Chevy Express/GMC Savana Accessories & Modifications

miltruckmanmiltruckman Member Posts: 2
Hello, Someone ask about adding seats to their van.
I added three bench seats to my Express cargo van by getting the tracks, seat belt winders, and seats from an older Savana van and installing them in my Express cargo van.
It worked out really well. I can now haul 11 people!
I can tell more about it, If someone is planning to do this.



  • meltmelt Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 Express with 184K miles. I am installing a beefed up transmission for heavier towing capacity and I'd like to know if a 3/4 ton differential would be a "bolt in" fit. I know it'll be the next thing to go, I'd just like to be ready when it does. I'd also be interested in any mods to the existing rear axle to make it more reliable.


  • krcossinkrcossin Member Posts: 3
    I have 2001 Express LT, love it, hate the mirrors vibrating.
    A turkey vulture actually ripped off the entire passenger side mirror, I thought, I'll just replace them with the new and improved heated with turn signals version, I believe 03-06.
    Based on your experience, what are your comments on these mirrors?
  • krcossinkrcossin Member Posts: 3
    Well I did install the new updated mirror, ran two wires from the right and left front turn signals, so I have the blinkers working fine, however wiring the movement and heat for the new mirror to the van's wiring has proved to be a major problem without having a wiring diagram. Does anyone have a 2001 Express 1500 and a 2006 mirror wiring charts?
  • vanownerazvanowneraz Member Posts: 9
    Bill, I am adding a bench seat to my 8 passenger Express passenger van. I am about to do the drilling through the floor board. Did you have any problem and was there a exhaust shield in your way? If you read this post this month (August 2006) I would appreciate your input. :)
  • fuldfuld Member Posts: 2
    where are you located ?
    I added a bench to my 1500. worked out fine.
  • vanownerazvanowneraz Member Posts: 9
    I finally got the seat in with help from a friend who is a Gunsmith. He had all the correct tools and the seat was installed in less than 2 hours. The one problem I still have is the after-market seat belts do not look the same as the seat belts that are factor. The after market belts do not bolt in the same either. I am trying to figure how to get them in or if I should just e-bay the belt and go buy OEM belts that should bolt in perfectly without any question.

    Did you have any issues with installing seat belts or did you have belts that were GM? I got all my seat belts for $114 and I know if I buy belts that are GM it could cost $100 each.

  • fuldfuld Member Posts: 2
    I installed GM belts, which I bought from a place in california
    van's great
  • vanownerazvanowneraz Member Posts: 9
    I got my seat and After-market belts from the same shop. I only had the choice to buy after market belts for the 2001 Express. I am sounding like a broken record but the retractor part of the belt is not for my year and I either have to go to a salvage yard to get a part of a later year Express to mount the retractor of the belt or go buy some OEM belts from a Chevy/GMC dealer.

    Did your retractor and belts look exactly like the rest of the stock seat belts that were in your van? with no plastic around the retractor and two seperate belt clips to attach the belt on both sides of the seat? On my after market belt it attaches to the seat by bolts on one side and a standard belt clip only at the end of the belt. Below is how my after market belt looks like: image

    The challenge that I am having is how to mount the retractor part of the seat belt on the back wall. I bought some factor bolt from a GMC dealer so that I would have the correct bolts (right strength and size) but I do not see how I am going to fit this retractor on the back wall of the van. Any suggestions.
  • rhodesvanrhodesvan Member Posts: 2
    Hi Bill,
    I recently bought a 1995 Chevy G30 cargo van. I need to put in a bench seat but don't know where to bolt it down to. I don't want to just bolt it to the sheet metal, because I don't want it to tear out in the event of an accident. It seems like the main frame beams are U shaped. Any suggestions?
  • br2br2 Member Posts: 1
    Did you have any luck with adding the 3rd row bench? I want to add one as well. Can you add just a short track extension or do you have to install a new tracks? Any advice would be great!!

  • rhodesvanrhodesvan Member Posts: 2
    Hi Brett, I only added one bench seat up behind the driver's seat, but what I ended up doing is finding a used bench that had brackets on the bottom that were spaced the same as the main frame beams. These brackets were just simple plates with holes in them. I put 8 inch long, ½ inch thick bolts all the way through the frame and used some wide washers on either end. Seems to be working well.
  • newsie23newsie23 Member Posts: 17
    I wish to install the LT captain chairs in my AWD Express, but have not been able to determine if they will fit my bench seat floor brackets. If so, I will try to find tan seats in a salvage yard. John
  • jcurry2jcurry2 Member Posts: 1
    I just read your post. I have an 06 GMC 2500 Cargo van. It has manual mirrors and I want to install electric mirrors. Any ideas if this is possible. I have heard that the wiring harness should already be inside the door, Also would I have to replace the entire mirror or just the inside parts.

  • eandlcubedeandlcubed Member Posts: 78
    I too interested in replacing my mirror with the oem blinking mirrors. do you have the part number for them? my dealer is no help in 'researching' the part for me. thanks
  • eandlcubedeandlcubed Member Posts: 78
    For those with newer Express (mine is an '07) and have power mirror and heated mirror, the existing harness already has the wirings for the mirror blinker. All you have to do is purchase a set of oem blinker mirrors from the dealer and swap them out. No additional wire or mod is necessary. Easiest job!
  • spikorama3701spikorama3701 Member Posts: 1
    hi, bill!

    i have a 2009 chevy express cargo 1500. What's the best way to install a rear seat for 3. i sure do want to leave ample space in the middle. i was thinking maybe installing it close to the end. can i get some advice in installing the seat securely? thanks.

  • newsie23newsie23 Member Posts: 17
    I have wanted to install 4 bucket seats (from '01-02 LT model?? did not get any help re 'are the brackets similar?' in my 03 AWD passenger van. Instead, I installed a '4th row set of brackets and belts, with the existing 3x seats'. Everybody was reluctant to do the work, re the weight capacity, safety - insurance liability. This is the only way I can carry plywood, etc. without removing the @#$%^non-folding +headrest, seats. I do like the seat in the most rear position - limo style! Otherwise, the main option is fixed base seats from an upfitter or van accessory store. It is incredible, GM never had the forsight to offer a 'crew version' of the cargo van. (They will never do it now!) Otherwise, the AWD van is a super, incredible vehicle, blows the doors off a pickup/suburban, for my needs.
  • keenanlkeenanl Member Posts: 1
    Anyone know where i can download an owners manual for 06 Savana 6.6 Duramax?
  • julli5julli5 Member Posts: 2
    I am interested in buying a 1500 AWD van and need additional seats if I do so. How easy is it to install 3 or 4 more seats in the rear? What are the weight considerations? I have 5 children all 11 and under. Thanks for you insight...
  • newsie23newsie23 Member Posts: 17
    The 'safety issue' is the major problem - who will do the work! The school bus vans flipping has terrified the market. Stabilitrak, standard on passenger vans, is not offered on cargo and conversion models. Installing the extra row of floor rails and belts is not, otherwise, difficult.
  • ap1268ap1268 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2009 chevy express 8 passenger van. I have seen this version with a 4th. row (which I want to add to my van). Does anyone know if it is hard to add the 4th. row? I moved the carpet and there are not any seat tracks. What do I do? I found a person willing to sell me a seat, but i do not know what to do next.
  • david201david201 Member Posts: 1
    We have a 2004 Gmc/Savana cargo van with side doors and windows on both sides and want to install a full bench seat just behind the drivers seat to carry the grandchildren and still have the back to haul things. Can you give us some advice. where to find a deal on seats, belts, installationl etc.
  • kschupbachkschupbach Member Posts: 1
    Due to our family size increasing from 7 to 9 in the next few months, we are going to sell our Express 1500 LT. We recently purchased an 2005 Express 3500 12 pass with rear passenger doors on both sides, which we have searched over a year for!! However, compared to our 1500, the 3500 is really bare bones. We are military and tend to travel often to see family, so a video system is crucial. Have found one that has one flip down screen like our 1500, however with the seating arrangement think dual screens are a must. Also, there are no cup holders in the rear...Another thing we would like to add is a 12V plug in the back for our teenagers game systems. Wondering how all this will fit into the wiring system and sound system. Also, does anyone have any experience doing this with their own van? Would appreciate any input. Would like to have all modifications done ASAP as we don't won't to sell the 1500 until it is done. Thanks in advance! K
  • julli5julli5 Member Posts: 2
    I purchased my unit from with an installer card. The tv is big enough for our 12 passenger GMC Savana. The installers used the overhead dome light up front to power the system. This system also had the option to plug in items to the dvd unit. Worth looking into for the price and my kids love it!

    Prepaid Professional Install Card - Mobile Video/DVD Player 1 Will arrive between Friday, 09/04/09, and Friday, 09/11/09. $99.98

    DP Video 9" Flip-down Monitor with built-in DVD player, DZD9500 1 Will arrive between Friday, 09/04/09, and Friday, 09/11/09. $168.88

    We also bought things from this website:
    We bought our seat from them and it worked out well also!
  • byrd67byrd67 Member Posts: 1
    julli5, From your post i understand you had a flip down dvd unit installed.
    Can i ask if you have the rear a/c - heat? Did the controls interfer with the dvd player at all whether during the installation or during operation / screen blocked from a/c heat controls?

    Does anyone know if the 2009 1500 8 passenger van can except a fourth row seat?
  • ivanpivanp Member Posts: 1
    Hello all Im very new here

    I purchased a 2007GMC 2500 Explorer conversion van for a wheelchair transport for my son who was born with spina bifida. I have lift in it. Its a 6L. I am having some traction problems I have tiger paw snow tires that I run at low pressure. Any suggestions on size of tire and type or jjust weight back end ? I dont think it has stabilitrack. Its a very important vehicle for us and I really could use some help thanks.
  • express_iveexpress_ive Member Posts: 1
    You may know this by now, but the seats in a 2001-02 Express LT are modified seats from a Safari SLT/Astro LT. The brackets fit the mini-van. They removed the track for the bench seat but designed the storage compartment for the wire under the seat. You can put your bench seat on a track from an Astro bench seat and keep the storage box. An Express LS has two rails bolted to the floor. You can install factory rails, including a third seat to convert a 1500 to a 12 passenger by drilling the holes from underneath the van. The locations are easy to identify from underneath when you have a rail in your hand to see where the bolts are. As far as a "crew version" of a cargo van goes, one could buy an 8 passenger with the "delete seat" option to become a 5 passenger then remove the rear side glass and replace it with the hinged access doors for the cargo van upgrade. I owned a 99 1500 I made into a 12 passenger and now have a 2001 LT.
  • newsie23newsie23 Member Posts: 17
    Thank you, did not know the LT bucket seats came from the 'Astrofari'! I will check out these seats and brackets. I have already installed the (Express) brackets (and GM belts) in the rear most position, and occassionally use the 3seat bench, 'limo style' there. My seating needs are 1, 2, and occassionally 4. I need the Express to carry a snowmobile (inside) and then park in a populated area. The Passenger-Express, with the seats installed, is a !@#$Pain, carrying plywood/drywall sheets, on the seat backs. Hopefully, in a ' 4 seat Express', I can carry long items between the seats
  • beckyjanebeckyjane Member Posts: 2
    Hi Bill! I am looking at purchasing a GMC Savana or Chevy Express soon. The one I am looking at right now is a 2002 GMC Savana. It is currently an 8 passenger. I was wondering what I need to know to figure out if I can add a third bench seat (to make it a 12 passenger). Also, where is the best place to find a used (but decent) seat?
    Thank you!
  • newsie23newsie23 Member Posts: 17
    I have installed the rails and belts, in my 03 AWD 1500 - to be able to move a seat to the rearmost position. I warned NOT to install an extra seat in a 1500 - I assume the 2500 and 3500 have 'proper credentials' for an extra seat
  • beckyjanebeckyjane Member Posts: 2
    Thank you for your reply! The van I am looking at is a 1500. So, are you saying you did it in your 1500, but that you were warned against it?
  • newsie23newsie23 Member Posts: 17
    I made my purchase, conditional on the 'new tracks' and seat belts. My thought, was to find bucket seats (haven't) so I could carry ?plywood? etc., between the rear (bucket) seats, as I didn't need passenger capacity, and like the seat in the rear (limo style) with the luggage, in between. I don't like trucks - my 03 AWD has only 48-km (30-mi) - its main purpose is to carry a snowmobile inside, and park on the street in a metro area (& carry #$%^ for my buddies). It is truly better than any pickup. Early on, there was an AWD 2500 cargo van, with limited 'extra' capacity rating. I assume, my dealer was concerned with any legal liability, if 'he' was enabling any overload, passenger capacity, for himself or GM. It truly is a stupid, one passenger vehicle!
  • coloradovancoloradovan Member Posts: 1
    Becky - I also have an 03 AWD 1500 and am adding a 4th row. where did you get your rails?
  • newsie23newsie23 Member Posts: 17
    I assume my dealer, used the GM Parts bin, as they match the existing rails. They are installed in an offset position, to 'fit the seat' in its width.
  • jimmyz2001jimmyz2001 Member Posts: 2
    ">I have a 2001 Express LT van. We're waiting to tow a 7000k travel trailer with it. Book says it can 7600k with the right set-up. So what is the right set-up?

    Here's what I'm guessing I would need:
    * Electric trailer brake controler
    * Weight distubution hitch
    * Transmission cooler

    What else do you all think I need to install?
  • mikeintexas1mikeintexas1 Member Posts: 1
    My son has a 2000 Chevy express van with 2 front bucket seats and has 2 children that require child seats. Is there a center console seat or jump seat available that would fit between the 2 bucket seats so he could install a child seat when needed? Or would a low back bucket seat also work?
  • perryandloriperryandlori Member Posts: 2
    I'm sure you're not monitoring this thread, but just in case you happen upon it again, can you PLEASE tell me how you found a full-size van with two passenger doors. Thanks!
  • apieriapieri Member Posts: 1
    If you mean left and right passenger doors, then I can explain...van customization company's like "Explorer" order the express that way to build a custom conversion van. As far as finding a van that is not customized with those left and right side doors, I do not think you will find one. But, if your really want one, you would have to order factory direct.

    If you are looking for a used van, I am selling my 2009 chevy express dark green in color. It seats 11 (I added a 3rd row). I am buying a 15 pax as my family has grown and I do not have enough room.
  • perryandloriperryandlori Member Posts: 2
    That would be a great idea (especially since everyone is carrying only whites. ugh) But, we have nine in our family, and we had a 15 pax for a while and LOVED it. We'll be going back to that (from a 9 pax suburban).

    Thanks for the information, I guess I'll have to call a dealer. boo.
  • jwbergerjwberger Member Posts: 1
    I've got a 2002 GMC Savana 3500 and the interior bits are falling apart, the door panels and center (Dash) console specifically.

    I've found a donor 2009 model that's being parted out locally.

    Does anyone know if the 2003+ interior parts and be installed in a 2002 or earlier without serious modifications?

    Also, the factory drivers seat has no right side arm rest, what other seats can I replace it with?

  • drauto01602drauto01602 Member Posts: 1
    My question is can my 2001 gmc savana cargo van front end be converted to look like a 2003+ savana ... I know I will need to change the fenders hood bumper grill ect. But my question is will it fit and bolt up? I have a 2010 donor mini school bus?
  • infraredforumsinfraredforums Member Posts: 1
    I would like to convert my 2011 Express 3500 15 passenger van to dual rear wheels if it will make the van safer. Does anyone know how the conversion will effect Stabilitrak? Or where to look for a definitive answer?

    I talked with the local dealer, but they could not offer any help.


    - infrared
  • radicalradradicalrad Member Posts: 1
    I have the solid steel doors on my van. I want to replace with doors with Windows.

    1. What years (or only 2006) will fit on this van?
    2. Will Savana doors also fit? If yes, same question, what years or only 2006?

  • denagdenag Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1999 savana 1500 8 passenger and I need to add a third bench seat to seat 11. Do you have any pointers or tips maybe even a video tutorial so I can do this right and not take 4 weeks
  • CamperVanDadCamperVanDad Member Posts: 1
    Advice please anyone?
    I need to add 1 backseat to my 2002 GMC Savanna Cargo 3500.
    I'm converting it to a full camper so not much room but just found out
    my 10 yr old son isn't legally allowed to sit in front seat till he's 13.

    I'm hoping to put it in the "row" behind the front seats and directly in the middle
    ( directly behind where a small jump seat would go )
    Or, If I have to directly behind the passenger seat.
    Need to be removable.
    Thanks very much :)
  • Goose225Goose225 Member Posts: 1
    Hey I want to put new seats in my 2003 savana 2500 and the only ones in good condition that are cheep are leather 2007 bmw power bucket seats now I know it sounds crazy but would those fit
  • Frank_123Frank_123 Member Posts: 1
    Hey guys I have a 2008 express 1500.
    I install a ford transit seat bench in mine that came with seatbelts already mounted on them. I had to be careful of installing it since one bolt was above the gas tank.
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