I just completed the installation of a pair of Corbeau Baja RS suspension seats in my 2001 TJ. Here is the story....
My original plan (as per my "build plan") regarding my TJ's OEM seats was to buy seat covers to clean up the appearance, and to run them for a good while. The eventual plan would be to replace the seats all together with an aftermarket suspension seat.
At some point in the last year, my driver's seat took on a permanent malfunction. Some part of the reclining support broke leaving me with a 'gangsta lean' back and to the passenger side. At first it was just annoying, but after a while I realized how much it was affecting my lower back.
I jumped a couple stages in my "build plan" and decided that new seats needed to come sooner than later. The commute to my office is 20 miles each way, and by the time I get to the parking garage, I am ready for a back massage. I also travel a lot for work, and while most of my travel is done by airline, the driving travel can be 600-800 miles in 3 or 4 days. When you right leg looses feeling after a long drive, the broken OEM seat just doesn't cut it.
At the end of the day, I built a pretty good case to my wife that I needed to spend $600 on new seats :laugh: which ultimately turned into $800. Up to this point, it has been the best $800 spent.
After a good amount of time looking around and researching, I decided on the Corbeau
I had a few general guidlines I wanted to stick with and a few specific factors I needed to consider before reaching my ultimate decision.
These were the basic guidelines I eventually came up with:
* "Baja" style suspension seat
* Reclining feature
* Wide waist accomodation
* Cloth fabric front
* 4-5 point harness accomodation
* Matching rear bench seat available
The brand options for a Baja style suspension seat that I looked at are:
I quickly narrowed my search down to Corbeau based on availability, reputation, style, and price. They held a consistant price of $300 each from each vendor I searched. I also contacted their helpful customer service department to find they carried the same price. Corbeau has been a front-runner in the racing seat market for years and has a very strong following in the offroad world. They offer a full cloth front in the solid black color I was looking for.
Beard Racing was quickly ruled out as I could not even find a reclining seat option.
Mastercraft was ruled out because they tip the scales at $575 each and only comfortably accomodate up to a 40" waist.
PRP was ruled out based on price. Their recliner series are $400 each.
Smittybilt was really ruled out before it even started. I prefer not to buy their products. They were the cheapest at $270 each.
Corbeau, Mastercraft, and PRP quickly became the only three choices I was working with. All three brands have a great reputation and generally offered what I was looking for. By the time I got through the specifics of what I wanted, I realized the main thing separating these brands is price. With Corbeau being almost $200 cheaper per seat than the most expensive option and still maintaining an incredible reputation, Corbeau was an easy choice.
- Baja style - Simply put, I like the style. It is a rugged look for a Jeep and functional in width and height. The "suspension" support rounds out the package for my Jeep.
- Reclining feature - Until I install a full cage with harness bar, for the minimal added expense, I was happy to have the reclining option for passenger comfort. I am personally a 'set it and forget it' kind of driver, but I knew my wife would prefer the ability to fine tune 'her' seat.
- Wide waist accomodation - I am a large guy. I'm 6'5" and....well, working my way back to a heathly weight. I needed a seat that was going to fit my wide frame. I have a 42"-44" waist so I really needed the widest seat I could get, while still being a baja suspension seat.
A place where Corbeau shines is they offer a few "Baja" style suspension seats with two width options. The Baja RS is designed to fit up to a 42" waist; the Baja
Ultra Wide [/URL]is just as wide, but does not have the reclining feature. The standard Baja
SS [/URL]fits up to a 38" waist.
- Cloth fabric front - Corbeau has many options of color combinations to coordinate with your vehicle. All I wanted was a black seat with a cloth front for added comfort. The combination of black/black is just as simple as that.
- 4-5 point harness accomodation - Sooner than later, I would like to add a full roll cage to my TJ. I will be incorporating a harness bar behind the front seats to take advantage of a pair of Corbeau
4-point harnesses[/URL]. I don't predict using a 5-point, but I wanted the availability there.
- Matching rear seat available - Just as I want safety, comfort, and style for the front seats, I want to carry that to the rear seat as well. Keeping all passengers comforable in my vehicle..on and off the road..is important to me. Keeping my most valuable cargo (my 4 year old son) safe in the back seat is priority #1. Having a matching rear bench seat is imperative to round out my guidelines. Enter the Corbeau
40" Baja Bench [/URL]seat.
I conveniently was ready to move on new seats around Christmas. By that time, I had narrowed my choices down and picked the Corbeau Baja RS front seats. My wife coordinated with my parents to order the pair of seats for me for Christmas. My wife bought one, and my parents the other.
In conversation, I had mentioned that I wanted to make my own adapter brackets to retain my factory brackets and sliders. The basis of this was to save a few dollars....and really to increase the chances that I would actually be able to get the seats.
I worked with the passenger seat first so I could continue driving the Jeep. I started with an unused transfercase drop kit I had laying around. The square tube was 1.5"x1.5". The added height of the tube would clear the obstructions from the factory bracket and create a flat surface to mount the flat surface of the seat frames.
There are three holes at each corner of the Corbeau seat frames to accomodate many applications. The inner most holes are only about 1/4" wider than the bolts on the factory sliders. The tube allowed me to widen the mounting points and bolt the seat directly to it.
The immediate issue I ran into was that in tht configuration, the seat was too far toward the doors/rollbar and would not work that way.
I identified the issue at hand and made some measurements. At this point, it looked like the square tube application was going to work as the initial base; I just needed to slide the seat to the center of the Jeep to clear the rollbar and door.
Willing to continue making my own adapters and to "MAKE THIS WORK", I headed to the hardware store and picked up a couple pieces of square tube to make a new base for each seat (the tcase kit was just to work out the basic design), and a couple pieces of 3/16th 2" wide steel to make a base to shift the seats to the middle.
I actually felt like I made an honest effort and didn't do too bad with the first one.
I cannot weld, so I used self tapping screws to hold the pieces together until I could get it to someone to weld together. From there, I would pull it off and paint it.
This construction was enough to bolt the seat in the Jeep for a good test fit, with me in the seat. The conclusion was that the seat sat way too high for comfort. The seat was difficult to get in and out of and the seat itself was actually mounted too far back. I also had not even addressed the seatbelt needing to be higher.
After all the measuring, cutting, drilling, test fitting...and money spent, I realized I needed to reconsider the official Corbeau brackets. On top of that, my wife entered the garage after a while she highly suggested that I just order them. OK.
Corbeau offers an adapter
bracket [/URL]that allows their seats to bolt directly to the OEM sliders. This allows you to retain full OEM function of slide, tilt, and fold-n-tumble.
They also offer a full
replacement bracket [/URL]with sliders that the seat mounts to and replaces the full factory setup.
There are pros and cons of each. The adapters allow you to retain the fold-n-tumble, but they sit the seats up at least 1" higher than the factory seats.
The full brackets sit closer to stock height, but looses the fold-n-tumble feature. The seat still slides forward and with the RS model, tilts forward for rear access.
After the results of my homemade adapter brackets, I came to the conclusion that the Corbeau full replacement brackets would be the better option for me. For the comfort of my passengers, I did not want the seats any higher than necessary. With my height, seeing over the hood is not an issue for me, but sitting up too high could cause interference with my head and the top.
I got the full replacement brackets ordered and mounted the seats on them promptly. I realized very quickly that I should've left it to the pros and just gone this route from the start.
All of the holes on the seats lined up perfectly with the holes on the Corbeau sliders. Additionally, the holes for the base of the brackets lined up perfectly with the holes in the tub. The installation could not have been more smooth.
I am really impressed with the simplicity, quality, and effectiveness of the brackets. Corbeau was extremely precise with lining everything up on these brackets. The seats just clear the B pillar of the rollbar and the doors. This means they created as much room between the seats as possible. I do not have a full center console, but I do believe a factory unit would fit between the seats.
I run a Tuffy Conceal and Carry underseat drawer and I am very happy to report that it still fits with the Corbeau full replacement bracket.
I knew the seats were comfortable from sitting in them on the floor, but I could have only imagined they would be this comforable inside the Jeep on the road. These seats are amazingly comforable. There is a special sense of security with them that is hard to explain. The upper and lower side bolsters really do wrap you (without being obtrusive) and hold you in place.
I am realisticly on the side of a 44" waist. These seats (along with the Ultra Wides) are advertised to comforably accomodate a 42" waist. I can say with all honesty that there is no issue with me fitting.
This Jeep is currently my daily driver and with the little driving I have done in these seats so far, I could not be more happy. I am beyond satisfied with the comfort and quality of these seats.
At this point, I cannot wait to get the rear bench seat. Knowing what I know now, I will definitely jump straight to their TJ specific adapter bracket for that seat too!
I am also considering a bolt-in harness bar (Rockhard 4x4 perhaps) to allow me to get the harnesses in there sooner than waiting for the full cage to come.