Thursday, February 2, 2023


Can I swap my RV’s manual driver seat base for an electric one?

Dear Dave,
How difficult would it be to change the RV’s driver’s seat base from a manual to a power base, and where could I find the bases? —Chuck, 2018 Forest River Georgetown GT3 30X3

As far as I know, you can’t just change a manual seat base to a power pedestal. You would need to replace the entire seat as the motor and mechanisms are incorporated into the entire frame and can’t be swapped out. The seat is mounted to a pedestal or base that can be used. There are several issues to consider such as the pedestal (which I indicated), getting power to the seat, and positioning of the new chair to the steering wheel.

The process of swapping out a manual driver seat base

We swapped out a set of driver and passenger chairs in a 2003 Winnebago Brave and had to do some modifications to get things to fit and conform to DOT crash standards for seatbelts.

We bought our seats from Bradd & Hall, which is one of the predominant interior furnishing companies in the industry and have done thousands of upgrades on units. They were very helpful in finding the right seat for the application. Most motorhome manufacturers use a fairly generic pedestal that mounts to the floor with a plate, has a riser, and then a flat plate at the top that fastens to the seat base frame.

The new seat frame did fit our pedestal, but it was too close to the steering wheel for the owner so we had to modify the pedestal with new holes drilled into the back.

Seat height

Another issue was the new seat was higher, even at the lowest point, due to the design of the frame of the new seat. This was not an easy fix as it meant a new lower pedestal and matching the mounting points or customizing the frame of the seat, which would mean getting it certified by DOT. The owner liked to drive his RV with the steering wheel at the lowest tilt position so he could see the gauges, so we compromised with a strategic positioning of the seat and steering wheel. Saved a thousand dollars or more, I believe.

Power to the seat

The final issue was getting 12-volt power to the seat. If your RV did not have an option for a power seat to begin with, then it is a challenge. This rig did have an option for that and a spot on the fuse block to provide power as well as a pigtail in the wiring harness we could connect to. We still had to run 12-volt wiring to the pedestal by drilling a hole from the underside and wiring the harness. If you do not have the option, you will need to find a 12-volt power source from the fuse panel.

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and the author of the “RV Handbook.”

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9 days ago

Don’t! The repair costs on a failed seat motor are incredibly high!

Thomas D
10 days ago

If a power seat was offered in your model, look at rv salvage yards. I’m sure they would be happy to sell you one if they have it. Don’t forget, right and left sides are different. Controls you know. I use Colaw in Missouri and there a couple in Az . Google rvsalvage and see what pops up

Donald N Wright
10 days ago

I wish I could have the comfortable power seats from my old Suburban installed in my rough riding F-150.

Bob p
10 days ago

If you’ve got that much time and money just trade for a MH with power seats. As Dave said if the manufacturer offered power seats contact them.

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