Fitting VW T5 seats to a T6
Yes, absolutely is the short answer. The VW T5 seats fit the VW T6 and bolt straight into the T6 and vice versa. The VW T5 seats and VW T6 seats have the same base bolt diameter as well as the seat widths will fit straight on without any modification.
Why fit VW T6 seats into a VW T5?
There are loads of reasons why you might be considering this very common modification. A lot of owners of the VW T6 previously owned a VW T5 where they may have already purchased nice seats with nice upholstery that they want to take with them into the VW T6.
The logistics of doing this can be quite costly however as it means you need to have access to both vehicles at the same time but the job itself takes between 1 and 2 hours depending on how quickly you work. Often the hardest challenge is tight bolts that are a bit awkward to get to.
Whilst the actual base is the same fitment on both models some people prefer the T6 seat as the seat foam is a slightly different shape and thickness. It is a very subtle difference but in the later models VW have carried out some minor updates based on market research. I believe they have had feedback from the VW T5 seats being uncomfortable (especially the passenger side).
Difference between a T6 seat and T5 seat
Other than the colour/pattern on the VW T6 seats there are other subtle differences to the size and shape. For this reason, the seat covers from the earlier models will not fit well onto a VW T6.
The later VW T6 seat head rests for example are slightly bigger than in the VW T5 as well as the shape of the foam within the seats base themselves.
The differences are quite subtle to the eye, but the seat covers from a VW T5 to a VW T6 will not fit well and best avoided.
VW T5 seats for sale
Finding VW T5 seats for sale is very straight forwards in the UK as the second hand breakers market for VW’s is extremely buoyant.
Putting the search criteria as VW T6 Seats on eBay brings up over 500 results to choose from and the same for VW T5 seats on eBay for sale. Whilst amazon is very good for new product, you can’t really beat eBay for used items in the UK.
The prices range from £200 up to nearly £1000 depending on the condition but the value of the VW T5 seats for sale are still very good and in demand so you would probably be able to sell on your old seats once you have done the modification to recoup some of the costs.
To save some money it is worth looking for seats that have already been upholstered in the colours that suit your taste as the going price to reupholster two front seats is anywhere between £600 up to £1000 depending on material.
Alternative front seats for a VW T5
As a general rule of thumb, most single seats from any vehicle can be fitted to a VW T5 or a VW T6 however it is important that you check the diameters of any replacement seats will not get in the way of the controls such as hand brake or gear stick.
If you choose to fit seats that are not from a VW T5 or VW T6 originally you would likely need to modify or move the mounting brackets on the floor of your van. This is best done by a professional to ensure the mounting is secure and complies with MOT requirements.
The main consideration is that the floor brackets will need strengthening plates behind them (which essentially spread the load of the bolt across a wider area of metal under the vehicle) and of course if the seat set up is significantly different you will need to consider the seat belt mounts and access.
VW T5 and T6 Swivel base
If you are determined to fit an alternative seat to your VWT5 or VW T6 it is worth considering buying a swivel base. The swivel bases you can buy online (normally £100 – £200 on eBay) may end up being easier to modify than the mounting brackets on the floor of your van.
I have seen quite frequently VW T5’s especially where the owner has bought a swivel base which bolts straight to your existing floor mounts and then they have drilled holes in the base where the replacement seats can bolt to.
Keep in mind however that this is also best done by a professional as bases are tested to M1 specification and drilling holes in some parts could void this if it affects the integrity of the metal.
Using a swivel base makes it easier to put your van back to standard if you every decide to change it back.