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In order to to enjoy family a la carte dining while away, we need to be able to swivel the passenger seat around to face rearwards, so that we can all sit round the table. This entails the fitting of a swivel seat base, there are a few of these on the market, of varying designs, and we chose the one from Custom Shop Designs.

https://www.customshopdesigns.com/vw-t5-swivel-seat-bases

This one has quick release fixings and has been M1 tested for safety, I don’t imagine the testing is as rigorous as for a new vehicle, but it gives some peace of mind about carrying passengers.

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The base appears to be well made and is quiteheavy, in order to fit it we need to first remove the passenger seat, however VW like to use the space under here to connect up parts of the loom and add fuse boxes. Some people like to hide these under the new swivel base, however we do not want to be removing the seat if we have to change a blown fuse, so we will extend the wiring for these to under the drivers seat.

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The seat is held in with bolts, these are easily removed, the wiring connectors arena two plastic chassis bolted to the seat from, unbolt these and the seat can be lifted away to reveal the wiring.

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Luckily on the T5 there are lots of places to hide the wires, and after untangling and tidying, we laid them in a trough under the rubber mat, we then set about extend the wires for the fuses. Luckily there were two seasoned professionals on hand to do the soldering.

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The wires were soldered together and then covered in two layers of heat shrink tubing just to be sure and a temporary fuse box has been located under the drivers seat, eventually these fuses will be incorporated into the new fuse box with all the other electrics that we will be adding.

The standard bolts for the seat base are too long for the swivel base, so need to be cut down, I did this with an slitting disc on a 4.5″ grinder, the instructions say to leave about 14mm of thread.

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I spun an M10 nut on to the desired depth to use as a guide, then cut off the excess, I then spun the nut all the way down, filed a small changer on the end of the thread, and then spun the nut off, this helps to push any burrs upwards off the end of the stud, so there is less chance of the nut cross threading.

Once all eight had been shortened, we refitted them, and rolled the rubber mat back over, the swivel base can then be carefully lifted on, trying not to bash the ends off the threads.

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Replace all the nuts, tighten it down to the specified torque (two grunts), straighten it up and lower the seat back on. The seat is then bolted back on with the supplied nuts and washers, I may change these to some flange nuts as per the original as I think they give a better spread of pressure.

Once back in place and a quick glance at the instructions, we managed to swing the seat around, it took a bit of doing the first time, but we have got the hang of it now. The handbrake has to be off for this, so you will need to make sure  that it is in gear or the wheels chocked securely.

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There we have it, deluxe dining for four.

There will be no update next week, as we are away on holiday, but while we are away the van is going in for some major surgery, the elevating roof is being fitted.

Once the roof is fitted access to the inside of the roof will be very limited so any wiring that needs to be down, has to happen now, so after lots of mind changing, we opted for three downlighters down either side, so the wiring was run for these, I terminated the wires with some mate’n’lock connectors so that I could add the other half of the connector to the light.

The wires were run in some small diameter PVC tube to protect them against chafing as they ran around the body, we found a suitable earth at the top of  the ‘B’ pillar, and ran the live down near the tailgate were one of the switches will be.

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Next time its ‘Pop Top’