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Open Roads Forum  >  Public Lands, Boondocking and Dry Camping

 > Vehicle shopping: Large SUV with removable rear seats?

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Randy0781

Indiana

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Posted: 07/05/19 12:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi, everyone. I'm in the market for an older used full-size SUV (think Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon, Excursion class) that will work for both my everyday driving needs and for solo boondocking in remote public lands. My main question: Is there a model that has 2nd and 3rd row seats designed to be easily removed?

I know most SUVs have seats that fold flat, but that's not good enough. I always ride alone and these seats will never be used; they're just dead weight and taking up valuable cargo space. I want to pull the 2nd and 3rd row seats completely (hopefully, without major surgery involving sawing or torch cutting) and have a relatively flat floor left behind where I can put a single-wide mattress on one side and a locking cabinet for my gear on the other side.

I'm aware that there are vans which work this way, but I've rejected the idea of van ownership. Few vans, if any, are going to have the 4WD and ground clearance I need on the remote backcountry "roads" I explore, which are deeply rutted and high centered. Subarus can get around out there, but they're far too small inside.

Please keep in mind that I'm shopping for an older used vehicle…under $15K. Any year will do, but I'd prefer something modern enough to have anti-lock brakes, air bags, and an easy availability of repair parts.

So, is there a large SUV that has fully removable 2nd and 3rd row seats? If nothing has seats that are designed to be easily removed, then I guess I'll have get the vehicle I like best and cut the seats out the hard way.

Thanks for your help!

Randy

hornet28

Muskegon

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Posted: 07/05/19 12:51pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I don't know about the newer Suburbans, the last one I had was a 95 and the third row seat came out while the second row folded flat. That made an area for a mattress





Lwiddis

Los Angeles area :(

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Posted: 07/05/19 12:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Horet, I can't remove the third row seat in my 2015 Tahoe. Don't like it! In my 2001 and 2007 the third row seat was removable.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watts solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL pole for flags. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560)


K Charles

Connecticut

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Posted: 07/05/19 01:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My excursion 2nd seat folds flat and the 3rd seat come out.





opnspaces

San Diego Ca

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Posted: 07/05/19 02:21pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My 96 Suburban the third row comes out and the 2nd folds flat. At 6'5" I can stretch out and be comfortable. But because of the wheel wells there is only 49 inches across in the rear but it is wider just behind the drivers seat.


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GordonThree

Northern Michigan

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Posted: 07/05/19 03:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not sure if the cabin interior is similar to the truck, as they claim to share the same chassis, but I had a late 90s pickup that I unbolted the rear "split bench" seats, and bolted in a piece of 3/4" ply to give me a large flat space for "whatever".

Might want to visit a used car lot and poke around with a flashlight, I would wager the seats un-bolt. Having them welded in makes no sense from a manufacturing perspective.

You will have foot wells, the transmission / drive shaft tunnel and possible rear wheel wells "in the way" when you remove the seats, it won't be a nice flat floor.


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DrewE

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Posted: 07/05/19 04:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A couple of thoughts...

It sounds to me like you're basically describing a pickup truck with a cap or a truck camper. The main drawback vs. an SUV for what you describe is that you can't (easily) get from the cab to the back without going around outside; but you can easily get ground clearance, four wheel drive, a flat bed area, and all the other goodies you're looking for.

Vans, while rarely four wheel drive, do generally have fairly decent ground clearance--I think at least equal to that of a Subaru (albeit on a longer and wider chassis, so less maneuvarable and possibly less capable in that regard). I wouldn't write them off without at least doing a cursory check to see if they actually might be usable. Maybe you've done that already, and if so, please disregard this suggestion.





Tiger4x4RV

Inland Empire, Southern California

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Posted: 07/05/19 05:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Go to YouTube and search for "living in a chevy suburban". There are several videos of DIY vehicles similar to what you describe. Also a number of minivans done that way.


2006 Tiger CX 4x4, 8.1 L gas V-8, Allison 6-speed


Home Skillet

Pearland Texas

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Posted: 07/05/19 06:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Expedition EL 3rd row folds flat, no need to manhandle a 200lb seat to remove it.

[image]


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KD4UPL

Swoope, VA

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Posted: 07/05/19 06:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Suburban and Tahoe 3rd row sears remove with no tools and have handles and little roller wheels to help move them.

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