard different than flashpoint which is strictly overall heat.

Ovens are not designed to dry out wet things even if they may work for that function. I can remember many stupid students in the college dorms who used microwave ovens to dry out towels which is about as dumb as dumb can be. Although microwaves offer different hazards, it is the same fact that they are not being used for their designed purpose which is the same thing as that which you propose. Please do not offer this advice.
posted by JJ86 at 7:11 AM on October 18, 2006

One more data point: drying underpants in a microwave oven buggers the elastic.

Or so I've heard :-)
posted by flabdablet at 9:10 PM on October 18, 2006

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