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I bought the Lightweight in April 2007 and had very little time to get it ready as I needed to use it May day week‑end and I wanted to carry my sons in relatively safe forward facing seats with seat belts. I used what was to hand and put these two big leather seats (from the front of a Ford Scorpio) in the back. They were too wide to fit down between the wheel boxes, they took up all the space in the back and left the rear passengers’ heads too high for driving with the canvas off.
Once the festival season was over I knew I had to do the job properly, this time I stuck to Land Rover parts. I used seats from the second row of forward facing seats in a 110 CSW, however the method I used should work for parts from other donor models and could be applied to any Series or Defender Land Rover, not just the Lightweight. The plan was to fit the seats lower in the vehicle and to be able to fold them when not in use, restoring most of the cargo space and giving me back a utility vehicle rather than just a four‑seater. I also wanted it to be possible to fold the seats individually so a rear passenger could climb in and out over the tailgate rather than just through the front and over the cubby box.
One of the two inner seat brackets from the 110 in its original position. I used these as the outer brackets in the Lightweight. The photo shows how the bracket is bent at a right angle in order to bolt to the top of the 110 loadbed/seat‑box. This needs to be flattened to sit on the floor of the Lightweight.
Flattening the bracket — I haven't got a fancy hydraulic press in my back yard, but the traditional big hammer and improvised anvil method worked perfectly.
I then bent one of the side tabs by hammering it over the heel of a vice.
The reshaped bracket in place against the Lightweight wheel box. It looks like it was meant to be there!
I re‑used the 4 nuts and bolts from the 110 to fix the bracket in place. I opened up the holes in the brackets and the seat legs with a 10.5mm bit and used a 10mm diameter bolt through from the outside of the wheel box as a hinge pin. The seat leg has to be held away from the bracket with a spacer or the seat won’t hinge all the way down (the spacers came from old seat belt fixings). In the 2nd image you can see where I added a spacer/sleeve made from some steel tube (10mm i.d. 12mm o.d.) to fill the space the other side of the seat leg and give additional lateral location to the seat, and re‑fitted my floor covering (industrial belting).
The outer seat bracket for the right hand side of the Lightweight was modified and installed as a mirror image of the left hand one.
I used the two outer brackets from the 110 to make this centre bracket, plus a long bolt and more spacers. The extra holes you can see in the floor are where I got it wrong first time — I make these mistakes so you don't have to! Bolting the brackets in place was a two person job, me lying on my back underneath tightening the nuts with a socket while my assistant (12 year old William) sat inside holding a ring spanner on the bolt heads. The second image shows a length of steel tube as a spacer/sleeve between the legs of the two seat and the flooring back in place.
I considered a variety of different ways to support the back of the seats. The first two methods described below use the outer two of the three second row seats from a 110. The outer rear corner of each seat can be supported from the wheel boxes but the issue was providing support for the inner corners ie between the two seats. All the methods have their limitations, such as an obstructed loadspace or the inability to tip one seat up while the other is in use. I'll illustrate three methods here and leave you to choose one that suits your needs.
I initially intended to just use parts from the 110 CSW that I was breaking but I managed to get a second centre seat, the one with built in legs, from eBay for £15. So the third method, which is the one I chose for my own Lightweight, uses two second row centre seats.
Just bolt a length of angle iron (I bought this piece from B&Q) accross the tops of the wheel boxes. Use two bolts each side with big washers or a spreader plate under the alloy wheel box top. Make sure you do use iron, the flimsy steel angle used on bed frames will flex under the weight of your passengers. Bolt the seats to the iron through the holes in the steel seat frame at each rear corner, the seats will not tip up but the seat backs can fold flat, to free up some space. This would be a good method if you plan to use aftermarket high back seats as they are too tall to tip up fully.
You could just let the back of the seats rest on the angle iron support, or instead of bolting them down you could use releaseable fasteners like bonnet pins, cotters or sliding bolts. When unfastened the seats could be flipped forward individually or together, leaving the loadspace clear apart from the angle iron support running across it.
Cut a length of angle iron just long enough to fit between the wheel boxes, bolt both the seats to the iron through the holes in the steel seat frame at each rear corner. Use some short pieces of angle bolted through the sides of the wheel boxes as supports for the ends of the long angle iron to sit on. Fasten your new double seat to these supports with a releaseable fastener. The seats can not be folded up individually but they can be tipped up as a pair like a bench seat leaving an unobstructed loadspace. The seat backs can also be folded flat individually. This method allows you to reduce the overall height and rake the seats slightly by having the supports lower than the tops of the wheel boxes.
The slam bolts that hold down the outer seats on a 110 could possibly be re‑used to hold the seats down in the Lightweight.
This method uses two 110 second row centre seat, which have built in legs. Unfortunately the legs are not quite long enough so the seats would lean back too far, for now I’ve screwed down a block of wood for them to rest on to increase the height. These seats each have two ‘ears’ which support the outer seats in a 110, I cut them off with an angle grinder.
In order to clear the Lightweight wheel box I cut off the outer ‘ears’ on the seats.
Any way you want to fold it. Versatility‑R‑Us
Not sorted out inertia reel seatbelts for the new rear seats yet but I’ve put lap only belts in for now. The inner anchorages bolt through the floor with spreader plates underneath, these and the ‘buckle’ belts clipped to them are from the 2nd row of seats in a 110 CSW. I clipped the 110 ‘tongue’ belts to the cargo tie‑downs on top of the wheel boxes, these have substantial steel spreader plates behind them so are very solid and the MOT tester has accepted them.
Good luck, I hope this has helped.
Drop me an eMail with any questions or comments about this page. Phil