Seating conversion

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falconer315
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Seating conversion

Post by falconer315 »

This is probably a stupid question, and I'm not even really sure why I am asking it. Maybe it is simply for the fact that I so desperately want the answer to be "yes" that I'll risk the embarassment of asking the question.

Anyway, here it goes. Is there any LEGAL way to take a 2005 Baja, rated for 4 passengers, and modify/replace the back seat in order to accomodate a 5th passenger?

There are 5 of us in my family, my wife really doesn't care that it has 4 seats. It would just be convenient if we didn't have to take 2 vehicles all the time if we were going somewhere that required the truck bed function of the Baja. It would also be convenient to go places her van cannot travel.

I'm beginning to think I should have just went with the Forrester, but I just couldn't pull myself away from the Baja's awesomeness as well as it's innate abilities as an instant conversation starter and unique appearance.

I have heard that the backseat is interchangeable with other models in the same timeframes (2000-2004/5 or something like that). I'm not really concerned about the folding rear seat because I do not forsee having to open the back doorway to the bed portion of the vehicle. I've also seen threads on other forums (I don't recall which, or where), where the owner has removed the center cup holder/armrest and built in a cushion. I really only want to put in a simple lap belt, doubling up where the other belts mount in, but I've heard that the load would be too much for those points as they're not rated for the additional weight. I know there are ways to do it, but I want to make sure that I choose the most legal course of action.
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mikenmel08
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Post by mikenmel08 »

I've seen several people take out the center console in the rear and replace it with a home built seat.......
sfeather11
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Re: Seating conversion

Post by sfeather11 »

Short answer : No. There is no "Legal" way to convert the rear seat from 2 to 3 passengers. Subaru certified the Baja with NHTSA as a 4 passenger vehicle. Any modifications to that be a no-no in NHTSA's view, even if it was a seat from another Subie...

As mentioned above though, depending on your level of comfort, there are a few members who have modded the center console and installed a lap and shoulder belt. The few that I have seen were done well enough that I would have no worries putting a 5th passenger there, but they would never be considered "Legal" from a safety standpoint...

Peace!
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jaxed
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Re: Seating conversion

Post by jaxed »

Here is one:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2804&hilit=back+seat

I've also seen folks take the bench from a 2004 OBW and use it in the Baja.
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bajaguy
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Re: Seating conversion

Post by bajaguy »

jaxed wrote:Here is one:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2804&hilit=back+seat

I've also seen folks take the bench from a 2004 OBW and use it in the Baja.
The seatbelts from a 94-99 outback are a direct swap. Its a 2 point setup (why the 200-2004 don't work) and the metal mount is one piece for both lower parts. So you're not stacking 2 belts on one bolt or anything. It was structurally designed for it by the engineers, but the interior design people messed it up by adding a cup holder IMO. haha
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falconer315
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Re: Seating conversion

Post by falconer315 »

Thanks for the feedback Bajaguy. I've been waiting to hear back from the DMV and the insurance company. As long as my car passes safety inspections then the insurance company has no problem with me changing it over. And the DMV has no problem as long as the car is safe. So, now I'm digging a bit deeper into the "how" so I can figure out what I need to do, then I'll figure out the "when". The wife's car just went down over the weekend, so any money I could have potentially spent on projects for the car just got dumped into her's.
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