You might be surprised at what one of our first important vehicle upgrades was after completing a 65,000-kilometer overland journey. Replacing the suspension? Swapping the motor? Incorrect. On the top of the list for our 1990 Toyota pickup before undertaking another long trip were the seats. They looked fantastic, especially considering how much dirt and coffee had soaked into the upholstery. But after two years of hard daily use (plus another 350,000 kilometers before that), they weren’t cutting it for longer trips. The 30-year-old buckets were seriously lacking in the comfort department, and our spinal columns were begging for an upgrade.
There are a plethora of factory seat options that work well with little modification, but as we lacked access to a shop or local junkyard, our best option was to buy a bolt-in pair that would replace the factory seats. Our replacement seats had to be comfortable enough for an extended trip (the whole point) and have a reclining back for adjustability and access to the back seat. As usual, something that didn’t break the bank was key.
We went directly to Corbeau as they are one of the most well-known seat manufacturers in the automotive industry. They also offer an exhaustive list of affordable seat brackets with sliders.
At $598 for a pair, the Baja RS (66402B) seats aren’t inexpensive, but they are far from the most expensive option on the market. Several of the Corbeau options boast adjustable lumbar support and seat heaters, but we went with the basic model in black vinyl/cloth for our basic truck. Corbeau’s description below, along with a quick measurement check, was enough for me to make an order.
The Baja RS Reclining Suspension seat was one of the world’s first reclining suspension seats. For years, suspension seats only came as fixed back seats as their main use was in dune buggies and other extreme off-road vehicles. In 2008, we realized that suspension seats were just too comfortable not to be used in a daily driver. The first thing that came to mind was to make a reclining version of our suspension seat that would be easy to get in and out of. This was really the only way to make a suspension seat practical enough to be used in any daily driver. It was this thought process that led us to the Baja RS reclining suspension seat. The great thing about this seat is it still provides the support you expect from a suspension seat when driving off road, but at the same time provides comfort and practicality when driving around the streets. The Baja RS is a direct bolt-in for most Jeep CJ5s and all CJ7s and YJs. It will fit in almost any other vehicle with Corbeau custom brackets. The Baja RS Seat is available in Vinyl and Vinyl/Cloth materials. As a rule of thumb, the Baja RS will fit up to a 42-inch waist. – Corbeau
Armed with a trusty 14-millimeter socket and 3/8-inch drive ratchet, I pulled the old seats out of the truck cab, and the Corbeaus found their new home in no time.
Side bolsters make getting in and out of the seats more complicated than the stock seats, but the added difficulty is well worth it once you find yourself tucked in. Due to the large side bolsters, the seats don’t fold forward as far as the stock ones did, so this means there is a little less room to access the back seat. This is not a big deal for us since we rarely have passengers in the “back seat.”
Aside from those small drawbacks, the seats absolutely transformed the way the entire truck feels. Our backsides were crying for a chiropractor with the oldies, whereas the Corbeaus comfortably support us for long, full driving days. For the first time in a while, I find myself looking forward to hopping in the truck for a nice long drive through a few countries.