Looking for the best swivel seat for your Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter, or Ram ProMaster van? In this real-world review (we live full-time in our campervan and use the swivels everyday), we compare four different popular models: Scopema, SwissTech, SwivelsRus, and DiscountVanTruck. Only two swivels can stay in the van with us, let’s find out which ones!
*We tested the swivel seats in our Ford Transit, but similar results are to be expected for a Sprinter or a Promaster van.
The test was performed from our high-tech laboratory under a controlled environment:
1- Jumping to conclusions
Swivel Seats create a lot of space and play an essential role for comfort in our tiny home on wheels. They're part of the van's cabin, the dining room, and the living room!
We spent several months with each of these swivels, and the Scopema is the clear winner by a large margin! It performs better in every way except for the price tag (you get what you pay for!). This is what we installed in our van, and it's there to stay. Scopema is definitely the benchmark, and no one was able to copy it properly so far.
2- Added Height
Adding a swivel seat adapter increases the driver/passenger height, and it affects the ergonomic/comfort; that's especially important for the driver side. This is the first item we review as we think added height is the most decisive factor. The swivel seat adapter is inserted between the factory seat and the factory seat base. Therefore, the thickness of the adapter equals the added height:
*ProMaster: the Scopema ships with two spacing bars. These must be installed to prevent interference with the seat belt buckle, but this bumps the added height up to 1.5". ProMaster swivel users have found a workaround to bring the added height down to 1.0": ProMaster Scopema Modification.
How much does it make a difference? We had the SwivelsRus on the driver side for over two years and swapped it for the Scopema (1-1/4" lower): we went from a kind-of-awkward-but-that's-OK driving position (hard to reach the pedals without hitting our knees on the dash) back to a normal driving position... it's VERY noticeable and makes a huge difference! However, it's not as noticeable on the passenger side.
Added Height Winner:
3- Added Weight
We don't carry a scale in the van, but we have fisherman's blood in our veins; we can precisely guesstimate the weight of anything the size of a fish. We were born like that.
|Scopema||Feels like 30lbs|
|SwissTech||Feels like 35lbs|
|DiscountVanTruck||Feels like 40lbs|
Added Weight Winner:
Installing a swivel seat in a Transit, Sprinter, or ProMaster van is pretty straightforward, but the devil is in the details... below are the small quirks, specific to each model, that will make your job more difficult (and how to mitigate them):
1- The hole pattern was not right, so we had to elongate one of the holes. And that's not just us, several people made the same complaint, and we're not sure if it has been fixed or not:
2- In addition, the center hole of the DiscountVanTruck swivel is so small that it's impossible to route the airbag wiring harness through the hole; the harness has to be disassembled and re-assembled to achieve that (requiring you to disconnect the van battery as well to prevent short circuit):
Scopema & SwissTech
Low added height comes with a price: if, like us, you have the Ford Transit with the dual batteries (driver side), it's a bit more work to make room for the swivel plate. We had to re-route the wiring harness and trim some sections of the plastic cover as shown below (click to enlarge):
Scopema, SwissTech & SwivelsRus
On the passenger side, the baby seat anchor interferes with the rotation and has to be trimmed (we used a small metal hand-saw):
The rotation is very easily performed (very low friction); it feels like it's on bearings! No squeaking sound. We like that the lever is slightly recessed and is pulled in the same direction as the rotation; it's more intuitive that way. Note: The rotation cannot be performed both ways, so it's important to order/install the proper side (driver VS passenger).
Similar to the Scopema, but with a little more friction and occasional squeaks.
The rotation is easily performed (medium friction). No squeaking sound. The lever is compact.
There is some resistance (friction) when rotating the seat; it takes more effort compared to other swivels. The rotation also produces some squeaking sound. The lever is longer so more cumbersome than other swivels.
6- Wobble (Freeplay)
If you grab the seat and shake it (without someone sitting on it), it's quite shocking to see how badly it wobbles after the addition of a swivel plate (any of them). But don't worry, you don't feel the wobble when driving (or co-piloting); therefore, we don't think it's a decisive factor. That being said, here is how we would describe the wobble:
*The wobble on the SwissTech cannot be felt or heard if occupied. However if the SwissTech is installed as a passenger seat and no one's sitting on it, the wobble can be heard on rough back-roads. At least that was the case with the one we sampled.
Over time, our SwissTech has developed a squeaking sound. It can be heard with a person sitting on it, or not, and that's quite annoying.
8- And the winner is...
Here is our Top 4:
Scopema is our favorite of all! We think it’s worth paying a little more to get a good ergonomic driving position and a nice/smooth operation. It’s a high quality product, and you won’t look back! (full disclosure: you WILL look back when rotating the seat )
*SwissTech is no longer made, so we’d go for the Scopema instead…