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Old 03-26-2019, 12:07 AM   #1
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Replacement/Power Seats

Hoping this is at home in the "Interior" section rather than electronics-

I've started to wear a hole in the drivers seat (Cheaper vinyl seats), and I have seen some E-Series vans with power seats here-and-there as an uncommon option. On the aftermarket looking for them, the only hits that return are people selling motor switches for the seat bases.

Current plans are to have pretty much everything besides the dashboard out of the van this summer for soundproofing/insulation and a thorough cleaning, which should either reveal wires for power seats (Not currently installed) or should facilitate running necessary wires.

I have had a couple of thoughts-

1) Cheap answer is to just get a seat cover or find a like new replacement seat that bolts right in. I don't drive the van too often, but when I do, most of the miles come from driving 16 hours between Oakland CA & Bozeman MT.... Lots of long seat time, so I'm looking for something more comfortable on the bum for both driver & copilot....
2) Find someone who is willing to sell driver/passenger power seats (Are all '92-'14 seat bases identical, regardless of manual/power seats?), I presume they will have to be sourced from a junkyard or Ebay.


3) Since the F-Series get all the "nice" creature comforts (Heated, nice leather, etc), has anybody mounted up some Lariat seats in their E-series? (Coming back to the question of seat dimensions & seat base mounting holes being similar?)

I feel like finding some (grey)Lariat seats would be easier than power E-Series seats, but would (almost certainly) require having custom adapters to power all of the seats features.

Thoughts from anyone who's been down this road before? Has anyone seen E-series power seats before and know roughly how much they cost?

Erik
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Old 03-26-2019, 10:40 AM   #2
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I have a fair amount of experience in the seat department. I fitted Honda Odyssey 2nd row ‘take outs’ seats to my van, have done the same from different vehicles to others, and did upholstery out of my garage in a past life. I am usually the only driver in my vehicles, so power seats are wasted on my situation, but heated seats in winter, are so nice!



1) You already know this, seat covers from the auto parts store won’t make bad seats more comfortable, you really have to address the foundation to make long drives less fatiguing. I’ve taken a few long trips sitting in stock Ford E-series seats in a cargo van. I’m not a fan. But maybe they were just worn out, wasn’t my rig. A guy could buy high quality hog ring on style upholstery for the seats you already have, teach yourself how to repair the sagging foam and how to do the install. Or drop them off at an auto upholstery place and have them deal with it (be warned though, upholstery shops typically won’t replace broken springs, won’t repair a broken frame weld) rather, they will sew up a set of wrinkle-free, form fitting covers from whatever material you choose.

My van had a set of those aftermarket plush, crushed velvet w/folding armrest ‘conversion van’ seats in it, that sagged in the center. I pulled them apart, beefed up the springs, sewed a couple seams that were coming apart, repaired a twisted and abused passenger side frame, but they never felt right, I ditched them after 4yrs of torment on my back. Tolerable for 3hr trips, but not long ones. Not a fan of those, either.

2) Not very intuitive, but I found firm cushioned seats to be great on longer trips. Toyota Sienna front seats are some of the best I’ve sat in for longer trips, were available with power and heat, but those are hard to find. Good used Econoline seats from a junkyard are a tall order as well, seats are the first thing to get snapped up. The driver’s seats in particular are the first to wear out, and highly sought after, at least in the SF Bay Area. There are several minor changes in the e series van mountings, but only a couple inches either way. Your best bet is to keep the seat pedestals, and swap out the seat that bolts to the pedestal.

3) When I was looking around, the layout of the F series trucks didn’t seem to lend itself to a conversion, when I checked, the center seat layout meant I’d need to do a lot of modification to the frame, use the e series risers. Even at that, the truck seats are too wide for the van cockpit. I found that the seating position for vans and trucks to different to work, at least easily. Vans have a unique ‘sit high, legs down’ compared to trucks with ‘legs stretch out’ position. Maybe you’ll come away with a different conclusion and figure out how to make them work.


I hope you find that helpful
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Old 03-26-2019, 11:41 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info! I have heard quite a bit about the Sienna seats, I think I saw a year or two back that Michael made/sold adapter plates for them, but it's been so long ago that I honestly cannot remember. The only reason I was interested in the Lariat seats was that the colors would match and that the seats had all the options I wanted, but if I could find some Sienna seats that loosely matched, I suppose that would work too.

I realize the seat covers wouldn't do much- mostly just an aesthetic thing of not having to see a torn seat every time I pull the driver door open, but not much more than that.

I've found power bases (supposedly) for an E-series van.... $430(at the cheapest) a piece. Ouch.

Still looking for legitimate seat dimensions on a lariat truck to compare to the room I have in the van... I have scoured google (perhaps using the wrong search terms... google can be really picky at times) and can't find anything. I'll probably resort to calling a family friend with a '00 Lariat and asking him for some rough dimensions to see if it's feasible.

As far as sitting lower, for me that might be a good thing... I'm vertically challenged (6'8) and might be one of the few people to say I've had my head darn near put through the roof of an E-250. (Our neighborhood had one of it's speed bumps rebuilt from road construction... the next group of contractors covered the road with about 1/2-1" dirt, and the speed bump is unmarked.... Dad forgot it was there, hit it at about 35 mph.... Weeee!).

Anyways, I'll give those Sienna seats more consideration. I'm sure that while both E-series and Sienna seats with power options are scarce, that the chances of me running into a rolled Sienna with them is greater than me running into a pair of fairly priced power E-series seats.
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Old 03-26-2019, 12:59 PM   #4
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Michael has his Sienna bases and other seat options at https://expovans.com/parts/
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Old 03-26-2019, 01:28 PM   #5
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MG has invested so much time and research into seats that he actually launched a complete seat/flooring offshoot from ExpoVans for the products he's developed....



https://base-fab.com/products/
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Old 03-26-2019, 01:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freeagent View Post
MG has invested so much time and research into seats that he actually launched a complete seat/flooring offshoot from ExpoVans for the products he's developed....



https://base-fab.com/products/
I think I should send him an email... I had PMed him in the past about brackets for the ARB bumper/installation specifics and not sure if I ever heard back from him- not sure if that was a result of the firewall eating his email or if he had other things pressing for his time.

I'm very thankful that this community exists.. I know I wouldn't have found out about a lot of these things without all of you, there are a lot of things that Google is helpless with.

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Old 03-27-2019, 04:23 AM   #7
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When you contact Base-Fab someone does reply very quickly---I asked about a Sienna seat bracket and in less than 12 hours had an answer. To be fair I did make first contact past their closing time.

As said MG has spent a lot of time and effort with van seating---can't be too many who even approach his level of dedication AND excellent execution of design.
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Old 03-31-2019, 08:05 AM   #8
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I have a 2008 E series, which is the last year of the older style seats.


I first replaced the stock seats with the 2009+ style seats, complete bolt-in, plug and play....stud pattern on bottom of the seats...and hole pattern in the floor.


I then replaced those seats with 2009+ power seat...the connector under the rug in my 2008 is square and the connector on the power seat is round, but they are both just +12V and ground (2 Pin).....so easy enough.


Since you are vertically challenged..you may like the 2009+ seats as they appear to be a but taller..although I've never measured them against the older style seats.
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Old 03-31-2019, 10:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boywonder View Post
I have a 2008 E series, which is the last year of the older style seats.

I first replaced the stock seats with the 2009+ style seats, complete bolt-in, plug and play....stud pattern on bottom of the seats...and hole pattern in the floor.

I think that the upgrade to a powered seat was probably a no brainer, but was upgrading to the 2009+ seat in general worth the time and money?
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Old 03-31-2019, 02:14 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by boywonder View Post
...
I then replaced those seats with 2009+ power seat...the connector under the rug in my 2008 is square and the connector on the power seat is round, but they are both just +12V and ground (2 Pin).....so easy enough.


Since you are vertically challenged..you may like the 2009+ seats as they appear to be a but taller..although I've never measured them against the older style seats.
I'm sure finding power E-series seats anywhere is going to be hit-or-miss, did you have better luck looking at certain places more than others?

There's a scrap yard here in Belgrade that I think might have a few airport and delivery Econolines in it.... I'm hoping to get lucky and find a bunch of parts from there for a good deal. I'd like to think the bigger (E-350, E-450) airport shuttle busses have power seats in them, maybe?

Good to know the bolt patterns are the same and the hookups are simple!
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