Introduction: Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon Extended Cab Rear Seat Removal and Cargo Storage
The rear seats in the second generation Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon Extended Cab are not useful for anyone over the age of 7. But it is great space for cargo. Unfortunately, GM did not offer a back seat delete option. But you can easily (very easily) remove the seats and even reinstall them in the future with this cargo conversion plan.
This procedure is based on the 2015 Chevy Colorado Extended Cab LT.
Step 1: Remove Seat Bases
No parts are damaged in this procedure. The parts can be reinstalled to restore the truck to its original configuration.
- Remove 18 mm bolts located on each side of the seats that anchor the seat and the seat belts. There are rubber covers on some of the bolts.
- Remove the center seat belts and the seats.
- Replace all the bolts, securing the shoulder strap belts with the two outer bolts.
Do not remove:
- Metal child seat anchor points at the back of the seat. Also leave the rubber boots. These anchor points are great for bungie cords.
- Plastic base and tire-change tool storage under the seats
- Four round, rubber bumper feet
- Shoulder belts: You can use these to secure cargo!
Replace the seat belt anchor bolts in exposed holes to seal the cab. What better place to store them?
The following site has detailed instructions for removing the seats. Just remember to stop before removing the plastic storage bins under the seats.
Step 2: Remove Seat Backs
- Remove the two black screws at the bottom of each seat back.
- Lift the seat back up and off of the hooks that keep the top attached.
- Replace the screws to seal the exposed holes.
Step 3: Remove Head-restraint System
- Remove the two square plastic collars where the head restraint posts are inserted. Use a small screw driver to pop them off.
- Unbolt the three bolts on each head-restraint system and remove the assembly.
- Put the bolts back in the holes to save them for later.
Step 4: Clean Slate
With the necessary parts removed, you can now build a cargo platform and hook system for grocery bags.
If you remove the seat base, you will find the floor of the truck is not flat at all. So it seems better to use this irregular space for accessory storage, and to build a flat platform at a more accessible height.
Step 5: Materials for Cargo Platform
- Half-inch thick Baltic birch or similar plywood. It must be flat and stiff. I got the Baltic birch from Rockler Woodworking.
- Matching automotive carpet is available on-line. I just used indoor/outdoor carpet from Home Depot.
- Compatible carpet adhesive, again from Home Depot.
- Some 3/4" stock for the platform walls and back supports. I used poplar. It can be anything including plywood.
As you can see, this is very inexpensive.
Step 6: Create the Plywood Platforms
Cut the passenger-side and driver-side platforms as shown in the pictures. You can remove the car jack cover from the truck, and trace it to help.
I purposely decided to do a 55/45 split for the platform. It makes the pieces more manageable and it allows you to access the storage under one side while still having cargo on top of the other. As a result, the noted dimensions leave space between the panels for the carpet to wrap over the edges. Keep that in mind if you choose to make one large panel.
These are the dimensions that worked in my 2015 Colorado. I actually made a prototype out of cheap scrap plywood first. You could also use cardboard, just to confirm the fit. But you should be able to use these dimensions and just tweak for a great fit.
Step 7: Drill Recess Holes for the Seat Bumpers
Using a 1-1/8" paddle bit (or Forstner bit if you have a drill press), create 1/4" recesses to receive the original rubber seat bumpers.
This is a very important design element: The platforms register on these bumpers. It aligns them for proper fit, and keeps them in place so they do not move. The more weight that is on top of the platforms, the more locked in they are.
Step 8: Make the Side-walls and Back-supports
Using some 3/4" stock, create the four side-walls and two back-supports.
The two back supports are 17" x 1-1/4" high. With 1/2" plywood, 1/4" recess for the bumpers, 1-1/4" basically levels the platform.
The side walls are 1-1/8" high, which seemed a good height to keep cans, caulking tubes and other round things from rolling over them. It seemed high enough to keep boxes and luggage in-place without getting in the way. You can make them as high as you wish.
Step 9: Attach the Side-walls
- Attach two side-walls flush to the sides of each platform using glue and screws.
- Glue and screw the corners together for increased strength.
Step 10: Attach the Back-supports
Center the back support on the underside of each panel. It can be flush with the clearance notches for the child seat anchors.
Step 11: Sand and Round-over the Edges
Carefully do a test fit in your truck, being careful to not to damage your seats or plastic trim with the sharp corners of the wood.
After doing a test fit in your truck and making any adjustments, sand and ease all the edges. Use hand-sanding and a 1/8" round-over bit in an router, etc., to ease the edges. This ensures that you don't scratch your truck and that the carpet can be folded over these edges more easily.
It is not necessary to sand the surface of the wood. You will be covering it with carpet, and rough is actually better for adhesion.
Step 12: Cover in Carpet
Before covering the platforms in carpet, you may wish to paint any exposed areas black, like I did.
To ensure all the edges are covered (to protect the truck from scratches and to prevent the carpet form peeling off), apply the carpet over all the edges, as opposed to stopping at an edge.
I covered the bottom to make them comfortable to use, and for the added sound suppression.
I wrapped one large piece over the top and bottom. Then used another piece to wrap the walls. Two pieces total for each platform.
- Rough cut a piece of carpet that has enough material to wrap the surface, and has one square corner and straight edge to get to started in the corner of the walls.
- Glue one section at a time and wait for it to dry. Use clamps and blocks of wood to hold the carpet in place while drying. Eventually, I also used a staple gun to hold the carpet in place, and then removed the staples later. After a section is dry, cut the tabs and shapes required for the next section. I did this over a couple of days.
- Cut slots in the carpet to allow the carpet to slip around the metal child seat anchors.
- Remove the carpet covering the recessed holes for the rubber bumpers.
- Add a rubber foot to support the larger driver side platform toward the middle.
Step 13: Materials for the Hook System
The hook system came about as a way to cover the ugly opening left where the seat-backs used to be. But the reality is, without it, shopping bags fly everywhere. The hooks are placed at two levels: A lower level that works with shorter plastic grocery bags, and a higher level that works with reusable bags.
8 1/4" x 20 Clothesline hooks
8 1/4" x 20 nuts
8 1/4" x 20 barbed threaded inserts
6 Drywall screws #6 x 1-1/4" or 1-5/8" (use your judgement for fit)
Half-inch thick Baltic birch plywood for the backboards and support brackets you will make.
Step 14: Wood Supports
- Cut a rectangle of 1/2" plywood 11" x 7-1/4".
- Add a threaded insert about 3/4" from each corner. Follow the instructions from the insert manufacturer.
- Create a top support bracket by gluing together a 6" and 9-1/8" piece of 1/2" thick plywood that are 1-1/2" wide. See picture.
- Dill loose-fit holes in the longer piece to receive the original head-restraint assembly mounting bolts. The holes are centered 3/4" from each edge.
- Create a small block of plywood for the bottom support: 1/2" thick x 1-1/2" x ~ 2" high. Drill a loose fit hole for the bolt and a ~3/16" deep countersink for the bolt head and washer.
- Using the three original head-restraint mounting bolts, attach the two wooden supports you made. These will receive the drywall screws required to mount the rectangular piece with the hooks.
Step 15: Fit the Hook Backboard to the Truck
- Taper the top edges on the backside of the hook backboard. Using a belt sander on low speed works best. Dry fit the backboard until it fits flat and stable over the hole.
- Locate and drill slip-fit pilot holes for three drywall screws to anchor the backboard to the wooden supports you added.
- Cover the backboard with a durable fabric or carpet. A thin polyester is best. I just stretched some fabric over the front and stapled it to the back. No glue.
- Poke holes in the fabric for the threaded inserts and the holes for the screws.
Step 16: Attach the Backboard
Put three drywall screws thru the pre-drilled holes, to attach the backboard as shown, up against the plastic paneling at the top. Use an electric driver. Be careful not to twist and tear the fabric as the screw head seats.
Step 17: Cut the Clothesline Hooks to Length
- Put a nut all the way up the threads of the clothesline hooks BEFORE you cut the threads. Backing this nut off later will help repair the damage to the threads caused by the cut.
- Add other nuts as required to support the hook when you clamp it or put it in a vice to hold it securely for the cut.
- If required, open the mouth of hooks a bit more to easily accept bag handles, by bending them. Use leverage. For example, slide a closed-end wrench over the end of the hook and pry.
- Use a rotary cut-toff tool or a hack saw to cut the threads down to about 1". Make all the hooks as similar in length as possible for a nice look.
- Remove the nuts to clean up the threads. This ensure that the hooks will thread in to the inserts easily.
- Put one nut back on, and mount the hooks on the board.
- Lock the hook in place with the nut. Finger tight is fine, then you can remove these easily without tools, if required.
- (Optional) Buy some black rubber dip and dip the hooks for a nice look and to reduce rattles from metal hooks on straps you may use with these. I have some black nuts I will also use.
Step 18: Add Cargo and Enjoy the Space
You can use bungee cords, straps, ropes, and even the remaining shoulder straps to secure your cargo.
Attach the seat belts to each other, across your cargo, with a metal clip or heavy wire. Pull the seat belts all the way out to engage the ratchet mechanism, then feed the belts back in until tight.
You can stack luggage up to the rear window height and secure it with bungee cords across the hooks.
And don't forget, the hooks can be removed by hand if they are in the way.