This tale begins many years ago. Swivel seats are the key to gaining more living space inside the Troll, turns out figuring out how to do it is a lot harder than you might think!
My opening gambit was to pick up a couple of swivel seat bases from the scrapyard, with the hope of modifying the existing front seats with a couple of brackets. But, no.
After a few mockups and taking the seats out a many times for various measurements and trials, it just wasn’t going to work. The mounting of the swivel base would be too complex, the Nissan front seats are too wide to rotate in the space, they are also very well welded, with no easy means of disassembly and a complex array of motors and electrickery.
So, drawing board time. I need 4 things
- A seat subframe to mount to the floorpan
- Slider mechanisms for adjustment
- A swivel plate
- A seat
Finding the right combination of all the various options out there to get components with the correct dimensions, operating distances and bolt hole (close-enough) alignment took the time.
Turns out Raptor4x4 make a Patrol seat subframe, so I don’t have to make one from scratch. That’s a big win for a start. And gave me a set of measurements to build from for the rest of the components.
I found some generic seat runners on eBay which looked like they would fit the bill.
And then I got a generic swivel seat base (these weren’t available the first time round, when I was scouting scrap yards for MPVs to borrow parts from) in an appropriate size.
All this presented a bigger problem – height. There’s not a huge amount of headroom in the front of the Troll due to the high driving position. I initially factored in +30mm over standard by just fitting a swivel base would be acceptable, but that plan is now gone.
The above components were the thinest I could find, so the only remaining place to cut height was in the seat itself.
I’d spent many afternoons back at the scrap yards measuring seat height in tens of – if not nearly a hundred – different cars. I longed for the comfort of something Swedish, but alas everything was just too big. Even in tiny city cars had a deep cushion. I needed a seat with a very thin squab.
I didn’t want to spend over a grand on an aftermarket race seat, so then I started looking at factory sports cars. Turns out an early Mazda MX5 has the lowest profile seats I could find and they are very reasonably priced. I picked up a pair local to me and could then set to work.
After lots of measurements, time for some assembly. Here’s the seat base fixed into the truck to get it square. A couple of new holes drilled lets the swivel seat base bolt to it.
The runners needed a little adjustment in bolt spacing to let them attach to the swivel base.
Finally I needed some spacers to lift the bottom of the seat base clear of the swivel mechanism. The seat protrudes on the underside, in the middle between the mounting holes. Some 25×25 box was perfect and plenty strong.
I bought some new hex head set screws to bolt through the runner, spacer and into the seat.
The lower runner mechanism was then bolted to the swivel base.
Here is the final sandwich.
And there we have it, a swivel seat in a GU Patrol. The seat sits a little high, but being the passenger seat it’s not the end of the world. There’s still plenty of headroom.
And it swivels!!
The seat can be rotated from inside, with the door closed, and the centre console in place. It takes a little manoevering but it works great. The process is even easier with the door open.
Loads more space inside the living area now, and a useable comfy seat as well!
After proving it works, I could then replicate the set up on the drivers side. I’d lose 30mm in height by not having a swivel base on this side (steering wheel in the way would prevent rotation, and the fridge lives behind the drivers seat) which brings the overall seating position much closer to standard.
Same spacers. And bonus extra storage space under the drivers seat now.
As a pair they look pretty neat. And no more uncomfortable than the stock seats, but they do give a little more support.