Isuzu Rodeo headrest to backrest mod - with pics - Suzuki Burgman Forum
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-04-2008, 08:53 AM Thread Starter
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Isuzu Rodeo headrest to backrest mod - with pics

So I've had my 08 650 for about two months now and I realized I needed a backrest. I'm 6'4" and removed the buttrest to gain more legroom, which is what I had to do on my Honda Reflex. On my Reflex I had purchased a bracket that converted the buttrest into a backrest and I was generally pleased with it so I wanted the same comfort on the Burgman.

I had just decided on a Jac Vinson backrest and was going to order one this week. But then I read the threads about using an Isuzu Rodeo headrest as a backrest, so I figured I'd give it a shot and save some big $$. I picked up a pair of headrest for $15 from a local junkyard and got to work. I bought a pair of headrests just in case I made any mistakes, which was a great idea as it turned out.

Step 1.
Get a filthy Isuzu Rodeo headrest from a junkyard. Mine were from a 1998 Rodeo.



Step 2.
You'll need to find a way to bend the headrest bars. Using your hands is not an option. I do have a workbench vise, but it's really only for holding things in place or for light bending. The vice would rip out of my MDF benchtop if I exerted all the leverage needed to bend these bars. I have 4x4s framed with rebar driven through them around my shed to keep the gravel in the shed area. So I just drilled two holes a little larger than the diameter of the headrest bars into on of the 4x4s. This method also had the benefit of bending both bars at once and at the same exact angle.



Step 3.

Insert the headrest down to the desired depth into the newly drilled holes. Stay about at least a 1/2" below the 2nd notch that is in one of the bars (circled in red). If you bend at, or too close to, this notch then the steel will rip. It still seemed very strong, but since the bar strength was compromised I just used my extra headrest instead. I made sure to stay 1/2" below the notch and it was fine.





Step 4.

Now push, and push hard to get those bars bent. I finished bending the bars in the push up position using all my weight and leverage to complete the bend.



Step 5.

Clean the junkyard filth off the headrest! Dawn and a sponge in the kitchen sink worked fine.



Step 6.

Get two lengths of 1/2 copper pipe. I'll update this post with the exact lengths. But I just fully inserted the pipe into the buttrest holes and marked where I needed to cut with a sharpie. Look under the seat to make sure the pipe is going all the way to the back.



Step 7.

I guess I forgot to take a pic showing only the copper pipe in the buttrest holes. But this pic shows the copper pipe sections already inserted into the buttrest holes. The backrest has now been insert into the copper pipe. The fit should be fairly snug. Note: after painting the headrest I will wrap the headrest posts with electrical tape so make the fit a little more snug and have more grip. I'll then drill a small hole into the tubing where I can insert a bolt or screw to tighten against each post as well.



Step 8.

Begin painting the headrest. Skip this step if you were lucky enough to find a Rodeo with a black interior. I used a spray paint for exterior plastics and I'll see how it holds up.




I'm currently waiting for the 2nd coat of paint to dry and should be completed with the painting by tomorrow evening. I'll cover the exposed ends of copper pipe and headrest bars with black plastic wire loom I have. I'll get the rest of the pics up as I complete those steps. I'll also take a pic of the buttrest adjustment area with the copper pipes too.

I did go for a few mile ride prior to painting so I could make any adjustments. Wow! I didn't lose any legroom at all and I now had excellent lower lumbar support for long rides.

Rick
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-04-2008, 11:54 AM
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Re: Isuzu Rodeo headrest to backrest mod - with pics

Nice job and I really like the pics. I recently did the same mod using an Isuzu Amigo head rest, and like you, ended up cracking the head rest post on one side where the adjustment notch is. I'm still using the head rest, though. I've thought about taking it to a local welding shop I deal with and asking them if they can reinforce that side of the head rest with a small spot of weld. I'm not sure if the metal these things are made of is weldable, or not. Do you happen to know? In any case, the post is holding up fine so far. Incidentally, I started out by using copper pipe and then happened to find a small length of spare pvc pipe that by luck had the same outside diameter as the OEM butt rest tubes and thicker walls than the copper so the head rest posts fit into it snuggly with no need for black tape.

Gary

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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-04-2008, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Isuzu Rodeo headrest to backrest mod - with pics

No idea if the crack in the headrest post is able to be welded either. I thought of that when it happened, but just don't know. But anyway, it still seemed very strong as I was putting my weight fully back when sitting against it. But since I had another headrest I just used that one.

I do have PVC pipe that should be 1/2" OD. I'll take a look and give it a shot tonight because that smaller inside diameter should do the trick like you mentioned.

How long have you been using yours now?

Rick
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-04-2008, 02:30 PM
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Re: Isuzu Rodeo headrest to backrest mod - with pics

Only about a week now. I really like the way I can use it to feel more connected to the bike since we don't have a tank to hang on to. I thought I'd get more leg room (I'm 6'2"), but it almost feels like I've got a little less which doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. I may have been leaning back over the old butt rest without knowing it which gave the illusion of more leg room. In any case, it's not a problem so far.

Now, if I could just figure out how to make the seat work a little better for me. It's too wide as it goes back toward the back rest, and doesn't "cup" enough where I sit. If the seat "horn" were a little higher to create more of a saddle effect, that would be great. As it is, I tend to slide forward a bit. It's not a huge deal, either, but maybe I'll fool with it someday. I don't want to sit any lower. Some folks here on the forum have peeled back the seat cover and carved on the foam with an electric bread knife. That might work for the width problem toward the back of the driver's seat, but not for the saddle effect I'm looking for. That would require adding more foam, not taking it off. I'm not sure how the seat cover would fit if one starts fooling with the foam.

Gary

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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 09:45 AM
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Re: Isuzu Rodeo headrest to backrest mod - with pics

You get the saddle effect by scooping the foam out where you want to sit. It's less than you think, so make the hollow too small to start with, then set the seat on the bike and test sit it to see how much more to remove. Gluing foam back on the seat is a pain. It should be flat or slightly hollow side to side to give proper support across the seat and prevent a foam wedgie. Leave the horn untouched and it will cradle you like a mother with her first-born.
Also, when you reapply the seat cover, start at the middle and work toward the front and you should be able to slide the staples back in the original holes. Good light and a set of fine pliers are important here.

Claude
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-09-2008, 11:53 AM
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Re: Isuzu Rodeo headrest to backrest mod - with pics

Claude,

Thanks for the help. I just might tackle doing this. Does the factory glue down the seat cover. If so, how do you pull back the cover without messing up the foam? Also, what kind of glue do you use to glue the cover back down? Did you also try to make the sides of the seat back where you sit a little narrower, or did you just do the "scooping" mod? I've been concerned that if I take off very much foam (not so much from the top of the seat but from the side) that the seat cover wouldn't fit right anymore.

Thanks.

Gary

Clearview XL, gray tint, w/vent
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-29-2008, 09:14 AM
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Re: Isuzu Rodeo headrest to backrest mod - with pics

I didn't find any glue when I peeled the seat. It would interfere with stretching the cover, I guess.
The cover fits okay as far as I can tell. It looks fine to me. You can shave the sides of the seat for easier access to the ground, but not where you sit unless you like uneven pressure points. Just cut away right in front of you. If you're close to flatfoot already, the lower seat might be enough anyway.

Claude
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-19-2008, 07:26 PM
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Re: Isuzu Rodeo headrest to backrest mod - with pics

I just did mine today. Went to the parts yard and found as many as 6 compatible head rests from Isuzu Rodeos, and a Honda. Just bought 1 plus a "spare" though. Same part #'s for the Isuzus and the Honda SUV. Drilled the holes in a 6x6 and bent the posts of the head rest. Had some copper tubing (1/2 inch laying around- measured and cut to size. Made my own modification to this mod by applying 3/8" black vinyl tubing to the posts. This makes the fit into the copper tube shims very snug and more non-slip. It also covers up the the metal posts and gives it a more finished look. I replaced the screws with new ones to lock the copper tubes in place. I've decided to add some black wire looming over the vinyl covered back rest tubes. First coats of paint are on the cleaned up former head- rest. Pics are below. I'll post some "finished" pics when I'm done. My Thanks to pomc, kuhnsmith, and especially Mmmburrrger.






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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-20-2008, 04:18 PM
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Re: Isuzu Rodeo headrest to backrest mod - with pics

Pics of completed backrest:





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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 01-22-2009, 01:36 PM
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Re: Isuzu Rodeo headrest to backrest mod - with pics

I just got mine made up several weeks ago. What a difference, I now have leg room. I used 1/2" pvc waterpipe instead of copper tubing for the inserts and wrapped the headrest posts with electral tape for snugness then used the wire loom for finish. I have 5 more of these and will sell them already bent with all parts ready to install. If anyone is interested PM me.
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File Type: jpg Isuzu backrest 001.jpg (101.3 KB, 6920 views)

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