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More legroom in Series.

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Trying to pick some brains here and see if someone comes up with a good idea.

I already have defender seats, slightly more inboard and as far back as possible. My steering column (defender with aftermarket removable steering wheel) and steering wheel position is perfect as it is now. The steering wheel sits slightly higher than standard and close by. Plenty of room between seat and steering wheel.

The problem is, I'm 6'7" more or less and my legs are in an uncomfortable position, basically my knees are pointing way up. This way my upper legs gets no support whatsoever from the seat. So you end up sitting purely on your bum, which gets soar after a while. Also my back hurts after an hours drive. I have to admit, these seats have seen better days.

As I would love some more comfy seats I'm thinking of getting hold of some P38 manual seats. Those should be a lot better. I know that, to be able to look out the windscreen instead of looking at the top rail, and not to hit my head on the roof, I need to make a new floor with a lower seatbase. I have no problems with that.

There's still a hige problem regarding legroom. My upperlegs will still get no support whatsoever. I don't, and can't, move the seats back further for a couple of reasons. 1) The distance between seat and steering wheel is near ideal as it is now so I would like to keep it that way. 2) when it's a truck cab there's just no room to mount them further back. 3) moving the seats back furhter means you can't even properly look out the side window.

Soooooooo, I was thinking, what about butchering the bulkhead to create more legroom. Extending the footwells forwards, pushing the pedals forward by 4" more or less..

So yesterday I had a look under the bonnet to see what would be in the way. I would have to redo my exhaust (again.... 4th fr****ng time), redo brakelines and such but that's easy. It looks like there's plenty of clearance between tire (35's) and an extended footwell.

There's just one major issue which I'm having a problem with. That's the steering column. I'm using a defender steering column, coupled to a p38 intermediate shaft going to a P38 steering box.

If I extend the footwells the angle of the steering column changes, it gets flatter, which I'm not to keen about. If I fabricate the footwells in such a way that the steering column goes through the footwell, on the inside so to speak, I can keep it at it's current angle. There's just another bigger issue which is the U-joint at the bottom of the steering column... That one would end up inside the footwell, instead of in the engine compartment. That sucks big time, how would you seal that up.....
Shortening the intermediate shaft and moving the steering column further forward could perhaps solve that issue but that moves my steering wheel forwards.
Perhaps it's an option to lengthen the steering shaft itself and the steering column, to move the U-joint further forward, and shorten the intermediate shaft to get it to fit.
I don't really know of many other options.... does anyone happen to know THE solution:) ?

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Perhaps a disco column may help have a look at de-ranged's camper build thread. The disco column is normally inside so you could mount it in the front face of the foot well then it would pass up to where you need it also it's collapsible so with a little work it can be adjusted to suit the required length.


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The newer seats are much comfier, I was in a new puma the other day and it was actually very comfy as a front seat passenger.

Perhaps you could try recovering your existing seats and then mounting them on rails that lift the fronts? You will always sell good defender seats and it would save hacking your motor up straight away?


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There is a bit more to this than meets the eye.... there is a relationship between the seat, steering wheel and pedals and the angles they sit at... (if your really interested look up ergonomics, there is alot on the net about this)

I'll use my truck as an example (I have a tall body and short legs)... in a normal series I need something behind the lower part of the seat back to recline the seat so my feet can hold the pedals with out pointing my feet, now this still leaves me with a couple of issues, the seat base doesn't hold my bum lol funny as it sounds, it keeps wanting to slide me forward because my back is further back.... second my head is in the roof which restricts my vision

I don't know if you've read my build thread but I'm lowering the seat on my camper.... this effects the other two... as the seat goes down so does the steering wheel catch is it also wants to come back a bit (not as much as the seat reclines,as you recline natural natural thing is to extend your arms), the reason is as you extend your legs your back is going to want to recline so you have to bring the steering wheel slightly towards you. Now as the feet go forward this effects the "throw of the pedal" the arc the pedal naturally wants to travel as you extend your foot lol so change something and you effect other things

That said I pushed the steering wheel away from the seat... I did this due to my short legs this will get me forward to the pedals lol

Reclining the seat may help a bit but the down side is it will push your bum forward reducing your leg room which will trade back and bum pain for knee pain lol but you could find a balance that gives you more seat time before it becomes painfull

As for space to push the footwell forward there is bucket loads of room even with 35"s the only catch is the footwell support to the chassis

With a fair bit of work you could gain 3-4"s of foot room (with out seeing you sitting in there I'd be a bit concerned that any more than that will put your knees close to the dash edge)

You will want to tilt the pedals a bit to deal with the more horizontal throw so I'd do a new floor and lower front and make the front a bit steeper so I'd make the lower 4"s long and the top I'd extend 3"s and tilt the mounts for the pedals up a bit.... I see two ways of doing this, you have a small vertical bit in the front of the foot well if you did away with this you could extend the top down to where the tilted floor meets it and then modify the clutch and brake box mounts to tilt them forward an inch down at the pedal easy way would be to cut the whole top out and add a strip in the top and weld it back in. If it conflicts with intermediate steering shaft make a box or half cone that clearances it, there wont be any conflict as your foot movement is forward and down

The other way to do the top is keep your pedal boxes the same and make a whole new top but clearance it down under the column.... don't know the defender column but if it is similar to the disco one there could be a bit of conflict between it and the mounts for the pedal box's meaning you have to spreed the boxes a bit

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Thanks for the replies so far guys.
Going down instead of forward, that's interesting. I'll have to have a look how much room there is for doing that. I can't remember whether the chassis rail sits below the clutch pedal or anywhere really close to it. It would involve placing the pedals in such a way that the throw of the pedals is still correct for the seating position as DeRanged mentioned above.

I'm using a Series 3 pedal box with a 80s Range Rover booster and MC crafted onto it which makes for a very long combination. It required cutting the wing and a bit of the bonnet for clearance. So anything being done that involves changing the position of the pedal box has to be done in such a way that all that still fits. Shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Reclining the seatback is not an option as, 1) being turned into a trayback (not a challenge style trayback, an aussie style one instead) means there's just no room. And 2, I like the upright seating position. Newer defender seats are better, but still not good. I've driven in them a lot and they're not what I'm looking for.

I'll have to have a look later on but I'm sure my knees have plenty of clearance with the lower part of the dash when the footwells are extended. It's a Series 2a dash, they don't stick out a whole lot. And if my legs flatten out as they have more forward room, my knees will go down as well. At least, that's all in theory.

You will want to tilt the pedals a bit to deal with the more horizontal throw so I'd do a new floor and lower front and make the front a bit steeper so I'd make the lower 4"s long and the top I'd extend 3"s and tilt the mounts for the pedals up a bit.

With this, you mean lowering the floor panel a bit, then extend that lower part (that angles up) more forward , but make it steeper? And you would tilt them a bit clockwise, looking from the right hand side towards it?

Am I right in thinking that how you're suggesting it you create more room by tilting the pedals, moving the slightly forwards in the process?

The defender steering column is just a clean, smooth tube with a mount at the end, here's a pic of it.


I've got some new inspiration now, will have another look as soon as it is dry..

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Pretty much what I was talking about.... I thought you would have used the footwell bulkhead mount to mount the steering column so I thought you'd be able to use that flat section in the front to "slide" the top down and forward.... but tilting the pedals and giving them room should give you at least a couple of inch's

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I fabbed new footwells, 40 mm further forwards. the defender steering column is in the same position, the pedals are slid down the slope a bit, and the steering column is hard against the top sheet of the pedalbox.

I also moved the rr bulkhead back 3". The seating position is perfect with volvo seats, and I am 6ft7 also. The roof is 60mm lower total as well.


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I'm a whopping 1' 1" shorter than both Daan and Toylander, but for me the aswell, the RCC/Disco seating ergonomics are pretty perfect. From a practical point of view, the best thing to do is sit in your seat donor, ie. P38 and see if you can adjust it to your liking; If you settle on an arrangement you like then get a big piece of cardboard, plywood etc. and cut a silhouette of your seating position with the angle of steering wheel, seat base, seat back, pedals and eye level etc. You can then take your silhouette profile and offer it into position in your truck, this then gives better idea of what needs changing, 'sods law' dictates that all the ideas about bulkhead, footwells and steering wheel will all need changing to get your perfect set up, rather than just one.

Lastly, what about an adjustable Disco column, could one be adapted to fit, did they do an adjustable on the 200 version? if so that would be most suitable.

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I find the new Defender seats very bad for my back - I much prefer the old type as they have much more lumbar support.

It sounds like legroom is the only issue (other than worn out seats). I find the same in the 109 and the RRC (though the latter is better, I still need the seat all the way back, and I'm only 6'). So, extending the foot wells and moving the pedals seems the best way. I think you need them to forwards and down. I'd leave the top at the same angle as tipping the pedal boxes is likely to cause clearance issues under the bonnet. I think by sliding the brake pedal down as well as forward, the servo may still clear the wing and bonnet edge.

The floor can only be lowered about 1" as things currently stand, but if you fabricate an outrigger with a lower top face and a vertical extension to pick up the bulkhead, you should be able to get much more. If you can lower the floor by about 3" and extend the foot well about 4" forwards, you'll get 5" more leg room. Adding shims under the front of the seat will also help support the thigh, which will take a lot of strain off your back.

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  • 3 years later...

The s3 swb has a bulkhead which goes up straight and than halfway up slopes backward. i have removed the spot welded finisher panels and made the panel slope backward from floor level. Than make a connection at the top to connect the both lh and rh side of the tub. the holes I filled up with aluminium sheet. It is a fairly big job, but worth it. I didn't want to remove it completely as i want it seperate for heavy loads shifting forward under braking. Some pictures attached from my modifications. The sit postion is really good and comfortable for my posture. I might replace the volvo seats for Defender seats one day, as they look a bit second hand by now, But for functionality and being able to sit on them for days on end, they are hard to beat.


Hope that helps, Daan.

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I used to have this in my series 3 originally; in the first picky you see a slight bulge about halfway up the slope were the original filler hose was. There is a riveted plate to blank of the original filler neck. It can and has worked  with the original filler neck though. Currently I have a 90 tank; on the 3rd picture you can just see the pipe leading to this behind the rollcage leg. The original filler has been used.

The hose is a breather pipe, otherwise you can only half fill it (90 tank has the feeder pipe at halfway level).

The seat base is my own design and sits exactly horizontal. This works well with the volvo seat, as it is tapered.

Hope that helps.


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Thank you very much - will need to think about this.

Considering moving th whole bulkhead backwards about 10-12 cm.

But the cage is under stress IIRC - we fitted the thing 20 years ago..

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Moving the whole bulkhead gets very complicated, and any more movement from the 3", and you start running into all sorts of other problems, like the fuel filler. Further back also means less luggage space and you cannot really look out of the window anymore. The 3" is pretty much as far as needed and is achievable.

You are welcome for a test sit, next time you are in the country.


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