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Fitting Recaros, a DIY guide!

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polov8
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Fitting Recaros, a DIY guide!

Post by polov8 » Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:59 am

A month of the stock seats is all I could stand, I cannot believe how truly awful they are! No lateral support, bouncy as a space hopper, worn out, and does anybody else seem to pin the seat belt buckle between the side of the seat and the door card when they close the door?

Enough is enough, I took the seat off the runners, and measured up the bolt spacing. Then I measured the Recaros I have had stashed waiting for the right car.

I wanted to get rid of the steering wheel offset at the same time (Go sit in your car, RHD cars at least have a 1" steering wheel offset to the left, very annoying!) and worked out what size metal to buy. I looked at the design of the stock brackets, and figured I could make them a little lower, so went with aluminium in 10mm x 20mm for the rail nearest the transmission tunnel, and 10mm x 60mm for the outer rail.

2 lengths at 900mm were purchased from these guys on ebay:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/251300688050? ... 1497.l2649
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/390622135471? ... 1497.l2649

Here's the assorted dimensions I came up with. Interesting to note that the Recaro dimensions are weird because they're imperial!

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And the alloy cut to length

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Next the hole dimensions were carefully transferred to the alloy and drilled 6.5mm with the exception of the outer plate-to-runner holes which were drilled and tapped M6 as this will look neater when bolted together.

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The front hole on the inner bracket was countersunk, and a countersunk bolt used, as the head of the bolt would damage the seat material otherwise.



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Then I bolted the brackets tot he seat, remembering to have the countersunk bolt in place first!

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Next issue before final fitment is the seat belt socket. This is an integral part of the seat pivot on the stock seats, which is a weird design. I looked at the seat runner and figured if a regular solid bracket style one could be sourced, it could bolt to that alone without issue. It should be noted that the inner runner is much beefier and secured to the car with much larger fixings in order to accommodate the larger potential loadings of the seat belt forces.

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The buckle on the E21 is one not regularly used on 80's cars, so I figured I'd have a look at the ones on older 70's era BMW's. I came up trumps when I found these from the rear of an E24 6 series on ebay. The socket is identical, but they come on on a solid bracket that can be adapted to suit.

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I cut off the large rectangular section, rounded off the end, and drilled a 1/2" (12.5mm) hole in them, before bending them by hand in the vice to match the angle of the bracket on the runners

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And then it was time to bolt them in! Everything lined up, and when I paint the brackets, you won't know they weren't supposed to be there!

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The seats were a bargain £100 from my local breakers a couple of years ago, and originally featured electric height adjustable bases, to go with the electric seat back recline. I modified the outer back leg of the bases to make them mk2 golf compatible, and sold them on ebay for £100! Free seats!!!!! :banana

They're enormously comfy, extremely supportive, and nappa leather, so very soft. I'm going to re-colour them blue to match the rest of the interior, and I'll have the back seat trimmed to match, when I've got the money, and nothing else more important to spend it on (probably never then!). I'll wire them up to the cigarette lighter socket today. Top switch is the recline, and the lower one is height, but as that's now gone, I might use it for power windows when i fit them. Which is why I put the passenger seat on the drivers side, and vice versa, meaning I can reach both switches with ease, and don't have to fit switches anywhere else

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The only questionable part of the conversion, is that the inner bolster is tight on the console when they're fully forward, but as I'm 6'3" that's no issue, but short arses might need to retain the stock seat offset to avoid this.

The weird thing is, the car now handles better, steers better, and rides better, because you're not hanging on to the wheel in the corners, and the seat absorbs the bumps better than the current suspension! :driving

I know I got lucky with the seats, but the total price for all the parts used in this conversion was under £40 which is alot cheaper than you can buy brackets for.
Last edited by polov8 on Thu May 08, 2014 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.


Andy

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nas80
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Re: Fitting Recaros, a DIY guide!

Post by nas80 » Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:40 pm

Nice work! I'm fairly sure that all recaro have the same bolt spacing you know.
[img]http://s13.photobucket.com/albums/a285/nasbucket/forumsig.jpg[/img]

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polov8
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Re: Fitting Recaros, a DIY guide!

Post by polov8 » Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:05 pm

There's a few that are stock fitment in things like Rover 800, and mk3 golf that have the subframe integrated into the seat base, but all those with a separate subframe that I've come across have that same 6 bolt fixing.
Andy

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Re: Fitting Recaros, a DIY guide!

Post by mcjjordan » Fri May 16, 2014 12:17 am

did mine this evening.
few issues
1. seat belt buckle seems a rather odd location, its almost too far forward, i know its stock location but it doesnt feel like it holds you . and its cramped down low against the tunnel , but if it were higher it would be a worse location.
2. the system for moving the seat back/forward- the lever which moves that pulls the wire hits the bottom of the seat thus restricting its movement , seems the seats may be a little too low ? also seems when sitting in seat the base cushion is resting on that connecting rod which is now bent.

and my bolsters rest against the centre console and the door pocket so no movement there.

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Re: Fitting Recaros, a DIY guide!

Post by mcjjordan » Mon May 26, 2014 9:57 pm

mcjjordan wrote:did mine this evening.
few issues
1. seat belt buckle seems a rather odd location, its almost too far forward, i know its stock location but it doesnt feel like it holds you . and its cramped down low against the tunnel , but if it were higher it would be a worse location.
2. the system for moving the seat back/forward- the lever which moves that pulls the wire hits the bottom of the seat thus restricting its movement , seems the seats may be a little too low ? also seems when sitting in seat the base cushion is resting on that connecting rod which is now bent.

and my bolsters rest against the centre console and the door pocket so no movement there.

do people rely on the one side holding seat in location?
as if i remove the connecting rod and remove the part fouling the inner rail i can then remove the latch on the outer rail,but would mean the seat is only being secured by the inner rail.

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Re: Fitting Recaros, a DIY guide!

Post by mcjjordan » Fri Dec 04, 2015 9:02 am

Also i found them too close to centre console to allow full movement,
Swapping sides over allowed full mivement and easier access to buckle but i did have to remove door pocket.
I did end up removing the bar underneath so now it only latches on one side but works fine.
And yes seems most recaros shame same pattern they do not shame same size bolts as i changed to capri recaros and had to open up mountings to m8 from m6 i used for opel monza .


Hope this helps someone

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Jeroen
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Re: Fitting Recaros, a DIY guide!

Post by Jeroen » Sun Dec 06, 2015 9:14 pm

:thumbsup
Regards/groeten, Jeroen

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Re: Fitting Recaros, a DIY guide!

Post by splitty456 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:47 pm

Just to add to this great thread, i've been looking at making adapters for my recaros and noticed a couple of things that might help others.

First off, the stock E21 recaro adapters align the recaro bolt pattern with the front holes of the E21 rails, whereas polov aligned his with the rear holes. This no doubt helps with leg room, but causes the seat belt buckle to be too far forward in relation to the seat, as noted by mcjjordan.

If you want adapters with the same fore/aft offset as the stock recaro e21 adapters, your measurements would be like the drawing below.
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Secondly, as mentioned previously, some OEM recaros don't have the standard 6 bolt fixing but instead have the same fixing as the car the were destined for, or in some cases integrated seat rails. If you've got a set like that, chances are the actual seat base has the holes for the standard 6 bolt pattern, so you may be able to remove whatever rails or mountings you have and convert the seat back to standard recaro fitment. I've just done this with a pair of Ford MK5 Escort RS2000 recaros, see pics below.

Ford fitment recaro base (already hacked up by a previous owner):
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The adapter strips i removed:
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The recaro base with the 6 mounting holes outlined in red. These are 11mm holes, so already the correct size for M8 rivnuts.
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Hope this helps someone in future!

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Re: Fitting Recaros, a DIY guide!

Post by Jeroen » Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:05 am

imho that makes the story complete, thanks for that!!!!! :thumbsup
Regards/groeten, Jeroen

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