SSDutch CJ6 Jeep Blog

Wheelhouse Notch

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…

Painted patch.
 

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.

Comments are closed, but you can read the comments other people left.

  1. Bradley Keough on November 22, 2004

    Great mod; the pics are great and give me a lot of ideas

  2. stuart aldridge on March 16, 2005

    Thanks Boyink, a really helpful writeup and the pics were essential in explaining the various stages of this mod.  as a 6’1” guy in a CJ5 I have a similar problem, but hopefully this should cure much of it!

    Thanks

  3. Alex on August 09, 2005

    Good call…......I have the same problem.

  4. Greg on July 04, 2006

    FINALLY A GREAT IDEA!!!  I have the same problem on my Fiberglass Tub!  Thanks for the GREAT info!!!

  5. Michael Campbell on April 16, 2007

    I have recently purchased a 1974 CJ5.  It is stock , I need to know the 4wheel drive shift pattern?  I know that all the way down is 4wheel low but what is all the way up 4wheel H or 2wd?

  6. jamie on December 05, 2007

    Any problems with that tire rubbing the notch?

  7. Jamie on December 07, 2007

    Hmm. Just figured under hard load the notch and tire might travel that far and meet.

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