- July 27, 2023
- Reaction score
- City, State
- Toronto, ontario
- Year, Model & Trim Level
- 2018 explorer xlt awd 3.5
I was wondering if its possible to take the rear seats off of the bar that bolts them in and then reinstall the bar to maintain structural integrity without having to switch it with the cross member from a interceptor? Has anyone done this?EDIT (03/20): In the process of re-re-uploading photos thanks to TinyURL going under. Since there is apparently a 10-image limit, the original post will have to be broken up in to three parts to accommodate the original 30 photos.
At the moment, the 2nd & 3rd posts are on the second page of this thread since I had to create them to add the pictures. They may not be able to get put back in sequence since there were other replies after the original thread was created, but at least all the pictures are back!
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There is a thread here from a while back that shows the removal of the 3rd row, but I wanted to expand on that and include the install of the "Police Package" (and fleet vehicle?) parts to convert the rear cargo area to a "trunk". With the new floor, this adds a bunch of extra storage underneath, which is a real bonus. If your vehicle has the manual fold 3rd row (like my '14 Sport), this is easy, and in my book, necessary. I can't comment on how much additional work would be involved if you have the power-fold seats, but I'm guessing it just entails removing some extra wiring.
The other thread shows the removal of the interior panels and third row, as well as the installation of the cross-brace that is a substitute for the seats and required for the rear crash rating of the vehicle (the brace is originally sourced from the Lincoln MKT):
Removing 3rd Row Seats & Installing Cross Brace (<------Link)
Without re-hashing that too much, I knew I wanted to remove the heavy third row so I could add the storage space while still having the ability to haul things on a flat load floor. The downside to this is the cost of the parts: everything new from Ford (Levittown, Tousley, & Tasca will have the best prices) is going to be almost $1,200 - plus shipping. Fortunately, I found a relatively new Police Utility that got wrecked and bought most of the parts for less than half.
Parts list (with Tasca prices) - current as of 4/18:
Cross brace: DB5Z-7810780-A ($204)
Support, front: DB5Z-78310B17-A ($190)
Support, L: DB5Z-78310B16-B ($85)
Support, R: DB5Z-78310B16-A ($85)
Floor panel, front: DB5Z-7813046-BA ($287)
Floor panel, rear: DB5Z-7813046-CA ($317)
Bolts, front panel (2): W710150-S436 ($5 ea)
Access cover, L: DB5Z-78312A29-BA ($7)
Access cover, R: DB5Z-78312A28-BA ($6)
For starters, here is my freshly painted brace (they are bare and will rust, so paint or powder-coating is recommended):
View attachment 179325
The side supports (all of which are made from styrofoam):
View attachment 179326
The front support, which tucks in behind the second row seats and allows the front floor panel to bolt on to it (it had a slight notch cut out of it from the original PD for whatever reason, but it's hidden and not noticable when the panels are over it):
View attachment 179327
Anyway, removing the seats starts with unbolting the forward brackets/hinges that support the front floor panels when the seats are stowed. The panels are easy to lift up exposing the four 13mm nuts and the brackets themselves. Also removed are the two "U" supports that lock the seat in the upright position (shown on each side). The four bolts that hold them in (under that section of carpet) have a 10mm hex, and one of the holes is re-used for the long bolts that will hold the new forward floor panel in place.
View attachment 179328
You'll also need to unbolt the forward seat belt brace that is under those access covers where the main bolts are. This is the right side as an example:
View attachment 179329
Here is the Ford diagram that shows where the seat belt assembly (right side as well) bolts in at both ends of the seat "hinge":
View attachment 179330
Once that is done, the interior panels need to be popped out and leaned inward so the four large bolts can be removed that hold the seat assembly (15mm hex). That thread listed at the top covers the removal of all the interior trim, but it's pretty simple. The rear seat weighs close to 100#, so I was glad to haul it out. Kind of a drag pulling parts off a new Explorer with just 2,000 miles, but it was for a good cause.
I also took out the rear seat belt mechanisms which required removal of the upper trim panels in each corner (one small bolt each plus the normal clips). There are four T-50 Torx bolts that have to come out (two each side), and for the right side, the subwoofer also needs to be taken out temporarily to access the lower Torx bolt.
Here is the left side with the mechanism removed and the lower Torx bolt threaded back in so it wont' get lost:
View attachment 179331
Similar for the right, except the subwoofer is back in place (three 10mm hex bolts and one electrical connector -real easy):
View attachment 179332
Once that stuff was out, I used some spray adhesive with some black trunk-liner material to cover the holes in the trim panel that would be left from the rear seat belts. The black liner was scored at a local car audio shop, but there are probably plenty of options with other colors as well. With the police version, the slots are just left open, but I wanted them covered. This is the view from the back:
View attachment 179333
One of the panels back in place showing how the seat belt slot is now filled:
View attachment 179334
Cont. (<---- Hyperlink to Part 2 on next page)