Editor’s Note: TwinSeats has since closed down and ceased production unfortunately. For those of you looking for a split seat for your TJ, Rampage Products now offers a split-folding rear seat for TJs, but it’s not an exact match for the factory fabric.
Installation date: 3/8/03
These have got to be one of the most innovative products for TJ’s that I’ve ever seen. They are not however, for everyone. If you’re the type that hasn’t had their backseat in their TJ in so long you’ve gone ahead and removed the rear seatbelts, these things obviously aren’t for you. But, if you’re the type that often has someone riding in the backseat and you find yourself wanting more cargo space at the same time, these could be just what you’re looking for, if you own a 1997-2002 TJ…
We first met Clay (TwinSeats’ founder) about a year ago at one of our club’s Sonic Cruise-In’s. We were admiring his well-built black TJ when all of a sudden we realized he was missing half his backseat! Of course we had to ask him what the deal was. He explained that he’d just finished his prototype and was planning on building them for others sometime in the future. Well, his “prototype” looked like a factory install and we knew we had to have him build us a set, so we told him to get in touch with us whenever he started producing them for the public. Finally, this past February Clay send me an email asking if we were still interested in his split folding rear seat… Well of course we were!
We met up with Clay not long after that and gave him our back seat. The way it works is he takes your factory backseat, cuts it in half, redoes the hardware, has it reupholstered to match exactly, then returns your original seat back to you, only now it’s in two pieces.
The installation is really pretty straight forward, and the instructions are easy to follow. The only “special” tool you need is a large right-angle square. The first things to do of course is to pull everything out of the back, including the carpet. You don’t need to pull the carpet out of the rear footwells though, nor do you need to remove the seatbelt clips. Now would be a great time to clean all the dirt that’s found it’s way under your carpet… as you can see, our Rhinolined tub had gotten pretty dirty…
Now, using that big square I mentioned earlier, mark the tub as outlined in the instructions. Double check your measurements, then drill the 4 mounting holes in the floor.
The two holes on the passenger side will probably be over the edge of the muffler heat shield, depending of if your Jeep is equipped with the shield as our ’01 was. No big deal though, it’s easy to bend the thin metal shield out of the way. The holes are positioned so that they should go through the edges of the center tub crossmember, this is what will provide support for the central seat bracket.
Next, loosely bolt the center seat bracket to the floor using the supplied hardware. You’ll need to have a friend hold the bolts from the top while you snug up the nuts from the bottom. You’ll want to leave the bolts just loose enough to wiggle the bracket around to make sure it’s positioned correctly.
With the bracket in place, put the two seat halves in and fold them forward and back, making sure there’s no binding anywhere. Once you’re sure the center bracket is positioned correctly, grab your friend again and have them hold the bolts again while you tighten down the nuts from under the rig.
The instructions also say to drill out the rivit holding the plastic piece on the seat latch bracket on the side of the tub. My drill bits didn’t want to stay centered on the rivit, so I just hit it with my trusty angle grinder and popped it out the back. I’m not exactly sure why this piece needs to be removed, but it certainly makes it easier to latch the seat halves in place after it’s gone.
When you put the carpet back in, you’ll need to carefully cut a hole in it with a utility knife so that it fits around the center seat bracket. As you can see, with both seat halves removed, you’re left with a 1″x1″ steel pole sticking up about 6″ from the floor, which could get in the way sometimes. This is really my only “complaint”, if you can even call it that. In reality, we’ve found that due to the extra cargo space gained by removing one half of the seat, we haven’t needed to remove both halves (ie: the entire seat) anymore, so the pole sticking up from the floor hasn’t been an issue.
Here you can see just how much cargo room is gained from the split seat conversion, while still retaining room for one adult to sit in the back (pretty comfortably I might add, for the backseat of a TJ anyway). Both seat halves retain full individual fold-n-tumble capability (as shown above), and either seat half can be removed, or both if you wanted. And, since they’re only half a large and half as heavy, it’s now much easier to handle the rear seats than it was before with the one big bench.4 comments