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Installing Series Rear Seats in a Defender

Date: 21 Nov 95 08:41:37 EST (Note: Repost from earlier)
From: R. Pierce Reid (
Subject: Installing rear seats - repost

The latest in a series on how to add the best features of a Series Land Rover to your D90. So far have added a pintle-hitch, trailer wiring, gaiters and now -- an inward-facing bench seat.
How to add an inward-facing bench seat:

I ordered my seat from BLRS in Birmingham. I ordered a "Rear Bench Seat, Complete" in Neptune Cloth, which is similar (although not identical) to the Spec. D90 upholstery. Price, including shipping, was about 1/3rd the cost of vinyl seat from U.S. Suppliers and 1/6th the cost of a LRNA optional seat. The seat comes without any hardware, so the first order of business is to assemble the following hardware:

    For attaching the seat back to the seat base:
      2 1" allen-head machine screws (or similar)
      6 flat washers
      2 nylock nuts
      (All 1/4 inch)
    For attaching the seat back to the fender well:
      2 7/16 bolts
      2 7/16 lockwashers
      2 7/16 nuts
      2 7/16 large flat washers
    For attaching the seat back to the rear box lip:
      2 1/4 x 2" bolts
      2 nuts
      2 lockwashers
      2 1 1/2" spacers
      2 large flat washers
    For attaching the seat back pillow to the frame:
      4 1/2" long stainless phillips screws

Also, a set of shoelaces to secure the bottom pillow to the seat frame once installed. The seat appears to be a straightforward installation....but, appearances can be deceiving. The roll cage diagonal support interferes with the seat back, so it must be mounted about 1 1/2 inches away from the box sides. Also, moving the seat too far rearward (to try to clear the diagonal) can interfere with the speakers. Also, because the rear lip on the D90 is boxed, you can't get your hands in to put the nuts on the bolts, so you have to drill your holes for bolts close to the only two openings large enough to get your fingers in.... Locate the seat back so that it clears the bed lip by about 1 1/2 inches and that the rear part of the frame is about 1 inch from the end of the lip near rear panel. This boxed-section is open at the end and you will be able to reach in and put the lockwasher on the bolt later on. When lined up in this position, the forward part of the seatback should be close to a 3"x2" opening in the boxed section at the base of the roll cage. This gives you the other opening where you can reach in with a nut and lockwasher. Once you have your seat aligned, mark the location to bolt the seat back to the floor. Cut two small holes in the rear mat and then drill a pilot and a 7/16" hole through the aluminum fender. Bolt this in place, but don't tighten fully... you will be taking it out again. Mark the seat back and the bed lip where you want the 2" top securing bolts to go through. You will have to guestimate a bit, but a level may help. Remove the seatback and drill 1/4" holes in both the seat back and in the section of the bed. Re-install the seatback (but don't tighten.. you will take it out again!) and line-up the 2" bolts into the holes. You will now need to install some kind of spacer to maintain the 1 1/2" space between the seatback and the bed. I used 1/4" ID aluminum tubing, cutting each piece to fit (there is no set length here, just cut what works). Once this is done, take the seatback out again, leaving the 2" bolts in place hanging through the holes. Install the seatback using the 4 stainless phillips screws (there is exposed fibre board on the seats as shipped from BLRS. I attached a piece of black naugahyde over the exposed fiberboard using contact cement... both for aesthetics and to protect it from water.) Now install the bolts through the fenderwell. Put on the lockwasher and a large flat washer up against the fender. I coated mine with Silicone caulk because I don't want water coming in through the hole. Install the 2" bolts with the spacer, a large flat washer, put through your hole in the box section and then put on a lock washer and a nut. This will be tough to tighten but it can be done. You will have to reach into the box section and hold the nut with your finger until it gets tight. Now install the seat bottom using the washers, allen screw and nylock nut to keep it from vibrating loose. Tie the bottom pillow in place and you're have a seat. The whole process took about 2 hours, including 2 trips to the hardware store. **DISCLAIMER** I recommend NOT using this seat while the vehicle is moving unless you install approved seatbelts. Since I plan really only to use it as a place to sit to clean shotguns and smoke cigars, I do not have seatbelts. This installation is not to be intended to imply that inward-facing bench seats provide adequate protection for passengers in the event of an accident. Use these seats for passengers at your own risk. installment will probably be either the installation of a gun/security box on the other fender well or, perhaps, a work-light.

R. Pierce Reid
Copyright Dixon Kenner, 1995-2011. Last modified March 15, 2005.
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