According to Wikipedia, some 2nd generation Ford Explorers were equipped with 3rd row seats beginning in 1997. I'm wondering how different these seats are from those found in 3rd generation Explorers, and whether it is possible to install the 3rd row seat from a 3rd generation Explorer in a 2nd generation Explorer. If so, what sort of modifications (if any) would need to be made in order to install the 3rd generation 3rd row seats in the 2nd generation Explorer?

2 Answers 2


It is not reasonable to do. 2nd gen had a raised rear deck with the spare tire stowed under the vehicle. Any add-on 3rd row seat would have to be for short children only.

3rd gen the floor is lower instead of flat deck all the way back behind the 2nd row. It just won't work unless you were to cut the legs off then people are essentially sitting on cushions on the floor.

Plus, there would be no access to it. The 2nd row folds down but without the lower floor panel you couldn't step in to get to the 3rd row, would be more like a cross between a dive and a slither to get there.

SO if you want to do it, you need to cut the rear floor pan out of a 3rd gen, cut the floor pan out of a 2nd gen, weld it on, and carry only an emergency spare if that (or roof carrier, or rear gate external) because those crucial few inches to stow it inside behind the 3rd row, are not there on the 2nd gen.


The modifications necessary will be all the fixings points and relevant strengthening - even possibly built-in spacing.

Depending on the age of your second gen one, it may already have the fixings if it was one of the last built as the "new" panels may have already been included in the build.

If nothing is there then, as these have to support forces applied in a crash - will the insurance accept such a modification or will you avoid telling them...

  • I'm pretty sure the OP is looking for specifics about installing the seat. Oct 8, 2017 at 14:15
  • @Paulster2 So, from the info supplied can you tell if he has the correct floor panel?
    – Solar Mike
    Oct 8, 2017 at 14:23
  • No, and neither can you if you've never worked on the Explorer. The OP is looking for first hand knowledge which it appears, neither of us have. Oct 8, 2017 at 14:26
  • It does answer his question as he asked "what sort of modifications (if any)..." and what i put in my answer are the type of modifications that are usually relevant...
    – Solar Mike
    Oct 8, 2017 at 14:28
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Yes, I was hoping for specifics on these older Explorers. E.g. someone might have insight into how different the back end in the 3rd gen is from the 2nd gen back end. I'm glad Solar Mike mentioned the relevant strengthening though, since with aftermarket third rows, it's easy to overlook the fact that your third row might be in a crumple zone. I was hoping that since there are rumors that some 97 Explorers had a third row, the relevant strengthening and mounting points might already be in place in the 2nd gen. We'll see if anyone has that info.
    – SAG
    Oct 9, 2017 at 20:16

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