1) How does it work?
The kit essentially "rocks" the rear seat assembly backwards approximately 2 inches (measured at headrest) by introducing the smaller spacers between three(3) of the six(6) main mounting points. Once the seat is "rocked" back, the four(4) front legs are lifted off the floor. The four(4) larger spacers fill in the space between the leg base and floor so the angle between the lower and upper seat sections remains the same as from the factory (and why the spacers are of different sizes). This also allows the seat to fold up and down as normal from the factory.
2) Why not more recline?
It would be great to get more recline to further improve comfort. However, it comes down to one word, SAFETY. As mentioned above, the spacers have been optimized to provide the maximum amount of recline angle without modifications or unnecessary stress to the factory components. In order to get more recline modifications would be required to the factory brackets, more stress would be induced to the factory brackets, and/or bolt engagement would be reduced at three(3) of the six(6) main anchor points. Innovative JK Products believes these are unnecessary safety risks.
3) Does the rear seat have to be completely removed to install the kit?
No: The kit is installed with the seat in place. Once the four(4) bolts on each of the four(4) legs of the lower seat section are removed (allowing the lower seat section to be raised) access is easy to three(3) of the main mounting points of the rear seat where the recline is introduced. The three smaller spacers are placed between the floor and bracket of the forward mounting point of those three(3) brackets. This is what provides the recline. The four(4) larger spacers then go under the four(4) legs of the lower seat section to fill in the gap as a result of the seat being reclined. The ratio of the amount of recline to how much the legs are lifted is not 1:1 which is why the spacers are of different thicknesses.
4) How difficult in the installation?
The installation is very straight forward and the instructions are very detailed with clear color photos. The hardest part of the installation is getting the factory bolts loose. All the bolts use a 18mm socket. 1/2" drive is recommended along with a breaker bar (at a minimum). If you have access to an impact wrench, even better, it makes getting the bolts loose a simple task.
5) Can the rear seat be adjusted back to factory recline after installation?
No: Recline is fixed once installed (non-adjustable). The kit would have to be removed to return to the factory recline.
6) What is a SEM bolt?
A SEM bolt is a bolt with a captive washer. In this Jeep application the factory bolt used for all the seat anchor points is a SEM bolt with a captive locking conical washer. The supplied new SEM bolts duplicate all the features of the factory bolt for strength and safety.
7) Why an Industrial Polymer and not Aluminum or Steel?
Industrial polymers are becoming more and more popular as alternatives to metals for cost, ease of manufacture, durability, and strength (especially in compression applications such as this one). Our early designs of the kit included aluminum and steel. We quickly moved away from steel for cost reasons, the fact coating was absolutely necessary, and weight. Aluminum is ok, but provides no real benefit when considering all aspects of the application. Additionally, using engineering stress analysis software we found that polymers provided a slight reduction in stress to the factory brackets (where the recline is introduced) compared to aluminum and steel. So when we considered aspects such as material performance in compression, stress to factory components, durability, strength, chemical and corrosion resistance, and a factory look industrial polymers came out on top.