Tuesday 6 October 2015

Hiace Camper Van Reversed Passenger Seat Mod | Hiace rear facing front seat

It can be done! and better still - this is a ten minute job! Create more space in your Hiace Camper and a rear facing comfy seat of course..

Being full time in my van, space is at a premium, and having a comfortable seat to relax in, without having to fold down the bed is amazing. I've long thought about the passenger seat swivels found in VWs and many other camper vans, but the layout of the engine and front seats in my Hiace makes it impossible to fit one. There is also no room to rotate the seat. So the remaining option was to see if the passenger seat could be turned around on its original mounting points, to face into the back of the van..

After a bit of trial and error, and experimenting with the best way to mount the seat, I've found that its possible, and also the seat maintains a degree of comfort adjustment. It can easily be returned to its forward facing position in around ten mins.

Whats needed:

14mm socket.
A few washers to fit original bolt.
That's it!

Instructions Below:

1. Undo the bonnet clips, and raise the bonnet/passenger seat - secure in position.

2. Locate the 4 mounting nuts where the passenger seat is bolted to the frame.

3. Using the socket set, loosen off the four nuts. The bolts will remain in the seat rails and will not come loose.

4. Remove nuts. NB. Take care not to drop a nut into the engine bay as it may be difficult to retrieve!

5. Lower the bonnet and lift the seat out of the van.

6. Screw two nuts back onto the bolts at the front of the seat - just until they are flush with the end of the bolts. The forward edge of the seat will rest on these..

Due to the arrangement of the bolt holes in relation to the seat bolts, it is not possible to relocate all 4 bolts when the seat is put in reversed. Just the two forward most bolt holes will be used (at top of frame on lifted bonnet).

7. With the seat folded, lift it back into the van facing the rear, and relocate the two rear seat bolts in the forward holes.

8. Tilt the seat inwards and position a few washers under the bolt closest the door. This will help to level the seat (there is a tilt towards the door otherwise). I used three washers, but it will depend on the thickness of your washers. Of course you still want the nut to grip the threads..

9. Screw on and tighten up the two nuts. The one closer to the gearstick will look like this as there are no washers used here..

10. Close the bonnet fully and reattach the bonnet clips.

11. You can now slide the seat back and forward on its rails, and adjust the tilt to get the position as you like it. Take care when closing the door as the edge of the seat will press against it.

The new seat position is very comfortable, feet up on the bed, or in the remaining footwell. Its great with the passenger door open as well, or even with just the window down.

To return the seat to its original position takes about 10 mins - just reverse the steps and put your washers somewhere safe. Not as quick as a swivel seat, but especially if you don't often carry passengers - a great option.

NB. To my knowledge, its not legal to carry a passenger in a reversed passenger seat. Also, you may need to tilt the seat back a little to have a clear view in your side mirror whilst driving - its easy as the tilt lever is now close to the centre of the van. Enjoy! and let me know if anyone invents any improvements to this set-up.

Update: I have now unbolted the seat completely! It can now be turned to face out the side; the back rests against the centre storage box, or, it can be lifted outside easily as a very comfortable lounger. I have also found that removing the headrest from the seat gives a clearer view in the side mirror without moving the seat.

If this Hiace mod has improved your van, please consider making me a donation, I could certainly use it! Just click on the donate button on the right side-bar. Thank you!

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See you soon..

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