Lets be honest, the seats of a Defender td5 of 2001 are not very comfortable. Not that they are bad, but after driving hundreds of kilometers you will certainly feel the need for a rest. Of course some people love the seats and seating position of the Landrover Defender, but most of us want to update the seating as soon as possible after purchasing a Defender.
We use the Recaro Expert M for the Landrover Defender. It is a reasonably sized alternative to the original seats and gives excellent support for the (lower)back and sides. It does not have raised ‘cheeks’, which ease the getting in and out of the vehicle. The sideways support is adjustable by turning the side support in- or outwards. The seats can optionally have an air cushion for extra lumbar support as well as heating in both the seat and back.
Fitting the Recaro seats has one big disadvantage. The original seats make it easy to access the compartments under the driver- and passenger seat by having a removable lower seat cushion. The Recaro seats lack this feature and this results in having to unbolt the seats whenever access to the area under a front seat is needed. This means every time work needs to be done on the battery (under the driver seat) or a relay, ECU or fuse needs to be checked (passenger seat) lots of work needs to be done.
To solve the above problem we have built a hinging seat frame that enables the seats to tilt backwards. That makes the areas under the seats accessible again and you can do it without any tools.
The new seat frame
The new frame has been constructed of 4mm thick aluminum profiles with 8mm steel pins. In closed position, the weight of the driver (and the seat) rest on the pins, with the rear pin holding the most of the weight. The pins are secured with clips that can be removed easily. When the front pin is removed, the whole seat tilts backwards. If both pins are removed, the whole seat can be removed (and refitted later) in just a few seconds. Only two L-angled pieces of aluminum remain in the car in that case. The height of the frame enables the seat to slide backwards quite a bit further than the original seats, which is good for adding a few inches of extra leg room.
Have a look at the drawings to see what the frame looks like and how it works.