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Discussion Starter #1
Who has swapped seats from a different vehicle into their Samurai? I've heard Honda Civic and Acura seats are a pretty easy swap, but are there any others out there that are a fairly simple bolt-on swap?

There's a decent salvage yard about 30 miles from me, so if someone has done a seat swap, let me know.

Thanks!
 

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I have heard Neon seats swap ok, I've read about Corolla seats working to. Mine has sidekick seats that fit well but there was a little cut/weld going on there to.
Are you able to do a little light welding to make them fit?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
In keeping with the non-gray seat theme on my stock hardtop, I found a pair of light brown VW Mark I seats that look brand new. By non-gray, I replaced the interior panels with wood paneling, I have a wood steering, wood shift knobs, etc. The idea is the wood is more "earthy", as opposed to the gray, and since this rig will be a graduation present for my youngest when she graduates from the Univ of Hawaii, I wanted the inside to remind of her Hawaiian Koa wood. So, my hunt was on for replacement seats that fell somewhere on the brown color spectrum.

I contacted a couple of welders/fabricators on Craig's List, and the first one suggested I get different seats, and try to flip these VW ones on Craig's List. The second guy I went to knew exactly what was involved, and quoted me a price of $100 per seat for materials and labor. These VW seats are really nice, and will look good with the other wood stuff I already have inside, so I'm going to give this guy the benefit of the doubt, and let him do the seat swap.

If/when I get this done, I'll post some pics in this thread.
 

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Having replaced the seats in mine I would say that the time involved and to get a neat clean professional job that $200 is not unreasonable. Assuming he actually does a neat clean professional job. Here in the Midwest GOOD welders do not come cheap. I could never have paid someone to do all the welding that was needed on mine before it was done. I like VW seats, been a VW nut for several decades.

Do post pics, I would love to see what you have done to the interior and how the seats will look.
 

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I've got seats from a 99 neon. Plenty of them at the junkyard to find a set in good shape. Install wasn't too difficult. I read the write ups 4-5 times before starting the swap. There was some trial and error involved. Use the stock sliders which easy unbolt from the stock seats, disassemble the neon seats (seat back and bottom), cut the rivets off of the neon slider to remove the triangle bracket (you'll need at least 10 metal cutting discs if using a Dremel because they break so easily), mount the neon triangle bracket to the samurai slider and install the samurai sliders onto the neon seats by drilling new holes on the bottoms of the neon seat. Not hard but it'll take a day. I love mine and they were well worth the headache!!! Much much more comfortable. ImageUploadedByAutoGuide1427240403.061231.jpg
 

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Wow, that looks comfy. Nice outcome, I think those look better than the Sidekick seats.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Those Neon seats look factory, nicely done. I dropped off my Samurai with the guy who's going to get the VW seats swapped in. Should have them done by Monday. Hopefully, he doesn't run into any more floor pan rust issues, and the seat rails come out without snapping any bolts. He's pretty confident he can do this, and keep the VW seats close to the original seat height. I put one of them on the floor and sat on it, and they're a LOT more comfortable than the stock seats. I'll have $250 into the swap, to include the seats and the materials/labor to make them fit. I'll take pics once they're done...
 

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The hard part is getting seats that aren't too wide. Any seat can be mounted that's the easy part. A square piece of sheet metal, bolt the sliders to the bottom and bolt the seat to the top. Easy. The write ups on the neon seats are deceiving making you believe they're direct bolt on....HAHA. In all seriousness it's not that hard if you put thought into it. I saw a newer Passat at the junkyard and thought hmm....just went with what I've heard works which was the neon. Anything over ripped up stock seats look great. I'm loving my neon seats and I'm sure you'll love your new seats too.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
These VW seats are slightly wider than stock, so they're going to have to be moved towards the center by about an inch to inch and a half, in order to be able to close the doors. The guy doing the install said the tubular frame on the bottom of the VW seats will make it easier for him to fab up some brackets and such, and he's going to mod the rear "legs" on the seat frame to get the correct seat cushion height/angle. He seems to know what he's doing, his prices are fair, and at least he seems very confident it can be done. Unlike the first guy I went to, who suggested I put the seats back up on Craig's List and find something else, lol! My stock seats are ripped on the inner side bolsters, and they're not all that comfortable. So if these seats work out, I figure at $250, this seat project will be one of the mods that my money was better spent on.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Seeing how much trouble it is, I'd just get the seats reupholstered:cool:
Reupholstering a poorly designed seat will still result in a poorly designed, uncomfortable seat. You know, like the old saying goes about polishing a turd, you still have a turd, lol...

Seat comfort is an integral part of the overall driving experience. Since these Samurais, with the stock engines, can barely get out of their own way, and with the leaf spring suspensions being extremely bouncy, having a nice seat to sit on can make up for that. And the stock seats are not up to that task, at least for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
And pay 5-10x what I paid for my perfectly good and much more comfortable seats? Be my guest.
In his defense, if you look where he lives, he probably doesn't have the luxury of a decent salvage yard nearby, so probably has to work with what he's got. I would imagine with a bit of cushion shaping, and a gel pad insert or two, etc., the stock seats could be passable for long drives. But around here, getting custom upholstery work like that done would be guaranteed to be more expensive than just swapping seats, and fabricating up the seat mounts. I paid $175 just to get a motorcycle seat redone with a gel pad for the front part, nothing else, so I'm sure getting my stock seats redone to a point where I'd be happy with them would easily run $400-$500.
 

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I my own defense it would cost me about $275 US to do over all the seats inclusive of the rear split seats. To replace the front seats alone would be about $150 US...yes the salvage yards here are full of haters.:mad:

So given that I'd pay for the custom do over in the orange and purple pattern i want to do when i get the spare cash.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The BIG plus of reupholstering the stock seats is like you mentioned, you can get them custom done. Me, I'm limited on what seats were available in some color on the brown spectrum. I got a text from the fabricator, told me they're done, and I can pick them up in the morning. I have an appt to get the threaded inserts done on some custom wood shift knobs I ordered from Hawaii, so once those are ready, I'll go get the Samurai, and take some pictures. The ones he sent me look pretty good, I hope they look as good in person, and they work like I'm expecting them to.
 

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Yes custom and if you're going for a restoration, original would be good. Upgrading for comfort, gotta go with something else in my opinion. I love my neon seats.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
VW Mk I seats

Picked up the Sammie yesterday with the new seats, and finally got around to taking some pics today. I got new bumpers and front end caps, and wirebrushed the push bar and light guards and put some bedliner coating on all of them. Took these pics after I got everything back on.

These VW seats are a LOT more comfortable than the stock seats. The seat height is just a tad higher, so you feel like you're driving a truck, and not a car. I can tell they're a little wider, because the seat belt is a little more difficult to grab, and the seat belt receptable points towards the opposite seat, because the seat is pushing it in that direction. But I'm getting used to it pretty quickly, so no worries there.

As the pics show, these light brown seats match pretty well with the wood panels, wood steering wheel, and wood shift knob I have in there. I'll probably get the headliner redone in a light brown as well, and maybe even get some carpet in a medium to dark brown. Spending $50 for the seats and $200 in fabrication costs was fairly reasonable, because these seats are a lot more comfortable and look pretty good inside. They didn't seem to present much of a problem for the fabricator guy, because he had them done two days after I dropped off the truck.

So without further ado...
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Seats look good. Not sure how I feel about the door panels. Looks like it's coming along nicely! ��
My youngest daughter will be transferring to the University of Hawaii in the fall, so I'm starting now with restoring this Sammie as a graduation present. I have two shift knobs from Hawaii (Koa or Ohio wood, forget which) that I have to get threaded inserts installed to fit the shift levers. Once that's done, I'll take another look at the wood panels. I just have them on there now as test pieces. Once the Hawaiian wood knobs are on, my plan is to stain the wood panels to match, then clearcoat them for protection, or find another sheet of wood that more closely matches the shift knobs. I didn't want the plain black ABS panels or the diamond plate panels that seem to be the popular replacements, but something more "earthy", more in tune with the aloha spirit.

I don't plan on lifting the Sammie, or doing anything crazy to it, keep it more or less in factory trim. The worst off-road scenarios I envision this thing getting into is beach sand (she's a lifeguard), or maybe an occasional fire road. I may up armor the front and rear differentials, and do some kind of rock slider / side step thing, but that's about it. Plan to get all the floor rust repaired, then put down some bedliner coating and new carpet (to hide the speaker wires). Limo tint the back three windows, new paint, and new wheels (15x5.5 or 15x6). I'll either put a 1.6 DOHC fuel-injected engine in it, or a rebuilt 1.3 carbed engine, with a rebuilt transmission. I know those two items will need to be replaced before I give it to her, and if the transfer case and axles go out, I'll get those rebuilt too.

In addition to the seats, I already installed new shocks, new steering stabilizer, new tires (215/75-15 General Grabber AT2s), new stereo, new front speakers, new surface mount speakers for the back, new oil cooler, new front/rear bumpers, new front bumper end caps, new wood steering wheel, new analog quartz dash clock, removed the AC compressor / bracket / hard lines / condenser, did a drain/fill on the trans / t-case / front and rear diffs, new compact air horn (WoLo Bad Boy), etc. I have new bushings for the leaf springs and front sway bar waiting to get installed as well.

If I stick to my plan, I think she'll be pleasantly surprised by this hardtop Sammie when it's done. 'Course she'll have to be taught how to drive a manual trans, but I think she'll be eager to learn!
 
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