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When it’s time to replace the seats on your aging forklift, most of the time you will know it.
Usually, you can see when seats are ready to be replaced. They may be torn, broken, or have exposed springs or stuffing.
But you also can feel when it’s time to get new replacement seats for your forklift. Sitting in the forklift cabin will be uncomfortable, even painful, after just a short while.
Bad for Business
Driving a forklift with a broken or damaged seat can be challenging. It can even reduce productivity: Operators who are uncomfortable can’t work as long without breaks. Plus, they can’t focus as well on the task at hand when they are worried about the pain in their rear end!
Picking out a new forklift replacement seat isn’t as straightforward as many forklift owners think. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as opening up a catalog or a web page and pointing to the first replacement seat that catches your eye.
Bolt Patterns Matter
Forklift seats are not universal. In other words, you can’t easily put just any forklift replacement seat into your existing forklift. The bolt patterns must match up.
The bolt pattern on a forklift seat describes how the bolts line up where the seat attaches to the forklift. For example, some forklifts have an 11″ X 11″ X 13-3/8th” bolt pattern, while others may have an 8″ X 11-1/2″ bolt pattern, and so on.
The forklift replacement seat you choose usually needs to have the same bolt pattern as your forklift.
Identifying Your Bolt Pattern
The first thing you need to do before shopping for a replacement seat is to find your forklift’s bolt pattern. There are a few simple ways to do this.
First, check your forklift’s owner’s manual. The bolt pattern should be listed on the page describing the dimensions of the forklift seat.
If you can’t find or don’t have your owner’s manual, try going to the website of the company that manufactured your vehicle. In many cases, owners manuals for the models they make are available for free download.
Another way to find your bolt pattern is to look at the bottom of the seat itself, or underneath the seat on the forklift frame. Many manufacturers will install a metal plate or a sticker that gives the dimensions of the seat, including the bolt pattern measurements.
If none of these simple ways work, you can always get the bolt pattern the old-fashioned way: Measure it with a tape measure.
The Problem with Adapter Plates
While there are adapter plates you can use to fit a forklift seat to a forklift with a different bolt pattern, this is often not ideal because these plates will increase the weight of your forklift, add to the cost of the seat replacement, and take more time and effort to do the switch-out.
Plus, forklift replacement seats that weren’t designed for your particular forklift but are connected via an adapter plate tend to be less comfortable, less durable, and more likely to break sooner. Because they weren’t engineered for your vehicle, they put unexpected stresses where they don’t belong, leading to earlier breakdowns and faster wear.