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Unread 02-04-2008, 09:59 PM   #1
TPI Monte SS
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ZJ Rear Seat Headrests Installed With Writeup!

ZJ Rear Headrest Upgrade

Well, my son is almost five years old and in a nice booster seat. The problem is, he's tall enough that his head is already above the top of the seat back; not good if we were ever to be involved in a collision! So, I decided to adapt a pair of headrests to the original XJ bench seat. A search of the local Craigslist turned up a '97 ZJ for parts, and while I was there to pick up the disc brake rear, I also found it had a charcoal interior, almost exactly the same color as mine. I scored the headrests and mounting brackets for $26, not bad at all! Great, now I have them, but how am I going to put these things in?



Here's a pic of the ZJ headrest and mounting brackets. The ZJ headrest matches the width of the strip of material where the rear seat passengers sit, so they look OEM, even on the XJ seat.

It's a lot easier to do this project with the seat out of the truck, since it needs to be stripped down. To remove the upper part of the seat, simply fold the lower cushion up, then slide the buckles out and unsnap the seatbelts. Then, remove the 15mm bolts that the seat back pivots on, and it'll come right out. After getting the seat inside, my first step was to measure and figure out where I was going to install them. Then, I cut two slits in the top of the seat material just in front of the metal frame for the brackets to slide through. Then, I unzipped the seat cover, and removed the foam. It's attached to the seat with Velcro, so be aware as you're pulling the cover up.



I used heavy bendable copper strap to make my brackets (same stuff to support pipes in your house), and secured them to the metal seat frame with #8 1/2" long sheetmetal screws. I started on the backside and wrapped the strap over the top of the seat frame, then put one screw through the back side, pulled the strap down, and then put another screw in above the arm that locks the seat in place.



Next, I cut a few more slits in the top of the seat (like a pie-cut) so there was a nice hole for the ZJ brackets to go through. Then I pushed the plastic seat brackets through the holes in the top of the seat cover, and secured them to the copper strap with stainless band clamps. Once I had all the brackets in, I had to cut notches in the seat foam so it would go back in place and not be lumpy.



Here's what the brackets look like from the top, with the foam re-installed and the cover pulled tight and zippered up again. You'd swear it came from the factory like this.



All done! These headrests are nice, because you can easily remove them and fold the rear seat down if you need to haul larger items in the back of your XJ. They're also adjustable, so taller rear seat passengers will have no problems getting comfortable.


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Steve Ragusa - North Jersey
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Unread 02-04-2008, 10:07 PM   #2
HeepToJeep
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Clever solution and great write-up!. Was the ZJ bench a 60/40 split? With a little mounting bracket modification you can also mount the entire seat.

Wm
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Unread 02-04-2008, 10:15 PM   #3
dirt machine
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It might be silly to mount the back rest which splits when the butt part does not split.
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Unread 02-04-2008, 10:20 PM   #4
HeepToJeep
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirt machine View Post
It might be silly to mount the back rest which splits when the butt part does not split.
None of them have a split seat cushion and I was referring to switching out the whole seat assembly....cushion, backrest and headrests.

Wm
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Unread 02-05-2008, 12:10 AM   #5
SlimGoaty
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Way nice job man, I've been tryin to figure out something like that but I just never actually got around to messing with it!
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Unread 02-05-2008, 08:46 AM   #6
TPI Monte SS
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Thanks for the compliments guys! I did think about swapping in the whole ZJ rear seat, but it was torn in the middle, and the matching front seats were pretty beat. My original interior is in very nice shape overall, so I wanted to save as much of it as I could.

Plus, the roll of copper strap and stainless band clamps only set me back about $6, so I only have $32 into it. I really need to save up for new rear rotors/pads and E-brake hardware, so I can swap on the ZJ discs and prop valve in the spring.
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Steve Ragusa - North Jersey
'01 XJ - SOLD!

'06 Infiniti G35x - coupe front springs, tint, FX35 18's, hitch for the bike rack.

'03 KJ Limited -WifesJeep- 3.7, Auto, NP 242, '06 Limited 17's. 50K original miles.
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Unread 04-26-2010, 06:07 PM   #7
nujeepguy
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i know this is an oldie but wanted to say thanks for the write up....I did this tonight and all went perfectly well.
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Unread 04-27-2010, 09:06 PM   #8
TPI Monte SS
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No problem, glad it helped!! And FWIW, I've had headrests in and out a few times over the last 2 years so I could fold down the seat for extra storage, and the clamps and brackets are still holding tight.
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Steve Ragusa - North Jersey
'01 XJ - SOLD!

'06 Infiniti G35x - coupe front springs, tint, FX35 18's, hitch for the bike rack.

'03 KJ Limited -WifesJeep- 3.7, Auto, NP 242, '06 Limited 17's. 50K original miles.
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Unread 03-17-2011, 04:06 PM   #9
K-R
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man, i am dying to do this mod and i have headrests out of a honda pilot (they come with 5 of them) that are gray and match the interior. I just need the plastic pieces that shove down in the top of the seat that the slide into...

i guess i'll hit the junkyard again but thats a pain, wonder where else i could get 4 of those things?

thanks
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Unread 03-17-2011, 07:00 PM   #10
TPI Monte SS
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You might be able to find them on Ebay, or a Honda dealer if you don't want to head back to the junkyard. Good luck with your install!
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Steve Ragusa - North Jersey
'01 XJ - SOLD!

'06 Infiniti G35x - coupe front springs, tint, FX35 18's, hitch for the bike rack.

'03 KJ Limited -WifesJeep- 3.7, Auto, NP 242, '06 Limited 17's. 50K original miles.
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Unread 07-11-2011, 12:39 PM   #11
rb2biker
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Thanks for the great writeup!
Finished putting mine in this weekend. Got them from a jetta and there is room to flip the rear seat up without removing them
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Unread 07-13-2013, 03:25 PM   #12
mmastran
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I know this is an old post, but I'm trying to do the same to my 94XJ.

The 3rd picture in the original post looks like the top of the metal seat frame was notched into in order to slide in the headrest mounting brackets, however the OP never mentioned having to do that. Any idea if I would have to cut into the top of the metal seat frame?
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Unread 07-18-2013, 08:25 PM   #13
GregB_00XJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmastran View Post
I know this is an old post, but I'm trying to do the same to my 94XJ.

The 3rd picture in the original post looks like the top of the metal seat frame was notched into in order to slide in the headrest mounting brackets, however the OP never mentioned having to do that. Any idea if I would have to cut into the top of the metal seat frame?

Based off of this photo...



I would say no notch. You should not have to if you use this method, or at least it looks like the OP didn't?
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Unread 07-21-2013, 11:33 PM   #14
jilly44
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this is great. all parents out there: will this be fine in an accident? Someone said I should do this professionally, but they don't want to pay for it!!! lol
also, was it hard to put all back together once completed? Everything is so tightly put together
I have a 1995 jeep cherokee and two teenagers.
thx for the great instructions. I'm going to try it soon.
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Unread 08-04-2013, 06:29 AM   #15
TPI Monte SS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jilly44 View Post
this is great. all parents out there: will this be fine in an accident? Someone said I should do this professionally, but they don't want to pay for it!!! lol
also, was it hard to put all back together once completed? Everything is so tightly put together
I have a 1995 jeep cherokee and two teenagers.
thx for the great instructions. I'm going to try it soon.
It's a really tight fit inside the seat. Even if the clamps were to pull away from the copper strap, the bars on the headrest would still have to go all the way through the seat cushion to do any damage. I'm sure there are other ways to secure the retainers inside the seat frame as well - maybe use short bolts with locknuts on the copper straps? I just used what I had on hand at the time, and had no issues with it while it was in my ownership.

Hope that helps!
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Steve Ragusa - North Jersey
'01 XJ - SOLD!

'06 Infiniti G35x - coupe front springs, tint, FX35 18's, hitch for the bike rack.

'03 KJ Limited -WifesJeep- 3.7, Auto, NP 242, '06 Limited 17's. 50K original miles.
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