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Removable Rear Captains Chair with Hidden Mount
#1
I've been thinking about my van build, and I would really like to have a removable 3rd seat incorporated into the design. I've done a bit of research, and as far as I can tell, there seems to be little to no precedent for a removable seat that leaves the the floor level when removed (no extruding brackets / mounts). I've drawn up a rough concept of a seat that would seat into rails mounted within a shallow "door" inside of the sub floor. The door can be finished with the same vinyl panels I'll be using for the rest of the floor. The end result would look similar to a floor mounted "control" panel you would see in something like a boat or stage floor.

The main issues and questions I have are in regards to insulation and legality.

1) Do I need to have the seat rails directly bolted into the chassis of the vehicle for the seat to be legal?

2) How can I incorporate this design while still properly insulating the floor? I'm thinking of maybe of raising the floor up on a 1x2 frame on top of polyiso to get the height I need to do this build. I plan on having a 24-30" high top installed and I'm only 5'10" so the inch or two I'd lose on the floor is not a big deal to me if the gain would be not constantly tripping over seat brackets / having them ruin the look of the van's interior.


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#2
if the seat is not meant for and never used for passengers there is no law forbidding anything. where do you want to put this seat? highdesertranger
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#3
Why do you feel you need such a large removable panel? If I were tackling this, I'd probably weld in a set of four mounting points with a female thread to accept a bolt. These would get insulation around them and sit flush with your finished floor and be able to accept a strong bolt to retain the seat. You could recess them too, if you want the ability to insulate when the seat isn't in place. There would just be four little "plugs" to cap nicely with some insulating material. True, it takes more time to undo four bolts than some fancy latching system, but it's dead simple to design and install. Most fixed factory seating is mounted in this way and could be re-purposed for such. If this is a seat to be occupied while in motion, add similar mounting points to anchor seat belt hardware.

I can't comment on the legality, and I don't think many here would with any authority. What I can guess is that as long as you use hardware and reinforcing points that appear as strong as the original factory design, no one's going to question it. Make sure to spread the load very well if your anchor points are in areas of thin sheet metal. Strong channels and thick reinforcement plates are the key here.

Maybe look at how seats are installed in custom drag racing cars and other sorts of custom creations. I'm sure there are lots of videos detailing the builds.
What doesn't kill me makes me smarter
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#4
The seat will absolutely be for using while driving. Why else would I go through all the trouble of bolting it in place? Ideally I can find a seat with an integrated seat belt.

I don't know how to weld, have no equipment to do so, and have not the slightest clue where to go to get something like that done. I'm not totally opposed to having a few small holes exposed because I will probably be putting a throw rug down, but I haven't seen any seats that bolt down. All the seats I've seen use brackets or rails or large mounting plates.
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#5
This thread may be helpful: http://forum.expeditionportal.com/thread...enna+seats

     I believe Sportsmobile also offers a removable captain seat as an option.  I don't know if they will sell the parts for DIY though.
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#6
One good reason to bolt it down, other than for passengers while driving, is so that it doesn't become a projectile and kill you in the case of a wreck/accident.

A quick look at the seats in the link you sent gives me the impression that they're very expensive.  If you had the motivation, it wouldn't be hard to find someone with a welder in their garage and the skill to use it for a lot less money than buying the seat and associated hardware.  If you want to do things yourself inexpensively, you need to have a wide range of skills and equipment, or plenty of external resources offering the same.  Sometimes both.  If money isn't an obstacle, find yourself someone who's into vehicle customization and just pay them to do a good job.

If, like most people, money is a limiting factor, I'd suggest looking at wrecking yards as a source of seats.  Go to one where you can remove things yourself so you can scout out different models that suit your needs.  When you find a setup that works, call around to a few different yards and see if you can find the newest possible vehicle with that seat - maybe even in your preferred colour.  You might even tell the guys at the wrecking yard what you want to do and they'll certainly have welding equipment and a guy or two willing to make a few bucks on the side to help you with the modification.  To build on that idea, you might even find a quick-latch system built into a vehicle's floor that could be cut out and welded or bolted into your van and used as is.
What doesn't kill me makes me smarter
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