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Chrysler Concorde and 300M rear seat swap

by David Foley

If you are one of the few people that think the trunk of the 1999-04 LHS/Chrysler Concorde Limited is just too small, I have a solution for you. [Editor's note: it'll also provide plusher, more comfortable seats.]

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I own an '04 Concorde Limited and I was blown away with how large that trunk is. It's just HUGE! I can't reach into the back of the trunk, and keep even one foot on the ground. I have to climb into the trunk to retrieve anything that has rolled to the back of it. It's what I call "Chrysler Newport big"!

That said, a large trunk is one thing. A flexible trunk is another. I always liked the idea of the fold down rear seat on the Chrysler 300M. My Concorde had the little pass through behind the center armrest but that wasn't enough. If something slid into the deep part of the trunk, it would be so much easier to just fold the seatback down, and grab it.

With this in mind, I decided to do an experiment while trolling around a local 'U-Pull-it' yard. I knew the LHS/Concorde and the 300M had the same wheelbase, but there was more legroom in the back LHS/Concorde. This baffled me. With the greenhouse being visually identical, how did they do that? I found a junked LHS and a 300M and decided to try the swap for myself. It turns out that the difference in legroom between the two cars is all because of the extra room needed for the mechanism to flip the seat back. Other than that, the two seats are practically interchangeable!

The only effective difference between these two installations is that the seat back from the 300M had 6 hold down studs at the base, and the LHS/Concorde only has 4. For my purposes, I decided that 2 missing nuts wouldn't make enough of a difference for me to not try it for myself. After all, once the seat bottom is in, you can't see it anyway. [Note: there may be safety concerns.]

If you have a Concorde LX or LXi, the seat pattern will not match at all, especially if it's cloth. Every 300M had leather seats. This may be an issue unless the flexibility is more important than having the upholstery match. From a practical standpoint, you can't see the seat pattern on the front seats, when you are sitting in the back. You may find your rear seat passengers think they are riding in luxury!

The upsides of this swap are:

1. You will effectively have a larger trunk so you will have the ability to carry larger items inside the car.
2. Your car will gain flexibility. It will be easier access items at the front of the trunk.
3. You will have those cool looking adjustable headrests in the back seat that the Concorde never had.
4. To the untrained eye, it will look completely factory installed

The downside is you will have about 3 1/2" less legroom for back seat passengers. For me the decision was easy. My friends aren't all that tall to begin with, and even if they were, there is still a ton of room back there.

This swap can go the other way too. If you have a 300M and you are comfortable with the trunk size, you can install the rear seat from an LHS/Concorde in it and have limo like rear seat legroom without buying a new car. It's just a thought.

If you are thinking about doing this swap, here are a few installation tips.

  1. The rear seat base is removed by pulling STRAIGHT UP! It's not like the older Chryslers where you need to slide the seat bottom toward back of the car, before you pull up. Find the handhold on the front of the seat bottom, and just tug it up.
  2. You will need to pop out the interior "C" pillar trim pieces. Removing these panels will allow the seat back to move upward enough to be removed. Don't worry, they are only held in with spring clips. Pop the forward part of the panel out, and then pull toward the front of the car. Check with your FSM is you need more info.
  3. The 300M seat back is heavy and awkward for one guy to maneuver! To save your back, borrow a friend for about 3 minutes to install the seat back.
  4. You WILL need to pick up the seat base too. The seat base is paired to the seat back. They are not the same.
  5. Remember to get the trunk carpet as well as the rear seat. You will need about a 5" filler piece from the 'deep' part of the trunk to extend the carpet where it transitions into the interior. My advice it to take the whole trunk carpet though. It likely won't cost you much more, and you can then use the underlay to make your trunk a little quieter.
  6. If you are thinking about installing new rear 6x9 speakers, do it now. You will have to remove all the stuff anyway if you do it later.
  7. Pay attention to is the pattern in the leather. The early 300M/LHS used a perforated leather on the seats, and the later versions 300M/Concorde Limited used a smooth leather. If you want it to match, be sure to check first!

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