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Installing a Van Swivel Seat

Originally published: March 25, 2019

I’m so thrilled the installation of the swivel base for the passenger seat in my 1999 Chevy Express went without a hitch. Because of the size and weight of the swivel base, I knew I wanted to install it correctly the first go ‘round. I had no desire to install, uninstall and reinstall because I made a silly error. The base is just too heavy for that, not to mention the weight of the seat itself.

Why the Swiveling Passenger Seat

The answer to that is easy. It provides more space. Well, the swivel seat doesn’t actually increase the square footage inside the van, but it makes the space more functional. Because I took out the second row of seats, my conversion van only had the driver’s seat, passenger seat and the 3-seat bench in the back. This setup allowed me to install a sink and cooler.

Front of Sink

The downside to removing the center seats is if I invite more than 3 people for a sitdown chat in my van (aka MoCa), the front-facing driver and passenger seats make for awkward seating arrangements. As such, the cooler and floor pillows become the additional seating.

Having the ability to swivel one of the front seats makes socializing much easier. Not only that, it gives extra cabin space for things like setting up a laptop or just gazing out the back window. Whatever I decide to do, having the swivel gives me more options.

Buying the Correct Swivel Base

When I first decided I wanted the swivel base for the passenger seat, I did extensive research. I watched a lot of YouTube videos and read lots of blog posts about how to install the base. Then I navigated over to Shop4Seats and spent quite a bit of time pondering whether or not I was purchasing the right seat. I also pondered the expense and whether or not it was necessary. It might not have been necessary, but I really wanted it so I bought it.

Swivel Base

I called Shop4Seats to double check that I was buying the right part. The lady on the phone assured me I was purchasing the correct item.

Swivel Base Delivery and Installation

UPS delivered the package to my front door. I took the heavy box downstairs and outside to begin the installation process. To install the swivel base I used a ratchet and monkey wrench. Installation was a matter of loosening the bolts under the chair, removing the chair, bolting the swivel plate to the underside of the chair and then placing the chair and plate on the exposed base. The whole process involved a lot of loosening and tightening bolts. And, of course, jimmying the chair off its base and eventually back into position without straining my lower back.

Remove Bolts
There were 4 bolts to remove
Bolt Swivel to Seat
Swivel base bolted to the seat
Seat Base
Seat base
Swivel Chair Facing Rear
Swiveled Chair Facing Rear
Sitting in the Swivel
View from the Swivel Seat

Playing with My New Swivel Seat

Now that it’s installed (which really didn’t take too long), the only thing I have to figure out now is how to turn the seat around without having to open the passenger side door. My passenger door has hard plastic bulging storage containers. Turning the chair around with the door closed is just not doable (or at least I haven’t figured it out as yet).

My only other note of concern is the metal handle used to unlock the seat for swiveling. It’s a sturdy piece of metal that sticks out from under the seat.  If one does not watch out, it could do serious harm to an Achilles heel. To prevent heel harm, I inserted a yellow tennis ball over the handle. When the seat is in the forward position, it hides the metal handle. However, I’m part of a tall family and if we kept the seat in the forward position while facing front, we wouldn’t be able to get our legs in.  When the seat is turned towards the back the handle isn't a problem.

Now that the swivel is installed, it's time for a small wine tasting event.


About the Author: Felicia likes to traipse around and write about her traipsings. FeliciaIn her mind, she lives in an RV and gets to travel to beautiful places far and near. However, in reality, she traipses around in her mobile cabin, Faith, a 2005 Chevy Express Conversion van. With Faith, she’s slowly (and I mean slowly) transitioning her mind to leave the ‘safe world’ of bricks and sticks in favor of the unpredictable world of van travel.

Last Modified: 4 May 2021

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