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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have the aftermarket VoltShelf for my 2017. It is well made and much better then the factory stretchy cargo cover. However, the way I use the rear cargo area (the same as I used to use my Prius) has me needing to fold one or sometimes both seats down regularly. The VoltShelf does not really work with half fold since it is attached to head rests - it gets all cattywhompus. And thanks to GM's detail oriented brilliance you can't remove headrest shafts easily to remove the VoltShelf. Instead you need a paper clip to take off the head rests to remove the ties.

So this is a long way of saying that retractable would be 1000% easier. So has anyone been able to find a retractable unit from another car or a generic one (JC Whitney) that can be moded for G2 volt. I'm thinking of measuring and searching for one myself, but thought it might already be known. I didn't find any clear searches that said so so I'm posting here to check.
 

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Not exactly responsive to your question, but you could incorporate these in the ties to the headrests so you don't have to remove the headrests to take the voltshelf off. I haven't done this yet, but I've used these in the middle of my hanging lines (didn't want to do the drill installation on my first new car), and they've worked great. They're quite small but have a pretty strong snap.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007SMJTWI/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That is a good solution. Will see if this can make volt shelf more workable


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Not exactly responsive to your question, but you could incorporate these in the ties to the headrests so you don't have to remove the headrests to take the voltshelf off. I haven't done this yet, but I've used these in the middle of my hanging lines (didn't want to do the drill installation on my first new car), and they've worked great. They're quite small but have a pretty strong snap.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007SMJTWI/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I bought a whole bunch of different clips for my VoltShelf, found the clips were finiky and with my big hand hard to click. For the summer the shelf is out, I golf and need to be able to get at least 1 seat down 3 or 4 days a week.
 

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I have my rear hatch window tinted with 20% VLT and you can't see into it. I find this to work just fine without a cover.
 

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I could see the clips being difficult to reconnect on the somewhat short strings.

I'd also consider a solution to drill additional holes in the Voltshelf next to the pegs for the original OEM cover connection points, and to add side-mounted alternate loops, to mount the voltshelf on the pegs typically used for the elastic cover. It likely wouldn't tilt up and down as smoothly, and might sit a little lower in the cargo area, but it would allow it to be in place independent of the position of the back seats.
 

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My '17 had a Volt Shelf in it when I bought it used, with the front edge hanging from the rear seat headrests. A Mickey Mouse mounting system if ever I saw one, I honestly couldn't believe that was how it was supposed to be installed. I read up on it here and sure enough - That's how the seller intended it to be mounted. It had been hanging there long enough it was cutting grooves in the top of my leather seats!

There HAD to be a better way to hang this thing! I drilled new holes so I could use the cords that came with it to hang it from the hook fittings on either side, just behind the seatbacks. The front edge is an inch or two lower than hanging from the headrests, but when carrying cargo, it rides up and still works perfectly well . . . . and it no longer looks Mickey Mouse

Don
 

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My '17 had a Volt Shelf in it when I bought it used, with the front edge hanging from the rear seat headrests. A Mickey Mouse mounting system if ever I saw one, I honestly couldn't believe that was how it was supposed to be installed. I read up on it here and sure enough - That's how the seller intended it to be mounted. It had been hanging there long enough it was cutting grooves in the top of my leather seats!

There HAD to be a better way to hang this thing! I drilled new holes so I could use the cords that came with it to hang it from the hook fittings on either side, just behind the seatbacks. The front edge is an inch or two lower than hanging from the headrests, but when carrying cargo, it rides up and still works perfectly well . . . . and it no longer looks Mickey Mouse

Don
I didn't like how the shelf attached to the headrests either. I built a wood frame out of thin plywood that sits on the back seat retainer brackets, and attached it to the Voltshelf with two hinges. The frame is held in place by being sandwiched between the rear bulkhead and the seats. At the same time one seat can be folded down while the shelf stays in place.

When needing to have both seats folded down, the Voltshelf easily lifts out and can be set on top of the seat backs with the wood frame hanging down into the rear footwell.

I also attached a black rod to the underside of the shelf near the back, to eliminate sagging. In doing so, I could hide the rear lanyard ends inside the lightweight metal rod. The rod is finished off with nylon end caps.

This took some work, but I bought the shelf right after buying our 2018 and plan on keeping the car 8-10 years, so it was worth the effort. No doubt, your idea is infinitely simpler though.

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A couple pics. It probably added maybe two lbs. at most to the Voltshelf. With the hatch closed, the shelf sits flat, level and just below the top of the back seats. Just a little sag in front. If done again, I would use a full length piano hinge.


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Eagleco -- that is flipping brilliant. What thickness plywood did you use and how has this held up over time? Looks like 1/4"? I think I'm going to do a mod like this in the near future, and I'd like to pick something that won't bow or warp. Presumably the piano hinge would also add some reinforcement to the whole thing.
 

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Eagleco -- that is flipping brilliant. What thickness plywood did you use and how has this held up over time? Looks like 1/4"? I think I'm going to do a mod like this in the near future, and I'd like to pick something that won't bow or warp. Presumably the piano hinge would also add some reinforcement to the whole thing.
I believe it is 1/4" plywood. It was leftover from another project. A 90° piece added with a 1/4 round to hold it together, keeps it rigid, so it has not warped or bowed at all so far. Yes I think a piano hinge would be the way to go too.

The black rod I used on the underside of the Voltshelf for reinforcement was leftover from a curtain rod installation. Lacking that, I saw a few things on Amazon that might work. A length of square or round metal tubing.

I think the only thing I actually had to purchase was the hinges and the plastic end caps for the rod. They are nylon marine hinges from Amazon, but again I might go with a piano hinge if done again.

When I get home, I can take a few more pics.

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A notch cut out of the plywood keeps it in place along with the attached pads. The seats easily latch and unlatch with no resistance. There is plenty of room for the plywood to be sandwiched in there.

I attached the metal rod with three sheet metal screws and used plastic caps over them. I used black acorn nuts for the hinge screws.

The rod was added later, to eliminate sagging. It suddenly dawned on me while installing it, that I could hide the lanyard ends inside it. I did have to relocate the holes thru the shelf to do so. The lanyards are attached to the hatch lid with the supplied buttons rather than just attaching them to the struts.

In the center, I cut a semi circle out of the plywood. That is to clear the hump when the seats are folded down and the shelf is lying on top. The plywood piece just hangs down over the top edge of the folded seats.

It's not visible, but a length of 3/4" quarter round molding is holding the two pieces of plywood together at a 90° angle. That keeps the whole thing rigid. I used glue and staples. It's on the underside of the horizontal piece in the last pic.

Removing the shelf to fold the seats down and reinstalling it, is a little awkward, but in our case it is rare we need to fold down the seats. A nice benefit though is that one seat can be folded down without having to remove the shelf. It stays in place pretty well with either seat down.


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Awesome! Looks like the plywood on the back of the seats is even thinner -- 1/8" maybe? I guess with the 3/4" quarter round in there you can get as thin as you like because the quarter round is really what's supporting everything. Very smart idea with the semicircular cutout.

One "improvement" I may consider is applying some felt to the contact points just to reduce any noise or plastic scratching damage. I'm also going to try to incorporate the piano hinge that you mentioned. We'll see how it all fits in. It would seem to make sense to make the plank on the back of the seats a bit wider for stability, but I imagine that could be an issue fitting within the door panels when stowing it with the seats down.
 

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Awesome! Looks like the plywood on the back of the seats is even thinner -- 1/8" maybe? I guess with the 3/4" quarter round in there you can get as thin as you like because the quarter round is really what's supporting everything. Very smart idea with the semicircular cutout.

One "improvement" I may consider is applying some felt to the contact points just to reduce any noise or plastic scratching damage. I'm also going to try to incorporate the piano hinge that you mentioned. We'll see how it all fits in. It would seem to make sense to make the plank on the back of the seats a bit wider for stability, but I imagine that could be an issue fitting within the door panels when stowing it with the seats down.
Those are good points and ideas.

It think it's 3/16" plywood that I used as it may have been leftover underlayment from when we had our kitchen floor redone. Whatever it is, all the plywood used is of the same size.

It seems pretty rigid for the reason you said about the quarter round. That was leftover from some baseboard work I did on our old house.

There is probably a little room to make the plank that goes against the seat backs wider, but it might not be necessary from our experience so far. I wanted to keep the whole thing as light as possible for easy removal.

We have used it for close to a year now with the mods and no problems. It's mostly my wife's car, and she uses the hatch quite a bit for stuff. We have only had to remove it a few times to fold the seats down.

I used the metal brackets that came with the Voltshelf. The ones that the rear of the shelf sits on when the hatch is closed. I put little rubber bumpers on them. It seems quiet and rattle free.

Adding the hollow tube to the underside really helped, as my shelf was starting to sag near the back. Looking in from the outside it looks like a factory piece, flat and level.

It was a bit time consuming to figure out and make, but I'm retired and it was a fun little project. Be sure to post on here your version if you do something like this.

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Didn't see the felt when I looked at the photos earlier. You're way ahead of me.
There is felt on both sides of the plank, but if you go with 1/4" plywood, and it fits, you may only have room for felt on one side. It may not be needed on the side facing the seatbacks anyway, since they are soft.

Thanks for the nice comments too.

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I'm sorry that I'm WAY late to this party, folks. Life has been unbelievably busy for a while now. Some cool modifications are shown here, I'm always amazed at some of the great ideas folks come up with. Here is another idea that my help. instead of hanging the VS off of the rear seat headrest bars, the forward hangers can be mounted in the side walls above the rear seat latches. This lets the rear seats work independently and the VS stay in place. If anyone is interested, feel free to contact me and I'll send some pics. I'll try to get some pics of this option posted here shortly.

Steve

Here you go!





 

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I'm sorry that I'm WAY late to this party, folks. Life has been unbelievably busy for a while now. Some cool modifications are shown here, I'm always amazed at some of the great ideas folks come up with. Here is another idea that my help. instead of hanging the VS off of the rear seat headrest bars, the forward hangers can be mounted in the side walls above the rear seat latches. This lets the rear seats work independently and the VS stay in place. If anyone is interested, feel free to contact me and I'll send some pics. I'll try to get some pics of this option posted here shortly.

Steve

Here you go!





That's a nice simple solution!

Did you drill holes in the sidewall and use "buttons" like those supplied with the VS and used on the hatch?

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Yes, exactly. And this method uses the same hanger strings that are supplied to go over the headrest bars. So it is just a creative adaptation of everything already supplied with the VoltShelf.

Here is another option. Instead of putting the hanger strings around the headrest bars use these:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079NFCWXN/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

You only need to remove the headrest once to install them, then the strings will go on and off these hangers in a snap if you need to take the VS off its mounts. I've been testing these in my wife's Volt for a while now and they work fine. There are also versions that slip on from the side and do not require removing the headrests at all. And many other similar options as well.

Here is another option that is just a different version of the same idea: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-1-2-in-x-3-5-8-in-Nickel-Plated-Fixed-Bolt-Snap-43184/205887663

The closed rings on these fit the headrest bars very well.

If anyone wants more information or has questions, feel free to ask here or contact me directly.

HTH,

Steve
 

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Yes, exactly. And this method uses the same hanger strings that are supplied to go over the headrest bars. So it is just a creative adaptation of everything already supplied with the VoltShelf.

Here is another option. Instead of putting the hanger strings around the headrest bars use these:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079NFCWXN/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

You only need to remove the headrest once to install them, then the strings will go on and off these hangers in a snap if you need to take the VS off its mounts. I've been testing these in my wife's Volt for a while now and they work fine. There are also versions that slip on from the side and do not require removing the headrests at all. And many other similar options as well.

Here is another option that is just a different version of the same idea: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-1-2-in-x-3-5-8-in-Nickel-Plated-Fixed-Bolt-Snap-43184/205887663

The closed rings on these fit the headrest bars very well.

If anyone wants more information or has questions, feel free to ask here or contact me directly.

HTH,

Steve
If I was not retired and didn't already have most of the raw materials handy, something like what you did would have been the way for me to go.

The sagging of the VS was driving me nuts though, so either way, I needed to add a rib or two to the underside. And I didn't like the string ends hanging down from the underside either.

I really wanted to make it look factory from the outside as much as possible. Just seeing those strings and seeing it sag in my rear view mirror was too much for me. Guess I'm kind of anal.

You of course can add ribs with the attachment method you used and hide the string ends in the ribs too.. Some say they just flip it over occasionally when it starts to sag, so that would be the simple solution.

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