Project Trail Bronco: MasterCraft Performance Seat Install

Feb. 24, 2011 By Jaime Hernandez

We’re kicking off Project Trail Bronco with one of the most important pieces of equipment—seats.  You can upgrade axles, tires and gears, but if that seat is old, hard or too soft, you’re not going to be a happy camper after a day on the trail.

The early Ford Bronco left a lot to be desired for seats. They are small and don’t have much in the form of head support. Even though our Bronco’s tan bucket seats look warm and comfy, they’re actually old and saggy. It was time for a new place to park it.
We decided to replace our old Bronco seats with MasterCraft Safety Performance Seats.

MasterCraft Safety has been making off-road seats since the early ‘70s. Based in Santee, California, the company is always looking at ways to perfect and evolve its seats and safety equipment with the sport. Owner Robby Pierce is a big supporter of the off-road industry and personally tests his product in the elite SCORE Trophy Truck class.

Although MasterCraft owner Robbie Pierce likes to go fast, you’ll find him on the trails crawling along in his ultra-cool Jeep JK in places like Moab, UT.

MasterCraft Safety Performance seats are made from mild steel tubing (.065 wall HREW 1010), and these rugged seats are precision formed and MIG welded to make one of the toughest seat in the dirt.

The seat’s one-piece suspension liner is made of nylon-coated Phifertex mesh to give it a unique ride.

MasterCraft seats also feature high-quality polyurethane foam of different thickness and density to create a body-hugging shape and feel. The attachment points for the liner are double lapped, grommeted and attached to the frame with mil-spec nylon cord. We like that.

The MasterCraft Rubicon bench seat is made in the USA by a team of highly skilled craftsman.

The MasterCraft suspension seat is finished off with high-quality Naugahyde vinyl upholstery and Marquesa Lana Fabric center inserts. If you’re into custom, then MasterCraft offers a large selection of upholstery colors to compliment your rig’s interior or your persona.

When we were ready to get our new seats, we contacted MasterCraft Safety, and Vanessa Sherman was very helpful with answering our Bronco seat questions and getting our order placed. We went back and forth on style, size and upholstery options, and she was able to help us find the right seats for Project Trail Bronco.

Shown is an optional headrest that allows height adjustment. The 5-point restraint system slots and shoulder belt loops are integrated into the upholstery and are standard on every seat. They can be used with a MasterCraft 5-point harness for added safety.We ordered the following MasterCraft Performance Seats:

MasterCraft Sportsman
Driver/Passenger Seats
• Black Vinyl
• Black Inside
• Grey Outside
• Baja Stitching
• Adjustable Headrest

Early Bronco (1966-1977) Seat Brackets

MasterCraft Rubicon Bench Seat
• 40 in. wide
• Black Vinyl
• Black Inside
• Grey Outside
• Baja Stitching
• Adjustable Headrest

About two weeks after placing our order we got a call that our seats were ready. We are always amazed at the quality craftsmanship and materials MasterCraft uses on their seats. They were beautiful, a true work of art. The touch and feel is amazing. We couldn’t wait to get those old buckets out and get these new seats in.

The following tools are required to install MasterCraft Performance Seats on an early Ford Bronco.

• Measuring Tape
• Power Drill with ¼ inch metal drill bit
• ¾ SAE socket and ratchet
• ¾ SAE wrench
• Krylon black paint for touch-up of floor (optional)

We only had to remove the factory front bucket seats. Our Bronco didn’t come with a rear bench.  This demolition took less than 30 minutes.

Since we had our tub open, we took the opportunity to freshen up the floor by spraying on some new paint. Rhino Liner would have been nice, but first we needed to get our seats installed.

We laid out the seat brackets specifically made by MasterCraft for early Ford Broncos. There is a left and right side bracket. The passenger side has a peg leg with a tab. 

Ford Bronco brackets from MasterCraft make seat installation a breeze. These bolt up to your Bronco using the factory floor (1966-1977). They also slide back/forward to make seat adjustment possible.

The driver-side seat bracket is held down by four bolts, two front and two rear. We used a 1/4-inch drill bit and went to work. All the necessary bolts, nuts and hardware are included with the brackets.

The passenger-side bracket is distinguished by a peg leg with tab. There are a total of four bolts holding down this seat bracket.

After both seat brackets are fastened, adding the MasterCraft Sportsman seats is quick and easy.  There’s a total of four bolts per seat.
The anchor points feature powder-coated tabs that are part of the bench frame. We used 1/4-inch Grade 5 bolts to fasten our MasterCraft Rubicon bench seat. A total of five bolts hold it down to the floor.

Before drilling any holes in the floor, we considered different mounting locations. The MasterCraft Rubicon bench already comes with three mounting tabs that sit flush on the floor (two front, one rear). To fasten the seat we only needed to drill some holes on the Bronco and add five 1/4-inch bolts.

The overall installation was very straightforward.  It took less than two hours to measure, position, drill holes and fasten the MasterCraft Sportsman and Rubicon bench seats to Project Trail Bronco.

Project Trail Bronco equipped with MasterCraft Sportsman Performance Seats in the front, and MasterCraft Rubicon bench in the rear. 

We can tell you first hand that MasterCraft Performance Seats are far superior to the factory seats, especially for off-road use. Sitting in them you feel like they conform to your body and give a secure fit. We know from previous experience that they hold up really well and provide a great ride and support both on and off road.

The MasterCraft bench seat fits perfect, looks great, and most importantly adds safety to our trail rig.

We plan on adding a MasterCraft five-point harness in the future, but for now we will live with lap belts for recreational wheelin’. One thing is for sure, after adding the MasterCraft bench seat the interior of our Ford Bronco looks 100 percent better.   

If you’re looking for the ultimate off-road performance seat for your 4x4, give MasterCraft Safety a call. They will take care of you and will gladly find the right fit for your off-road vehicle. A full line of suspension seats and safety equipment is also available from MasterCraft Safety products.


MasterCraft Safety
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