July 6, 2020

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Driver's Seat Flip

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Explorer98
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Driver's Seat Flip

Post by Explorer98 » Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:31 am

Hey guys,

I'm in the UK and recently acquired my second Astro after many years without. It's a '98 2WD LT passenger van but it's the Japanese export model. Not sure what difference that makes other than a metric dash, emissions and the rear bumper (which is a BIG bonus here in the UK as it's so easy to add a rear fog light).

I haven't had it long and I'd already like to shoot the previous owner! He's really mistreated it and it was SOOO dirty - it took me a week of cleaning (and I mean 8 - 9 hours/day!) to get it anything like acceptable. He really should have had a panel van with vinyl seats and nothing more!!

Anyway, I noticed something I consider strange during the deep cleaning process;

My van has the luxury touring seat option (six buckets, all recliners, electric driver etc) but I noticed low down on the back of the driver's seat, there's a square button which - when operated - let's the seat back flip forwards as you might find in a 2-door/coupe etc.

What's the point of this in an Astro? It's not mentioned in the manual so I'm extra-curious! If it was on the one next to the slide door, I'd get it because that way, access to the rears would be way better but it isn't - it's on the driver's seat so neither use nor ornament!

I did wonder about swapping the seat backs but of course the fronts have the adjustable lumbar support and the slide-door seat has the high-level seatbelt guide so basically, all four individual seats are quite unique (even the front passenger isn't electric!).

Anyone else met this or can shed any light on the purpose - or did someone in the factory just make a mistake in assembly?

Love to know!
'98 Astro LT, Japanese Export model now with me in the UK. Thus begins the restoration......!

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Re: Driver's Seat Flip

Post by Herbie » Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:18 pm

Huh. Weird.

I checked both your 1998 and my 2003 owners manual. Both mention a fold-forward latch for "Non Touring Bench Seats" under the Front-Seat section (1-4), but neither talk about it on the bucket seats, etc.

I've also looked at some of the marketing material, etc. without a clue:
https://www.gmheritagecenter.com/docs/g ... ro-Van.pdf
You're right, it's a little weird.
"My minivan is cooler than your bro-truck"
2003 Astro AWD Astrolander/ZMB - GTRV Top Transplant, 4" OLV Lift, NP233 T-case, evolving interior
1995 Safari GTRV Organ donor - gutted and gone.
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Re: Driver's Seat Flip

Post by timelessbeing » Fri Sep 04, 2020 5:06 am

could it have been swapped with one of the rear seats?

Explorer98
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Re: Driver's Seat Flip

Post by Explorer98 » Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:26 am

No - they're all slightly different; driver is electric, has lumbar and recliner on the right side of the base, front passenger is manual, has lumbar and recliner on the left side and also has the 'guzunder' (slide-out storage box).

Left centre has just a recliner lever on the right side base, right centre has the recliner on the left side base plus the big seat belt guide on the right hand shoulder and they ALL have the Velcro pads for the optional child restraint guides in the right places.

It's almost like the driver's seat back should be on a different base in a different place BUT the obvious (as I mentioned earlier) would be by the slide door but then it wouldn't have the high-level seat belt guide.

The driver's seat is the only one with this little guy.

Stranger and stranger......!

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'98 Astro LT, Japanese Export model now with me in the UK. Thus begins the restoration......!

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Re: Driver's Seat Flip

Post by Herbie » Fri Sep 04, 2020 4:39 pm

The worst part about this mystery is that now I wish MY driver's seat had this.

I agree it'd be less useful for most folks, but since I have the pop-top, folding the driver's seat would make it convenient to help climb up into the upper bunk...
"My minivan is cooler than your bro-truck"
2003 Astro AWD Astrolander/ZMB - GTRV Top Transplant, 4" OLV Lift, NP233 T-case, evolving interior
1995 Safari GTRV Organ donor - gutted and gone.
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Re: Driver's Seat Flip

Post by Astrophysics » Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:10 am

Hi Herbie,

I installed bucket seats into my 2003 Astro that do fold forward flat. These seats were from a 2008 or so Olds Silhouette mini van . They were actually in the place were 1 row bench seat would be. The passenger front fold flat easily. To fold the drivers side flat, I do need to temporarily remove the head rest which would hit steering wheel. The Olds mini van and Chevy Venture and Pontiac mini van had the option for golf flay=t bucket seats kinda like mini captains seats instead of bench seat. Yes, they also recline.
I made an adapter plate from 1/4" aluminum since the slide mount rail bolt pattern on OEM Astro differs a bit.

AP
I will try to take photo.
Other excellent fold flat bucket seats can be taken from Middle row 7 passenger Volvo XC90. These are fabulous leather seats. Good orthopedics, but they do not recline.

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