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Old 03-28-2020, 04:00 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Looking for a new drivers seat for my bus

2005 GMC Savana 3500 Bus.

In need of a new drivers seat.

Any brand recommendations for long drives or where to find good seats?
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Old 03-29-2020, 06:15 AM   #2
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Look for a conversation van at your local junk yards, you might find something that will fit your seat riser, or a seat with its own base. You could also check with RV surplus places. I found several parts of Facebook Marketplace also.
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Old 03-29-2020, 07:29 AM   #3
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If you plan on spending long hours driving I might look at swapping for a semi driver's seat. Even quality GM seats probably aren't comfortable after many hours whereas truckers spend up to 8 hours behind the wheel at a stretch so their seats are designed to reduce fatigue. Of course these will almost universally be air ride so plan on a little bit of handiwork required to install it but probably worth the effort.
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Old 03-30-2020, 10:52 AM   #4
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I picked up this one right here: https://shop4seats.com/truck-seats/c...ruck-seat.html


It comes with two armrests, and I added the manual lumbar support (inflatable bladder via a hand squeeze pump like a blood pressure sleeve). I wish I would've gotten the seat warmer too, but the seat itself is super comfortable and great.


I didn't get the base kit, because theirs doesn't fit my '95 E350. So I ended up modify the base that came with the bus by drilling two holes for the mounting screws on the seat, and also using a piece of slotted angle for added support/strength.
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Old 03-30-2020, 11:43 AM   #5
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Wow, that shop4seats site has some nice looking stuff on it. I think I might have to start working on the wife to agree on a full set for the bus.
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Old 03-30-2020, 01:43 PM   #6
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I bought some "leather" seats from a Turtle Top shuttle bus that was being converted. I haven't swapped the driver's seat but am using one for the passenger.
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Old 03-30-2020, 01:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by TheArgobus View Post
I picked up this one right here: https://shop4seats.com/truck-seats/c...ruck-seat.html


It comes with two armrests, and I added the manual lumbar support (inflatable bladder via a hand squeeze pump like a blood pressure sleeve). I wish I would've gotten the seat warmer too, but the seat itself is super comfortable and great.


I didn't get the base kit, because theirs doesn't fit my '95 E350. So I ended up modify the base that came with the bus by drilling two holes for the mounting screws on the seat, and also using a piece of slotted angle for added support/strength.
$400 is kinda steep for a "truck seat" that's just the bucket itself.
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Old 03-31-2020, 11:51 AM   #8
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I'm sure I could've found one for cheaper if I looked harder, but I'm okay going with a higher premium on pretty much everything on the bus if it means added convenience/less time spent. For instance, the chair I bought is, in my opinion, pretty high quality and is the most comfortable driver's seat I've used. So I explored purchasing more RV furniture from that site.



My design calls for a dinette/master bed, and they have a few kits available. Since this is also where passengers will sit when driving, I was concerned about safety. I called and asked how they were built/did they meet DOT standards. They told me their dinettes--in fact, all of their RV furniture--is DOT approved, and are made with 2x4s and plywood!


Now, I have no problem shelling out 400-500 for a driver's seat with springs and that bolts into the frame. But I couldn't shell out $1200 for a plywood bench with cushions. I may not be able to fabricate or weld very well, but I have a circular saw and a bus that can haul lumber from Home Depot with a 10% discount.
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Old 03-31-2020, 12:05 PM   #9
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As long as you like it that's all that matters.
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Old 03-31-2020, 12:18 PM   #10
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The driver's seat in my first bus was ugly as sin. Very utilitarian, sparce and we'll warn. It was extremely comfortable on long drives though.

I swapped it out for a beautiful Flexsteel Ultraleather seat. What a mistake! I could have restored the original seat and made it look ok.

After a mad run from SC to CA that had me in the driver's seat for way too long I started shopping for a take out from a semi truck.

Make sure you give long term comfort adequate consideration when you pick a replacement driver's seat.

I would spend $400 on a seat if I had to. I prefer to find a $400 seat pre loved for $200 but driving comfort is important enough that I would pay full boat if needed.
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Old 04-04-2020, 03:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GhostOutlaw View Post
2005 GMC Savana 3500 Bus.

In need of a new drivers seat.

Any brand recommendations for long drives or where to find good seats?
An air ride seat. Bus seats are not meant for long distance driving. We have an National out of a Peterbuilt.
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Old 04-04-2020, 03:35 PM   #12
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I think it depends how much one drives. As I go short distances and infrequently I went with Flexsteel seats I got free from RVs. I would have preferred leather or fake leather to cloth as they are easier to clean imho.
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Old 04-04-2020, 03:36 PM   #13
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An air ride seat. Bus seats are not meant for long distance driving. We have an National out of a Peterbuilt.
He's got a van, man. I don't see a peterbilt seat fitting in there. Maybe a lopro seat with the different base.
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Old 04-04-2020, 03:59 PM   #14
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I agree. We learned the hard way. We drove to Fayetteville, NC from Grove OK.
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Old 04-04-2020, 11:02 PM   #15
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2011 GMC SIERRA seats are the most comfortable truck seats I’ve owned. 1000 mi day was no problem. They were leather and had tons of adjustments and support. Don’t forget to get the door controls. Mine were heated too.
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Old 04-13-2020, 08:18 PM   #16
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I really think a seat from a conversion van or RV (GM chassis - I believe these use standard GM seat frames) would be best for this particular situation. Air ride would be nice, but not feasible with this vehicle. They already have hydroboost brakes because there's no room for a vacuum booster. Try fitting an air compressor into the accessory drive. Not happening. Maybe an electric air-ride control compressor from a late-model Buick, Olds or Caddy would be up to the task, still a lot of work for not much more benefit than you would get from conversion van seats. Also consider that anything bigger than what this one came with will likely be a nightmare when servicing the engine -- most repair and some maintenance on the engine in the van chassis used here is done through a doghouse cover at the rear of the engine, built into the dash. You don't want to have to remove the seat just to change a distributor cap or ignition coil.

I can tell you that the leather seats in the '98 GMC Safari I used to own were quite comfortable, and likely interchange with a Savana, even if you have to swap the bottom seat mounts. Mine was top-of-the-line and had captain's chairs in the front / middle row, there are plenty of these in the boneyards, Astro / Safari / Savana / Express alike. Both Savanas and Safaris were available with leather and six-way power lumbar. My van was used as a taxi, so that speaks volumes for the comfort. Express / Savana seats will also bolt up like the original with little to no effort -- a major consideration in this case, IMO. I believe Astro / Safari seats will fit as well, but you may likely have to swap the seat chassis where it mounts to the floor (usually 4-6 Torx bolts).

I would look for Express and Savana conversion vans, and look at a few Astros and Safaris as a backup plan, they will likely fit fine, even if the bottom mount frame to the floor has to be swapped with your original. It's a lot easier than it sounds, believe me -- I've done this on a Venture van before, though I was replacing an incorrect seat for the position that had been forced, requiring me to get the seat mount from one yard, and the actual seat from another (incorrect fabric, good mount -- correct fabric, damaged mount), using the same models. Only took me a couple hours, including fighting with the stubborn Torx bolts that were EXTREMELY overtorqued. Unless an upgrade isn't imperative, skip the windowless cargo / work vans, they will have standard vinyl or cloth like you already have.

UPDATE: I did some poking around and the Express / Savana seat does look larger than a Safari seat, so I would recommend sticking to Savana / Express conversion van donors.
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Old 04-13-2020, 09:14 PM   #17
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Crap, I knew this would happen. Now that I've taken the plunge and gotten my original seat up off the floor, I can accept how easy it would be to get a new seat and mount it. I have a Bostrum air ride seat but I really don't like it. It's disconcerting to me to be bouncing in the opposite direction from the bus so frequently, and it was downright frightening the first time I went over train tracks and got launched. I wonder if there's some way to stiffen the air ride.
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Old 04-13-2020, 09:44 PM   #18
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Crap, I knew this would happen. Now that I've taken the plunge and gotten my original seat up off the floor, I can accept how easy it would be to get a new seat and mount it. I have a Bostrum air ride seat but I really don't like it. It's disconcerting to me to be bouncing in the opposite direction from the bus so frequently, and it was downright frightening the first time I went over train tracks and got launched. I wonder if there's some way to stiffen the air ride.
Something that should be taken into consideration is that air-ride seats are built for bigger, heavier vehicles -- hence they are designed to take a lot more of the bounce from their rougher ride. A van-based bus is built to ride much better than a bigger one, hence your air seat is creating a ripple effect. Not ideal with a conventional vehicle (which a van-based bus is about as close as a bus gets). See my last post above. Wheelbase actually figures into this as well -- a shorter wheelbase will have a much more clunky ride than a longer one. Longer frames help to absorb the bumps a bit -- this is why a lot of long-haul truckers that own their own truck go for the stretched frames with ridiculous gaps between the sleeper and the trailer. They look a little funny, but they ride much better.
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Old 04-14-2020, 04:32 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
Crap, I knew this would happen. Now that I've taken the plunge and gotten my original seat up off the floor, I can accept how easy it would be to get a new seat and mount it. I have a Bostrum air ride seat but I really don't like it. It's disconcerting to me to be bouncing in the opposite direction from the bus so frequently, and it was downright frightening the first time I went over train tracks and got launched. I wonder if there's some way to stiffen the air ride.
Air ride seats are adjustable. Sounds like yours was under inflated for your weight.
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