4WD MODIFICATIONS - DIY WORKSHOP
The standard front seats in all Toyota 70 Series base models are awful, flat-cushion horrors that offer no support. They’re supposed seat three, but whoever scores the centre perch has a lap-only belt and sits right in front of the projecting gear lever. No wonder most owners want to swap them for something better.
It sounds easy enough to pull out the standard seats and pop in a couple of buckets, but it’s not that simple. The vehicle is described on the rego papers as a three-seater and if you alter that configuration you’re in breach of the Australian Design Rule (ADR). That could end you up in hot water in the event of an accident or insurance claim. It could also see your vehicle ‘grounded’ by a copper or transport department inspector.
The correct way to do the job it is with engineering approval.
Complicating the situation even more is the fact that the floors of some 70 Series don’t have bracket mounting holes where you’d expect to find them, even if the floor mats have pre-cut holes that match where the holes in the floor and their captive nuts should be.
We were lucky when we fitted two Recaro seats into our 75 Series, because the holes and nuts were there and matched the adaptor brackets that Recaro supplied. It was simple bolt up for the seat brackets and the seat belt anchors, which our engineer mate, John Wilson (NSW), approved when he was verifying our GVM upgrade.
But as one of our OTA Supporters discovered when attempting what for us was an easy job, it’s not so easy when there isn’t an appropriate hole for the seat’s rear bracket or for the seatbelt anchor.
At first, the problem looked very difficult to solve. To drill a couple of holes and weld captive nuts beneath them would mean removing the under-floor fuel tank; drilling the holes and welding-in backing plates; spot-welding captive nuts;
fitting the seats and seatbelts; then replacing the fuel tank. Photo evidence of the steps would also be necessary.
The job would then need to be certified by an approved engineer, before seeking a a changed specification on the rego papers. Phew!
The Huracan Fabrications method
Faced with this daunting task our Supporter contacted a company called Huracan Fabrications. This engineering outfit makes brackets for popular 4WD seat swaps, including the two-and-a-half-seat Toyota 70 Series setup to either Falcon BA or Commodore VL buckets.
The bolt-in centre bracket has a seatbelt anchor and has been tested to comply with Australian Standards VSB5 Standard. There’s no need to do any tank removal, drilling or welding.
All that’s required is to order the appropriate seat frames and centre bracket from Huracan; bolt in the centre bracket; attach the frames to your replacement seats; attach the Toyota seat runners to the frames and bolt in the replacement seats. Then take the finished job to a certifying engineer to approve your handiwork.