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4th Row Seat Discussions

  #1  
Old 01-03-2012, 03:04 PM
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Exclamation 4th Row Seat Discussions

I have seen a few posts recently about a 4th row seat for the Excursion. Apparently a company is marketing a 4th row seat for SUVs. The site makes vague claims to safety and uses a major US auto club as supporting their product.

I did a little research and after the shady statements made, I feel I need to post about this to give folks a 'reality check' on the claims made. I removed their name since I personally don't want anyone being suckered in by them.

Of course folks look at these seats for added seating, usually for kids. The company knows that so their first 'faq' question is "Are [company name] third and fourth seats safe?"

Their answer:
"Yes. Our first seat was designed for my grandchildren, so safety was my number one concern. Once we decided to market SUV 3rd seats we knew safety would be everyone's primary concern; that is why they would consider buying a seat instead of just having their children sitting on the floor of the cargo area. After some research we learned, to our surprise, that there are no requirements that we do any safety testing in order to market our seats. Although we know how strong our seats and mounting systems are —whether you buy a cloth or a leather SUV seat—we proceeded to do safety testing to ensure that they meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

An independent evaluation was completed by the California State Automobile Association (AAA of Northern California) after we requested advertising space in their monthly magazine.

At the time of this writing we have sold in excess of 14,000 seats and have not heard of a single incident in which one of our seats has failed. We have had several customers call to thank us for the safety of our seats after they had been involved in accidents in which the seat had kept their children safe."

If your antenna aren't yet twitching, let's look closer at their statements.

"After some research we learned, to our surprise, that there are no requirements that we do any safety testing in order to market our seats. Although we know how strong our seats and mounting systems are —whether you buy a cloth or a leather SUV seat—we proceeded to do safety testing to ensure that they meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards."

It's true that no safety testing is required to market the seats, because those additions are supposed to be DOT approved. The DOT approval process will ensure the product is safe to use in a vehicle (i.e. DOT approved headlights, etc.). They make no mention of what tests they performed, did the seats actually pass their tests, or if the tests were approved by any kind of federal/DOT standard, let alone if the seats are DOT approved. "We proceeded to do safety testing" isn't the same as passing a test, let alone a DOT approved test.

"An independent evaluation was completed by the California State Automobile Association (AAA of Northern California) after we requested advertising space in their monthly magazine."

I contacted the AAA of Northern California to ask for a copy of the evaluation. This was their response:
"Thank you so much for your email.

Some time ago, we sent "[company name]" a cease and desist order to remove the verbiage from their website. AAA in no way endorses their product. We will continue to pursue legal options.

We really appreciate your concern.

Best,

Anne McSilver
Editor, VIA magazine
AAA.com/via"

...a "a cease and desist order"!! So, did the company lie about AAA conducting the review, or was the result of the review negative? This was a suspect statement as soon as you read it - if there was a review, why not link to it?

Finally,

"At the time of this writing we have sold in excess of 14,000 seats and have not heard of a single incident in which one of our seats has failed. We have had several customers call to thank us for the safety of our seats after they had been involved in accidents in which the seat had kept their children safe."

I'm sure Ford Motor Company has not heard of every suspected fire from the cruise control switch issue they had a while back. Not hearing about it doesn't mean it didn't happen. Also, look at the satement closely..."one of our seats has failed".

The company claims the seats can be put on by the owner, and furthermore claims you don't have to remove the gas tank to do so. Think about the rear of an Excursion...the tank is directly below where you need to mount the seat. That part of the floorboard is not hardened like the mount points of the first, second and third row seats. This means you are 'bolting' the seats to thin sheet metal. The seat can stay in one piece but rip out of the floor and the company still gets to claim "the seat didn't fail".

Add to all of this that the rear doors of the Excursion are fibgerglass. Picutre a 4th row seating facing the rear with 2 kids in it, then imagine a rear-end accident by a large truck (semi, dump truck - even a pickup lifted higher than our Excursions)...childred would suffer massive injury in that kind of scenario.

I hope this sheds some light on this discussion - aside from shady advertising and false claims - and remind folks that just because something isn't illegal, doesn't make it a smart thing to do. I'm sure this isn't the only company pulling this kind of trick, but THIS company is playing with the safety of our children. I've seen enough accidents to know this company is putting our kdis at risk. Let's keep our little ones safe!
 
  #2  
Old 01-10-2019, 12:06 AM
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I've got a 4th row seat in my 2004 Excursion. It looks very similar to the other 3 rows. So it seats 11. I believe it was made by an outfit in Fort Worth, Texas. Since I bought the vehicle used, and it already had the rear-facing seat, I can only guess as to the details surrounding it except to say that it works well, can be removed, and has 3 lapbelts. I can post pictures if anyone is interested.
 
  #3  
Old 01-10-2019, 09:03 AM
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There is absolute zero chance that I would ever let anyone I care about ride in an aftermarket seat. ZERO CHANCE. You can't just bolt a seat to the body and call it good. There is a reason why DOT testing specifications are so stringent. Occupant seating has to be engineered into the vehicle from the beginning.

Robert's post is a clinic in how to think critically. Well done sir.
 
  #4  
Old 01-10-2019, 10:43 AM
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Hmmm, I’ve raced many diffrent kinds and class of cars and trucks and one of the first changes made is removing the OEM seats and installing a aftermarket seat for additional safety. While you can’t just bolt a seat in ***** nilly you can follow some basic design and engineering guidelines and install an aftermarket seat that meets or exceeds NHTSA mounting specs as found in 49 CFR 571.210 with further requirements typically found in race sanction rule books or the seat manufacture.

in general the use aftermarket adult seats is the same idea as using child car seats for kids under 50 pounds for additional saftey is based around providing a better fit which can restrict unwanted movement movement.

Obviousy OEM seats get crash tested but they are made to fit the widest possibly demographic and sizes, having crashed many race cars And walked away from high speed triple barrel rolls on several occasions I cringe at the though of being rag dolled in a similar crash in a OEM seat and belt. In my mind OEM is the bare minimum of safety with the aftermarket providing highly elevated safety. In both seat and restraint options.
 
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Old 01-10-2019, 10:47 AM
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To the point of mounting and Robs post, I built mounts for my bucket second row seat and it was fairly difficult to get to the underbody in the area to reienforcment the body.......no way no how can you build a proper mount for a 4th row without removing the gas tank.
 
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:46 PM
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If I recall from past discussion here, those fourth row seats mount via the screws for the factory cargo rings. That's what I'm recalling and for once I hope that I'm wrong.
abovetec can you provide those pictures to help illustrate how the seat that came in your EX is mounted?
 
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Old 01-12-2019, 06:48 PM
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Cool 4th Row Seats: Not Evil Incarnate

This is a strange thread. There's a lot of hot air about how 4th row aftermarket seats are essentially criminal and dangerous when they are neither. First off, I think most of you have been inside a motorcoach, either a Class A or Class C and noticed that there is a direct path for the passenger(s) to amble about in the rear of the vehicle, sans seatbelts, in the full glory and view of the public. Kids are sleeping in the bunks, family members are making lunch, and the occasional driver puts his vehicle on cruise control and hands over the driving duties to a partner while he uses the can. We all know that school buses have no seatbelts, and there are plenty of reasons why they don't. But saying all of that purposely up front, I will offer you now exquisite pictures of the professionally installed 4th row seat in my Excursion.

It has 3 seatbelts, bolted into the cab. The quick-disconnecting seat (takes 15 minutes) is on steel rails that are fastened with bolts through the cab. I think there is some reinforcing there, but if not, there's large washers. I know this because I modified it slightly to make the seats easier to remove. When I bought the Ex, it had no floor liners, so I bought one and custom cut it around the seat hardware. That necessitated a different length of bolts, but it was just a matter of getting the right length in grade 8. Oh, now I remember that I needed to invert the bolts so that the nuts were on the top instead of the bottom or vice versa (forget exactly). The fuel tank must not be in the way, because I was able to access the bolts way back in 2009 when I bought it. The result is that this seat is safe and very effective. Smaller kids primarily use the seat, as the leg room is non-existent. But hey, my Excursion seats 11 people and it tows 12,000 lbs of fun.

In the first picture, you might see that we added a small fan from Wal-Mart to give some air to the rear passengers on warm days. I hope that helps, WE3ZS



2004 Ford Excursion with Pueblo Gold exterior, matching 4th row seat

Seating for 3 in the 4th row seat of the Excursion, faces rear

4th row matching the folding height and color of the 3rd row. Also notice no legroom here.

This lever folds the seat down easily... easier than the 3rd row seat

seatbelts are bolted


Llebroc, Fort Worth, Texas


These quick disconnects are a bit hard to reach. I cut the floor liner around them and modified the bolts a little on this truck.
 

Last edited by abovetec; 01-12-2019 at 06:56 PM. Reason: pinged WE3ZS
  #8  
Old 01-12-2019, 07:25 PM
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Thanks for the pictures, it looks better than the other one I had seen and was thinking about.
There was another one posted here a few years back that if I recall correctly did use the cargo ring mounts and had questionable seatbelt mounting, I think it may have been a little wider. May have been a "Little Seat" branded unit, not sure though.......... Your setup does look better than what I remembered from the other one.
 
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Old 01-12-2019, 07:43 PM
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Seats safe? Have you seen the headrest and height of the 3rd row already? And the second row for that matter. Those kind of freak me out already as they are too low and will not provide sufficient/any protection for the neck in a rear end collision.

My colleague friend is involved in Automotive accident reconstruction/liability and the stories he tells are crazy. For example, one of the big guys did not want to reinforce the seat back (or headrest, I forget which), in their newer models of a specific line, even though they knew it would help protect the occupants, as this would somehow leave them open to lawsuits where this would prove that the older seats were insufficiently strong.

Having said all that, everything is relative. I would rather be in cheap seats in an Ex, than be in the back of a well engineered econo-box. .Or have you seen the factory DOT approved optional rear facing seats in a Tesla, my Kids would not be allowed in those. I am not ripping Tesla, just those seats.

Oh and BTW, I lived through a childhood of sleeping in the back of a station wagon, unbuckled. So did all of my friends. My kids would go in the back too if was not concerned about the legality in our goofy world.

Have fun, be smart. Just my two cents.
 
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Old 01-12-2019, 09:56 PM
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When I was looking for an Ex, I ran across two that had the 4th row seat. I was intrigued enough to give them a quick look, but didn't see a reason to give up the cargo room for extra seating I would probably never need.

If i remember correctly they both looked just like the third row seat, flush from quarter panel to quarter panel and sat three (kids, no adult or teenager was going to fit)

(edit) Although if you travel with dogs and use the leash/seatbelt that locks into the cars seat belt... might now be bad for that. I actually have some and use them for our two pups, and the thought hit me about that as I hit the post button.

One was rear facing, seat backs for 3rd/4th row was basically touching. While the other was front facing and pretty flush to the rear hatch. Just thought I would share that info, wish I would have taken pics now.
 
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