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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone knows how to remove the 1/3 rear folding backrest? If folded down the middle rear seat is not usable and to carry skis and 2 kids in the back this is my only option (unless I can find a way to hack the armrest and cut a pass through).
 

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Not sure about that, but you might be able to carry the skis outside the vehicle. I think they make ski racks that mount on a rear hatch or trunk lid. Roof top is also an option, but might impact fuel efficiency more.
 

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Anyone knows how to remove the 1/3 rear folding backrest? If folded down the middle rear seat is not usable and to carry skis and 2 kids in the back this is my only option (unless I can find a way to hack the armrest and cut a pass through).
You need an SUV ;)

Seriously, carrying skis outside the car is always a better option. Check Yakima or Thule for mounting options.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I agree but I don't want to spend money on inefficient outside solution when there is room inside. This is a major flaw in the design. Gen1 has the gap between the seats. For Gen2 if you fold the 1/3 backrest suddenly a 5 seater becomes a 3 seater. The design fix is a pass-through behind the armrest or the possibility to fold down the center piece of the backrest like the BMW X1. So probably the workaround is to remove the 1/3 backrest.
 

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... This is a major flaw in the design. Gen1 has the gap between the seats. For Gen2 if you fold the 1/3 backrest suddenly a 5 seater becomes a 3 seater. The design fix is a pass-through behind the armrest or the possibility to fold down the center piece of the backrest like the BMW X1. So probably the workaround is to remove the 1/3 backrest.
Well...to be fair, this is a major design flaw only for people who want to transport skis and two rear seat passengers at the same time in a compact car. I don't think that is a super common use case.
 

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I agree but I don't want to spend money on inefficient outside solution when there is room inside. This is a major flaw in the design. Gen1 has the gap between the seats. For Gen2 if you fold the 1/3 backrest suddenly a 5 seater becomes a 3 seater. The design fix is a pass-through behind the armrest or the possibility to fold down the center piece of the backrest like the BMW X1. So probably the workaround is to remove the 1/3 backrest.
I already own one but I don't want to drive the 5000lbs gas-guzzler for this if there is plenty of room in the car as we carry only the ski gear for the day trip.
You are asking the Volt to do things it simply wasn't designed to do. You could cut a hole in the back of the fold down armrest too, or other crazy ideas. But this car is not a ski hauler like your SUV is. For a day trip, the gas on a Suburban is still not significant.
 

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I agree but I don't want to spend money on inefficient outside solution when there is room inside. This is a major flaw in the design. Gen1 has the gap between the seats. For Gen2 if you fold the 1/3 backrest suddenly a 5 seater becomes a 3 seater. The design fix is a pass-through behind the armrest or the possibility to fold down the center piece of the backrest like the BMW X1. So probably the workaround is to remove the 1/3 backrest.
I'd say the solution is to cut as small of a hole as humanly possible to allow your skis through in the backrest with the armrest down, and to fabricate some sort of a panel to fit in there. However, I don't know how the seats are constructed, and you may compromise the rigidity of the entire seat by doing this. Which may be why it was not done from the factory in the first place.

I'd say the other solution is to preserve the interior of your car and just bite the bullet and mount them on the roof for these occasional trips. Despite modestly increased drag, you're still going to be much, much more efficient than an SUV.

If you knew of the need for a pass through when you bought the car, you should have looked at a Gen 1 or a Prime or a different car. GM got slammed for making the Gen 1 a four-seater, despite the fact that most people buying a compact car rarely use all 5 seats. They (kind of) fixed this in Gen 2 and now you're calling their inability to meet your very specific use case a "design flaw".

If the decision not to include a pass through in the Volt was "a major flaw in the design", it is one shared by 90%+ of compact SUVs and hatchbacks on the road. Carrying larger cargo requires compromises in the number of passengers you can carry. This is nothing new and nothing unique to the Volt.

I did some brief research on several similar sized vehicles on the market. The Mazda3 hatch has a 60/40 split with no passthrough. The Civic hatch has a 60/40 split with no passthrough. The Toyota iM has a 60/40 split with no passthrough. The standard Prius has a 60/40 split with no passthrough. The RAV4 has 60/40 split with no passthrough. The Honda CR-V has a 60/40 split with no passthrough. The Honda Clarity has a 60/40 split with no passthrough. The Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, and Toyota Camry all have a 60/40 split with no passthrough. Your skis will not fit in the standard cargo area of any of these vehicles and will require you to fold down a seat to fit skis. 90% of them will also be far less efficient than your Volt with roof racks mounted.

So if this is a design flaw, then 90% of the cars sold today have a design flaw. While most only go down to 4-seaters with the 40 side folded, again, you're sacrificing a seat. If you had 3 kids, this would be equally problematic for you.

If this was a requirement of yours, you likely should have considered another vehicle. Cars cannot be everything to everyone. While I am sure there are some cars on the market with a passthrough, they are quite rare. Honestly, I can't remember if I've seen one since my Dad's 1999 Volvo S70, which I recall had a full fold-down backseat without a split, introducing its own sorts of compromises. 90% of the cars on the market require the sacrifice of at least one seat to expand the cargo capacity.

TLDR; Just get a roof rack.
 

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In formulating the 5 seater design, Chevy had to make this decision: Is it easier to put skis on the roof, or is it easier to put kids on the roof?

Sometimes you may want to put your kids on the roof, but that's another story ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I did some brief research on several similar sized vehicles on the market. The Mazda3 hatch has a 60/40 split with no passthrough. The Civic hatch has a 60/40 split with no passthrough. The Toyota iM has a 60/40 split with no passthrough. The standard Prius has a 60/40 split with no passthrough. The RAV4 has 60/40 split with no passthrough. The Honda CR-V has a 60/40 split with no passthrough. The Honda Clarity has a 60/40 split with no passthrough. The Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, and Toyota Camry all have a 60/40 split with no passthrough. Your skis will not fit in the standard cargo area of any of these vehicles and will require you to fold down a seat to fit skis.
Sorry but either I was not clear enough or you are missing the point. My friend who has a Mazda3 can fold part of the backrest, place the skis there and still haul 4 people in the car. Same with all other you mentioned. If they fold part of the backrest they still have 4 seats available. With the Volt you can't because when the backrest is down you can't use the middle seat at all as the kid can't have his leg on that side of the battery because of the folded backrest. Maybe I was not clear enough before but this is what I see a flaw: you fold the backrest on one seat and you loose 2 seats. I never said that the pass through is the flaw but the fix for the flaw. Not happening with any other cars, regardless if you have the pass through or not.

I also agree with you that most of the cars do not have the pass through with the exception of the European cars (do some research on Volvos, VWs, BMWs, Audis and Mercedes - you would be surprised to see that pretty much all do). The Europeans love to throw the skis inside of the car and drive to the Alps to have some fun.

If this was a requirement of yours, you likely should have considered another vehicle.
I do have another vehicle. And this was a nice to have, not a requirement for the Volt. I'm not complaining about this or any other things that may be better. I'm posting here because I'm looking at working around this. In my opinion the easiest way to work around would be to remove the backrest. Maybe I'm wrong and it is difficult or time consuming. My hope was that someone in the community already knows how to do it and can guide me.
 

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To more directly address your original question: I don't recall ever reading on this forum about removing the seat backs. It might have been mentioned at some point, but it doesn't seem to come up often. Since the seat moves on a hinge, it stands to reason that removing it should be mechanically possible by disconnecting the hinge somehow. One obstacle might be in the way the upholstery is connected. I am not sure, but it might need to be cut.

Regardless of that, I think a bigger issue is whether the center seat is really adequate even if it could be used with the seat back folded or removed. It is well known to be marginal at best. Comfort and crowding there will probably be a problem on any trip beyond local. Do you really want to travel with cranky kids?

But my biggest problem with it is the lack of an important safety feature - the head restraint. IMO, it is not a real seating position without that. Not for my own children, anyway. The use of certain kinds of booster seats can compensate for that, but there is not much room for adding one.

As for cutting a tunnel, I don't know if it would compromise the strength of the seat back. The center shoulder harness is attached to the seat back, so it needs to be strong enough to hold that during an impact.

I am surprised that making these kinds of modifications would be preferable to using a rack or a different vehicle for the trip.
 

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For all it's benefits, the Volt is a compromise vehicle in more ways than one -- the 5th seat being one of them. Sure you can put someone there, but not someone very big, and not for long. The few times I've had to use it, we put the smallest person there. And the headrest issue largely plays into that. Even with the side seat gone, I can't imagine anyone sitting there for more than a short drive.

You have expressed that you have other options. Taking the seat out of the Volt seems like the worst of them.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
To more directly address your original question: I don't recall ever reading on this forum about removing the seat backs. It might have been mentioned at some point, but it doesn't seem to come up often. Since the seat moves on a hinge, it stands to reason that removing it should be mechanically possible by disconnecting the hinge somehow. One obstacle might be in the way the upholstery is connected. I am not sure, but it might need to be cut.

Regardless of that, I think a bigger issue is whether the center seat is really adequate even if it could be used with the seat back folded or removed. It is well known to be marginal at best. Comfort and crowding there will probably be a problem on any trip beyond local. Do you really want to travel with cranky kids?

But my biggest problem with it is the lack of an important safety feature - the head restraint. IMO, it is not a real seating position without that. Not for my own children, anyway. The use of certain kinds of booster seats can compensate for that, but there is not much room for adding one.

As for cutting a tunnel, I don't know if it would compromise the strength of the seat back. The center shoulder harness is attached to the seat back, so it needs to be strong enough to hold that during an impact.

I am surprised that making these kinds of modifications would be preferable to using a rack or a different vehicle for the trip.
In my particular case the little one was promoted in February to use the seat without the booster and he actually volunteers to stay in the middle so he can watch the energy flow on the display. He has no issues yet with the head restraint, the backrest is tall enough and he is not complaining (yet) when we have 2h trips so probably we are good for a few more years.

I agree with you and I'm not looking at cutting the pass through, I briefly mentioned as a possible solution but I'm not interested in doing this. I don't want to modify the car in any way. The only acceptable solution is a way to easy remove and reinstall the backrest when needed (like 30 min of work tops). If there is no solution then I will continue to drive my SUV to the slopes. However since I have the Volt I don't like to drive the Big Tractor any longer, no fun...
 

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True. This car is great as a commuter, but it is not great as a primary family vehicle. Use the right tool for the job.
 

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I agree but I don't want to spend money on inefficient outside solution when there is room inside. This is a major flaw in the design. Gen1 has the gap between the seats. For Gen2 if you fold the 1/3 backrest suddenly a 5 seater becomes a 3 seater. The design fix is a pass-through behind the armrest or the possibility to fold down the center piece of the backrest like the BMW X1. So probably the workaround is to remove the 1/3 backrest.
So, you bought the wrong car for someone with skis who doesn't want to put them on the roof. It's a flawed design for you. I bet there must be at least a dozen people in your situation nationwide.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So, you bought the wrong car for someone with skis who doesn't want to put them on the roof. It's a flawed design for you. I bet there must be at least a dozen people in your situation nationwide.
So far reading all kind of opinions on this forum I see people not liking the comfort of the front seat, the visibility, the range, the slow rate of charge, the missing garage door opener, etc. All those people got the wrong car??? I don't feel I got the wrong car, I love my Volt, I just try to work around a limitation. The Volt is fun to drive and that's why I asked for help but I'm not limited to drive the Volt. If my idea of being able to (easy) remove the back rest is not feasible I simply don't see why I should spend $1000 to buy crossbars and alpine box when I can continue to throw the skis in the back of my SUV and burn gas for a lot less. Like Barry responded above, mechanically should be possible. The question is how easy because if I need to spend more than 30 min to install or remove (so more or less the time you spend to install or remove the crossbars + box) I will not go down this path.
 

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So far reading all kind of opinions on this forum I see people not liking the comfort of the front seat, the visibility, the range, the slow rate of charge, the missing garage door opener, etc. All those people got the wrong car??? I don't feel I got the wrong car, I love my Volt, I just try to work around a limitation. The Volt is fun to drive and that's why I asked for help but I'm not limited to drive the Volt. If my idea of being able to (easy) remove the back rest is not feasible I simply don't see why I should spend $1000 to buy crossbars and alpine box when I can continue to throw the skis in the back of my SUV and burn gas for a lot less. Like Barry responded above, mechanically should be possible. The question is how easy because if I need to spend more than 30 min to install or remove (so more or less the time you spend to install or remove the crossbars + box) I will not go down this path.
Short of a custom car, every car is a compromise. The back seat of just about every car is removable (i.e. not one piece), but I don't know of any that are plug and play. Removing it would be a big nuisance under the best of circumstances. You answered your own question as others did earlier in this thread. You have an SUV, so there's no reason to buy cross bars, and there's no reason to rip the seat in and out of your car.

If this was your only car, and your livelihood and family were dependent on having more space in it, sure, then it might make sense to start taking it apart as necessary. But considering that lift tickets are $100+/day, if you can afford to take the family skiing, it's probably not worth the cost of your free time to haul that seat out every other weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
But considering that lift tickets are $100+/day, if you can afford to take the family skiing, it's probably not worth the cost of your free time to haul that seat out every other weekend.
Not quite, the season pass is $200 and that's why I can afford to take the family skiing. Not a fantastic resort and I miss the Alps badly but is good enough for the kids and wife and cheapo enough that is worth to drive 150km back and forth most of the weekend days.

I fully agree with you, it's not worth my time if it's difficult/time consuming. I don't have a service manual (don't even know if the seat removal is in the service manual) but by posting the question my hope that someone in the community knows how to do it. The removal of the bottom part is trivial, in most of the cars there are just some clips. Backrest appears to be a different story but I do not have the info and was interested if anyone knows.

Maybe GM will realize that folding the backrest of one seat leaves the Volt with only 3 usable seats and Volt 2.5 will have something like 40/20/40 of bmw-x1.jpg mini_countryman.jpg the X1 or Mini (or a pass through like the European Mercedes, BMW, Audi, VW and Volvo).
 

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I guess if it really matters that much to you, I will trade you my Gen 1 for your Gen 2 so you will have the pass-through. I just hope you don't mind my kids spilled some crackers back there.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I guess if it really matters that much to you, I will trade you my Gen 1 for your Gen 2 so you will have the pass-through. I just hope you don't mind my kids spilled some crackers back there.
No, it does not matter that much, thank you so much for your offer:). In Europe the Volt would be likely the main family car and that it would matter. However GM sold only Gen1 in Europe so lucky them, they don't have my problem! Actually I can't even say this is a problem, it's more like annoying in the same way the missing garage door opener is annoying for other people. Like JRRF mentioned above, every car is a compromise.
 
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