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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Per some recent requests, here's my write-up on installing headrests on a TJ rear seat.

I had considered buying a Bestop Trailmax II seat, but after hearing that the headrests aren't really that much taller than the OEM back, I decided to plunge into this project. I carry passengers a lot, and this seemed like a prudent project given that the 2 most frequent passengers are my kids.

Hope this helps you in getting a vision for what you want. Welcome your input on improvements you'd make.

Most of my time doing the install was in measurements, fitting, guestimating, looking and thinking, lining up, etc. About 1/2 of the time was the install itself, but I really embody the adage of "measure twice, cut once".

So first, a pic of the finished product:


Prep:
* Bought a pair of late model Chevy Equinox head rests off of eBay for $18. They are black, with red stitching, which I think nicely matches the red Jeep. Will match more if I ever install the Iggee red/black seat covers.

* I bought head rest post tubes that would allow the headrest to lock at any height, but the tube on the seat frame wasn't wide enough to add these. So I decided to drill just enough space for the head rest posts, and use a TIGHT pressure fit to keep them in place. The Chevy Equinox head rests are tall enough by themselves that I don't think they'll ever need to be raised. If you buy short, squatty head rests, you may need to consider how to raise them.

Install:
* Took rear seat out of Jeep, into the family room. Promised the wife 5 times that I wasn't going to damage the family room in any way. Not sure she ever believed me.
* Unzipped the seat cover for the back, and removed it. Removed the foam as well, it easily pulls off.
* Called my 2 teens into the room and had them sit on the seat to determine where I wanted to install the head rests. Marked the center points of their heads on the tube.
* Here is where I was pretty unscientific: I held the seat rests in various positions, viewed from various angles, foam on and off the frame a few times, trying to determine at what angle I wanted to drill the holes because just going straight down would have forced the passenger heads to lead too far forward.
* Decided the angle I would drill into the tube. This was just by eye and hand, no jigs or anything. The angle would be slightly forward, so I needed to drill about 1/8"-1/4" back from the top of the tube. See pics.
* Moved the seat to the garage to do the drilling cause it was gonna make a mess of metal shavings. You know what my wife was thinking...
* Drilled a pilot hole at the position and angle I had determined, then gradually made it larger until one head rest post was almost ready to fit through the holes.
* Used a rasp/file to file away small amounts of metal until the head rest posts tightly fit in.
* Then drilled the other hole for this head rest, repeating the prior 2 steps. Then did it again for the other head rest.
* Once the head rests were able to go into the holes in the tubes, I pulled them out and put the foam back on. I cut "X" holes in the top of the foam, and reinserted the head rests.
* Used a box cutter to slice the foam that the head rest posts needed to slide down into. Didn't remove any foam, just created a slice. I figured this would help produce some tension on the posts and keep them from getting loose.
* Removed head rests, put seat cover back on, and cut "X" holes in the cover and reinserted the head rests one last time.

Other notes:
* The head rests are solid. No movement. Kinda hard to slide up and down, but that's the intent given that I didn't install the post mounts.
* I do believe they will provide support in the event of a crash. If the crash was bad enough to break these, then the damage of that kind of impact would be causing a host of other concerns.
* Overall, took about 4-5 hours, including "think time".
* The rear seat does still fold forward, but the head rests do slightly bump the front seats. I just press hard to get them down. I also have my front seats sitting upright, so if you normally recline your seats a bit, you'll have to slide the seats forward until the head rests will pass. The head rests take up space in the footwell of the back seat, no probs.

Things I'd do differently:
* Space the head rests a couple inches further apart. They are just a bit too close, and the heads of my 2 teenagers don't hit the center of the head rest like I thought they would. It seems as though they sit differently on the seat when it's installed than when it's sitting in my family room. My bad on placement.
* Their spacing also limits a small amount of vision out the rear view mirror (not a big deal), and how big of an item you can pass into the back seat from an open tailgate (sometimes a big deal).
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Some more pics:

These are headrests from a late model Chevy Equinox. I liked how tall they were.


Drilled the holes large enough to barely fit the headrest posts into.


Another view from on top, from the rear:


Fitting the posts through the foam, and slicing the foam to allow the posts to slide down:


Almost there...


Finished product from inside:


Finished product from the rear:
 

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Love this....I've been giving a lot of thought to doing this project on my TJ as well because my kiddos ride in the back a lot. Good, simple solution....what I had in mind to solve this issue before seeing this was more complicated and would have had a 'less finished' look.

First things first, though......Gotta' get mine runnin' before I take up this project :-/
 

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Nice work. Thanks for posting the write-up
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
hi guys. i need to make it in my wrangler 97, have to be the same process true?

regards from costa rica
I don't know what is different about a 97 rear seat, but since a 97 is still a TJ model, I assume the frame will be similar and the process would be the same. You can take the cover off and pull the foam to see if the frame is the same.
 

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hi guys,
i did on my wrangler and work great, i going to send you some pics later. thanks a lot now i can go the weekend to the beach carefree for my daughter that going back.
 
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