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'98 Mk Vii Rear Seat Outer Bulkhead Modification For More Front Seat Room


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#1 pauldridge

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 02:46 AM

At 6 ft 2 In. my beloved 98 Mini is just barely a fit.  Even with the cruise control I've installed, and the extended seat mounts, I wouldn't take this car on a trip more than 50 miles from home.. just too constricting seating.

 

The sad thing is, I will NEVER have a passenger in the rear seat, and there is all that wasted space (a good 5 inches or so) between the front seat back and the rear seat.

 

Problem is that metal compartment along the rear seat outer wall that holds the seat belt mechanisms.  That's what prevents the seat from being positioned any further back.  The seat is sooo close to clearing that metal structure.. I'd say 1.25 inches max would free up the front seat and give me 5 more inches.

 

As near as I can tell, this piece is permanently welded to the body at the floor, and probably the sides as well.

 

I am considering just cutting a slice out of the corner of that box to give clearance to the front seat, and then just fabricating a replacement indented metal piece inside the original to close up the opening and return the rigidity, spot/plug welding along the way.

 

Just wonder if anyone else has accomplished such a modification, or if there is a simpler way to meet my goals?

 

UPDATE - 10-13-18

Thanks to all of you who replied to my post.  In the interim, here are some discoveries I've made

1) after removing the plastic lid of the rear seat "bin" I see that the seat retract reel is only about 1 inch from the inner (toward the car seat) wall of the metal bin, which means cutting it wouldn't solve my situation without some major relocating of the retract reel.

 

2) In fact, I DID fabricate some off-center seat mounts, with the same plan as someone suggested, of relocating the seat closer to the center tunnel.  After congratulating myself, and installing the seat, I learned, as previously reported, that the aft seat skids would then foul up at the center tunnel.  I even thought about refabricating the inner seat frame, moving the lower part closer to the seat center.  But then I noted that the seat belt clip, attached at the tunnel, is only about 1/2 inch from the original seat position, so that is not a viable option either.

 

Finally, I decided to try different positions of the seat back recline angle.  I cranked it well forward, and was then able to position the seat base (mounted on extended front mounts) another 2 clicks backward.  But then, my head head the ceiling.  With the seat base in its new, more aft position, I then tried cranking the seat back recline angle.  To my great surprise, I was able to return the seat back to its earlier, reclined angle.  It seems that the rear edge of the seat is somewhat soft, and it managed to squeeze itself around the seat bin.  Most definitely there is now seatback to bin contact, but the seat feels firm, and there is no noise created by this position.  Since I am pretty much the only driver of my Mini, it won't need adjustment for some time.  

 

No doubt, eventually there may be some wear of the seat back material, but for now I'll take that as a minor inconvenience in exchange for noticeably more legroom.

 

I do have to recognize this is not a Cadillac, and accept small discomfort in favor of the joy of driving this little jewel.

Phil


Edited by pauldridge, 13 October 2018 - 05:53 PM.


#2 Bobbins

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 06:27 AM

I queried the same here: http://www.theminifo...s-further-back/ ... there's no easy solution. Like you my rear seat never gets used, so much so that it looks like new!

I've not even managed to fit seat extenders, with the seats on the rearward mounting holes and fully adjusted rearwards they're already up against the companion bins. I've been investigating moving the seats more towards the centre-line of the car which would give more clearance due to the curve of the companion bins, but the stumbling block so far is the inward rear foot of the seat which is already against the tunnel. I think this is the preferred route to go, after which it'll be move the companion bins or have the seat re-shaped ... maybe both. The seats will certainly take moving inward a little, maybe an inch on each.

There's noticeably more leg room in earlier Minis.

Stu.

#3 mab01uk

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 06:38 AM

The Wood & Pickett coachbuilt Minis used to have an option to have the rear seat bins modified by cutting and welding to allow the more bulky luxury leather/Recaro seats to be fitted and moved further back.

http://www.margrave-....com/index.html


Edited by mab01uk, 12 October 2018 - 06:40 AM.


#4 SuperDeLuxeNick

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 08:30 AM

i am 6ft 3 and have no issue (considering its a mini)

 

The correct seat would be a better and cheaper option,

 

In my previous mini i paired a smaller wheel with some deep retro bucket seats and then didnt even need the seat extenders

 

:)



#5 petey81

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 08:36 AM

i am 6ft 3 and have no issue (considering its a mini)

The correct seat would be a better and cheaper option,

In my previous mini i paired a smaller wheel with some deep retro bucket seats and then didnt even need the seat extenders

:)


Exactly the same as me and im all legs lol

#6 Bobbins

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 09:11 AM

i am 6ft 3 and have no issue (considering its a mini)

 

The correct seat would be a better and cheaper option,

 

In my previous mini i paired a smaller wheel with some deep retro bucket seats and then didnt even need the seat extenders

 

:)

 

What do you mean by "correct"?

 

Mine are the original seats.



#7 Bat

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 09:39 AM

Hi,

I have removed the companion bin and refitted it further back.

You are correct it is welded to the floor, the B pillar and the side of the seat, and the rear wheel arch!

You can't go too far as the seat belt will start dragging due to the angle it's being pulled out at.

Cheers  :proud:



#8 rich_959

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 09:59 AM

There's a chap on here doing an Innocenti build and I noticed that has 'profiled' rear bins, allowing the seats to go further back. I've been thinking of copying that profile while mine is down to the shell. Not sure if that's standard to Inno's or a modification?



#9 SuperDeLuxeNick

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 10:06 AM

correct for you, so ideally some deep set buckets and that are low will give you lots lots more room, keep your original incase you ever want to sell or put back to standard :)



#10 rich_959

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 10:42 AM

Scroll through the pictures on post #3 - you can see the profiled bins I mentioned above.

 

http://www.theminifo...rt-restoration/



#11 Bobbins

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 11:30 AM

It appears the bins have been chopped at an angle to give more room, could be an easy solution. 

 

The late model cars have plastic tops to the bins so if cutting it would be sensible to maybe reduce the overall height but keeping it level enabling refitting of the plastic section. More investigation needed.

 

 

 

ox8WimL.jpg



#12 rich_959

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 12:06 PM

Bobbins - mine is also a late model car but my intention was to do a similar mod to above, lose the plastic covers and go for a simple chrome finishing trim and traditional liners. That will let me keep the standard seats, but put the seat adjuster brackets all the way back, and still allow the seats to recline far enough (without leaving a big mark on the back of the seat where I had it pressed against the bin).






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