Driver Swivel Seat Installation & e-brake relocation on a Ford Transit

Driver Swivel Seat Installation & e-brake relocation on a Ford Transit

Driver-and-Passenger-Swivels

At first, we did not plan on installing a swivel seat on the driver-side. After using the passenger-side for a while, we realized that a swivel seat is a beautiful thing in a camper van conversion! It creates a lot of space. We changed our mind, and we are installing a swivel seat on the driver-side RIGHT NOW!

 

Read first:

The emergency brake is located just beside the driver seat. Unfortunately, the swivel seat will interfere with the emergency brake when rotating, so the emergency brake must first be lowered. Then, the swivel adapter can be installed. That’s OK, all of this will be covered in this post! Just keep reading!

 

Read second:

We installed a Discountvantruck swivel seat on the passenger-side and tried to install it on the driver-side, too. Because of its design, it will interfere with the dual batteries and therefore it’s a no-go. (it might work with a single battery option, but we’re not sure). That’s why we are installing a SwivelRus on the driver side.

 


Update June 2018:

There’s a new swivel seat in town: Scopema. If we had to start over, we would install it because:

  • It raises the seat by only 1 inch, compared to 1.75 inches for the SwivelRus. That’s nice, especially for the driver side; we found the driving position not as good after we installed the SwivelRus.
  • We were told by folks that installed it that there is less wobble than with the SwivelRus.
  • The hole pattern perfectly matches the factory seat.
  • In fact, we plan on installing one in the fore-coming weeks and make a complete review; stay tuned! We DID install it! Check out our full review:

SCOPEMA SWIVELS ARE AVAILABLE HERE:

the-swivel-shop_logo
Buy on TheSwivelShop.com

(Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter, Ram ProMaster, Mercedes Metris)


 

TIME SPENT ON THE JOB: ~8 hours

 

TOTAL COST : $400 USD approx

 


DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click a product link and buy anything from the merchant (Amazon, eBay, etc), we will receive a commission fee. The price you pay remains the same, affiliate link or not.

Portrait


 

 

 

MATERIAL:

  • Scopema Swivel Seat Adapter (Buy on TheSwivelShop.com)
  • Stainless Steel Plate (to protect the cable housing from rubbing with sheet metal)
  • Stainless Steel Fender Washer

 

TOOLS:

 

RESOURCE:

We want to thank and give credit to “freeriden” on the Ford Transit forum, he was the first to publish a solution to lower the emergency-brake: “Driver Swivel Seat Install” thread on Fordtransitusaforum.com

 

Let’s install the swivel seat!

 

STEP 1: Lower the Emergency-Brake

It must be lowered to resolve the interference issue.

 

First, remove the 2 plastic parts by pulling them up (no tools required)

Ford-Transit-Driver-Side-Swivel-Installation-(12-marked)

Ford Transit Driver Side Swivel Installation (14)
Success! The 2 plastic parts are out of the way!

 

Here is the idea of this modification: we take the 3 existing attachment points (start of arrow) and re-locate them lower in other existing holes (end of arrow). Not clear? Keep reading!

Ford-Transit-Driver-Side-Swivel-Installation-(15-marked)

 

Now, let’s take that seat out of the way.

There are 2 screws to remove at the back:

Ford-Transit-Driver-Side-Swivel-Installation-(16-marked)

 

and 2 screws to remove at the front:

Ford-Transit-Driver-Side-Swivel-Installation-(17-marked)

 

Don’t take the seat off yet! We still have to detach the electrical harness:

Ford-Transit-Driver-Side-Swivel-Installation-(18-marked)
Just unscrew this bolt and the electrical harness will come off

 

We’re going to take the batteries off to access the e-brake screws inside the seat base.

NOTE: we have the dual batteries option. Your setup might differs!




To remove the protective plate, we need to remove these 2 screws

Ford-Transit-Driver-Side-Swivel-Installation-(20-marked)

 

And here are the batteries!

Ford Transit Driver Side Swivel Installation (23)

 

All the batteries posts can be detached. The two batteries are “linked” together with this small tube (to locate in the picture, follow the arrow head). It looks like it is a venting tube. It can be detached (and re-attached later, no problem) to remove each battery individually (unless you’re much stronger than me).

Ford-Transit-Driver-Side-Swivel-Installation-(25-marked)

 

The two batteries are located in a plastic basket. Remove it!

Ford Transit Driver Side Swivel Installation (26)

 

 

You can now remove the 3 screws that attach the e-brake from inside of the seat base (we have no picture, but you’ll see, it’s pretty obvious)

 

The e-brake is not yet free! Remove the 4 nuts that attach the metal plate to the seat base and trim the plate as shown to be able to remove it:

Ford-Transit-Driver-Side-Swivel-Installation-(29-marked)

 

Then, disconnect the e-brake electrical wire (at the red arrow)

First, remove the grommet (rubber part in the seat base), then pull away the electrical wire

Ford-Transit-Driver-Side-Swivel-Installation-(30-marked)

 

The nut below is welded. We need to remove it, because we will use the hole that is under the nut.

Make sure to catch all the metal chips! Those are evil! They will create rust spots in a short time! We used a bag and then vacuumed all over.

Ford Transit Driver Side Swivel Installation (1)

 

The nut is gone! Sweet!

Ford Transit Driver Side Swivel Installation (2)

 

We’re about to lower the e-brake, but doing so makes the cable housing rub with the sheet metal. Indeed, it off-centers the cable housing through the cutout (the rubbing happens below the van, not shown here).

 

We must prepare a device to protect the cable housing from rubbing with the sheet metal. We kept the sheet metal that we trimmed when installing the Maxxair Fan! Neat!

We trimmed it the right size, made it “round” to match the cable housing, sanded the rough edges and encapsulated it in heavy-duty 3M protector:

Ford Transit Driver Side Swivel Installation (8)

 

We will now lower the e-brake. The back screw fits nicely, the front screw “fits” in the large cutout (where the e-brake switch wire grommet was). The cutout is way too big, but adding a fender washer will make everything secure! The third screw (the lower one) is no longer used… (but we feel that it is strong enough with only 2 screws)

**while lowering the e-brake, carefully guide the cable housing so it does not rub with the sheet metal below the floor. The sheet metal is really sharp!**





Ford-Transit-Driver-Side-Swivel-Installation-(4-marked)

 

We must now crawl under the van to install the part that will protect the cable housing from rubbing with the sheet metal. We fixed it with a worm-drive clamp:

Ford Transit Driver Side Swivel Installation (9)

 

We’re not done just yet! See, the airbag control module is located just forward of the e-brake. The metal bracket that we removed previously was acting as a shield, since the module is supposed to be pressure-sensitive.
Ford Transit Driver Side Swivel Installation (10)
Showing the airbag control module

 

We need to modify the metal bracket, and put it back in place.

We were a bit aggressive with the modification, but it’s doing its job of protecting the module. Only the two front nuts are used to hold the bracket now. You might come up with something better?

Ford-Transit-Driver-Side-Swivel-Installation-(6-marked--2)

 

 

Re-connect the e-brake electrical wire previously disconnected and put everything back in place!

Unfortunately, the two plastic parts that we first removed do not fit anymore, but this is only aesthetic. We still have to do something about that… trim them or something.

 

Nice, we’re done with the e-brake!

 

STEP 2: Install the swivel adapter

We have to re-locate the wiring harness; otherwise, it’ll rub during rotations and wear out prematurely. Below is the “BEFORE”. Take note where the wiring harness comes out.

BEFORE:

 

We first re-routed the wiring harness in the battery case:

Travois-Scopema-Wire-Re-Route

 

And then we made a hole in the battery case cover so the wiring harness can come out. We also had to trim the “ribs” on the cover to make room for the Scopema plate:

Scopema-Travois-Rib-Trim

 

Final result:

Scopema Installed

 

And that’s a wrap!
Driver and Passenger Swivel Seats

 

 

 

 

ON SECOND THOUGHT…

 

 

 

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ABOUT US

Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017 we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers and moved into our self built campervan. We’ve been on the road since then and every day is an opportunity for a new adventure; we’re chasing our dreams and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!

 

 

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CHEERS!

 

 

38 thoughts on “Driver Swivel Seat Installation & e-brake relocation on a Ford Transit”

  1. I have to agree with no access to batteries after installing swivel without removing seats it’s worrisome. I bought both $$$$. I’d only get the passenger if I did this on another transit. Besides the ebrake installation was quick. You guys made some dough off me with your articles a few times! Lol

  2. Hello,
    Before anything else I would like to thank you both for the easily digestible documentation that you have put up on the web for free.
    You guys have saved me enormous amounts of time and research in my own transit build.

    I find it funny, and thought I would let you know that I just purchased the SwivelsRUs swivel (Scopema is out of stock everywhere, and time is an issue for me.)
    Their official guide to lowering the e-brake on the Americano Transit is just pictures of your guide in a pdf. I had a good laugh.

  3. Hi Isabelle and Antoine,

    Thanks for your great website. It’s one of the best that I have found.
    I am still in my design phase of a Transit.

    Have you made van layout changes since having two swiveling seats? I have only seen one layout (2021 Coachmen Beyond 22D online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFcAUyG6wcA at 1.35′ in) that fully takes advantage of it to expand the habitat to include the cabin. I think it’s a great way to extend the habitat instead of putting an insulation panel there to insulate it. I assume the current layouts are “historical” mindsets where the driver seat couldn’t easily made to swivel and perhaps also because of insufficient cabin insulation.

    I have the following additional related questions, info or topics for next articles 🙂 :

    . Do you provide such a layout design with engineering drawings?
    . Could you provide information on how to insulate the cabin (roof, floor, windows, dashboard) now that it becomes part of the habitat? It seems that an insulation curtain placed between the seats and steering wheel could take care of the windows and dashboard. What about roof and floor?
    . What software do you recommend to design campervans?
    . FYI, I have seen a video of someone who replaced the emergency brake handle with a button on the dashboard: 24’25” into https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcxBq2cMtdc.

    Thanks again

  4. Hi guys,
    Just installed my scopema swivel seats; however, we are not able to swivel driver seat with the door closed (the right top corner hits the door)
    Do you guys have the same issue?
    Thaaaaanks again

    • To complete a turn, we have to move the seat forward and incline the seat during the rotation; otherwise it won’t work. You’ll get use to it, you don’t even have to think about it after some time 🙂

  5. Will this work if I want to put my 60/40 bench seat on a swivel? I have a 2020 Ram ProMaster 1500 and can’t seem to find a single bucket to fit.

  6. I just installed the Scopema swivel for the driver, and noticed some quirks. I had my steering wheel column pulled out in its farthest position (i’ve got long legs), and the steering wheel will block the swivel in this orientation. Also, no matter what, my seat scrapes the door plastic panel when swiveling. Anyone else have these problems?

    Cheers!

  7. Watched you ride on BCpov video last week (nice riding). I love your blue plaid shirt/jacket. Brand and model? Thanks

  8. Did you ever give any thought to simply drilling new holes in the side of the seat to lower the EB?

  9. Using the large hole to reattached the EB where the EB switch wire is located, how or where did you reroute this wire?

  10. Antoine

    I understand removing the brake handle and cutting the metal bracket allowing you to remove the bracket without disconnecting the brake cable. With that said is the bracket that holds the brake hand to the seat also attached or is part of the bracket that covers the air bag controller? It looks in the final install you simply took a grinder and cut the back half of the bracket that rests on the floor and is attached to the seat on the side.

  11. Antoine
    Just read the complete install story. I’m ordering the Scopema tomorrow from the ebay supplier in your link. My biggest concern is modifying the ebrake lower cover. What did you guys do? Simply grind or trim down to fit. I haven’t looked that cover but would trimming down the cover compromise the tabs used to lock into place?

    • We simply removed the cover… We planned on making something nicer but it never happened! You can probably trim it and make something nice.

      Good luck!

  12. Hi Farouts:

    Okay, been meaning to ask this Q for a long time, and now that you are contemplative mode, now is the time!

    So.

    Um.

    Do you actually use the emergency brake? Ever? In the last three vehicles with automatic transmissions that we have had, the emergency brake stopped working after about 100K. And we never missed it.

    And to be honest, it is in the way all the time. Maybe I might remove it entirely…

    • Morning,
      We actually use it (and it’s still working fine at 110 000km) when we park on steep incline; I don’t want my 9000lbs home-on-wheel to go for a ghost ride!
      I guess someone living in the prairies wouldn’t really need it, but we spend most of our time in the mountains.

      Have a good one,
      antoine

  13. Thanks so much for the thorough write up! I purchased both Scopema swivels and am just about done installing the driver side now (after a good amount of cutting, grinding, and drilling) using the newly added plate that Travois included to make dropping the E brake easier. It’s good because it keeps the alignment of the cable housing the same so no modifications are required there, but you do have to cut off some welded studs and bolts which is a pain.

    My question is what did you do about the wiring harness under the seat, since it seems to get mashed up by the swivel as it rotates. The clearance under the swivel above the plastic battery case cover is not enough for the wiring loom that mounts under the seat in the harness. Wondering if you came up with a crafty solution other than removing the battery box lid assembly?

    • Geez, just realized I didn’t update the article 🙁 Thanks for the heads-up.

      Year we re-routed the wire inside the battery case and modify the cover; I just added the pictures in the article. Hope that makes sense!

      Antoine

  14. Do the seats swivel a full 180 degrees or only 120 or whatever that knee-cap and foot crowded angle is that all the swivels seem to stop at? I see some photos on the web that allow 180, so I know it can be done. Why wouldn’t they all be that way? Who wants their knee and foot space jammed up in someone else’s?

    Having said all of that, your review was very well done and the photos were a big help.

    Cheers.

    • They do swivel a full 180 degrees, actually more than that (until they hit the wall). So yeah, the picture doesn’t show the maximum rotation. Cheers!

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