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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,

I have noticed that companies like Outside Van offer custom mounted bench seat brackets for Sprinters but I am wondering what people are doing for Transits? I have a cargo van that I would not mind adding some seat brackets for the option of maybe having a third and fourth passenger in the van and then removing the seat when not in use.

Just wondering what other's have done who have found myself in a similar situation. Thanks in advanced.
 

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One of the members, GreenMotoVan or something, had a great solution. He used flanged L-track and mounted the factory seat brackets to it. Transit seats can be found pretty cheap, since a lot of van conversion and mobility companies take them out and just toss them and the brackets.

Mounting the factory brackets to a cargo can be problematic and they stick up above the floor. Mounting the brackets to flush L-track that sits between the floor ribs perfectly allows the seat to be removed, and then a couple bolts removes the bracket leaving a flat cargo floor, WITH L-track tie-down capabilities! They went full length with the L-track, but the 100" piece can be cut in half to make two sections. The middle seat support on the bench seat is overkill, there is a 3" diameter steel tube spanning the width, so it can be removed with a wrench to make the seat slightly more mobile (it weighs 200lbs or more). Flanged L-track can be found online, I think I spent $60-70 for the track, plastic ends, and bolts; shipped. Flanged allows the flooring to be tucked under so you don't have to be as precise with the cuts in the flooring. And it really IS flat, it fits perfectly.

I took the advice and did this, I also cut the seat brackets shorter to removing tripping hazard (the long brackets hold the set in back as well on the passenger vans):
 

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That looks great! That is exactly what I am looking to do. I am wondering if you are intending to keep the original floor or are you going to put in a different style floor? We are weighing the options of putting in a different style but not totally committed to the idea quite yet.
 

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I went with a Flip up seat from Freedman seating. Don't have to wonder where to put it when I don't need it, and always have it with me when needed.
 

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I installed Sienna seats in my van on OEM tracks. The sky is the limit as far as fitting seats in the van, it just takes a little doing. J track in the floor is a pretty common solution, allows for easy moving and removing.

Stock Transit seats are widely available, anything bigger than a 2 seat is pretty heavy to move solo though.
 

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Probably not what you had in mind, but I'm installing a VW bus-style folding couch/bed. It's OK for giving folks the occasional ride and makes a nice camper couch as well as being part of a wide bed, but you might not want to sit on it for a cross-country trip. I got the frame at 2.cip1.com
 

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The fold down jump seats and benches are great for the occasional use, but I don't think they're very safe in a crash. I've never been in a wreck in 40 years of driving, so I usually overlook that aspect until someone brings it up.

The passenger vans have a thicker floor on top of the metal ribs, so the factory mounts don't stick up like they would if just bolted to a cargo floor. I think it's a 2" difference, but I could be wrong. The rubber cargo mat surface is .25-.375 above the top of the ribs, so even a thin click-lock laminate floor directly on top of the ribs would be about the same or thicker. Most people like to add a bit of insulation under their floors and level the ribs with 1/2" strips of extra insulation, so it would be easy to fit the factory brackets like the passenger vans. The plastic step cover would need to be adjusted, or buy a passenger one.

If installing a wood floor on top of the ribs, you can pretty much use any seat system you like; scavenge something from a minivan in a wrecking yard or craigslist. I wanted it to be matchy-matchy so went with the factory bench, which I'll rarely take out of the van. If getting some other seats, it is imperative that you get some with integrated seatbelts, otherwise you have a whole different set of problems trying to mount them to the van walls.
 

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That looks great! That is exactly what I am looking to do. I am wondering if you are intending to keep the original floor or are you going to put in a different style floor? We are weighing the options of putting in a different style but not totally committed to the idea quite yet.
You have an HR, so you wouldn't have any height issues by adding a floor. I want to keep as much height as possible because I have a MR, and I'll even do a ceiling that is recessed between the ribs.

Orton has an HR, and has chronicled all his modifications.
 

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The fold down jump seats and benches are great for the occasional use, but I don't think they're very safe in a crash. I've never been in a wreck in 40 years of driving, so I usually overlook that aspect until someone brings it up.
I've been thinking about this since I'm installing a folding bench. It seems to me that if the seat is not near a sidewall that gets hit then the seat belt is the main safety factor. So long as you stay in the seat during a crash and your head doesn't hit anything in front of you, I imagine you'd be reasonably safe. So my question is this: If I mount belts with 2-1/2" washers under the metal floor, will they tear out in a crash?
 

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One of the members, GreenMotoVan or something, had a great solution. He used flanged L-track and mounted the factory seat brackets to it. Transit seats can be found pretty cheap, since a lot of van conversion and mobility companies take them out and just toss them and the brackets.

Mounting the factory brackets to a cargo can be problematic and they stick up above the floor. Mounting the brackets to flush L-track that sits between the floor ribs perfectly allows the seat to be removed, and then a couple bolts removes the bracket leaving a flat cargo floor, WITH L-track tie-down capabilities! They went full length with the L-track, but the 100" piece can be cut in half to make two sections. The middle seat support on the bench seat is overkill, there is a 3" diameter steel tube spanning the width, so it can be removed with a wrench to make the seat slightly more mobile (it weighs 200lbs or more). Flanged L-track can be found online, I think I spent $60-70 for the track, plastic ends, and bolts; shipped. Flanged allows the flooring to be tucked under so you don't have to be as precise with the cuts in the flooring. And it really IS flat, it fits perfectly.

I took the advice and did this, I also cut the seat brackets shorter to removing tripping hazard (the long brackets hold the set in back as well on the passenger vans):
Yes, that was me. This link will get you to the pages on my build thread where I'm doing the L-track and seats.

I would consider cutting back the brackets in the front also as they do indeed create tripping points. I was hesitant and errored on the safe side leaving them longer using max mounting distance with 3 studs per track.

Having the L-track in the floor is very useful if you haul cargo, bikes, or other things you want to anchor down. It's a lot of work laying it down but great to have later.

Look in the "for sale" section here for seats first, then eBay, etc. Shipping prices add up REALLY fast for seats as they are heavy. It cost me as much to ship my seats as I paid for the seats themselves. If I'd been more patient I would have searched out some closer and drove to pick them up. You also get to inspect them before buying which is a plus. But finding "pull out" seats for these vans is pretty easy. There are numerous shops buying them for conversions which end up with seats they don't want/need.

The 3 person seats are pretty heavy to move, I use a forklift when doing mine cuz I have one and often need to do it by myself. The 2 person seats are more manageable.

There is some variation in the seat brackets so try to get the ones that fit the seats you buy if you can.

I bought my L-track on Amazon and the seller's stock varies, but there are other places like US Cargo Control and Cargo Equipment that have it. Sometimes it comes down to shipping costs. I'm 90% sure all the track is the same stuff.

I would use these studs though. They are by far the strongest I could find and they are well made. They are available from a few sources but the price doesn't change much. I've bought most of my L-track hardware from Cargo Equipment, either from their Amazon store or dealing with them directly. If you work with the directly you can get quantity and shipping options not listed on the Amazon store.



When you are laying the track take you time and measure very carefully making sure the track is parallel and not skewed front to back or you will have a hard time getting the seats to latch in properly. There is some room for adjustment when you bolt the brackets down to the L-track and I use a straight edge to line the brackets up before tightening them down.

There's a little trick on the seat latches, to keep the latch retracted pull the latch fully back/open and insert a 5/16 bolt into the holes in the seat frame just up a bit and it will keep the latch retracted. Do this on all of them and you can then easily remove the seats. I just leave the bolts in until I replace the seats. I set the seat down in position then remove the bolts allowing the latch to snap closed.

Here's a photo of a latch retracted with a bolt inserted.


The same works for the 2 person seats but they have grab handles on the latches where as you need to use needle nose pliers or a hook for the 3 person seats.
 

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As USMCvet pointed out on another thread; even if your rear seats are mounted BETTER than factory seats, if they were not installed by the factory or a licensed outfitter, the insurance company will use that as a reason to decline coverage in the event of a crash (to anyone harmed in or by the rear seat, or maybe everyone regardless).

So, the goal of back rear retrofitters is to make certain that their installation surpasses the factory installation, and that there is no chance that the seat or passengers will come loose in the event of a crash or roll-over.

For belts mounted to the floor, I'd go with a minimum 12x3" 1/4" thick metal plate, preferably one that will overlap the boron steel crossbrace flange (like the wagon seat bracket mount plates do). (Do not drill through the boron steel crossbrace) I would also be using 1/2" or larger grade 8 bolts and nuts.

I've found that there are a variety of rear seat seatbelt laws depending on which State you are in. Some don't require anyone in the back to be belted at all, others only require forward facing passengers, and some allow just lap belts. I think it's best to build for the highest level of requirements, and have lap/shoulder belts for all passengers. Whether they use them or not is another matter.

Using a seat with integrated belts really simplifies things.
 

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Short of some numbers crunching from an engineer no one knows.

I was able to align my seats with the frame rails. Where I could not I used 1/4" steel plates, 3x10 and 3x3.

The OEM seat mounts are welded tabs to the frame rails so I am thinking if you somehow attach to these you will be fine. There are also several crossmembers under there that would make it plenty strong. Make sure to use high strength hardware.
 

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Thanks for the tip on the 5/16" bolt!

I thought I was just getting old and weak when I picked up my 3-seat to move it around, because my Sprinter seats are heavy but manageable. The Transit 3-seat is a beast! Picking it up and stepping into the side door was too hard, so I put a step down and then used tiedown straps as a cheat for something to hold on to when lifting (Sprinter seats have HANDLES). Glad I won't be doing this often. I'll use my ramps next time.

I bought my L-track stuff from a mobility van supplier after a websearch for pricing. Orton used 80/20 3/4" tall single side material, which allows you to use the factory holes in the seat mounts, and slides easily to reposition, but it is not flanged and thus harder to do the cuts accurately in the flooring. With the un-flanged 80/20, the cuts have to be perfect to look good.
 

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According to upfitters instructions, you are not supposed to drill through the underfloor crossmembers, warranty voiding and all that.
 

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Also, when putting in my L-track, I found that the spacing puts them on center right next to the edge of the boron steel underfloor crossmembers, so using a larger grade 8 washer or metal plate to overlap the crossmember flange was pretty easy. The two outer seat supports were 35.5" on center apart, if I remember correctly. There is a LITTLE play in the seat to floor bracket attachment, I think you could be 1/8" off either way and the seat would still click in.
 

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Orton used 80/20 3/4" tall single side material, which allows you to use the factory holes in the seat mounts, and slides easily to reposition, but it is not flanged and thus harder to do the cuts accurately in the flooring. With the un-flanged 80/20, the cuts have to be perfect to look good.
Must have been someone else. I did not add seats with 3/4" 80/20. I think your L-track would be a better solution.
 

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I get confused in my old age. How come there aren't any naked people on this website today? oh....TRANSIT forum, not TRANS forum.:nerd:
 

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According to upfitters instructions, you are not supposed to drill through the underfloor crossmembers, warranty voiding and all that.
If I have overlooked something I would love to know more. This is what I found in the BEMM.


5.14 Frame and Body Mounting
5.
14.
1 Mounting Points and Tubing The holes on the frame are a result of the production process. They are not designed for fixing additional equipment. Tube reinforcements
are required to avoid crushing of the box frame construction. If additional fixings to the chassis frame are required please follow the recommendation given in figure E192371. This does not apply to areas of load applications such as spring fixings or damper fixings.
 

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As USMCvet pointed out on another thread; even if your rear seats are mounted BETTER than factory seats, if they were not installed by the factory or a licensed outfitter, the insurance company will use that as a reason to decline coverage in the event of a crash (to anyone harmed in or by the rear seat, or maybe everyone regardless).

So, the goal of back rear retrofitters is to make certain that their installation surpasses the factory installation, and that there is no chance that the seat or passengers will come loose in the event of a crash or roll-over.

Using a seat with integrated belts really simplifies things.
I looked at all the issues and in the end, if you get technical no matter how you mount seats in the back some lawyer will point out the obvious.

That being the case, I simply did the best and most reasonable job I felt feasible. That's why I used all 3 mounts for the 3 person bench and 3 studs/bracket same as OEM. The L-track is mounted to the floor every 4" so while it's not like welded tabs right on the frame in only 3 places, it's actually far more contact points spread out over much greater distance.

I suspect the L-track itself is where the failure point would be, but being that it's used in airplanes I decided it was "good 'nuff". We went through most of this in another thread and it's like an oil discussion, never ending.

In the end you do what you feel comfortable with. I grew up riding in the back of pickup trucks with no seat belts and I ride motorcycles every day. So that's my view point. If somebody isn't comfortable with the installation they don't ride in my van, they can take their own vehicle.

I looked at several seat options from a variety of seat suppliers and in the end felt the OEM Transit seats were about the best solution for a variety of reasons. They match the front seats, they come with integrated seat belts, they also use a "reasonable" bracket system", and they were actually designed for the vehicle. They also price out pretty well compared to the other options.

What I wish badly for is a sunken seat mounting system like the Sprinter uses, it's far better than brackets sticking up. I get tired of swapping my brackets in and out as I quite frequently reconfigure my van for a variety of uses. Most of the time I end up with only the 1st row 3 person bench installed which covers the majority of uses, except camping.....

One thing I haven't tried yet is if the 3 person bench can be flipped around 180 deg to face to the rear for camping purposes so you'd have a bench to sit on. I believe this is possible but it depends on if the center frame leg is actually in the center, I haven't measured it yet. And I haven't studied the brackets to see if the seat will actually fit in there "backwards". I intend to try it the next time I put the seats back in just to know.
 
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