Swivel Seats for Van Reviewed | Side-By-Side Comparison

Swivel-Seat-Battle-Heading-1920-px

Swivel Seats for Van Reviewed | Side-By-Side Comparison

Looking for the best swivel seat for your Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter or Dodge 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 (OKB), SwivelsRus and DiscountVanTruck. Only two swivels can stay in the van with us, let's find out which ones!

The test was performed from our high-tech laboratory under controlled environment:
Scopema Swisstech Discountvantruck swivelsrus

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!
Faroutride Van Interior Swivels
Swivel Van Seat Ski Snowboard Ford Transit

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.

Scopema Swivel Seat

(Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter, Ram ProMaster)
"North American Scropema Swivels Superstore"

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:

SWIVELADDED HEIGHT
Scopema7/8″ (22mm)*
Swisstech (OKB)1-1/8″ (28mm)
DiscountVanTruck1-3/4″ (42mm)
SwivelsRus2-1/8″ (53mm)
Added-Height-(500px)

*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". 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:

Scopema

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.

SWIVELWEIGHT
SwivelsRus22lbs (measured)
ScopemaFeels like 30lbs
Swisstech (OKB)Feels like 35lbs
DiscountVanTruckFeels like 40lbs

Added Weight Winner:

Swivelsrus

4- Installation

Driver Side Swivel Installation and lowering the e-brake

Passenger Side Swivel Installation

Installing a swivel seat is pretty straightforward, but devil's in the details... below are the small quirks, specific to each model, that will make your job more difficult (and how to mitigate them):

DiscountVanTruck

1- The hole pattern was not right so we had to elongate one of the hole. And that's not just us, several people made the same complain and we're not sure if it has been fixed or not:

Van Conversion Swivel, supra zoom in

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 to disconnect the van battery as well to prevent short circuit):

Van Conversion Swivel, harness is passed

Swisstech & Scopema

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):

Travois-Scopema-Wire-Re-Route
Scopema-Travois-Rib-Trim
Scopema Installed

Swisstech, Scopema & 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):

Ford Transit Swivel Baby Anchor
Ford Transit Swivel Baby Anchor Trimmed

Installation Winner:

Swivelsrus

5- Operation

Swisstech & Scopema

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).

Swivelsrus

The rotation is easily performed (medium friction). No squeaking sound. The lever is compact.

DiscountVanTruck

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.

Operation Winner:

Scopema & Swisstech (OKB)

6- Wobble (Freeplay)

If you grab the seat and shake it (without someone sitting on it), it's quite shocking to see how bad 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:

SWIVELWobble
SwivelsRusMedium
ScopemaMedium-High
Swisstech (OKB)High*
DiscountVanTruckLow

*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.

Wobble Winner:

DiscountVanTruck

7- Squeaking

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.

SWIVEL Squeaking
SwivelsRus No
Scopema No
Swisstech (OKB) Yes
DiscountVanTruck No

8- And the winner is...

Here is our Top 4:

  1. Scopema
  2. Swisstech (OKB)
  3. SwivelsRus
  4. DiscountVanTruck

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 😂 )

Overall Winner:

Scopema

Scopema Swivel Seat

(Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter, Ram ProMaster)
"North American Scropema Swivels Superstore"

The Swisstech (OKB) is about 50$ cheaper than the Scopema, but if you can we’d recommend to spend the extra money on the Scopema. In our experience, the wobble and squeaking get quite irritating in the long term and you might regret not splurging on the Scopema…

Runner Up

Swisstech (OKB)

Swisstech (OKB)

(Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter)
"North American Scropema Swivels Superstore"

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about us

Nice To Meet You.

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!

41 thoughts on “Swivel Seats for Van Reviewed | Side-By-Side Comparison”

  1. I have bought and installed two of the GMC/Chevy van swivel base.
    One from shop4seats, the other from discountvantruck. I was hoping that the second vendor would have a different design, but alas, both turned out to be the exact same unit. My conclusion on these swivel bases?

    Fabulously flawed design,
    Gobsmackingly poor fabrication,
    Terrifyingly bad assembly.
    Why so? Here’s why:
    1. Mounting holes are off by 1/2″ or more. You will need a drill press with 5/8″ bit to repair.
    2. Welds are very poor, potentially unsafe.
    3. Paint is the crappiest, cheapest product I’ve ever seen on a metal base.
    4. Supplied screws and nuts are ungraded and do not even fit each other.
    5. Instructions are a joke as to how wrong they are.

    Speaks volumes on the moral bankruptcy of any organization willing to sell this complete hunk of junk.

    Reply
  2. FYI in section 5 you have 2 “Swisstech & Scopema” headings. Also in the runner up section at the end you link to the same one as the winner purchase link 🙂

    Reply
  3. Hi
    Thanks for the comparisons. I have a question regarding the passenger seat. Can the drivers swivel seat turn if the passenger seat is a double bench seat?

    Reply
  4. Any idea where one can find a swisstech? I’m not having luck finding any distributors on line.

    Also, you two do such wonderful work! Thank you for this! You’re saving me so much time, getting me on the road a lot quicker

    Reply
  5. Hi there, thanks for the comparison.
    I wonder if there is something evaluating safety. To me low profile is great but what would happen in a crash? Which one would stand better? Any idea?

    Reply
  6. I read that when using the swivel seats that rotate on a center axis (e.g., SwivelsRus), you have to open the driver/passenger door to rotate the seat. I was wondering if you had run into this issue with any of the models?

    It seems like the Scopema swivels are designed to rotate off-center, which might allow them to swivel without opening the doors. Were you able to swivel the Scopema seats without opening the doors? Thanks! (And your website is awesome!!!)

    Reply
    • The Scopema is not off-center. That being said, if you move the seat fwd-aft and incline it during the rotation there’s no need to open the door. That’s what we do and it’s not an issue at all!
      Cheers!

      Reply
  7. I’m converting a 1997 Ford E250 Van into a camper. I already made the mistake of buying a swivel that was for an RV so I don’t want to make another one. Will these type of swivels fit my passenger seat?

    Reply

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