ZJ Rear Seat in a XJ Cherokee

ZJ Split Rear bench in your XJ

Ok so you have probably heard about putting the much higher quality ZJ rear bench into your XJ and may have even read a writeup or two about it. Most of these writeups mount the seat above where the original seat was and dont modify the lower half much. Although thats fine the problem with it is that the seat sits up much higher and when folded down doesnt line up well with the floorboard. The way this one is done is a lot different but also a bit more difficult than the other way of mounting these seats. Dont worry though its pretty straightforward and not too terribly hard to do.

First off I want to just say a few things about the ZJ rear seat after the swap that you may want to know. First off and this is the biggy is that headroom is decreased in the rear (at 6’1″ my head barely touches the headliner) this is not a big deal if you dont have tall people in the back very often. Secondly, the seat fits TIGHT so its not as easy to fold down as when it was still in the ZJ, This problem can be fixed if you want to by trimming the top half of the seat. One big positive is the front of the bottom half of the seat lines up pretty much with the seat lip so you gain maybe 1″-2″ inches of legroom. Not to mention the split aspect of the bench.

The supplies needed are
A ZJ Seat
The four lower seat brackets and the upper middle one, the side two are attached to the seat already.
(Optionally the ZJ seat belts and latches)
Mounting hardware that is similar to the one that was in the ZJ ( I would get hex nuts also if you plan on reusing the zj seat bolts)
Zip Ties
A socket set
a phillips and several torx bit screwdrivers
A flat head screw driver
a drill
a hacksaw
(optionally an angle grinder)

Okay on to the fun stuff

(the next 3 pictures are of my Dad’s cherokee because I forgot take apart pics)

Remove the lower half of the XJ bench seat. There is a latch on the passengers side, pull it and release the seat. After that it slides out the passenger door.

Next remove the upper half. Release it and then remove the two bolts on each side of the seat.

Now remove the old black upper seat mounting thingys on the wall of your cherokee.

Ok now you have the old seat out and you can start on the new one. The first thing you want to do is remove the seat covers on the lower half of your new ZJ seat. If they are cloth go ahead and run them through the washer but dont put them in the dryer. Mine cleaned up really well from doing that. When you get to the hooks that hold the center of the seat cover on just cut them off. I will show you how to reinstall them in a little while.

Once you have the seat covers off and in the washer install the upper half of the seat. Move the brackets up until they touch the upper lip of the floorboard where it goes into the cargo area.

Go ahead and install the lower seat bracket hooks that go below the bottom half of the seat. I am not going to go into detail on how to mount these. Just use that stuff called common sense. The only suggestions are to cut the carpet around them and mount them higher rather than lower.

Cut off these hooks from the bottom of the seat. You could incorporate them but hey thats just more work. Honestly, the seat stays in place just fine without them.


Hey look your still alive well now comes the fun part.

Look at your disassembled seat and try and put just the plastic base into place. Notice how its quite a bit to long. Well go ahead and remove the rear metal brace that houses the seat latch. By the way we are ditching the latch for now just because I got lazy and decided not to incorporate it. Its really not that necessary and the seat stays in place well.

We are now going to hack off a bunch of plastic off the bottom of the seat base using your hacksaw.

I had to cut it in the back and on the sides for the wheel well. I also needed to trim maybe an inch or two off both sides to make it fit better width wise. The foam will also have to be cut to match. Use a hacksaw for this. I tried using a hot wire cutter but the high density foam didnt cut well with it.

Hey remember those metal bracket things you took off a while back you can put them back on by cutting a slot in the seat and drilling holes where the screws go. It works well and It makes it look a little more factory.
(sorry for the awful pic.)

We are getting close I can smell the finish line. Anyway reinstall the seat covers but first grab some zip ties. Fish them through were you cut off the wire thingys holding the seat cover on. Like so.

Now feed them through the actual seat cover and tighten like so.

Re-insert the plastic clips into the edge of the seat. Wherever you cut out these holes just drill into the plastic on the underside and force the clips into the new holes. Make sure that the fabric is very tight while doing this. Here is a pic that kind of shows what I am talking about.

Hey now go ahead and cut a slot in the cover where the headrest holder goes. Re-insert the plastic things you pulled out when you took the seat apart. Now your headrest holders should be functional again.

Here is the finished product.

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6 Responses to ZJ Rear Seat in a XJ Cherokee

  1. marco says:

    dear Sir, i am so interested in, but i really cant understand how the cover (and mine is leather) can be tight in place if the sear is cut. Hi from Italy

    • tuxfan212 says:

      Basically, you take the seat apart. Seperate the plastic part from the foam and the leather. Cut the plastic part and the foam. To make the seat cover fit tightly around the cut seat and cover you have to drill new holes for the cover clips. Drill them far enough into the seat pan to make the cover fit tightly to the seat foam.

  2. Vince J says:

    Were the holes for the upper brackets already there or did you drill new ones?

  3. matt says:

    where would i go to buy a ZJ back seat?

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