Passenger Swivel Seat Installation

Passenger Swivel Seat Installation

Swivel Seat Installation

Swivel seats are a great way to create some space in a camper van conversion! The Ford Transit van doesn’t come with factory swivels, so we had to install aftermarket ones.

 

In our planning, the swivel seat installation was a “plug-and-play” kind of job. It should have taken roughly 4-6 total hours for both seats. Of course, we had few issues…

1- The hole pattern in the swivel seat we received from DiscountVanTruck.com did not match with the van and the seat.

2- There is an electrical harness attached under the seat (didn’t know that!) and since the swivel seat doesn’t come with instructions, it took a few email exchanges with the supplier to figure out how to run it properly.

3- With the dual AGM batteries option, it is not possible to install the DiscountVanTruck swivel seat because the big bolt in the center would interfere with one of the batteries. DiscountVanTruck advertises the swivel as “Passenger side”, so we don’t blame them for this; we took a chance because we knew some had done it before with the SwivelsRus.com swivel seat.

 


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 or the DiscountVanTruck. That’s nice, especially for the driver side to maintain a good driving position.
  • There is less wobble than with the SwivelRus or the DiscountVanTruck.
  • 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: 6-8 hours (passenger side only)

 


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


 

 

TOTAL COST : $260 USD

 

MATERIAL:

  • 1x Passenger side swivel seat (Buy on TheSwivelShop.com)
  • 2x bolts 3/16″ diameter, ¾” length
  • 2x nuts 3/16″
  • 4x washers 3/16″
  • 4x locking washer 3/16″
  • 4x screws retained from seat removal

 

TOOLS:

  • Bolt Wrench
  • Drill
  • Tweezers
  • Banana

 

HOW WE INSTALLED THE SWIVEL SEAT*

*Disclaimer: we’re good, but not that much. Use these instructions at your own risk 😛

 

Removing the Ford Transit factory seat is fairly easy!

First, the seat needs to be pushed backward to access and remove the 2 front screws.
Van Conversion Swivel seat, remove front screws

 

Then, the seat is pushed forward to access and remove the 2 rear screws.

Van Conversion Swivel seat, rear screws

 

No more screws! But don’t remove the seat just yet… There is a harness that needs to be disconnected in order to set the seat free.

Van Conversion Swivel, Harness Disconnect

 

The cable is routed with tie wraps; cut them as it will give you some slack. Put the seat aside (be careful not to stain the seat with your dirty hands!).Van Conversion Swivel seat, seat is free





Now, check the hole pattern of your swivel seat to see if it matches with the van.

This is a supra-zoom-in of the upper-left hole.

Van Conversion Swivel, supra zoom in

DiscountVanTruck offered us 50% refund (excluding shipping, that would have cost us 100$ swivel + 50$ shipping-in + 50$ shipping-out to end up with NOTHING), so we saved the day by elongating the hole that was misdrilled. Not cool. We hesitated before elongating the hole because the ligament (material remaining between the hole and the edge of the plate) would be reduced. It turns out the hole was not drilled at the right place, so we were actually bringing it back close to where it should be. In addition, the swivel plate is a massive piece of steel (much beefier than the original seat plate) so we felt the strength is probably equivalent to the original setup. Case closed.

 

Do yourself a favor, and get the Scopema Swivel seat instead! (link on top of this page)

 

Van Conversion Swivel, elongated hole

 

We used a rotary file to elongate the hole. Get it on Amazon.

Drill bit rotary file

 

Now the electrical harness has to go through the drilled bold in the center.*

 

*If you get the Scopema Swivel, the cutout is large enough to route the wire without having to disassemble it. So skip the next steps; you’re ready to install the swivel plate right now!

 

Hang on! To avoid shorts, the battery has to be disconnected. Watch how in this sweet video (just disconnect the negative pole).

 

OK, now each wire must be disconnected from the connector. Use a very small tool (such as tweezers) to remove the red part, and then press the plastic tab inside the connector to release the wire.

Van Conversion Swivel seat, connector

 

Run the cable through the drilled bolt, reconnect each wire to the connector, screw the swivel, and reconnect the battery: NICE.

Van Conversion Swivel, harness is passed





The seat will now be bolted to the swivel. Again, no luck, we had to elongate one hole because the pattern did not match…

Then the rest is just banana: re-assemble everything and make sure the electrical cable has enough slack to allow the swivel seat movement.Van Conversion Swivel, screw stackup

 

The swivel seat raised the seat up to about 1.85 inches. It is noticeable, but we’ll get used to it.

Van Conversion Swivel, seat raised

 

Done.

 

#SwivelLife ON.

 

 

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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!

14 thoughts on “Passenger Swivel Seat Installation”

Heads up! As of Fall 2021, we are currently visiting our families back home and we might not be able to answer all comments due to time constrain. Thanks for understanding and see you on the road! -Isabelle and Antoine

  1. look i understand the other tools.. but where does the fruit come into play? i tried to mash the banana into the swivel to lubricate the swivel motion and it ended up a bit messy.

    Reply
  2. Hi there! Great post! I’m interested in getting the Scopema swivels, and I noticed that the link to purchase them above goes to travoiswest.com. I thought that was a bit odd, since it seems Travois has another domain name: travoisusa.com. Are both sites maintained by Travois? Is one of them unofficial? Just figured you might want to know!

    Reply
  3. Antoine

    I’m the guy that asked about your long sleeve shirt earlier this year. I came across your post on Ford Transit forum regarding jacking up the van to install your air springs. I want to install Sumo Springs Bumpers and I need to unload the body to get these guys installed. As noted the normal jacket points are the rear axle but his will not unload the body. How did you do it? Did you use the hitch? From other posts I have found it’s not required to lift the tires off the ground just jack the body up 3-4 inches upward.

    Reply
  4. I would like to add that. I just installed the scopema swivel chair for the passenger side and I have two notes.

    1) the holes lined up perfectly.

    2) they actually provided all the screws needed for the install

    3) in your notes you say to purchase 3/16 screws. I’m quite sure that is too small as the screws provided with the scopema were likely 5/16.

    4) I noticed when I swivel the seat there is a metal part that Scrapes into the plastic part of my transit seat near the back, closer to the door. With some trial and error I was able to use a utility nice to shave the plastic back. No more scraping !

    5) Maybe I’m just kicking ass, but I was able to complete this install in about 90 minutes

    Thanks for all your help, this has been a great resource. I am so excited to build this custom camper van so my partner and I can experience the abundance Of natural beauty in North America!

    Reply
  5. Hi!

    So I just purchased the Scopema swivel seats for my 2019 Sprinter Van and ran into an issue. The bolt pattern doesn’t line up! The guy on Ebay said that I should just “wiggle” it! hahaha…it’s atleast 3/8″ out of alignment…definitely no wiggle room. I’m going to call Scopema direct and see what they say. My wife really likes the new height because her feet couldn’t touch the floor with the stock swivel seats that came with the van. Hopefully Scopema has a solution. I don’t really like the idea of drilling new holes either in the swivel sear or the base for that matter. Just wanted to let others know about this.

    Thanks for the blog…really been enjoying reading it while we build our van out!

    Reply
    • I just ran into the exact same problem. Did you ever get it sorted out? The factory swivels with the lowered seat base are still ridiculously too high especially when the seat will raise an additional five inches from its lowest setting. Probably a safety airbag issue otherwise I don’t get it.

      Reply
    • You said: ” My wife really likes the new height because her feet couldn’t touch the floor with the stock swivel seats that came with the van”. How did you mount Scopema on factory swivel seat?

      Reply
  6. Antoine,

    Are you aware of a dual swivel setup for passenger side? I plan to use swivelrus or scopema but I cannot find a dual option! Hoping something is out there that y’all have heard of! Thanks!

    Reply

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