Land Yacht Update: What’s the best manual seat for retrofit?

As winter closes in on the Midwest, I figured you all deserved an update on the Land Yacht, our 1994 Toyota Land Cruiser. We last had the Land Cruiser on a camping adventure exploring the Flint Hills in South Central Kansas in the spring.

There are still some items on the truck that need to be addressed.

Still to Do List

  • Still no radio head unit.
  • Passenger side rear door stopped actuating the power lock/unlock
  • Driver’s seat cushion foam worn down to the springs. Starting to hurt my back…
  • U-Joints need to be replaced
  • Windshield washers stopped spraying
  • Dobinson Lift Springs need to be installed
  • Bed liner to seal the holes from the stock roof rack

Items Remedied

The left rear brake had no material left on the pad and was grooving the rotor. Replacement rotors, calipers, and pads were acquired and replaced by a local shop. I wanted to do the work, but just ran out of time and needed a functioning vehicle more than I needed that sense of self-accomplishment having repaired another item on the Land Cruiser. Also installed with the brakes were stainless steel brake hoses that can accommodate up to a 4-inch lift. The Dobinson springs that I have are half that, but due to the stock springs sagging we will probably see about 3.5 inches from the new springs.

1994 Toyota Land Cruiser
If you look closely, you can see where the pad is wedged between the rotor and dust cover.

Another repair was a ground issue with the left rear brake light. The tail light would glow when the lights were turned on, but when the brake pedal was pressed the light would go out completely. I replaced the bulb first. The issue persisted. I cleaned the ground location underneath the truck and behind the spare tire. The same issue still. A friend came and traced the electrical from the tail light to the battery. The same readings every time from the back to the front. Eventually, we replaced the tail light wiring and socket harness. Thirty-two dollars from Toyota and that has the tail light and brake light functioning normally again. I think the culprit was a faulty ground in the old socket. I can’t definitively say that was the cause, but the light is working now.

Love-Hate Relationship

I’ve developed a love-hate relationship with the Land Yacht. I’ve been around it since I was 15-years-old. I don’t want it to go anywhere. The truck has lived up to its reputation of being super reliable. The only time it has let me down was when the stock alternator died at 292,000 miles. It drove through the rear brakes being shot for a month before I was able to get those changed. The grinding was audible.

But it has developed some annoying quirks. The driver’s seat finally reaching a point where it is going to either need to be replaced or update the foam has become a nagging issue. I can feel the seat springs every time I get in the vehicle. It is still my daily driver. There are days I would rather not drive it. The ride is rough with the old suspension springs and the seat isn’t helping anything. 

The rear door not unlocking with the rest of the doors isn’t a terrible issue but has become frustrating now that sometimes we are loading all for kids into the truck.

It’s the usual story. The truck doesn’t cost us a car payment. The gas mileage is double digits, but barely. It does have the right amount of seats in it, but there are zero airbags.

Maybe Santa will bring OEM U-Joints and I can get those installed with the new suspension springs. Maybe. 

What is the most comfortable manual car seat? Passat? WRX? Prelude? I’m open to options.

2019-Fall-Update-Kid-3.0

14 Comments

    1. Volvo was my first thought, too (if you’re going with salvage yard factory parts). I’ve never been uncomfortable sitting in a Volvo.

    2. unfortunately they’re probably all power seats in the USA. might be ok with an older seat if you’re willing to do some wiring but I’d bet more recent V70 seats are all CAN bus’d up.

  1. Scat/Procar make halfway decent manual seats with lumbar adjustment, I believe its the 1100 or 1200 series. But money-no-object, you can’t got wrong with Recaro LX/Specialist seats. It’s only money after all…

  2. My last couple of brake jobs have been farmed out to shops due to time constraints outweighing money constraints. But there are still money constraints.

    My most recent brake job came home yesterday. I took it in last Wednesday. The supplier had fedexed some incorrect parts (right number on the box but wrong contents). For that one, I was glad to have someone else act as shipping clerk.

    1. Look for something like an Isuzu NPR with air suspension driver’s seat. Find another one and flip the controls for the passenger.

  3. I just love the look of the J80, but I wish the inline six / 5-spd combo had been available in the U.S.

    1. My b-i-l had one in Venezuela that I got to drive for a short stint and it was fantastic. He piled his whole family in it and drove it through some rough terrain on the way to a remote beach and that LC never broke a sweat. Truly great vehicle.

  4. Could just get the seat redone at a local upholstery shop, would be easier than stuffing around with brackets.

    Unless you can find a compelling replacement, I’d say keep it and add cargo capacity if necessary. Airbags don’t really matter when offroading.

    1. I’m kind of with Outback in having the seat redone. Installing car seats from a different vehicle often involves cutting out the current seat mounts and putting in the ones from the new seats. Then there’s the question of getting the new seat height and the leg travel right – in short there may well be math AND welding involved. As long as you’re measuring stuff be sure to measure the width of the new seats before you buy them to make sure they fit between the doors and (if any) console.

      For the same or less money you can have your seats refoamed and recovered, while installing inflatable lumbar supports and seat heaters. Bonus: they’ll definitely fit with no cutting or welding.

      Here’s an example (but since I haven’t used them -not- a recommendation) of the kind of things available.

      http://www.rostra.com/comfortseat-automotive-lumbar-support-by-rostra.php

    2. I’m kind of with Outback in having the seat redone. Installing car seats from a different vehicle often involves cutting out the current seat mounts and putting in the ones from the new seats. Then there’s the question of getting the new seat height and the leg travel right – in short there may well be math AND welding involved. As long as you’re measuring stuff be sure to measure the width of the new seats before you buy them to make sure they fit between the doors and (if any) console.

      For the same or less money you can have your seats refoamed and recovered, while installing inflatable lumbar supports and seat heaters. Bonus: they’ll definitely fit with no cutting or welding.

      Here’s an example (but since I haven’t used them -not- a recommendation) of the kind of things available.

      http://www.rostra.com/comfortseat-automotive-lumbar-support-by-rostra.php

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