One of the major costs in converting the van has turned out to be getting seat swivel bases. These have to be very strong components to hold the weight of the passenger and seat, not only during normal driving, but also so they don’t move in crashes. Last thing you need in a crash is your seat becoming detached and throwing you around the cab.
During the replacement of the crapped out old Transit seats for snazzy new Landrover ones, I made the extra effort to fit swivels. They were about £100 each but will make the living area much larger and more useful for such a small van. I have previously installed the passenger swivel which was pretty easy. The driver’s swivel has been installed, but the handbrake is too tall and in the way preventing it from spinning around.
I had found a bracket on ebay which lowers the handbrake handle almost all the way to the floor and allows the seat to spin past unobstructed. I’m glad I bought the item when I did because now I come to write up the install process, I can no longer find it anywhere. If you need a handbrake lowering bracket you’ll need one specific to your van. My van is a 2000-2013 MK7 Ford Transit and this was the ebay seller I found, maybe he can help you.
Todays task was to install the handbrake bracket, which I had been assured by the enterprising ebay seller, was a very simple process, if lengthy.
- Remove the driver’s seat and swivel
- Disconnect the batteries and remove
- Clean out the bay and untangle a load of wires to give access to the bolts
- Undo the bolts and remove the handbrake bracket from the seat box
- Use one hole to temporarily bolt the adjustment plate to the box and mark the additional holes needed
- Drill pilot hole and then full holes for the 2 additional bolts.
- Bolt the bracket in place and the handbrake to the bracket
- Reverse the disassembly process and reinstate the drivers seat
- Enjoy spinning to your heart’s content!
Honestly I was expecting this to be more of a hassle, but it went as smoothly as I could have hoped for. Not having power in the car port was a little frustrating as I needed to hoover inside the seat box where all the dogs hair had collected, but other than that, it bolted off, drilled and bolted on with ease. I was also a little concerned about messing around with the handbrake while living on a steep hill, but leaving the van in gear worked just fine. Lastly, I used a metal saw to cut off the bottom of the handbrake covering boot, removing about 40-50mm to give it a neat finish.
The end result is wonderful and personally, I think it is a rather professional job! You’d never know I’d messed around with it. And now both the drivers seat and the passenger can face into the van.