Wrangler (TJ) Seat
The seats on my Jeep were slowly
disintegrating - the seat springs broke, the vinyl split and
the foam padding was slowly blowing away. So it was time to get some
replacements. I really like the Mastercraft seats, but finances
dictated otherwise. I attempted to install cheap plastic molded racing
I built an adapter for the existing TJ brackets, however the seats were
I finally broke down
and bought a set of Bestop TrailMax Sports seats
from Summit Racing
While I was there, I purchased the Bestop adapter brackets. They made
my life much more simple. Aside from my failed experiment installing
the molded seats, this swap can be done in about an hour.
had removed the OEM
slider from the passenger side when I attempted to install the molded
seat. I later found that this wasn't necessary, but I wasn't exactly
sure how the seat was attached to the slider. Basically, there are four
studs on the slider which attach to the underside of the seat. If
you're going to build your own adapter, the studs are 14" apart
front-to-back and 12" apart side-to-side. I found that the frame was
quite rusty and the nuts and bolts were quite stubborn. I used plenty
of PB Blaster to get them loose.
have an early 97 and
sure what was going on at the factory, but I had a mixture of different
sized bolts including Torx® bolts. The FSM only mentions removing
the nuts to get the frames out, however on mine, that wasn't the case.
Whatever the case with your Jeep, there should be four attaching
points. You'll need to fold the passenger seat all the way forward to
access the two rear bolts. On mine, the nuts were welded to the
underside of the body. I also found that one of the bolts in turn was
welded to the nut. Of course I broke the weld on the body and ended up
having to cut the bolt to get it out.
you do build your own
adapter, it's very important that you use a material that is strong
enough to hold the seat in a collision. You don't want your seat flying
out (with you in it) in the event you get into an accident.
Bestop directions are
pretty straight forward. According to them, you don't need to remove
the slider from the Jeep to remove the seat. Having already removed one
seat, I knew what to expect as far as removing the second seat. Even
so, it was still difficult to remove the seat. You need to stand on
your head and be a contortionist to unbolt the seat while it's still in
the Jeep. Okay, maybe I exaggerate, but not by much. The passenger seat
has a cable and two springs that you'll need to remove to get the seat
off the frame. These springs allow the seat to tumble foward. Again,
pretty straight forward.
the old seats are
removed, bolt the adapters to the new seats. Next, bolt each seat to
the appropriate frame. That's it. I told you it was pretty easy. The
biggest problem I found was the tight quarters you're working in. The
adapters are boxed and you have limited space when you start the nut on
the slider's studs. I found it easiest to feel around until you get it
started then use a box wrench to tighten them.
While you have the seat off, it's probably a good time to vacuum out
all the rocks, mud, dirt, leaves and small children who seem to
accumulate under the seat. Also, it's probably a good idea to torque
down the bolts (mine were loose and causing a horrible squeak.) On the
1997 TJ, the rear outboard bolts are torqued to 25 ft/lbs, the inboard
rear bolts to 35 ft/lbs and both front bolts to 25 ft/lbs. As I said,
this is for a 1997 TJ (1998's also have the same seat torque
requirements) so check your appropriate FSM. If you've disconnected the
electrical connection, reconnect it and you're ready to roll. The
passenger seat still folds forward to allow access to the backseat, but
you'll need to manually reach under the seat and push the lever along
the inner slider.
The seats are incredible compared to my old worn out OEM seats. Thought
I didn't measure before removing the old seats, I feel like I sit about
an inch higher in the new seat. I'm very happy with them and wish I'd
replaced my old seats long ago.