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86-95 Trucks & 4Runners 2nd/3rd gen pickups, and 1st/2nd gen 4Runners with IFS

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Old 02-25-2010, 03:29 PM   #1
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1984-1989 4Runner (COMPLETE) Driver/Passener Seat Swap DIY (with oodles of photos)


OK guys.

So, like most of you, my driver’s seat was in disrepair. The seat actually had broken years ago so I scored a pair of (non SR5) used seats to replace mine and slapped a seat cover on it since the side bolster was falling to pieces. The passenger SR5 seat remained in place, in mint condition. With a LONG road trip coming up (CA to OR and back) next week, some recent back injuries, and general discont, I decided it was time to do something about it…what I wanted to do was simple:

1) Remove the back and butt cushions from the SR5 passenger seat and install them in the driver’s seat
2) Not destroy anything (except the crappy old cushions on my used driver’s seat)
3) Install the second used passenger seat that’s been sitting in my garage for 4 years now!

I came across some threads recently showing how to swap the bottom seat from driver to passenger (since passenger seats are generally in better shape), but they omitted the swap of the upper part as well, and that didn’t sit right with me! So, here’s the complete DIY guide with a TON of photos to help you along the way….YOU CAN DO IT (IF I CAN)!

Tools needed:
12 mm crescent wrench
12mm socket(and wrench)
13mm socket (and wrench)
Needle nose pliers
Philips screwdriver


Time:
Took me 3 hours (but taking lots of photos). I’m sure most of you guys are faster than me….

The Job:

Here’s my old driver’s seat with awful cover:
Click the image to open in full size.


And without the cover (Yikes that’s awful!):
Click the image to open in full size.
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The almost mint condition passenger side SR5 seat ready for extraction:
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.


Remove the trim on the sides of the seats. There are 4 (maybe 3) tiny Philips screws. Note where the short ones go so you install correctly later.

Use the 13mm socket to remove the 4 bolts (2 on each side) of the seat. In my case, there was no trim on the inside of the passenger seat so I didn’t have to remove it for this step. However, you’ll likely have to remove your seat to get the trim off – BE CAREFUL not to trigger the seat release mechanism (slider) or mess with the wire that goes across the bottom – you could hurt your fingers:

Click the image to open in full size.
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After the 4 bolts are out, the seat bottom slides out nice and easy:

Click the image to open in full size.
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Click the image to open in full size.


Nice looking seat bottom:

Click the image to open in full size.
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Driver’s seat now removed (it had the inside trim so I had to take it out to remove the 4 13mm bolts):

Click the image to open in full size.


Bolts removed:

Click the image to open in full size.

Cushions OUT and ready for the swap:

Click the image to open in full size.

New bottom with the old back on the driver’s seat:

Click the image to open in full size.


Button up the four 13mm bolts on both seats to secure the bottoms:

Click the image to open in full size.


Click the image to open in full size.


YOU’VE SUCCESSFULLY SWAPPED THE SEAT BOTTOMS, BUT NOW COMES THE HARD PART!

TAKE A DEEP BREATH…IT’S GOING TO TAKE SOME PATIENCE FOR THIS PART….


On the back of the seat bottom there are about 5 brass hooks that look like bent nails/staples; these hold the fabric on the back of the seat to the bottom of the seat:

Click the image to open in full size.


Use your needle nose pliers to (gently) undo them all. Leave them in the fabric as best you can for later use:

Click the image to open in full size.

Pull up the fabric from the back…and from the front:
Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

On each side of the seat back there are two 12mm bolts that hold the back cushion to the seat hardware frame – the one on the bottom is easy to get to, but the top one is WAY up under the upholstery and requires you to peel back the cloth skin to get access (this was a lot easier on the non-SR5 seat, since it wasn’t cloth):
Click the image to open in full size.


On the SR5 seats (this may be different for other seats) there are 3 more brass wire ties that hold the yellow foam layer on (remove these and save for later). In this same picture you can see that there are 2 “eyes” that a black rubber strip get hooked to (just below the pliers in the photo below). Remove these as well and save for later:

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.


With this hardware out of the way, it will be easier for you to pull up the sides of the upholstery to reveal both 12mm bolts on either side (be gentle!):
(non SR5 seat)

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
(SR5 seat)
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.


Once you’ve removed the 4 12mm bolts on the side of the seat back, it lifts out. Be careful of the black metal bar at the bottom of the seat, where the seat hinges; once you remove the rigid seat back from the 2 side rails (where the 2 pairs of 12mm bolts were), the structure loses rigidity and the metal bar can slip out of place….be sure to note its position and check it again when putting back together:

Click the image to open in full size.


Swap in the new seat back(s), bolt everything up (start with the top bolts first on the side rails, get everything finger tight, then torque all 4), put the trim on, and use the needle nose pliers to fasten the upholstery back in place on the rear side of the seat(s):

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.


Check seat for functionality. Make sure rails are aligned on bottom (be careful!). Bolt in place (note that for some reason, and I’ve read this before, the inner front floor bolt always seems to strip out. You may want to chase the threads first if you have a kit, or just get some smaller bolt/washer/nut combo to replace it?



Enjoy your cushy new ride and great looking seat:

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.




Hope this helps – it really was not hard to do. I’m very glad I tried it and my back thanks me!

Good luck guys

Phil

PS, here's a profile shot of my truck...next up for me is the ZUK mod, which I'll do a similar, truck porn photo montage for as well

Click the image to open in full size.


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Last edited by Philbert; 02-25-2010 at 03:30 PM. Reason: spelling error
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:55 PM   #2
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Very nice phil! I'll have to try this out when my seat gets a little worse. And nice runner btw, it looks excatly like mine.
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Old 02-25-2010, 04:10 PM   #3
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Thanks! It's really not that hard to do - just need patience and a few hours. I cannot BELIEVE how comfy my seat is now!
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Old 02-25-2010, 05:04 PM   #4
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Freakin sweet! Good job!
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Old 02-25-2010, 05:52 PM   #5
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Great work...many many thanks for the documentation and pictures. I know others will appreciate as well.
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Old 03-29-2010, 08:00 PM   #6
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nice job, those little rings are call hog rings by the way!!
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Old 03-29-2010, 08:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1989toy4wd View Post
nice job, those little rings are call hog rings by the way!!
Thanks!

You mean the rusty little hooks that hold the upholstry together at the back of the seat?
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Old 03-29-2010, 08:21 PM   #8
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Nice work man , I just removed the lower seat cover from a good seat at the pick n pull this weekend . But now I wish i would have just got the whole seat cushion instead..Less work..

Ohh By the way nice truck ...
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Old 05-26-2010, 01:41 PM   #9
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Where'd ya snag the seats from?? Nice work btw
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i eat fast food for breakfast lunch and dinner, but i feel my biceps are not big enough, what supplements would you recommend? oh and i dont really wanna break a sweat, can i just pay someone so i have huge biceps? maybe some kind of injection so it LOOKS like i have huge guns? i dont really plan on lifting anything heavy or really *needing* them, i just wanna make the girls think i am hung like a horse with huge arms.
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Old 05-26-2010, 01:52 PM   #10
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nice write-up Phil...and porn pics too.
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Old 05-26-2010, 01:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Where'd ya snag the seats from?? Nice work btw

Thanks!

well, the crappy seats I had in there were a pair I bought from a guy who was building a rock crawler a few years ago...they were in bad shape but I needed a fix for my broken driver seat. The passenger seat (SR5) never left the truck...this one was near mint and what I used to swap over to the drivers side.....


if your seat mechanics are fine and the cushions are worn, all you need to do is swap cushions, like I did.
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Old 05-26-2010, 02:02 PM   #12
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NICE!!!
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Old 08-24-2011, 10:14 AM   #13
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Looks good.
Never imagined that much work!
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Old 08-24-2011, 10:47 AM   #14
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Holy old thread, batman!

Thanks....it was a lot of work, mostly on the back cushion, but so worth it. still super comfy!
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:57 PM   #15
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BMcEL blainemcelwee
I just swapped the bottoms on mine last night and I LOVE it. My only issue now is the driver's side has lumbar adjustments. I'll probably just try to source a passenger SR5 seat like you did and then swap the foam and fabric onto the lumbar frame. If anyone has done this feel free to chime in!
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Old 08-30-2011, 03:48 PM   #16
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bmcel - that was one of the things I just "got over" (that I would no longer have lumbar support). It's been fine for me thus far, but totally understand if it's something you want to carry over. Good luck...if you're able to figure it out, please update us all on this thread, with your photos!

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Old 08-30-2011, 04:00 PM   #17
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Ya I'm really having a hard time with losing the lumbar but it will only be temporary. The fabric on the outer edge of the driver seat back is about to give at the seam (already repaired once at 146k miles and held up great until about 250k) so I want to swap it to the passenger side before it actually rips.

I'll report back once I find an SR5 passenger seat (probably gonna take some time). I'm not very good about taking pictures while I go, but I haven't seen or heard of anyone swapping passenger fabric/foam to a lumbar frame before, so in this case I think I will.
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Old 08-30-2011, 05:00 PM   #18
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Nice writeup! This will definitely help a lot. Any idea how hard it would be to switch just the seat covers themselves? My red ones are mint, grey ones are trashed. Not a fan of the red . What part of P-town are you from? I grew up in little mexico, right by Hopyard and Black Avenue. If I ever get rich i'm moving back there! AWESOME runner, by the way.
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:29 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Nice writeup! This will definitely help a lot. Any idea how hard it would be to switch just the seat covers themselves? My red ones are mint, grey ones are trashed. Not a fan of the red . What part of P-town are you from? I grew up in little mexico, right by Hopyard and Black Avenue. If I ever get rich i'm moving back there! AWESOME runner, by the way.

Thanks!

You may be able to - if you undo all the metal rings I used the needle nose on, and slowly peel it back?

We live in "Pleasanton Heights" near the St. Augustine church, about a ten minute walk to downtown - love it here

We're actually going to Tucson for a wedding this weekend - not looking forward to the heat
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:31 PM   #20
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Inferno - peel it back like this:

Click the image to open in full size.

I didn't do it, but imagine you could do something similar with the bottoms....only one way to find out

Good luck!
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:31 PM
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