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3rd Row Safety Questions from Concerned Father

 
Old 06-13-2019, 07:47 AM
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Default 3rd Row Safety Questions from Concerned Father

Hello from Colorful Colorado... I was going to be buying a Jeep in the next week and modifying it to add a 3rd row seat. I have a family of 6, 4 little ones ages 6-10 & I thought the third row addition would suffice to make this the family car. I was all set to make the Jeep my family grocery getter, but while doing some research saw that there were some safety concerns. Long story short, I joined the forum to ask about this & get some real world advice from real people that actually own Jeeps.

Some background information... I have owned many Jeeps in my life and love to go into the mountains and find some moderate trails (mostly Forrest access roads, nothing technical). I still would like the ability to do this and take everyone camping but not do any climbing or technical trails, which is why I want the Jeep & not a minivan. It has been my experience that the Jeep has a soul, or maybe it's just in my soul, but living here in Colo Springs and seeing the mountains all day every day, they call to me. I know that hauling dogs, kids & groceries was not the intended use for a Jeep, I know that I can do more of what I want, be more comfortable & haul much more in a Suburban, but I don't want a Suburban, I want a Jeep! I need to haul kids around like a soccer mom & this will actually be the primary function of whatever car I get, but I do have very serious requirements for whatever vehicle I end up with... MUST do good in snow, must be reliable or easy to fix, must be able to haul 6-8 people (4 small kids mostly and 2 larger kids some of the time). The Unlimited ticks all of these boxes if I add the 3rd row seat.

Am I being unreasonable?
Other than a roll-over scenario what are the safety concerns that you guys have concerning the addition of a 3rd row to the Unlimited?
Any recommendations on which Bench to buy?
Any recommendations on what Jeep, model, year, features, to look for, or stay away from?

My criteria for buying is: 2012 or newer, around 80,000 miles or less, for under $30,000

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I really appreciate any input that you have.

-Gabriel
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:27 AM
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I'm a family man. I would not put my kids in a 3rd row seat in my JKU unless it was literally just driving few blocks down to the beach or something. I would not deem it safe nor appropriate. That's just my opinion. I'd guess seat belts would be limited to a lap belt, and you'd bolt a seat through the tub in cargo area. Man....just no safety precautions back there if you ask em.
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Old 06-13-2019, 09:17 AM
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I should be more specific about the 3rd row seat...
There is a kit made specifically for this, the seat belts are attached to the bench and I believe you can mount shoulder straps or a harness.
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Old 06-13-2019, 09:23 AM
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I'm kinda curious to hear where others land on this idea. I'm still in the park of unless it's a manufacture option that the vehicle has been safety tested with, it's risky.....but full disclosure, I have two 16yos that have been set free driving just as of this month, so I've been in full "you guys remember you are not replaceable" mode. Lives can change on a dime with one stupid little twist of fate.
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:08 AM
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This is me talking without and kids, but in my opinion if you want to make this safe, then slam in an extra roll bar or two to give some over head protection and can also give you a sturdy mounting point to properly mount the over shoulder belt. Then where the seat mounts put some frame mounted square tube across the frame and bolt the seats directly to that. I see that as being the safest way do properly do that. I wouldn't trust the thin sheet metal tub with a kids life. I dont even trust other drivers, Its better to over build then under build in my opinion.
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:28 AM
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I agree with resharp on it. You're trying to make the JKU into something it's not designed to be. Just because you can do something, doesn't always mean you should.
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:31 AM
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You've got to be careful with the "over built", the vehicle is designed with crumple zones in mind. Adding extra roll bars defeats that purpose and basically means you'll be absorbing all of the impact forces because they're transferred straight to the softest point in the vehicle- you.

Jeeps are fun but maybe you should go with something designed for the kids. Don't know because I don't have kids and realistically, my 2dr is going to be a poor choice for when I reach that stage. Best of luck with your search for the safest way to get your kids out into the woods.
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by karls10jk View Post
You've got to be careful with the "over built", the vehicle is designed with crumple zones in mind.
yaaaa....... im pretty shur i have cut all my crumple zones out lol. frame chopped the front and the rear
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Old 06-19-2019, 04:41 PM
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I can't endorse it, but this item was just listed -

https://www.jk-forum.com/forums/market/350688

The member may be able to give you a little feedback from someone that has used one.
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Old 06-23-2019, 01:11 PM
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I have the teraflex third row seat kit. My thoughts, frame is same strength from behind drivers seat back (there is a picture on line), added the third seat rollbar that clamps to existing roll bar, I normally put a hitch extension in the hitch to act as the first point of impact/dissipate impact energy. I have no concerns about my kids safety because:

1. most cars will not hold up to hitting steel bumpers, tire carrier, etc.
2. Ever seen a smart car or Prius? May be false hope but feel better about their safety in the jeep.

Now that being said, I don't use it regularly. Only when family comes into town or the rare occasion my kids friends come along. If their friends come along I make my kids sit in the third row just to avoid the discussions that this thread will soon become. I will also put myself back there as first option. For everyday use I would probably consider a more traditional third row vehicle due to getting in and out and lessening risk exposure.
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