Bench seat - making a 3-seater into a 2-seater

Garandman

Member
Following. Picked up a T1N 3 seater yesterday and we disassembled it (the owner has two more rows from his 158).

Seems to be very similar if not identical.
 

Garandman

Member
Okay, opened up the seat and took a look at the frame. Where is the best place to cut? It’s not clear to me if I should leave the second support (from the driver side) in place, or cut it away and use the third support (the inner side for the right-most seat) instead.

62B28D08-B0FB-4084-8D0A-02E1216B8EF1.jpeg
 

Garandman

Member
In other words, should I cut away #2, or #3? Seems like if you are not really careful you will wind up having to cut the seat pan as well.

A4968091-D6FA-44AE-92BD-E1E8A8786C04.jpeg
 

Garandman

Member
Run into a snag.

My understanding is you need to use the two end sections of the frame, which would include the two outer locking bases.

The center location on my 118” T1N seems like it will only accommodate the short base.


But that only fits the center of the three legs: the outer legs have wider spacing.



Am I missing something? Assuming not, can I install it with only one of two legs locking?
 

allanbourne

New member
I recently purchased a 2011 Sprinter with a converted second row. Unfortunately whoever did the conversion removed the outer most seat instead of the middle seat. Which means I only have one foot lock to prevent the seat from sliding backwards out of the counting cup. My kids will be n these seats and I don't feel good about the safety of this.

Does anyone know of a way to secure the middle seat leg to the cup? Or am I looking at purchasing a new 3 seater bench and repeating the process?
 

619baller

New member
Bench Seat modification- making a 2-seater out of a 3-seater.

As a part of my sprinter conversion (’14 Crew), I wanted to find a 2 person bench seat that would replace the existing 3 seater in the van. We found doing the sideways 3-step Mambo through the foot well by the sliding door a pain in the butt when going from front to rear. Had no luck looking online for a 2-seater, and didn’t want to spring for captain’s chairs.

I decided to try to cut down the present seat… it turned out easier than I thought it might. Essentially, to retain the two armrests on either side, and to keep the sloping passenger side (right) of the seat-back intact, my idea was to - in effect- cut out the middle seat and slide the two end seats together.

In order to do this, you need to be able to weld, sew, and not be afraid to cut apart your $1400 Sprinter bench seat.

My idea was to keep the floor legs intact to the frame and cut only the horizontals (3 pipes and 4 bars) that make up the seat frame. With careful measurement and cutting, you can maintain the 18 ¼ inch OC spacing of the floor legs on your new seat.

1. Remove the plastic seat back cover - screws on sides and underneath. Remove the plastic pieces of the child seat loops on the outboard seats - grab and pull out.

2. Pry away the seat fabric from the steel frame- attached to plastic pieces that either snap or twist/flip into steel framework. At the junction of seat and back, the “back” bottom fabric curls around a bar and slips into it’s V-channel, and the “seat” fabric curls around THIS and slips on top of the “back” fabric piece. Sounds confusing, but pull and flip here and you will see what I mean - both the seat and back fabric pieces attach to the same rail. (Remember this order for reassembly).

3. Remove headrests and headrest sockets. Do NOT try to pry the sockets upward - I broke the first one trying this. Using a stick of wood cut ½ inch square, one foot long, I was able to reach underneath the socket and drive it upward, hitting with hammer. Popped right out.

4. Seat belt plastic “hood” on top of seat- this is a pin and plug attachment. Using a punch, drive the pin all the way back and pry out the plug with a screwdriver. Punch size is 5/32 (or less). Keep the pins & plugs to be reused. The hood now slides upward - note the grooves in it for reassembly.

5. Armrests - pry away the foam on the side of the seat and the armrest bracket is revealed. Undo the bolts and nuts and slide the brackets outward. Note the alignment of the thin spacer under one of the interior nuts.View attachment 65415

6. Seat belt ends/latches - unbolt the seat belt attachments from underneath the seats - note the different bolts and spacers for each attachment here. I put them back into their holes after removing the belt or latch, so they would stay in order.

7. Now you can remove the fabric and foam together from the frame - the seat back is all one piece and needs to be carefully lifted upward over the seat belt brackets on the uprights. 2 sets of hands are a help here. The seat portion easily lifts straight off.

8. Seat belt rewinders - I unbolted these to move them out of the way, and shielded the belts from any cutting/welding splatter.

9. Where to cut? You have 4 upright frames (seatback) with 3 legs attached. In order to maintain the correct spacing for the floor legs, I found that the vertical “tubes” on the front and back of the legs makes a great spacing reference. Edge to edge, you need to keep 17 ¾ “ between these. I made the cuts on the horizontal pipes & bars so as to provide access for grinding and welding - did not cut right next to the vertical seat frames, so there would be room to sand, grind, and weld pipe-to-pipe. View attachment 65416View attachment 65417View attachment 65418View attachment 65419
Your awesome!!!!
 

Nate

Member
Thanks for the great write up on this.

I just did mine. Although instead of welding it, since I don't have a welder, I bolted it back together.
The largest tube at the base of the seat back fits an 1 1/4" steel pipe inside it. I slid that in and then drilled through the seat tube and the pipe to put a 5/16" bolt through it. Then for the front tube and the one at the top of the seat back I ran a 1/2 threaded rod through it and used lock washers and nuts at each end to squeeze it together.

I feel really good about it since both legs still lock into the floor and it's essentially just holding the 2 seats together.
I was originally going to just cut off one end and lose the arm rest, but when I realized I would only get one leg to lock into the floor I changed my mind.

Very happy with how it came out. Thanks again for the write up!
 

GetInTheVan

New member
Thanks for the great write up on this.

I just did mine. Although instead of welding it, since I don't have a welder, I bolted it back together.
The largest tube at the base of the seat back fits an 1 1/4" steel pipe inside it. I slid that in and then drilled through the seat tube and the pipe to put a 5/16" bolt through it. Then for the front tube and the one at the top of the seat back I ran a 1/2 threaded rod through it and used lock washers and nuts at each end to squeeze it together.

I feel really good about it since both legs still lock into the floor and it's essentially just holding the 2 seats together.
I was originally going to just cut off one end and lose the arm rest, but when I realized I would only get one leg to lock into the floor I changed my mind.

Very happy with how it came out. Thanks again for the write up!
Nate, do you have any pictures you could share on your conversion?
 

xeres

New member
I'm just going to throw this out here. I bought the seat in the first picture - a perfect match for our 2006 118". There is one more two seat bench according to my DH who went to make the purchase. Unfortunately it's local pick up only, so if you're in OR/WA and need a 2-seat bench. . .

ETA: I don't know if the other bench is for more recent Sprinters.
 

EricN

New member
I'm just going to throw this out here. I bought the seat in the first picture - a perfect match for our 2006 118". There is one more two seat bench according to my DH who went to make the purchase. Unfortunately it's local pick up only, so if you're in OR/WA and need a 2-seat bench. . .

ETA: I don't know if the other bench is for more recent Sprinters.
Hi Xeres - I'm in Seattle and looking for a two seater. Can you forward me contact info for the seller please? Thanks!
 

EricN

New member
Hi Xeres - I'm in Seattle and looking for a two seater. Can you forward me contact info for the seller please? Thanks!
Got it. Click the link! Sorry, a little slow this morning. Looks like those benches are from earlier version. I've got NCV3.

Does anyone know if there anyone in the PNW who does the cut down work?
 

Nate

Member
Nate, do you have any pictures you could share on your conversion?
I thought I took a picture of the rod going through the front tube and the one at the top of the seat back, but i guess I didn't.
I think the only disadvantage of doing it this way is that all of the pieces that have the covers attach to aren't welded back together. But everything went back together fine for me with nothing loose and flapping about.

I have the picture of the largest tube bolted together.
 

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JBMercVan

New member
Fantastic... this is exactly what I want to do! There's no way I'm paying $2k for a two-seat bench when I have a three seater that can be converted. Thanks for the detailed instruction. I'll do all the cutting and measuring myself but may have to take the frame to a welder (or maybe I can rent a rig and try welding myself for the first time). Thanks again!
 

JBMercVan

New member
I thought I took a picture of the rod going through the front tube and the one at the top of the seat back, but i guess I didn't.
I think the only disadvantage of doing it this way is that all of the pieces that have the covers attach to aren't welded back together. But everything went back together fine for me with nothing loose and flapping about.

I have the picture of the largest tube bolted together.
I think bolting is sufficient. Nice work!
 

JBMercVan

New member
I cut the center seat out and am getting it all welded tomorrow. JJolls' original post/instructions are near spot on. I broke the tabs on the headrest post sleeves despite hitting them from underneath with a wooden dowel. I found that removing exactly 18 1/4" from the center worked well for keeping the leg spacing accurate but will need some finessing by the welder before joining the two halves. I could sleeve and bolt it but prefer welding if you can find a pro for a reasonable rate. I figure 1-2 hours max. I'll attempt to do the cushions and sewing myself.
 

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