4Runner seat change

Now I going to take an uncharacteristic stance here and say "I shouldn't have done this, and probably you shouldn't too". However, once I had committed and started cutting, I couldn't turn back.

What is my problem? If I ever had the unthinkable - a nasty accident; the new seats may have an unknown side effect, eg too high for the car so I'd launch through the windscreen; or my welding job might not have been as good as I thought it was; or insurance companies might not pay up because of the "unapproved modifications". Basically seats in cars are a safety issue and I mucked around with them. I probably shouldn't have.

Guess which is the old seat...

On with the story however.

The 4Runner seats were old, tatty, foam collapsed, metal springs sticking in yer butt...they were awful. A mate of mine had a couple of 2000 Toyota Echo seats he didn't need and gave them to me. Even better, the source Echo was also a 2-door so it had the fold down front seat option so rear seat passengers can get in, a perfect replacement for my 2-door fold down seats!

I had previously done a seat swap - putting Nissan Stanza seats into my 120Y and pretty much it was an unbolt the rails & swap seats job. I thought since 4Runners are Toyota, Echos are Toyota, it would be just as easy.

Nope, rails aren't even close.

I was wrong.

Firstly, Toyota seats don't have unboltable rails. Secondly, the locating point "feet" didn't even bolt up in the same direction as the originals. Not a problem I thought, I'll just cut the feet off the 4Runner rails and weld them to the Echo rails (after cutting off the Echo feet). After a lot more mucking around angle grinding than I though required, I fired up my trusty arc welder and tacked the new feet in place. Popped it into the 4Runner for a test fit, sat down - I had to duck, my head was banging on the roof. No good at all.

Too late, I was comitted; the old seats were cut up. I needed to have *something* to put in there. In the end I made all custom feet and bolted them to the floor in the car, placed the seat on top then tack welded the feet to the rails in situ. I then removed the seats and essentially seam welded the feet to the rail. I made the feet as low as possible still being able to do up the bolts.

Hmm...custom feet welded on due to
height issues. Note I did hit them
with some black paint before bolting up ;)

Now don't get me wrong, the new seats are *really* comfortable, I never get a sore butt anymore and even though they are higher up than the old ones; I don't hit my head and the new seating stance is actually better. What's more the 2-door folddown mechanism has a lot more throw, meaning the back seat passengers don't have to suck their gut in anymore trying to get out of the car!

If only I felt this was a safe modification to make I'd recommend it. Be careful out there.