Since we’re a family of four and my camper van started it’s life as a cargo van I needed to figure out some additional seating in the back. There are different solutions for this, like adding the standard rear bench of a passenger Sprinter but basically all of those require some major modification (I’ve heard of some cargo vans that already have the factory mounting holes for the rear bench but mine didn’t have that). One additional limiting factor is that you’ll need seats with integrated seat belts since there is no way you could mount those on the walls. With that in mind my choice was to add some comfort to the passengers and go with reclining seats out of a 2015 Toyota Sienna. These seats are awesome – not only do they recline nicely but you also have additional support for your legs and armrests, like the real recliner in your living room.
I’m not the first one doing this but the only other example of Sprinter Vans with those comfy recliner seats I could find used a swivel mount to fix them to the floor. Even though i like the idea of swivel seats, it wouldn’t make sense for my layout, so I chose to go with the original tracks which allow to move the seats back and forth to gain some room if required. The other upside of using the tracks is that you can remove the seats really quick if you need the additional cargo space. I’ve found a nice writeup of using the tracks with the seats over at the Expedition Portal where one user installed the Sienna Seats in his Ford Van.
These seats are not cheap ($300 to $500 each new) but they are available from companies that take them out of new vans to convert them for handicapped people with wheelchairs. I’ve found mine on eBay for a good price shipped directly to my door – tracks included.
First thing you’ll need to do is modify the tracks – they have welded bolts that only fit the Toyota Sienna and there’s no way you can install them that way in a Sprinter. You also need to remove some brackets that won’t fit the structure of the Sprinter floor. Just take a look at the picture for the details:
Next step is to find the perfect spot for the tracks on the sprinter floor. I’ve simply attached the tracks to the seats and moved the whole assembly around until I’ve found a good spot where I could drill holes in the floor without hitting any cross members. Take your time for this step – and yes, you’ll need to drop your fuel tank to bolt the tracks to your floor, there’s no way to avoid this additional work. Believe me, I’ve tried.
Once you’ve figured out the exact location for the tracks it’s time to drill holes in the floor – you might need to also drill additional holes in the tracks itself to have additional mounting points.
Don’t install the tracks yet because you’ll need them outside the van to measure the exact cutouts in your floor panel. You want to have the tracks directly on the sheet metal and you’ll also might need to raise the floor a bit to have the tracks recessed unless you like banging your feet against them all the time.
The last thing you’ll need to do before you can install the tracks is to bolt them to the van. For safety reasons (there’s a lot of force applied to the bolts in case you make an emergency stop) you should use additional support and not only rely on bolts and washers. I’ve welded some support out of leftover flat metal bar i had laying around.
That’s it – the only thing left is to attach the seats to the tracks and enjoy the added comfort of your van.
Here’s a final picture that shows how the Sienna Seat is dropped into the tracks.
- The reclining seats with tracks: Check your local Craigslist and they show up regularly on eBay
- flat metal
- bolts & nuts
- Drill and drill bits
- Jigsaw and/or Circular Saw
- Angle grinder with cut off disk
- welding machine