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Swapping driver's seat, sedan to OBW


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11 replies to this topic

#1 Rooster2

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 06:41 PM

I have a 98 Leggie OBW with a bad leather driver's seat. I just bought a 99 Leggie (prolly sedan) driver's leather seat from a yard. I thought this would be an easy swap. The new seat is a perfect match to the old seat, but I have a bolt up problem. The metal frame bolt up holes on the bottom of the 99 seat are close, but not the same configuration as the metal frame bolt up holes on the 98 seat. The frame holes won't line up with the pan holes to permit a bolt to tighten down the seat frame. Apparently the floor pans are slightly different between the sedan and the Outback.

So, it now looks like I will need to swap metal frame bottoms from the old seat to the new seat. Is there anyone reading this, that has done this conversion? I need advise on the easiest way to do this. I saw where there are some large nuts on bolts on the bottom of the seat frames. They look easy to remove, but not sure what to do. Need help please!!

#2 johnceggleston

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 07:50 PM

Apparently the floor pans are slightly different between the sedan and the Outback


having never swapped seats in a 99 or 98 i can't say for 100%, but i do not believe this is accurate. how close are the bolt holes?

i think seats interchange 90 - 04.

#3 Rooster2

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 10:42 PM

having never swapped seats in a 99 or 98 i can't say for 100%, but i do not believe this is accurate. how close are the bolt holes?

i think seats interchange 90 - 04.


I installed the bolt hole on the right front, then tried lining up the left front. The holes are off a good 3/4 inch. Also, the shape of the metal hardware fastner is shorter and bent more towards the right, when compared to the unit on the 98 seat. I tried to bend it to the left, but that didn't work. The bracket is tough steel, and not very bendable. I don't think the bracket was bent, when the seat was removed from the donor car.

I tried bolting on the right rear, but have a similar problem. The angle of the bracket is not bent to line up with the body pan hole. The left rear bracket with hole doesn't come close to lining up with threaded hole in floor pan, when the right side is ready to be bolted down.

So, I just don't see how the 99 seat from a sedan, can bolt up to the floor pan of a 98 Leggie OBW. There must be something different with the floor pan seat holes.

The good news is the seats themselves, are exactly the same. Only difference I can see, is the 98 has the word "Outback" embossed on the seat back leather. The 99 Leggie sedan seat does not have the word "Outback" embossed on the seat back.

I just had the thought, that since I never saw the donor car, I wonder if it may have come from an Impreza or Forester, though the yard said it was from a Leggie. Still, I find that just an outside chance, as I have never seen a leather heated seat in an Imprez or Forester that is exactly the same as an Outback heated leather seat.

Edited by Rooster2, 18 March 2012 - 10:44 PM.
added more info


#4 Fairtax4me

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 11:51 PM

Are these manual adjusting seats or power? Either way, I think the track should unbolt from the lower frames fairly easy. Just swap the tracks if they don't line up right.

I've swapped quite a few seats around in my two Legacys. Have a set of front seats from a 91 in my 96 and only had to swap the seat belt hook to make them work. Otherwise they fit just fine. They did come from a sedan though. I've also swapped a set of 97 or 98 outback leather seats into my 95 wagon and there was no difference that I could tell.

The track slides could be out of alignment. They will move independently of each other if the handle gets pulled. You need to get them back to perfectly even before all of the bolt holes will line up. I do this by getting them close, then putting the seat in the car and lining up the front hole on the rearmost of the track, then pull the handle and slide it all the way back until it drags the other side back into place.

#5 Rooster2

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 06:22 AM

Are these manual adjusting seats or power? Either way, I think the track should unbolt from the lower frames fairly easy. Just swap the tracks if they don't line up right.

I've swapped quite a few seats around in my two Legacys. Have a set of front seats from a 91 in my 96 and only had to swap the seat belt hook to make them work. Otherwise they fit just fine. They did come from a sedan though. I've also swapped a set of 97 or 98 outback leather seats into my 95 wagon and there was no difference that I could tell.

The track slides could be out of alignment. They will move independently of each other if the handle gets pulled. You need to get them back to perfectly even before all of the bolt holes will line up. I do this by getting them close, then putting the seat in the car and lining up the front hole on the rearmost of the track, then pull the handle and slide it all the way back until it drags the other side back into place.


Both seats are manual. I will follow your advise and check on track slide alignment, but am still thinking that I will need to swap out the tracks, as the mounting tabs with seat bolt holes are not the same size, shape, and bend angle for each seat.

Edited by Rooster2, 19 March 2012 - 06:32 AM.
added more info


#6 mattocs

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 07:10 AM

The drivers seat in my 1996 Outback is from a 1999 Legacy Sedan. Everything bolted up. I had to use my original seatbelt buckle thing that attatches to the seat.

#7 Rooster2

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 09:07 AM

Went to my bank to do some biz, and had a conversation with the bank guard. In the course of conversation, I told him of my seat swap problem. I was surprised that he had a solution. Simply swap out the seat cushion part of the seat, which is all that is really needed. He told me how to do it, seems simple enough to R & R the seat cushions. I am going to try doing this next.

The bank guard has had several Subies, so he knows a thing or two about these cars, and has swapped out interiors. You just never know where you are going to find someone with a problem solution.

#8 Durania

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 09:22 AM

That is a new one to me. I would have figured they would have been a direct swap in.

I have an 03 WRX seat in my 95 and it was a straight job aside from the buckle.

#9 Fairtax4me

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 01:04 PM

No no, swapping cushions on these is much much more work.
The tracks are literally 4 bolts. Slide the tracks to each end to get access to the bolts.
If you have the height adjustment, move it all the way to the top, the plastic side panel has one screw with a plastic cover on it. Remove that and the side panel will move enough to get access to the screw on that side which holds the seat track to the height mechanism. Remove the screws on the back, slide the tracks to the rear and remove the two bolts from the front. The wire for the seatbelt light has a zip tie the needs to be cut.

#10 bheinen74

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 01:20 PM

mounts should be the same, your tracks probably got tweeked to one side or another, pry them to line up.

Also, those who say unbolt tracks and swap, they are not bolted together, they are riveted. And if you have power vs non power, the track is part of the height and built in.

too many things wrong in here.

IT IS A DIRECT SWAP, you have not tweekd your rails right.

Durania is right, direct swap

Edited by bheinen74, 19 March 2012 - 01:24 PM.


#11 Rooster2

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 02:10 PM

mounts should be the same, your tracks probably got tweeked to one side or another, pry them to line up.

Also, those who say unbolt tracks and swap, they are not bolted together, they are riveted. And if you have power vs non power, the track is part of the height and built in.

too many things wrong in here.

IT IS A DIRECT SWAP, you have not tweekd your rails right.

Durania is right, direct swap


I layed out both seats on the floor, and set them side by side for close visual inspection. The new seat frame rails and mount tab holes from the 99 look to be bent. I am thinking the seat came from a car that was in a wreck, and bent the mounts. I can't see how any amount of tweaking will fix the rails. A buddy is coming over in a couple of hours. He says from experience that he knows how to swap the lower seat cushion from the 99 seat to the 98 seat. Hope he is right. The rest of the 98 seat is still good. I am dealing with a heated seat, so I hope swapping seat cushions doesn't mess up the resistance heating coils. My wife really likes the heated seat feature.

I did look to swap the guide rails, but see that they are mostly assembled with very strong rivits, as someone pointed out. Drilling them out would be a bear. Don't think I want to try that just yet.

#12 Rooster2

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 03:42 AM

I layed out both seats on the floor, and set them side by side for close visual inspection. The new seat frame rails and mount tab holes from the 99 look to be bent. I am thinking the seat came from a car that was in a wreck, and bent the mounts. I can't see how any amount of tweaking will fix the rails. A buddy is coming over in a couple of hours. He says from experience that he knows how to swap the lower seat cushion from the 99 seat to the 98 seat. Hope he is right. The rest of the 98 seat is still good. I am dealing with a heated seat, so I hope swapping seat cushions doesn't mess up the resistance heating coils. My wife really likes the heated seat feature.

I did look to swap the guide rails, but see that they are mostly assembled with very strong rivits, as someone pointed out. Drilling them out would be a bear. Don't think I want to try that just yet.


FINISHED THE SWAP.................
A buddy experienced in swapping seat interiors, swapped out the seat bottoms. Taking the old seat apart, it became obvious that the 99 seat had come from a car involved in a serious accident, perhaps side impact hit. We found broken cubes of window glass wedged in a seat crease, and dried blood on the under side of the leather seat cushion. The frame rails and mounting tabs were bent pretty bad as well. The seat looked good, but with bent metal, no wonder the seat would not mount. So, yea, the seats are interchangeable, but just not with bent ones. Thanks for all the good advise. I appreciate it!!




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