As my rig's capabilities and my willingness to push them grow, I have been making it a point to add safety items to my JK build in stages. I figured that it was finally time for good seats and 5-point harnesses. I went down to my local 4WP to test out the seats on display. I decided that I really liked the Baja RS reclining suspension seats do to the comfort and utility they offer (and the ability to get in and out of the seat easily). I found that the Corbeau and the Mastercraft models felt the same as far as comfort was concerned, but the Corbeau seats looked much nicer IMO (I thought the Mastercraft fabric looked kind of cheezy). The Corbeaus were also a couple hundred cheaper. Once again, I learn that you get what you pay for.
I installed the seats on Saturday with the factory seatbelts (my harness bar and Crow harnesses wont be ready till next week). On Sunday night I went on a run with my local club. It was the first day wheeling with my new seats.
While climbing over a boulder, my right rear tire slipped off and the back half of my jeep fell into a 4' deep rut. When the rear of the jeep slammed down, the reclining mechanisms on both front seats failed and Mr & Mrs Desert Dog found ourselves thrown back looking up at the stars. I was able to play with the driver's seat and get it to lock upright, but the passenger seat was toast. We had to put jackets and gear behind the seat to prop it up enough so Mrs Desert Dog could sit sort of upright on the ride home.
If we had been in a collision or roll-over with these seats, they would have killed us. I don't think you can chalk this up to being a "freak incident" when it happens to both seats. Upon doing research on these seats today on jeepforum and MJR, I found that this same thing has happened to other people using these exact same seats while wheeling hard. I should have done my homework before I bought, but maybe someone will read this and think twice. IMHO, the factory seats are way safer than these.
The manager at 4WP feels bad and is giving me a full refund and cutting me a discount on the Mastercrafts. The Corbeau seats look way better than the Mastercrafts, but i'd rather live in ugly seats than die in pretty ones.
Short vid of busted passenger seat;
YouTube - VID00797