TJ Seat Risers

I get a fair amount of e-mail every week.  One of them this past week came from RonC.  He sent a short e-mail to tell me about a set of seat risers he had just received from Buchanan Precision Machine.  Seat risers?  Why do I need seat risers?  I got the web address from RonC and surfed over to Randy Buchanan’s web site to check out these seat risers.  Before it was all over, I had exchanged several e-mails with Randy and also spent about 30 minutes on the phone with him.  It became very obvious during our phone call that Randy likes 4 wheelin’. 

Have you ever spent the day wheelin’ and when you were finished, you noticed you had a stiff neck?  It happens to me way too often and after thinking about it, I know why.  I have a tendency to lean forward in the seat a bit and tilt my head up a little in order to better see past the end of the hood (or maybe I should say better see over the dash bar and the end of the hood).  As Jeepers go, I’m on the short end of the scale, but I found out from Randy that my problem is not all that uncommon.  The solution is simple, says Randy… risers……and it sounded like a pretty good idea.  The seat risers arrived two days later (USPS priority mail).  When Saturday rolled around, I rolled the TJ out of the garage and grabbed a couple of tools to do the installation. 

The kit comes packaged with everything you need (except the Jeep and tools).  The risers are made from 6061 machined aluminum blocks and black anodized to match the factory seat frame.  Replacement mounting hardware, Grade 8 and Metric grade 10.9 bolts and washers, are supplied in the kit.  Install instructions are supplied as well. 

For once, I remembered to take a BEFORE picture when I started the mod.  Most of the time I finish a project and then remember that I should have snapped a couple of pics at the start.  Got it this time! 

Four bolts hold the seat to the body.  Three of them have a 13mm head on them and a ratchet works well to remove them.

The remaining seat bolt is a Torx-50 bolt.  If you don’t have a set of Torx bits, you’ll need them for this project….and for that matter, you’ll need them for a other mods and maintenance work on your Jeep.  The TJ has Torx fasteners sprinkled all over the vehicle.  Buy a good set now and you’ll get plenty of use out of them. 

With the 4th bolt removed, I moved the seat a bit and was rewarded for my efforts….a penny and a 25 cent car wash token!  Oh yeah, I was on a role now. 

When I spoke with Randy on the phone, he asked me how tall I was.  When he found out I was 5’4″, he told me the 2″ riser was the right size for me.  The risers are available in 1″, 1.5″, and 2″ sizes.  One thing I was not aware of was that the TJs built in the past few years have a lower sitting seat than does my ’98.  Randy said that he has sold a lot of risers to guys that are 5’10” and taller because of this.   Back to the install…..

Time to put a set of blocks under the driver’s seat.  Make sure you get three “small hole” blocks and one with the larger hole.  Grab four bolts to match the holes in the blocks. 

Slip a block under the corner of the seat and put the bolt through the seat frame, block, and thread it into the floor.  The small bolts are torqued to 30 ft. lbs. and the large bolt is secured with 60 ft. lbs. of grunt on the torque wrench.  I got all four bolts started in their holes and then torqued them down. 

A shot of the seat with all four blocks installed.  One nice side benefit from this mod is that you gain some additional clearance under the seat.  If there wasn’t enough space under there to pack that tow strap before, there just might be now.

A picture taken from the passenger side prior to that seat being raised.  You can see the driver’s side sitting higher.

How does it ride?  Pretty darn good I would say.  I’ve not had it on the trail yet but I am looking forward to NOT having a neck ache when I finish the next trail run.  It takes a little bit to get use to, sitting higher in the vehicle I mean, but the view over the end of the hood (yes, I can easily see 3/4 of the hood) is outstanding.  I told my wife about the seat change (she has not been in the TJ yet) and she said she is looking forward to checking it out.  The ride around town is great.  Now I can park my front bumper right at the trunk of that little ricer Honda sitting at the stop light. 

So if you find yourself wishing you could see more of the trail in front of your TJ…..or you keep running into stuff because you didn’t see it……or you finish the trail run with a sore neck (like I did), give Buchanan Precision Machine a shout and put some seat risers under your butt.  I think you will be very satisfied with them. 


Update  3/26/2006:

I’ve had a chance to run several trails with the seat risers installed.  Two words describe it….“Love It!”  They were everything that Randy promised.  I can see the hood and what lays beyond very nicely.  No having to lean forward, tilt my head up a little, etc…..they just plain work.

As I am currently getting ready for our week long run at Moab, I had Donna hop into the Jeep the other day.  I didn’t want her finding out on the way to Moab that the seat was too high.  It was just fine.  She immediately commented that she could see out the windshield much better than before.  She like the position of her legs and knees.  Given that she has a little back problem every now and again, I believe she will do better in Moab than she would do with the seat still in the stock position.

A side benefit from raising the seat a bit is the increased clearance under the seat.  I think it is safe to say that we are all painfully aware of the precious space that exists within a TJ.  I opted to re-mount my radio gear under both front seats.  Here is my ICOM-706 radio bolted to the floor.  I guess it should go without saying that if you are prone to submarining your TJ every now and then, bolting your electronic equipment to the floor may not be the best option.  However, since I’ve yet to submerge mine here in Arizona, I feel pretty confident about doing it. 

Update  5/20/2006:

Donna and I returned from Moab last week.  Twice on the trail, she mentioned the seat risers (this means it really did make an impact on her….Jeep mods may get a comment, but not two of them).  The 10 hour drive to Moab was equally good….no issues at all in regards to the seat height, leg position.

Today, I ran Die Hard with some friends (two driving rock buggies)….a very difficult trail to say the least.  Again, happy to report no stiff neck from trying to see over the hood.  Given the plethora of rocks, ledges, and water falls, my neck and back would have known it had the risers not been installed.  Thanks Randy….simply put, THEY WORK!