Grand Cherokee front/rear seat swap for 95+ XJ's

Old 12-17-2010, 05:08 PM
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Default Grand Cherokee front/rear seat swap for 95+ XJ's

Alright, I FINALLY finished my seat swap this past weekend and, as promised some time ago, here's the write up on how to do it. It took me about 8 hours total (1 front/7 rear), so make sure you've got about a day to do it. I owe a HUGE thank you to tuxfan212 for his help on this. This is mainly my stuff, but a few images will be from his swap as I forgot to get them while doing mine. This is for '95+ XJ's swapping in ZJ manual seats. My XJ is a '99 and the new seats are from a '98 WJ. This will not work on '84-94 XJ's as the seat mounts are VERY different. If mounts are fabbed, then it would be possible.

What you need:
Drill bits
3/8 drive ratchet
3/8 drive metric socket set (deep and shallow are recommended. If you only have one, go with deep)
3/8 drive extensions (long and short)
Torx bits (socket or screwdriver - both work)
1/4 drive ratchet (if using socket torx bits)
Hack saw
Angle Grinder (not necessary, but VERY helpful)
Needle nose pliers
Something to mark your drill spots (white/silver Sharpie works great)
zip-ties (if completely removing seat covers to wash them)

Grand Cherokee front seats
Mounting hardware (brackets, slide rails, and bolts) from XJ seats
Grand Cherokee rear seats
All brackets from GC rear seats. You should have:
outer brackets on the rear upright sections
a middle bracket that joins the 2 upright setions
4 lower brackets that the bottom cushions hinge on
4 L-brackets that are attached to the lower cushions
Hex head bolts (8 1/4x3" for the lower brackets; 6 3/8x3" for the upper brackets)
Nuts/washers for all bolts (2 washers per upper bracket bolt; 4 washers per lower bracket bolt)
4 1" bolt spacers for the lower bracket bolts

The process:
Front Seats:
I'll start with front seats as they're the easier of the two. Simply remove the front 2 bolts, and the rear bolt and retaining nut from your current seat mounts.
front bolts:

rear bolts:

Do this on both seats. You can now remove the seats from your XJ. Remove the slide rails/mounting brackets' 4 bolts from the underside of the seat (sorry, no pics, but it's not hard to figure out). Do the same on the ZJ seats. Now put the rails/mounts from your XJ seats onto the ZJ seats. Put the seats in your XJ and bolt them in. There you have it. The fronts are done. Again, sorry for the lack of pictures. I don't have a "before" shot, but here's an "after" of the front seats.

Rear Seats:
This is where is gets a little harder and patience is required. Again, thank you tuxfan212 for your help!

**NOTE: If you want to wash your seat covers, please scroll down to where the pics of the lower seat cushion foam and trimmed plastic are. If you wash the covers, dry them on low heat as they could shrink if done on medium or high.**

Remove the XJ rear seat by folding the bottom cushion forward. On the passenger side, there is a tab by the hinge pin. Pull up on this and the lower cushion can now be pulled out through the rear passenger door.

You can now fold down the back rest. On either side, there is a small tab that you can pull forward. Do this, and the seat will "fall" forward giving you more cargo room and a flat floor. Remove the brackets that held the back rest in place.

You can now remove the back rest by removing the 2 bolts that hold it in. They are located at the base of the back cushion, on either side.

Now that that's done, you can remove the cushion and test fit the back rest cushions of the ZJ seats. Make sure you have all 3 upper brackets (one on each end, one in the middle). It's a tight fit, but they'll fit in there. Use something (I put channel locks along the vertical "lip" at the front of the seat well and against the brackets to keep them from falling into the seat well) to keep the brackets in place. You want the top of the brackets to be as close to the rear floor as possible, otherwise the lower cushions may not fit.
passenger side:


driver side:

Once you have the seats in a good location, mark where you'll be drilling holes. Remove the seats and drill holes for the 6 3/8x3" bolts you purchased. Put the back rest cushions in place again and feed the bolts into each hole, using a washer under each bolt head. Find your bolt threads on the underside of your Jeep and use a washer and nut on each of those, until fully tightened (having a helping set of hands to hold a 2nd ratchet and socket on the bolt heads makes life MUCH easier). This is just the driver side, but you get the idea for the middle and passenger side brackets as well.

Now it's on to the bottom cushions. The passenger side should fit in as far as width is concerned. The driver/center cushion will not. Some trimming is required. Test fit the driver side to see where the L-brackets on the bottom of the seat line up with the body lip at the front of the seat well. If they don't line up, you'll have to relocate the L-brackets (we'll get to that).
Remove the L brackets from both lower cushions using torx bits.
**the following picture is from tuxfan212**

Once removed use an angle grinder (or hack saw) to remove the curved bars from each bracket. You may also need to reposition the L-brackets about 3.5" further towards the back of the cushion. If they didn't sit against the seat well during the test fit, drill new holes for each L-bracket bolt (as seen in the picture below). There should be 2 metal plates for each bracket on the inside of the bottom plastic for the bolts to go into that you can use as guides. Do not reinstall the L-brackets yet.

Next, remove the release bar from each cushion as well. You will not need these at all.
**the following picture is from tuxfan212**

Next, remove the seat cover. It's held on by a bunch of those annoying "Christmas Tree" fasteners. Needle nose pliers makes short work of them as you can simply pop them out of their holes. If you're fully removing the cover so you can wash it, you'll need to cut the metal hooks that hold the center of the cover on. Now you can trim the plastic (angle grinder or hack saw) and foam (hack saw). I did about an inch along the front of the center seat, and 1" along the driver side wheel well curve. Tuxfan212 did more than me, so his may not be as quite a tight fit as mine.
**the following picture is from tuxfan212**

With the plastic and foam trimmed, you can now put the cover back on. If you fully removed your cover to wash it, you'll need some zip ties to fill in for where the hooks were. Feed the zip-ties through the foam and seat cover to hold it in place.
**the following picture is from tuxfan212**

The cover will be loose where you trimmed, so drill new holes in the plastic for the fasteners so the fabric is tight.

Reattach the L-brackets in their new spots (if needed). Now test fit the driver side cushion. If it sits in well, and the L-brackets are against the seat well panel, you're doing good.

Now it's onto the lower hinge brackets. With the lower cushion in place, put the hinge brackets on the L-brackets. Position them as high up the seat well lip as possible, while still being able to drill holes for both the top and bottom bolts. Mark where you'll be drilling and remove the cushion and hinge brackets. Make sure to be careful as you drill. There's a wrapped set of wires going along the inside of that lip. If you hit it with your bit, undo the tape on the wires and use new electrical tape on any wires that have exposed copper. Once the holes are drilled, use the 1" bolt spacers on each of the bottom bolts to adjust for the angle of the L-brackets. Here's what I found best for the setup: bolt head-washer-hinge bracket-washer-spacer-washer-seat well lip-washer-nut.

driver side:

passenger side:

You should now be able to put in your lower cushions, having them sitting in the lower hinge brackets. If you're still having issues, it may be that some more trimming is needed, or your brackets need to move further up (if possible). Here's what the finished product should look like.


Last edited by BlueXJ; 10-08-2011 at 09:15 PM. Reason: WJ removal
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