Probably the single best investment I made in this project was adding a double seat swivel to the existing passenger seat. I toyed with the idea for ages before I made the investment since these units are not cheap, costing me about €350 delivered. But I knew I had made the right choice the minute I had it installed, and the seat swivelled to face rearwards. Using the seats in this way makes the interior space instantly more roomy and useable and brings the cab space and the rear living space together beautifully.
I have seen many camper van conversions where the original front seats are removed and replaced with two single ‘captains seats’ on single swivels. In my case, I saw no point in rotating the drivers seat as the fridge unit extends outwards and blocks much of this space. Furthermore, I didn’t want to reduce the travelling seats from three to two since I wasn’t adding crash tested seats to the rear so I thought it better to keep the three seating positions I already had.
The double seat swivel was purchased from Kiravans.co.uk and comes as a complete, ready to fit unit which fits between the existing floor fixings and the seat base. Fitting the seat swivel couldn’t be simpler and the whole exercise took me about 30 minutes. There are five bolts holding the seat into position and once these are removed, the seat can be lifted into the rear space or out through the passenger door. The multi-plug for the seatbelt tensioners and airbag will have to be unplugged and kept out of the way for the seat removal. Once the seat is removed, the swivel base is bolted to the existing mountings in the floor using the same bolts that held the seat in place.
When installed, the seat swivel covers two of the rearmost battery cover retaining screws so it’s a good idea to loosen these two off before you install it. The holes are slotted so just leaving them a bit loose allows you to slide the battery cover out once the rest of the screws are removed. This allows for removal of the battery cover at any stage in the future without having to remove the seat base.
Swivelling the seat involves loosening four bolts by hand and rotating the seat into the new position before tightening the bolts again to lock the seat into place. The fitting instructions also advised that the airbag/tensioner connection would have to be disconnected every time the seat position is changed, although I found that by cutting the cable ties holdng the wiring to the seat base and letting it hang loose, I was able to easily rotate the seat without unplugging.
Once the seat swivel was in place, I thought I would tidy everything up by making a clip-on decor panel to hide the space under the seat. Not essential, but I thought it added to the overall finish of the interior space.