Vanagon – 2015 Dodge Caravan town and country second row seats

Addendum April 10, 2016. Drivers seat installed today. Simpler install, four bolts welded to stock swivel plate, 1×2″ steel box section fits onto those bolts, box section bolted to Chrysler seat. Pics at the end of the post. Oh, btw, sitting in the drivers seat is a big improvement over the stock seats. I’m 6-2, I still have a finger width or two head room to ceiling, and for some reason due to the seat adjustment or whatever, I get a much better view of the speedo and tach than I do in my van. This alone makes me want to have the seats in my van.

Addendum April 13, 2016. Some more pics taken by Simon of seats in his van, added at bottom of post.

Addendum June 14, 2016. Added some pics of the aluminum rails I made to mount the passenger side seat.

Quick post, I hope to show more details later. Adapted one of a pair of seats to fit on stock seat slider. There is a samba thread about this seat and the pioneer (link ) only used the Caravan slider mechanism in the install. Good fried Simon liked what he saw in the thread and bought a pair of seats and had the necessity of being able to move the passenger seat more, ie incorporate the stock sliders. With both sliders in action you can get a good range of fore and aft movement.

I just finished making the adapter and doing test fit in my van. The seat is more comfy than the stock seat. And it’s leather,  and has heating elements ( connecting the heaters is a chore yet to be enjoyed).

   
    
   

  
  

  

   
   

Here are some shots of the aluminum rails I made to allow stock seat sliders to be used. Note, the aluminum stock was left over scrap, the single holes in the vertical face have nothing to do with the install.

Laying on the stock sliders ( sliders salvaged from a spare seat, a couple of bars laid in the recesses just to show where the Chrysler seat rails will fit. I don’t have any more pics right now of the completed assembly including the slider release mechanism made to allow the stock slider rails to move ( the Chrysler seats have integral slider mechanism. Having the stock one too was really just to secure the stock rails). I’ll try to remember to get pics.


The longitudinal bars sitting in place. They have yet to be drilled to match the Chrysler seat bolts.

  1. #1 by Kevin Gilleran on April 8, 2016 - 7:09 pm

    Alistair,
    I am trying to determine the level of skill needed to do this conversion? I am your average home repairer/mechanic. I don’t have a welder though. Do you think that I can do this without welding or is that a prerequisite? The seats looks great.
    Thanks.
    Kevin

    • #2 by albell on April 8, 2016 - 8:46 pm

      Hi Kevin,

      Well I can’t really answer your question. Here’s why. The passenger side seat install, the only one I have done so far, was a bit different than what was shown in the samba link.

      Simon was worried that the Chrysler seat fore and aft movement would not be enough to allow the seat to clear his centre console. His console is fixed to the floor, it contained his propex heater.

      So we made the decision to use a set of spare tracks I had lying around. I’ll see about getting more pics of this but in short the tracks were trimmed to remove the part that connects to the seat back, and I made three aluminum connecting bars that span the tracks ( or I guess they are better called rails) and the new seat is bolted to those bars.

      So far no welding, just some milling and hole drilling.

      But the tricky part was making some sort of catch on the rails/tracks to mimic the stock vw set up. I ended up doing a little bit of welding to make that from 1/4″ stainless rod.

      You might see the stainless rod at the front of the seat in one of the pics. Looks like a bar across the front.

      So you can press that bar and have the seat slide on the stock vw rails and lock into position. And you can also use the Chrysler sliding system, another bar at the front, to allow the seat to slide too.

      This combo did allow enough seat movement to let it clear the console.

      Oh and one more thing an out this approach. The location of the 3 pairs of bolts on the Chrysler seat. The distance between the front and the rear pair was just about the same distance as the length of the vw rails. So that meant I had to weld on a little extension to the vw rails to allow me to drill a hole .

      I know this all is very confusing without pics. I’ll try and get pics of the underside of the seat this weekend.

      And I know how it can be frustrating not having tools to do the job. I’m fortunate having access to metal working tools and quite often I take it for granted.

      More pics to come, and the drivers seat install is yet to be done. I’m thinking of a different approach for that.

      Cheers

      Alistair

  2. #3 by Tim on April 11, 2016 - 8:02 am

    Looks really nice! How much did the seats cost?

    • #4 by albell on April 11, 2016 - 8:04 am

      Hi Tim

      I think Simon paid 300 for the pair. Seems like a deal. Oh, and was an eBay find.

      Alistair

  3. #5 by Chris August on April 11, 2016 - 8:38 pm

    Shooftie I’ve been following for awhile. All your posts are great.
    After a run from Vernon to Palm Springs ,(Indians Wells tennis tourney ), my wife and I really would like a better seats.Post as much info and pictures as possible
    I work at a VW shop Afforardable Auto Repair in Vernon.
    All travellers are welcome we will help as best as we can.
    Grew up in Port Alberni , you gotta try the interior for a trip, email me or call

    • #6 by albell on April 11, 2016 - 9:01 pm

      Hi Chris,

      Been to Vernon many times, from the 70s right thru the noughts. Lots of summer trips in my old 82 Westy through the interior. I have to say the area sure is changing do fast isn’t it?

      I’ll get some pics of the undersides of the seat install. And I’ll get some feedback from Simon as to how comfortable the seats are on long trips.

      Cheers

      Alistair

      • #7 by Chris August on April 12, 2016 - 8:16 am

        Thanks
        Your design looks lower , and tidy.I have access to welder etc .
        At a mere 6’1″ I want head room also
        Peace Chris

      • #8 by albell on April 12, 2016 - 9:04 am

        Chris

        I’ll try and get pics of both seats undersides. Or maybe I’ll make a sketch. I don’t know why I didn’t take pics during the build. I’m getting old and forgetful πŸ™‚

        Alistair

        >

  4. #9 by Ben Callaway on May 17, 2016 - 4:03 pm

    Any chance you’ve been able to snap more pics of the non swivel installtion?

    Thanks!

    • #10 by albell on May 17, 2016 - 7:21 pm

      Hi Ben,

      Not yet, but I have Simons van all next week. I’ll take pics then.

      Alistair

  5. #11 by Tyce Ferwerda on June 14, 2016 - 6:52 am

    Thanks for the posts. I just found out about these seats a few days ago…I see you used 2015 seats…In 2011 Chrysler started the “Swivel N Go” Seats…Is that what your are? Or does it matter since the swivel portion is attached more to the floor assembly? Any feedback would be great. I just want to make sure I get the right ones. I have access to 2015 seats for 75 ea…

    • #12 by albell on June 14, 2016 - 9:23 pm

      Hi,

      The seats were new, unused, 2015. We’re not sent with any of the sto and go mechanism. No indication or provision for swivelling.

      I apologize that I haven’t up loaded any more pics of the undersides of the seats. I’m trying to get pics, really πŸ™‚

      Alistair

      • #13 by Tyce Ferwerda on June 15, 2016 - 6:09 am

        Thanks for the quick reply. I will be seeing a pair soon…but based on your reply it appears that the swivel mechanism is separate from the base…Cool. The pair Im looking at are black leather out of a 2015

      • #14 by albell on June 15, 2016 - 7:13 am

        Hi,

        Yup, there was no hint at all of any swivel mechanism. There was a cut cable still attached to the seat, but I think that was for the stowing function. It’s really quite straightforward to make what ever adapter you need to mount them. I liked using spare vw seat rails in the adapter. It didn’t raise the seat any amount at all, and there are holes in the vw seat rails that pretty well line up for cross beams at the right spacing to receive the Chrysler seats.

        Shoot, one glaring omission. I did have to cut the vw seat rails a bit, the seat back hinge is welded to the rails so out came the Zip disk and off with those. The hinge is welded to the rails and dies increase the rail thickness at that point even when trimmed down. So you have to account for that when you cut the cross braces, ie make the rebate about 1/8″ deeper.

        It’s really obvious when you see it.

        Cheers and good luck

        Ab

        >

  6. #15 by Tyce Ferwerda on June 15, 2016 - 6:11 am

    By the way… they are going in a Bay Window Bus..(I have 4) .so the application will probably be a little easier (?) than a Vanagon

    • #16 by albell on June 15, 2016 - 7:14 am

      Oh maybe, or maybe not πŸ™‚

      Ab

      >

  7. #17 by Frank Pival on June 15, 2016 - 10:24 am

    Looking forward to seeing some pictures…I have the seats and donor Vanagon bases…thanks

  8. #18 by albert ferre i gisbert on July 7, 2016 - 8:29 am

    Cangratulations, tank you, my Vanagon in Spain:

    http://alcasabricos-alcasa.blogspot.com.es/?view=flipcard

    • #19 by albell on July 7, 2016 - 9:22 am

      Hi,

      You’re most welcome. I’m heading over to your website now.

      Cheers

      Alistair

  1. Texas Busfest 2016 – kpcnsk

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