Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 11-06-2017, 12:33 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 4
Chevy Express -- Folding 3rd row bench seat?

I have a 2003 Chevy Express AWD. It has a Sportsmobile pop top which is pretty sweet, but I would like to add a sleeping area below. This is a passenger van, with removable 2nd and 3rd row bench seats, carpeted floor, etc.

Building a platform behind the third row bench would be easy, but the distance between windows is 6í1Ē, and I am 6í so when sleeping perpendicular to direction of travel, or at an angle itís not ideal... but itís what I will live with if I canít find a better solution.

Wondering if anyone has figured out a way to safely modify the existing third row bench seat so as to make it fold forward or back so I can sleep parallel to direction of travel?

Also open to:
- a seat that fits into the factory rails and folds forward or back?
- a folding seat that can be mounted to existing base?

Keeping in mind that I want to retain seat belts.

Any other suggestions?
__________________

Roca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-06-2017, 02:16 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
carringb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Corvallis, OR
Posts: 3,805
Astro vans had seats that flipped forward, giving a flat surface. Not sure if the bases are the same, but all van seats have structural steel somewhere in them, so all you need is a welder and a grinder to make it work.
__________________

__________________
2000 E350 extended wagon dually
V10 w/ Banks Powerpack, Diablo Predator
Buckstop Outback bumper/grill guard
Reunel rear bumper
carringb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2017, 12:05 PM   #3
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 4
Success!


The only person to respond here planted the seed. I picked up a used Astro van folding bench seat that almost matches my third row seat for my chevy express. The floor seat mounts did not match, but on both seats there is a bracket on each side that connects the seat part of the seat to the back part of the seat. The Express bracket is fixed, while the Astrovan bracket has the hinge mechanism, but the bolting pattern is identical. Removing the size 50 Torx bolts on the lower part of the brackets (two on each side), I was able to swap out the seat backs and retain the astro van hinge mechanism....and I now have a folding third row seat! All of the seat belts -- including middle lap belt -- are attached to the lower part of the seat so no worries there.

I initially just wanted to swap out the brackets, but the express seat back cushion would have to be cut and repaired to accommodate for the astrovan hinge mechanism.

This would NOT work with the second row bench seat as the middle seat belt has a shoulder belt and some kind of steel bar supporting it in the back.
Roca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2017, 12:23 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
carringb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Corvallis, OR
Posts: 3,805
Glad it worked so well! I wouldn't have guessed you could just swap the whole back over.
__________________
2000 E350 extended wagon dually
V10 w/ Banks Powerpack, Diablo Predator
Buckstop Outback bumper/grill guard
Reunel rear bumper
carringb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2018, 03:11 PM   #5
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 3
I was psyched to stumble upon this thread- I too have a Chevy Express van that needs to have an additional folding passenger seat.

I thought I would chime in since I have some other helpful info to add- For my particular layout I needed the folding seat to be in the 2nd row position, but I soon discovered that the pedestals for the 3rd row seats will not feet into the floor brackets for the 2nd row. But....it turns out that the bolt pattern to attach the pedestals is the same for all seats, so I was able to attach the 2nd row pedestals to a 3rd row seat.

Now I'm haunting craigslist waiting for a good condition (and cheap) gray astro seat to popup so I can finish this little project.
borretta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2018, 04:19 PM   #6
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 1
This is exactly what Iíve been considering. I had already pulled the hinges off a Dodge minivan, and was in the process of trying to frame them up. But if the Entire back of an Astro seat can be mounted, that would also solve the issue of headrests for the kiddos... bonus!

A few questions.
1. Were The Astro and Express the same model year?
2. Did you use third row benches from both vehicles? (Itís amazing that they would be the same width, but super helpful.)

You have no idea how excited I am about this prospect...
Oregonic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2018, 11:19 PM   #7
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregonic View Post
This is exactly what Iíve been considering. I had already pulled the hinges off a Dodge minivan, and was in the process of trying to frame them up. But if the Entire back of an Astro seat can be mounted, that would also solve the issue of headrests for the kiddos... bonus!

A few questions.
1. Were The Astro and Express the same model year?
2. Did you use third row benches from both vehicles? (Itís amazing that they would be the same width, but super helpful.)

You have no idea how excited I am about this prospect...
Yup, it works out pretty great, the only real hassle is rounding up all the various seats you need to frankenstein it all together.

1. Nope, my Express is a 2008, the 3rd row "bench" part of the seat was from (I think) a 2007 Express, the 2nd row pedestals were from a "mystery year" Express seat I found on the side of the road, and the Astro/Safari seat back was from I think a 1997. Thats the nice thing about these chevy vans, they have kept essentially the same interior design and dimensions for 20 years. I think the only ones you have to avoid are the newer model Express vans that started the "split" 3rd row bench seat requiring 4 pedestal mounts.

2. The Astro/Safari seat I pulled out was from the middle position in the van, I thought about grabbing the rearmost benchseat (since they appeared to have identical dimensions), but I was trying to limit my exposure to all the sharp stuff piled in there (the van was a rusty husk at a pick and pull junkyard....)

Oh, and bonus info since I've gotten everything assembled and installed: For pure aesthetic value, I was trying to find a grey Astro seat to match the Express bench, but because all the grey Astro seats in the junkyard were repulsively dirty, I ended up with a red seat. After installing the red Astro back onto the Express bench, I realized the foam and cover dimensions for both seatbacks were almost identical, so I just swapped them- it's not an exact fit, but all for all intents and purposes, it looks identical to the original complete Express seat- my girlfriend had no idea I modded the seat until I folded it down. My final step will be poking 4 holes in the cover for the headrests and I can pop them in as needed.

This really is a great hack, the one major bummer for homemade camper vans is trading the (safe) seating for bed/table space- I was mulling over other much more expensive and complicated options before I stumbled on this thread. It's so much easier and safer to be able to use all the pre-existing seat mounts and seat belts.
borretta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2018, 05:50 PM   #8
Junior Member
 
wantahertzdonut's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Irvine, CA
Posts: 27
Do you have any pictures of the installation? I'm working on a way to convert my second row seat into a folding bed and I'd like to see if the Astro parts would work for what I have in mind. I have a 2010 Express.
wantahertzdonut is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2018, 12:22 AM   #9
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 3
I don't have any installation step-by-step pics unfortunately..I think I was too excited during the process to find out it all actually worked like I hoped to think about documenting anything.

My guess is you'll be fine marrying the 2010 Express bench parts to virtually any year of the Astro bench seats- The Astro seats I think never went through a design change and the Express seats never changed until just the 17/18 models. I took some quick measurements, but mostly just gambled on if they would fit or not- Astro seats are dirt cheap (I think I paid $30 at a junkyard), so the risk is low to give it a try. The most time consuming part was getting the damn bolts off those seats- to detach the pedestals I ended up ubolting a wrench to a 6 foot 2x4 for leverage.

I did take a few pics once the van was finished (see below). As I mentioned previously, I transferred the foam and cover of the seat back onto the Astro frame, so apart from the red head rests (which I'll replace eventually), it looks like an original express seat

[IMG] [/IMG]
borretta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2018, 11:33 PM   #10
Junior Member
 
wantahertzdonut's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Irvine, CA
Posts: 27
Your pics answered my question, I was only interested in the end result. I acquired an immaculate Astro seat out of a pick-a-part yard (van was relatively recent and had covers over all the seats, they looked brand new underneath!) however now that I see your application I realize it won't work for me. I don't have room for other surfaces to be stowed since I often carry a motorcycle and need something I can sleep in at the racetrack, so a bunch of popup tables won't fit.



I misread your original post and thought you devised a method to fold the seat backwards and flat. BUT you may have given me a new idea. What is the blue material that makes your bed surface, and is that enough to sleep comfortably on by itself? I'm thinking about attaching a platform on the back of the folding seat that flips both forwards and backwards for a sleeping surface, but want everything to be self contained.



Thanks for the idea!
__________________

wantahertzdonut is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sportsmobile SIP or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:35 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.