Swivel Seat Installation

Passenger Side

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 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 battery. DiscountVanTruck advertises the swivel as “Passenger side”, so we don’t blame them for this; we took our 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.
  • We were told by folks that installed it that there is less wobble than with the SwivelRus or the DiscountVanTruck.
  • The hole pattern match perfectly the factory seat.
  • In fact, we plan on installing one in the fore-coming weeks and make a complete review; stay tuned!
Scopema Driver Swivel Seat Plate

Scopema Swivel Seat .

 

The Scopema Swivel seat is available for the Ford Transit, Dodge Promaster, Mercedes Sprinter and Mercedes Metris:

  • Click here to choose your model and Buy on eBay
  • If your model is not listed in eBay, it’s probably out of stock. Please contact the seller and let them know the vehicle and side (passenger/driver) you want (and mention you found them via FarOutRide!). Contact the seller here (click “other”, then click “Contact the seller”).

 

 

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, we will receive a commission fee. The price you pay remains the same, affiliate link or not.

Portrait
Buying through our product links is the best way to say thanks if we were of any help for your conversion! Thanks for supporting us and for keeping this website alive 🙂

 

Alternatively, you can visit our Say Thanks! page.


 

 

TOTAL COST : 260$ USD

 

MATERIAL:

  • 1x Passenger side swivel seat
  • 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 risks 😛

 

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 not less than the original setup. Case closed.

 

Make 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 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, 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.

 

 

You Might Be Interested in:

 

 

 

WANT MORE?

Check out our Build Journal, learn everything about The Van, read our VanLife Guides, or if you’re new to this start by reading The Prologue.

 

 

 

STAY IN TOUCH!

Join 15,000+ followers via Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or e-mail:

 

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!

 

 

CONNECT

Join our Facebook group to connect with other passionate DIY campervan builders like you!

 

 

CHEERS!

 

 

24 comments

  1. Comment by Duane

    Duane Reply July 28, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    Yay!

    I picked up Scopema swivel seats for my 2018 Transit from Travois in Vancouver. Very pricey!! However, much research indicated they were, at present, the ones to get. When I ordered the van, I paid for the lower e-brake (although I was told it would be a real e-brake that is on the dashboard, like my Subaru, which would be ideal). I also ordered power/heated leather seats, dual batteries, and a rear heater (which resides under the passenger seat). Why Ford puts the heated seat button way down on the side of the seat where you can’t see anything is beyond me – they still have much to learn about ergonomics from the offshore car companies.

    The swivels came with no instructions (in paper or on the Scopema website). However, it’s pretty evident what to do – I just had to insert the Scopema provided bolts upside down on the upper swivel plate (nut/washer on top) so that they cleared metal protrusions on the seat base. I used the original factory bolts again to attach the lower plate to the seat base (swivel the upper plate to access holes on the lower plate). As soon as you place the plate on the seat base, you have to connect the electrical harness back up so that you can move the seat back and forth to put the various bolts in.

    Like everybody else, I had to cut the plastic shrouding (careful! that stuff melts quickly with a Dremel saw going through it!) to clear the seat base while swiveling . Of course, you have to raise the seat way up to swivel, and on the driver’s side you have to have the seat back tilted way forward to clear the steering wheel (which has to be tilted out of the way).

    That said, I did it all in one day, and I’m very happy the power/heated seat option did not prevent this installation. Many thanks to FarOutRide for their input.

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply July 28, 2018 at 3:38 pm

      Thanks for the feedback!!

  2. Comment by Tom M

    Tom M Reply May 8, 2018 at 7:55 am

    A word of advice: DO NOT BUY FROM DISCOUNT VAN TRUCK. The owner at discountvantruck.com is not easy to work with as noted in above installation article. I order a stock passenger swivel from their website for my 2018 RAM Promaster and when I received it, it was for a 2007 Sprinter. I saved the web page with a date stamp on it when I placed the order. The owner said there is no glitch in the web page and I made a mistake, he said he learned how to read when he was young and I must have not. He offered to replace the item but I would have to pay all shipping costs. I noticed all the holes were oblong meaning poor machining practices. Being an engineer a used my drill press and machined the correct hole pattern in the base myself.

  3. Comment by David

    David Reply April 21, 2018 at 10:29 pm

    We’re planning on installing 2 batteries under the passenger seat and want to add the swivel. Does this one add any height under the seat for batteries…or does it actually reduce the height?

  4. Comment by Steven Bean

    Steven Bean Reply April 15, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    Maybe you covered it and I missed it. But I was wondering… if you use the SwivelsRus swivel made for the driver’s side (you said you didn’t choose it because it was taller) would that avoid having to make the alteration to the e brake (since it is taller)?

    Thanks for all the amazing information packed on your website, youtube and facebook…you guys are AWESOME!

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply April 16, 2018 at 12:10 am

      I remember asking that question to SwivelRus and the guy couldn’t really answer… you could try asking again. But any additional height would be unacceptable in my opinion, the driving position would get awkward.

      Cheers

  5. Comment by JESSICA

    JESSICA Reply April 13, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    Bonjour,
    Une question technique… I can try to ask in english hihiih !
    I’ve just bought a ford transit. In the front there are 3 spares. One simple for the driver, and one double for the 2 passengers.
    Do you know if there is a way to keep this 3 spares and make them switchable ?
    Mon anglais n’est pas folichon hihihi !
    J’aimerais comprendre, en gros si je veux que les sièges se retournent, je dois sacrifier une place assise pour mettre deux sièges individuels ???
    Jessica (de France ihihi)

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply April 14, 2018 at 11:01 am

      Salut Jessica!

      Bonne question, notre van venait avec un siège conducteur et un siège passager, c’est tout. C’est la version nord-américaine; la version européenne est peut-être différente?

      Bonne chance!
      antoine

  6. Comment by Chris

    Chris Reply January 4, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    Is the electrical harness attached under the passenger seat (that you had to disconnect) only on seats with power adjusting or seat heating?

    I’m at the beginning of my Transit van camper conversion here in Colorado Springs. So far, 2 windows have gone in and we’ll install 2 more this weekend. I opted for light and not so much stealth. Your website has been buried treasure to discover many solutions to difficulties and lots of great ideas. Thank you!

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply January 4, 2018 at 10:09 pm

      We have no power seat and no seat heating, so i’m guessing the harness are on every seat! It’s for the airbag actually.

      Thanks for visiting our site 🙂
      Good luck with your conversion!
      antoine

  7. Comment by Winston Blount

    Winston Blount Reply November 3, 2017 at 10:27 am

    I need to convert my chevy express Van driver seat modified

  8. Comment by Shawn Moore

    Shawn Moore Reply August 24, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    I’m in the shopping stage for a van to convert. I need 3 seats as there are 3 of us. Do you have any advice for adding a 3rd seat to a cargo van? Thanks in advance for your help!

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply August 24, 2017 at 2:53 pm

      Sorry Shawn, we haven’t done any research on this topic! You could always ask on fordtransitusaforum.com

  9. Comment by Tyler

    Tyler Reply February 3, 2017 at 7:08 am

    Thank you so much for the review! I’m working on my Transit conversion right now. Just got the insulation/walls/led lights/bed put in, heading for our first road trip this weekend as a shakedown. Told my wife about the swivel, we want to do it, but I too am worried about it not fitting properly. I know I can customize it like you did, just wonder if they have fixed it yet? Once installed, how smooth does it work?
    Thanks so much, wish I would have found your site 3 months ago before I started.

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply February 3, 2017 at 8:27 am

      Hey Tyler,
      don’t know if they fixed it (or if i was just unlucky), but you could also check the “Swivel R us” swivel; i have not heard complain about it (except for some play in it, but it’s not too bad). We just ordered one to install on the driver-side (because the design of the Discountvantruck would not fit on top of the dual-batteries).
      Except for the installation, we’re satisfied with the discountvantruck swivel. There is not much play in it and it operates as it should.

      cheers!

  10. Comment by Greg

    Greg Reply January 3, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Did you do a swivel on the drivers side?

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply January 4, 2017 at 7:23 am

      We planned on doing it, but the Discount Van Truck swivel did not fit with the dual batteries option; the center bolt of the swivel clash with the batteries. We’re looking for a different supplier at the moment. I think Swivel R Us should fit, but they are quite expensive and i have not-so-good feedback about that company communication & service… Also, to install a swivel on the driver side, to e-brake must be lowered. It think it is documented on the FordTransitUSAforum somewhere…

  11. Comment by GRC

    GRC Reply October 2, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Great job and excellant info… Thank you for the post.

  12. Comment by Nicola

    Nicola Reply August 15, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Salut!
    We are working on our own Transit conversion for mtb biking and skiing here in Wa state and would like to install a swivel seat also. In the end was the bolt pattern just machined incorrectly by the company by accident or does it not fit as intended? I don’t want to place an order and have the same challenge you did!
    Thanks for any help or insights!

    • Comment by admin

      admin Reply August 15, 2016 at 9:29 pm

      Hi Nicola!
      It looked like the hole pattern was slightly incorrect; one of the hole seemed to have a bigger ligament than the other holes. Is it a “one-of” defect? I don’t know, but i read on a forum somewhere about a few others having this issue. Maybe the Transit seat bolts pattern have variation? Maybe the more expensive “Swivel-R-Us” are better? In the end, the fix was quite simple using just a drill and a rotary file such as this one.

      We can’t wait to make it to WA state! We’ve been dreaming of riding mount Baker for a while… so.much.snow.

      Good luck with your build!
      Cheers!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Go top