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, 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

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)
Swisstech1-1/8″ (28mm)
DiscountVanTruck1-3/4″ (42mm)
SwivelsRus2-1/8″ (53mm)
Added-Height-(500px)

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
SwisstechFeels 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).

Swisstech & Scopema

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

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
SwisstechHigh*
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.

Installation Winner:

DiscountVanTruck

7- And the winner is...

Here is our Top 4:

  1. Scopema
  2. Swisstech
  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"

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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!

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

  1. I’m considering doing a conversion and appreciate all the info.

    I just wanted to mention one cut/paste error in this article. My small contribution. 🙂

    ADDED HEIGHT WINNER:
    SWIVELSRUS

    Should be Added Weight Winner:

    Reply
  2. Is there an offset swivel available that would allow use in a small-ish SUV (Mazda CX-5) passenger seat? I’ve made a minimalist camper setup and have semi-permanently turned the front passenger seat around. Of course, this can only be used when the car is not driving. As with all smaller vehicles, there is a center console, so a built-in swivel would be difficult. I’m wondering if there is a swivel adapter (or modification) that would allow the seat to slide partly out the open door to swivel, thus clearing the console?

    Reply
  3. Hi
    Has anyone had any luck with the EuroCampers swivel seat for a Ford Transit seat? Looking at passenger to start. They say does not come with instructions.
    Thanks

    Reply
  4. Thanks for this post and this site! So so helpful to see how well you guys do your research and are so generous in sharing what you learn. Did you guys have any concerns with legality/safety in doing this part of the conversion? Have seen on some forums that having swivel seats in newer vans (post-1992) might be illegal. Any thoughts? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Probably 95% of people doing a conversion add a swivel… That anecdote doesn’t make it any more legal (if it’s not), but I wouldn’t worry about it 🙂

      Reply
    • They don’t, but you’ll have to incline the seat and/or push it forward/back during the rotation. After a few times it become automatic, you don’t need to think about it 🙂

      Reply
  5. Hi,

    Thanks for the comparison! Curious, where did you purchase the SwissTech passenger swivel seat? The Scopema does have a bit of a price tag, so I’m wondering if there’s any $$ saved by having the Scopema driver/SwissTech passenger combo as opposed to installing Scopema swivels on both seats. Can’t seem to find a reliable site for the SwissTech at the moment.

    Reply
  6. Hi Guys,

    I was wondering, did you lose the ability to swivel back towards the middle of the van when you switched to the Scopema due to the interfere of the seat armrest with the door armrest? The SwivelsRus seems to be high enuf so that the armrests don’t interfere as much.

    Just to be clear, I mean the ability to rest your feet in the middle of the van as opposed to directly rear of the seat (for example, directly in line with your toilet box.)

    Cheers, Don

    Reply
    • I just checked and it’s kind-of possible to do it; but I think the true bottleneck is the steering wheel. But I’d say Swivel-R-Us or Scopema is the same in the end.

      Reply
  7. Hi There,
    Thank you for this post!
    I’m wondering if any of these will fit a Dodge Ram Van B250 1990.
    Looking to put a swivel seat in my van, but I can’t find anywhere online that explains if any swivel will do.
    Thank you for your help

    Samantha

    Reply
  8. Antoine, as usual another excellent review! Thanks for all the great information. I purchased the passenger seat Transit swivel from Vanupgrades.com last year. The installation was relatively easy and smooth although it did not come with directions. I found some YouTube videos that helped. Now that I’ve had it installed for 8 months, I can say that the quality is excellent–no wobble and it seats solidly in either the forward or rear settings and locks into place. The lever to operate is simple. I don’t recall how heavy it was but it was heavy. I’m not as expert as you in estimating weight but I would guess about 30 pounds. Highly recommended!

    Reply
  9. Merci Antoine de l’information que ton site procure. Felicitation!!
    I was waiting my Scopema swivel from Travois since August, seems it’s finally on my way from my last email with Brad!! Because of my van layout, I only ordered the passenger side for now and will re-evaluate if I really need the driver side in the futur knowing it could only rotate 90deg for me.
    But one thing I’m curious with after reading on another web site, seems the driver side requires the driver door to be slightly open to swivel the seat? Is it true?

    Reply
    • Salut!
      On ouvre jamais les portes pour tourner les swivels; par contre, il faut avancer et pencher le siège pour compléter le 180 degré. Ca se fait donc en 2-3 mouvements et ça prend quelques secondes. Pas de souci!

      Bonne chance dans ta conversion 🙂

      Reply
  10. Thanks so much for the heads up! I went through a Winnebago dealer last year for a Scopema passenger swivel for our ’17 Transit and got beat up on shipping and tax but it was worth the cost. I’ve been less eager to do so for the driver side, given it’s not critical to our setup, but still waiting and wanting since last year. Given the price, we just ordered it! Thanks for your great blog.

    Reply
  11. I purchased the discountvan&trucks model along with their lowered bases, (This is for a Promaster 2018) The fit is perfect, The cabling for the airbags was a process, The swivel was a little too tight so I loosened it a bit and got rid of the skweek and made it a lot easier to operate, The draw back is that with the lowered bases the spare tire tool kit does not fit under the passenger seat anymore. Over all I’m pleased with it, Also the Plastic trims around the lowered bases does not fit anymore, which does not matter to me but could for someone else

    Reply
  12. Thank you for this valuable information. I have the passenger SwivelsRus and don’t like the added height. What I DO like is that the hole in the center is very large and I can remove the jack through this hole (I relocated the jack a little bit inboard after adding the Webasto heater). Do you still have the jack under the passenger seat? Can you remove it with the Scopema? Thank you

    Reply
  13. Nice. As CEO of Eye-Ball-It Engineering I can appreciate your high-tech lab. Truth is, me, not born with the engineer-gene, have a Dickinson P9000 (9000btu) for heat in my MR-130. A full 1/4 of the inside is dedicated to a 40″ high double-bed ‘box’ that hinges up for access. Works great. The heater, mounted low as possible to the floor, against the wall behind the drivers seat draws air off the floor, via internal (pc) fan up and out. Well, not rocket science to figure out that a constant stream of cold air feeding the intake will make the heated air only so hot. Have a curtain too just an inch off the floor which permitted this (dopey) access of cold air to the heater so I made a 9″ wall out of that corrugated white board, covered it in a black fabric so I could trip over it but it kept all that cold air in the cab area that, of course, travels down, to the floor, and across to the warm area. Net is a +12-15 degree bump with the fan on. The real benefit is I don’t have to run the fan once the van had been run earlier, brought up to temp, and then maintained by the Dickinson. BTW…very stealth. No noise or thumping. Exhaust out the roof. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know about the benefit of the curtain but the wall is great. My floor is a minimal 1/2 polyiso with a plywood sheathing of like 5/32? and a thin in/outdoor carpet via 3m-90. 28 out and 73 is EZ to maintain. Real test for me is tomorrow here in CT with an expected low of 4, so we’ll see. Thanks for the swivel review. Mine is facing south too but permanent at the moment; four longer bolts and 3/4″ blocks to permit the mounting. What I am looking forward to is your other arm-rest installation so the passenger seat has both (wink-wink). Can it be done? If you want to sacrifice your driver-arm to the passenger side, well, hey, it’s OK with me. You two are Transit pioneers and this could be another first. The reason for the lack of swivel right now is the potential swap to that Nissan reclining/leg rest seat we see out there. If the front permits the room, and to swivel, and which swivel may be necessary. Anyway, way too long here of a comment- thoughts- so safe travels for now. Doug aka HackSaw

    Reply

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