A way to get more legroom in an early CJ5.
Note - this project was performed on our previous Jeep - a ‘66 CJ5.
Project: Fixing the “tall man in an old Jeep” problem - I’m 6’3”, and after installing a set of original low back Jeep seats found that I couldn’t now comfortably drive the Jeep. Even with the high backs that I used to have there was never an abundance of legroom, and I’ve always looked out the top 2” of the windshield. The low backs seemed to sit about an inch closer, and a little straighter up, and a little lower. The result was an uncomfortable leg angle on the pedals. and the steering wheel just too close for comfort.
The solution? Cutting a big hole! The hole is notching the drivers side wheel housing to allow the seat to move farther back. Before starting this I put the rear wheel up on a tall ramp - to check clearances with the tire stuffed up into the wheelwell. 2” seemed to be about the most I could cut in, so backed off a 1/4” for a 1 3/4” notch.
The new low back seats - neat looking but rendered the Jeep undriveable for me.
The carpet peeled back, and hole marked.
10 minutes with a grinder and here’s the result.
Positioning the seat - I elongated the rear holes, and drilled new ones up front.
Here’s the patch - it definitely shows my amateur fabrication skills - sure would be nice to have a sheet metal brake! I make do with a couple of vises and a hammer…
Patch riveted in, carpet folded back over on top, “Dutch undercoating” (roofing tar) sealing it off on the bottom.
Seats appear to be closer in height than they used to be.
Seat setting back into the notch.
Standing on the rear bumper, difference is visible. I hate to steal legroom from the backseat, but there was no alternative.
Pardon the crotch shots, I was hoping to give some indication of the amount of room I now have. Basically, before the notch if I put my feet flat on the floor and brought my knees in, they were even with the front edge of the steering column, now they just pass behind it.
First pic is with tranny in nuetral, the next pic is in first gear.
Showing how the front edge of the seats now line up.
Clearance with rear tire stuffed up into the wheelwell. Hard to judge from the pic, but there’s about 1 1/4” between the rubber and the notch.
Talk about a strange feeling - to change the driving position of a vehicle you’ve been driving one way for 18 years. On the first test drive it seemed like I was reaching a bit for the clutch - but pretty quickly got used to it. Nice to have a little bit of stretch room in this thing.
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