You might be surprised at what one of the first important vehicle upgrades was after completing a 65,000 kilometre overland journey. Replacing the suspension? Swapping the motor? Incorrect. The first items that needed replacing in our 1990 Toyota pickup before undertaking another long trip were the seats. They looked fantastic considering how much dirt and coffee had been soaked into the upholstery. Based on the photo below you’re probably thinking, “Those seats look mint, why change them?” but after two years of hard daily use (plus another 350,000km before that) they just 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 lacking access to a shop or a local junkyard to peruse our 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.
At $598 for a pair, the Corbeau Baja RS (66402B Black Vinyl/Cloth) 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 Corbeau 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. – Corbeau
Armed with a trusty 14mm socket and 3/8” drive rachet, I pulled the old seats out of the truck cab and the Corbeau Baja RS seats found their new home in no time.
Side bolsters make getting in and out of the seats more difficult than the stock seats, but the added difficulty is well worth it once you find yourself tucked into the seat. Due to large side bolsters the seats don’t fold forward as far as the stock ones did so this means that there is a little less room to access the back seat. 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 would have been 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.