How-To Install A Swivel Seat Adapter

A swivel seat adapter allows your front factory seats to turn and face the back of the van. In such a small space being able to have one of us sit in the passenger seat and face the living area is crucial.

We bought the swivel adapter from SwivelsRus as that is the only provider in the US. These swivels are for the base level mechanical seats, not the 10-way power seats which we have. But this was the only option available so we bought it anyways with the hope we could make it work.

Sitting on newly installed swivel seat

Tricia relaxing in our new swivel seat.

We wanted to install a swivel on the driver’s seat but the emergency brake and the 4×4 shifter would get in the way. Others have installed one on the driver’s seat by modifying the emergency brake. The level of modification didn’t seem worth it for us.

We are happy with the swivel, but it’s far from perfect. Once installed it adds 2.25″ to the seat height which isn’t an issue for us as we are both around 5’10”. Even if we raise it as high and almost as forward as it will go, it still wont rotate because the plastic shrouds hang low. So we had to add 0.5″ of washers between the seat rails and the top plate of the swivel adapter to raise it even more.

Swivel Seat Washers

The swivel adapter requires 0.5″ of washers to raise the seat high enough so that it can actually swivel.

Seat Height When Swiveled

When the seat faces the rear the minimum height from the floor to the top of the seat is 15.5″. Picture shows the measurement when the seat was lowered as far as it will go. The swivel adapter and extra washers adds 2.25″ of extra height.

Seat Height When Facing Forward

When facing forward the height from the floor to the seat is 15.5″.

Tools and Parts

To perform this modification you’ll need the following parts and tools:

  • Swivel adapter from SwivelsRus ($374.00)
  • Additional washers and bolts if you have the 10-way power seats (about $5)
    • M8-1.25 x 45mm Zinc Plated Class 8.8 cap screws
    • M8 zinc plated washers
  • Socket wrench
  • 7mm and 13mm sockets
  • Torx T-40 socket
  • Grinder with metal cutting disk
  • Metal file
  • Rust-Oleum black paint and brush (about $5)
Tools and parts

You’ll need a few tools and possibly some additional hardware to install the swivel.

Swivel Instructions

The swivel does come with instructions. The screws mentioned on the instructions are incorrect. It came with M8, not M10 screws.

Instructions

First thing you need to do is raise the seat all the way up and forward. Then you’ll need to remove the baby seat anchor, at least that’s what I think it’s for, with a grinder. The anchor is a U shape round bar welded to the top of the seat pedestal in the back. If you don’t remove this anchor the seat won’t swivel.

Moving Passenger Seat Forward

Get used to moving the seat forwards and backwards a lot during the installation as you’ll be doing it a lot.

Photo by BigDogAdventures (http://www.fordtransitusaforum.com/diys-modifications/7209-swivel-seat-2.html#post249938). This anchor needs to be removed otherwise the seat won't swivel.

The baby seat anchor needs to be removed otherwise the seat won’t swivel. Photo by BigDogAdventures.

Removing seat anchor with a grinder

Our neighbor helped us remove the baby seat anchor using a grinder.

Anchor removed

If you use a grinder to remove the anchor you’ll be left with sharp edges that need to be filed down and painted to prevent future rusting.

After removing the baby seat anchor, remove the 2 rear bolts that hold the seat rails to the top of the pedestal. You’ll need a torx T-40 socket to remove the screws. Then move the seat as far to the rear as it will go and remove the front 2 screws. Next disconnect the wire harness under the seat by using a 7mm socket. Also detach the wire loom from the first 2 attachment points. The wires need enough slack to allow the seat to rotate. Just pull the attachments and the wire loom will come out.

Removing Rear Passenger Seat Screws

Using a torx T-40 bit socket remove the rear screws.

Removing Front Passenger Seat Screws

Move the seat back and then remove the front 2 screws.

Removing Factory Screws

Use your T-40 socket to remove the factory screws.

Wiring Harness Under Passenger Seat

To disconnect the wiring harness use a 7mm socket to unscrew it and then just pull it off.

Move the seat out of the way while leaving the seat belt connected to the B pillar. Then place the swivel adapter on the seat pedestal. Now using the 4 screws you just removed, attach the swivel. You’ll need to rotate the top plate of the swivel to access the screw heads with your socket.

Moving The Passenger Seat

Moving the passenger seat out of the way can be done by a single person if needed. If you have the non-power seats you should take this opportunity to remove the yellow jack as you’ll no longer have access to this area once you’re done with the swivel install.

Moving Seat

One person can move the seat.

Swivel Adapter

Place the swivel adapter on the seat pedestal with the red latch facing the front of the vehicle.

Rotated Swivel Adapter

Rotate the swivel ~45° to access the screw heads.

Swivel Rotating

Rotate the swivel to access the screw holes.

Next place the seat back on the swivel and line up the screw holes. If you have a non-powered seat you can now attach the seat to the top plate of the swivel using the provided hardware. If you have the powered seats it won’t be able to swivel as the plastic shroud hits the top of pedestal.

Placing Seat On Swivel Adapter

Set the seat on top of the swivel adapter top plate.

Checking Seat Alignment

Once you place the seat on the swivel adapter line up the holes.

Interference Between Seat and Pedestal

If you have the 10-way power seats you won’t be able to swivel even when the seat is in the highest position.

We thought about cutting the plastic, but there are small metal bars attached to the back. The seat switches might be in the way. And getting a clean cut on the curved plastic would have been impossible given our tools and experience. So we opted to raise the seat 0.5″ using washers and longer screws. Make sure the longer screws are at least class 8.8 screws as that is what comes with the swivel.

To add the washers we lined up the seat on the top of the swivel top plate and then fed the screws through the holes. Next we tilted the back of the seat forward and slid the washers into place between the seat rails and the swivel top plate, and fed the screws back through the holes one at a time. The nut was then added and loosely screwed into place. The seat was then moved backwards and repeated on the front, tilting the seat towards the back.

Passenger Seat Washers

To allow the seat to rotate we used washers between the top plate of the swivel and the seat rails to raise it just enough.

Stack of Washers

7 washers and longer screws raises it just enough.

Tape Measure Next To Washers

The swivel adapter adds 1.75″ and the washers add 0.5″. Total additional height is 2.25″.

Tightening The Seat

Once we verified we added enough washers we tightened everything down.

Tightening The Seat Down

Once the back screws have been tightened move the seat back and tighten the front screws.

Once you have everything tightened down take it for spin and make sure nothing is hitting. If you have the power seats you’ll need to raise the seat as high as it will go and almost all the way forward before rotating.

Sitting on newly installed swivel seat

Tricia relaxing in our new swivel seat

Now that you have verified the seat swivels you just need to do some finishing touches. Move the seat forward and file the sharp edges that the grinder left behind when you cut off the baby seat anchor. Next paint the bare metal spots left behind. And finally, once the paint dries, place the carpet under the swivel adapter, but on top of the jack.

Filing Rough Edges

We used a metal file to soften the rough edges left by the grinder when cutting off the baby seat anchor.

Metal Filing

Use a metal file to smooth out any sharp edges.

After removing all the sharp edges we painted the bare metal with black Rust-Oleum paint.

After removing all the sharp edges we painted the bare metal with black Rust-Oleum paint.

Seat Pedestal Carpet

Once the paint has dried we slid the carpet piece back in.

The install took us half a day, but a lot of that time was playing with cameras and making a couple of trips to the hardware store. If we weren’t taking pictures and had all the hardware on hand we could have finished it in about 2 hours.

The yellow thing in the last couple of pictures above is the jack. It is still possible to access the jack with the swivel installed if you have the power seats. Just move the power seats as far forward and as high as it will go and then you’ll have enough clearance to finagle the jack out of the center hole. If you have the non-power seats you’ll need to move the jack elsewhere.

Another thing to watch out for is the outer diameter of the washer that sits on top of the seat rails. If it’s too big it will not provide enough clearance for the seat rail to easily move all the way forward or backward.

Seat Rail and Washer

If the washer that sits in the seat rail is too large it will not let the seat move forward and backward smoothly.

Seat Rail and Washer

The washer that came with the swivel adapter is just slightly too large. The rail can still pass but you can hear the motor has to work harder once the rail starts moving past the washer.

17 Comments

  1. Reply
    Vivian McAleavey April 16, 2016

    I travel alone and would consider keeping the seat facing to the interior more or less constantly. Is this possible?

    • Reply
      Matt April 16, 2016

      Yes it is possible but it might obstruct your side view mirror.

      • Reply
        Vivian McAleavey April 18, 2016

        Thanks

  2. Reply
    john theo June 4, 2016

    Does the swivel add any wobble to the seat? I mean, does the seat rock about do to the tolerances in the moving parts of the swivel?
    Nice site, thx.

    • Reply
      Matt June 4, 2016

      Yes, there is some added wobble. Not noticeable unless you grab the seat and shake it.

  3. Reply
    Nate June 24, 2016

    What about having the seatbelt attached to the side of the (passenger) seat? I’m assuming the seat only swivels one way (to the left as you are sitting in the seat) and that the seat belt is dragged around as you swivel the base? Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for the great tutorial

    • Reply
      Matt June 24, 2016

      You can rotate it in either direction. The seat belt is long enough to hook it behind the seat.

  4. Reply
    Nate June 26, 2016

    thanks!

  5. Reply
    Brian July 18, 2016

    Matt..

    Great write up. I just ordered a swivel for our Ford Transit conversion. Looking at the seat the other day while doing other work, it looks like there is not much clearance to the door and structural pillar. The geometry in my head made it look like it will run into the structural pillar or door and not swivel. Do you need to put the seat in a particular position to make it work, forward or back or with the door open etc. Obviously you can’t have the back reclined but otherwise do you have to adjust position to clear the door/structural pillar?

    • Reply
      Matt July 18, 2016

      You need to move the seat forward and as heigh as it will go.

  6. Reply
    AMAC July 30, 2016

    Thanks for the detailed infirmation. I just installed same swivel. Went very easy. The metal hoop can be readily removed with manual hacksaw, no need to grind inside the van. The jack CAN be removed, with the swivel in place, with the manual seats. I tried it, just lifts out the large hole in the center of the swivel plate.

  7. Reply
    brooke January 5, 2017

    would this seat swivel be compatible with my 2011 ford transit connect? or only the transits? The Connect is a bit smaller than the original Ford Transit.

    • Reply
      Matt January 6, 2017

      I’m not really familiar with the Transit Connect. It’s basicly a different vehicle. The only thing in common between the Transit and Transit Connect is the name.

  8. Reply
    Michael Rohner January 5, 2017

    Great write up! Any idea if this swivel offered at Eurocampers would fit the 10-way powered seats? My guess would be the wiring harness wouldn’t fit through the center hole:

    http://www.eurocampers.com/2015–on-Ford-Transit-Full-Sized-Van-Front-Passenger-Seat-Swivel-Adapter–Not-for-suspension-seats-_p_1534.html

    Thank you!

    • Reply
      Matt January 6, 2017

      The hole in that swivel appears to be way too small to fit the cable connector on the 10 way seats. The only way you could make that swivel work is probably if you cut the cable and then joined it back together.

  9. Reply
    Steven June 2, 2017

    Thanks for the detailed write up, I installed my swivel tonight and all went smooth.

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