Did a swap today.

My 2001 4Runner has a worn out front seat. The leather is still in good shape, but the foam is gone, no support, hurts my back after a while. I read that people were swapping seats from the F30 BMWs, so my search began.

Spent time on LKQ and Car-part.com looking for a manual seat that would work. After a week or so I was rewarded with a nice manual black leather seat about 50mi away in a salvage yard. After some chatting with the guy at the yard, I made my way down.

The donor.

This is a 2014 320i. Totalled, but the interior is still in great shape, it had about 30k miles on it. Price for one seat was $200, but I did some dealing with the guy and got both front seats for $250. I had only planned on swapping the driver’s side since the other is barely worn, but at that price I had to pick up both.

Some wierdo with BMW seats in the back of a Toyota.

Got them home and did some comparing. The BMW seats have a flat rail on the bottom that makes them easy to adapt to anything. The Toyota has seat mounts riveted onto the bottom of the rails which are also flat. Swapping became a simple matter of drilling out the rivets and grinding a smal spot weld on each bracket and using some class 8 bolts to mount them on the BMW bottoms with the appropriate spacing. The seat belt buckle was a fairly easy task as well, had to find a steel bushing at Ace hardware that made up the difference is hole diameter between the BMW and Toyota buckles.

The initial product for test fitting.

You can see above what I ended up with. This is just for test fitting, if everything works well, I’ll drop a couple of spot welds on the brackets to hold them in place in addition to the bolts. I didn’t have to drill any holes or modify anything on the mounts or the BMW frame. It all matches up like they were meant to be.

Final product

This picture is of the driver side mounted. It all fits in nicely, however, it’s not for me. I’m tall at 6'1", and the 4Runner doesn’t have much head room as it is, and these sit about 2-3" higher. My head is essentially hitting the roof at their lowest setting, and at the highest I can drive with my head out the sunroof. It’s a shame, they are comfortable, and I like the granularity of the recline better than the stock seats that have a fairly large gap between each recline setting.

So tomorrow it’ll be back to stock. It was a fun project though, I always enjoy solving problems like this. I don’t know what I’ll do with the seats now, maybe put them on CL, maybe mount them on bases to have as a couple of cool seats for my man room. 

Share This Story

Get our newsletter