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Unread 01-03-2011, 10:20 PM   #1
proeliumfessus
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Heated Seat Repair Writeup

The people here at JeepForum have been very helpful to me, so I thought I'd do this writeup as a way of saying thank you.

A couple things about the job. First off, I'm the type who prefers a job with 100 easy steps as opposed to 1 really hard one- so for many this writeup may seem too lengthy. Second, you should know in advance that after getting them (the heated elements) working again, I was pretty (or even very) disappointed with them. My 03 Avalanche's seats used to get so hot, you had to turn them down because it began to burn- they were awesome! this was what I was looking forward to with the ZJ. Perhaps its just my vehicle, and this wont be the case with yours, but the warmest the seats get is just BARELY above body temperature on HI. They do work though- you will hear the little clicking under the seat kicking the elements on and off, and you will feel the chill from the seat disappear faster than it would without it... But if you're expecting a heating pad effect, don't be surprised if this doesn't happen. I think they're supposed to be much warmer, and my guess is the modules under the seats may be to blame, because it seems like it turns the elements off too soon and lets the seat cool off too much between cycles. On the other hand, it may be the thermostat in the seat cover that's to blame... Anyway, on to the Writeup.

Obviously, this writeup is meant as a reference only, and implies no warranty, or guarantee. Should you chose to follow the steps contained herein, you do so at your own risk, and agree to assume full responsibility for any outcome. Note, this writeup involves using a propane torch to apply heat/flame to surfaces, which if over heated, may cause the vehicle to catch fire. In addition, you will be required to apply flame to a bolt that is less than 12 inches from fuel lines. If you are not fully confident that you can safely manipulate a torch with fuel lines less than 12 inches away, do NOT attempt this. Also, when using a torch there is the possibility of severe personal injury, so if you're not too terribly mechanically inclined or at least possess a basic familiarity with torch use, I'd recommend having someone else do this for you, or at the very least, have an experienced individual with you when you do this. Fuel leaks are especially dangerous, if your vehicle ever smells of gas don't attempt this until it's fixed.




Tools:
Wire Brush (one small one large)
Philips Screwdriver
Blade Screwdriver
Side Cutters
13mm Socket
T-45 Torque Bit
Propane Torch (highly- repeat HIGHLY recommended, unless you really like bad days)
Soldering Iron/Solder
Needle Nose Pliers
Chanel Locks
Spool of Wire (18-14ga)
Razor/Box Cutter
Duct Tape
Test Meter
Liquid Wrench/WD-40 or whatever
Wire Strippers
Electrical Tape

Optional:
Glue that remains flexible when cured. Silicon for example.
Plastic welding kit with rubberized plastic welding rods (used for bumper repair). I used harbor freights Item# 67102.


1) The seat is secured with 4 bolts, two in the front and two in the back. The front two are much more dangerous to remove, because they do not go through to the underside of the floorboard, they are mounted horizontally... meaning if you break one trying to remove it, you will not have a stud hanging out under the truck to work with, to get it out. So, DONT break any of the front bolts- take it as slow and easy as you have to, even if it means spreading their removal out over a couple days using penetrating oil. The good news is, the front bolts aren't exposed to the elements so their removal should not pose too much of a problem... But mine were still tough to remove because of the 15 year old thread lock. Okay now here's the skinny on the two rear bolts- they do go through the floor board and are exposed to the elements. Step one is to climb under and use your big wire brush to clean away as much dirt, grime and rust from the threads as you can. Don't lubricate the threads- we're going to be applying a flame to them and you don't need the oil catching fire.

2) Slide the seat all the way back.

3) Remove the front two bolts gingerly.


4) Slide the seat all the way forward and rock the seat back forward too.

5) Remove the plastic seat bolt covers concealing the rear two seat bolts.


***Don't do what I did. I am pretty well experienced, and on top of that, knew in advance that these bolts have a tendency to break, and STILL, as careful as I was being, managed to snap one off. They're NOT kidding when they say these things snap- so don't don't don't skip the next step***


6) Heat one bolt at a time. Grab your fire extinguisher or get your garden hose ready, whichever you prefer. Using torch, apply heat to the nut of one of the two rear bolts, from underneath the vehicle. I found that the under coating is very heat resistant, it didn't seem to want to catch at all, which was nice. It only took somewhere around 30 seconds of moving flame to allow the bolt to come out VERY easily... yes, it makes that much difference- you'll know its ready when the bolt just turns easily, like a normal bolt should. The heat makes a monumental difference trust me. If you're still fighting it, apply more heat- but be careful, obviously all this heat is heating up/burning the sub-carpet lining in the interior, creating the potential for fire. REMEMBER- the inboard bolt is less than 6 inches from fuel lines running along the frame rail, keep the flame angled away from them... and don't lay directly under them in case they do rupture/catch fire.


If you decided to skip this step anyway.. and manage to snap a bolt- not to worry. Just go back and follow step 6 for the broken bolt and use a set of vice grips on the remaining shaft of the bolt from underneath, and once its heated, turn it all the way through, with it exiting the nut from underneath the vehicle.



7) After you've heated the bolt, obviously turn off the torch and go up top and remove the bolt.

8) Repeat process for other bolt.

9) Recline the seat back, all the way back (important). Being careful not to burn your self on the hot seat feet, rock the seat up enough to expose the main connector. Slide the red locking tab out til it stops, and disconnect the connector.


10) Disconnect the seat belt connector.


11) Remove the seat and take it to the bench with the controls facing you.


12) Remove 3 screws holding panel on. 2 long ones are in front and a short third screw is on the back.



13) Disconnect black connector.


14) Unscrew both screws holding in lumbar switch. Note, I took one screw all the way out, and left the other dangling in the switch, and never had a problem with it getting lost.


15) Set panel to the side.

16) Disconnect 2 connectors on recliner motor.


17) Loosen 2 bolts holding recliner assembly on.


18) Rotate seat so opposite side now facing you and pull down, side, rear of seat cover, to reveal T-45 torque bolt


19) Loosen torque bolt, but don't remove.

20) Move seat to the floor upside down.


21) Unwind wire loops, holding lower seat cover to seat frame. Be careful. There is serious knuckle cracking potential here, wear gloves. And also note, that although I'm using side cutters here, I'm NOT cutting the wire loops... I'm just using their sharp point to get the unwinding started.



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Unread 01-03-2011, 10:21 PM   #2
proeliumfessus
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22) Once the unwinding is started, use the needle nose to finish, to avoid gouging the rings too much.


23) With all rings now removed, pull back gray flap to reveal connectors.


24) Disconnect the green black and blue connectors.


25) Flip seat back over and remove the torque bolt.


26) Remove two bolts on opposite side.


27) Lay the seat back down on top of the seat bottom.


28) Pull the wires from the seat back, through the hole in the bottom seat cover.


29) Plug in soldering Iron.


30) Get your meter ready. First we'll test the seat back for an open circuit. Grab the two wire green connector coming out of the seat back and using ohms, touch the leads to the pins in the plug. You should see very low resistance (less than 2 ohms) if there is nothing wrong with it. Most likely the seat back will be fine. Both of mine were ok.



31) Set seat back off to the side.


32) Bring seat bottom back to the bench, front facing you, and upside down.

33) Remove wire rings the same way you did the rear.


34) Remove white plastic latch.


35) Do the same on the right side of the seat, with the other white latch.


36) On the opposite seat side of the last latch- With a blade screwdriver, lift up and twist, to remove the two white clips from the seat frame.



37) Flip seat back over (right side up now) and lift the front of the seat cover up from the seat cushion... being careful not to tear the velcro off the seat foam underneath.



38) Pull wires through seat cover hole.


39) Continue peeling seat cover back to reveal two sets of wires, one set on the right and one on the left.
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Unread 01-03-2011, 10:22 PM   #3
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40) Peel rear of seat up, exposing the connectors for the wires on the right.


41) The connector you want to test is red and hidden in the gray cloth here.


42) Peel back the material exposing the plug. Disconnect it and test for continuity the same way you did with the seat back. It will most likely be broken here. My meter displays "O.L" when it encounters an open circuit... other meters will display the number "1." An open circuit means there's a wire broken and so the path between the two pins in the connector is broken somewhere. If you see less than two ohms, then this element is ok. Note: there are 4 elements in the seat bottom cover, we will be testing each one. This element in my seat read "O.L" so it was broken. Somehow mark these wires so when you're done testing you know which ones need to be fixed.





43) Next locate the plug for the other set of wires on the opposite side (its also red and hidden in the cloth).


44) Diconnect it and run the same continuity test. As you can see the meter read .03 ohms, so this element was ok on mine.




45) The element array looks like this. Next we will test the two middle heating elements located between the red connectors we just tested at. These middle ones are a little more tricky because you have to follow each wire to the corresponding pin in the connectors they run to.


46) Disconnect the black connector.


47) Grab the main connector on the left, it has 2 gray wires, a black and a red. We're going to hook one test lead to the red and the other to the female end of the black connector we just disconnected. Now to know which pin to connect to in the black connector, (for the other test lead) chose the one who's wire goes INTO the left element (the left one of the two in the middle). Mine tested ok.







48) Now for the last heating element. Use the female end of the right red connector and the male end of the black connector. Use the pins for the two wires that are going INTO this element. Mine tested bad.

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Unread 01-03-2011, 10:23 PM   #4
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49) Remove the cover and lay it on the bench upside down. These are the 4 regions with heating elements.


50) Using a razor/box cutter, make a cut very carefully, only deep enough to get through the orange sponge. ***Important*** don't do what I did and sever heating element wires running just under the sponge.. they're very fine wires and cut easily... if you feel any resistance other than the easy give of the sponge, back off, and inspect for wires before proceeding.



51) Once the sponge is cut and out of the way, look for two adhesive circles/patches with wires coming out of them. Notice one of mine has a broken wire- that was the open circuit.



52) I found the easiest way to dig out the wires embedded in the adhesive patches was to use a soldering iron to melt my way through. Be careful not to melt too deep though, or you'll ruin your seat's leather. When you're done exposing the wire, you'll find a "T" shaped lead that comes out.



53) Do the same for the next patch if it needs it. When you're done they should look like this. Two raised "T's."


54) Strip the ends of the wires.


55) Crimp butt connectors on very tightly.


56) Cut two lengths of the wire mentioned in the tools section. Strip both ends but strip one end about 2 inches back on one of each of the wires. The long ends will be used to wrap around the "T's."



57) Begin wrapping one of the long striped ends around one of the T's.


58) After wrapping, heat up the newly wrapped section using the soldering iron without solder... this will help melt away the glue left over on the T and create better contact.


59) Now add solder to the newly wrapped section. Note, if your iron starts to really suck at melting the solder, use the small wire brush and really clean the heck out of the tip of the iron... that thin black coating from melting the adhesive really made it difficult for mine to do its job.


60) Wrap, heat, and solder the next wire to the next T.


61) Now we're going to melt the T's back into the adhesive patches... If you made your solder job nice and compact then you can get away with simply using the iron to melt the surrounding adhesive and push it back over the T's- when it cools it'll be good to go... if you're like me however, and suck at soldering, then your joints were big and cant be covered with just the melted adhesive.. this is where the plastic welding kit came in handy. I used the rubberized bumper repair welding plastic that came with it to melt over the patches. When it cools it remains pretty flexible.

62) It should look like this when its done. Now test the leads for continuity.

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Unread 01-03-2011, 10:23 PM   #5
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63) Contiuity restored!


64) Close foam (you may want to use the flexible glue mentioned in the tools section for gluing the foam down) and add a piece of duct tape.


65) Crimp leads to butt connectors.


66) Now for the next element. Cut here.


67) Be very very careful to only cut the sponge/cloth and NO silvery wires. Note in this case the wire on the right wasnt broken, but it wasnt making good contact in the "T." I used the same method as before to gain access to the wires in the adhesive patch. Once they were exposed, I rewrapped them and added solder.


68) This time I kept it small enough to just melt the surrounding adhesive back over the joint.


69) Tape foam back together.


70) Reconnect all connectors.

71) Take slack out of added wire and tape butt connectors together thoroughly. Make sure to place the butt connectors toward the very back of the seat with the rest of the connectors, so they're not being sat on.


72) Bring seat bottom back to bench, back facing you.


73) Position seat cover over seat bottom, and run wires between bar and sponge. Tuck gray cloth and fold seat cover corners up.



74) Connect black connector.


75) Tuck black, blue, and green connectors behind gray cloth and pull gray cloth down.



76) Flip seat on its side and align gray cloth with wire rod.


77) Install rings to gray cloth and wire rod. I used needle nose pliers start the rings, then used the channel locks to clamp them shut.



78) Move seat to the floor.


79) Position seat back as shown.
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Unread 01-03-2011, 10:24 PM   #6
proeliumfessus
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80) Push wires through hole.


81) Flip seat bottom cover up, and connect all connectors between seat back, seat bottom cover, and seat bottom.


82) Fold rear corners down.


83) Lay seat back, on top of seat bottom.


84) Move seat to bench and temporarily pull down front of seat cover. Align bolt holes for the seat back, with the seat bottom cover.



85) Loosely insert seat back bolts.



86) Lift up front of seat bottom cover and position it for final alignment. Pull seat cover down over the cusion- this is its final alignment.



87) Pull control wires through side of seat cover.


88) Turn seat on side and reattach front white plastic latch.


89) Reattach ring wires to plastic latch. I recommend bending them in a wide arc and testing them through the original holes before putting them in with the latch attached.




90) Flip the seat back upright and snap in white plastic snaps on the driver's side of the seat and the long latch on the passenger's side.



91) Position seat cover for final bolt alignment and tighten all 3 seat back bolts.

92) Reassemble side control panel and reconnect motor.


93) Reinstall seat and enjoy.
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Unread 01-04-2011, 06:06 AM   #7
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Excellent write up hope too see it as a sticky!
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Unread 01-04-2011, 09:00 AM   #8
Yardman Harry
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Wow dude, this rocks.

You wouldnt happen to know which relay controls the seats, do you? I swapped heated seats into my ZJ that were not originally in the ZJ, so Im wondering if I am missing a relay somewhere.

Yard
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Unread 01-04-2011, 10:28 AM   #9
proeliumfessus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yardman Harry View Post
Wow dude, this rocks.

You wouldnt happen to know which relay controls the seats, do you? I swapped heated seats into my ZJ that were not originally in the ZJ, so Im wondering if I am missing a relay somewhere.

Yard
I looked at the book's explanation of how the heated seat systems are controlled and the components it has.. I think I get whats going on, but instead of giving a half-baked response, maybe someone else with more experience reading electrical diagrams can chime in and break it down for you. (looks to me like all you need is the control modules (relays) which are already mounted to your seats and the switch in the dashboard to turn them on, assuming the fuses are already in place in the PDC and JB)
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Unread 01-04-2011, 11:45 AM   #10
Yardman Harry
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Quote:
Originally Posted by proeliumfessus View Post
I looked at the book's explanation of how the heated seat systems are controlled and the components it has.. I think I get whats going on, but instead of giving a half-baked response, maybe someone else with more experience reading electrical diagrams can chime in and break it down for you. (looks to me like all you need is the control modules (relays) which are already mounted to your seats and the switch in the dashboard to turn them on, assuming the fuses are already in place in the PDC and JB)
Thanks for the reply, I did see the same thing in the FSM wiring diagrams. I thought that the Relay is housed in the seat.

As for the fuse, I traced it back to a fuse that was shared with other components.

I was hoping I was wrong, I will try to find the correct fuse again. Hopefully I am missing just the fuses. The thing is, the LED lights up on the dash, which makes me think I have power coming from the power source, which means fuse is in place.... Which is why I was hoping there was a relay elsewhere.

Yard
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Unread 01-04-2011, 03:12 PM   #11
proeliumfessus
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I am pretty confident the "modules" attached under the seats are really the relays... they click just like relays. I think the circuit breaker and under hood fuse is in place... the fsm mentions a fuse in the interior fuse box- fuse 15 I believe, that is for the heated seats... if that one is there, then gravy... if its and empty slot, then turn on the heated seat switch and check for voltage at the slot for fuse 15 (or whatever slot number the heated seats fuse ends up being).
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Unread 01-04-2011, 03:31 PM   #12
proeliumfessus
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Originally Posted by needspeed View Post
Excellent write up hope too see it as a sticky!
thanks!
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Unread 01-04-2011, 03:46 PM   #13
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Excellent write up!! I hope more things on your Jeep breaks so we all can learn step by step with pics, ha, just kidding Thank you for sharing!
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Unread 01-05-2011, 04:49 AM   #14
proeliumfessus
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Originally Posted by timmay5309 View Post
Excellent write up!! I hope more things on your Jeep breaks so we all can learn step by step with pics, ha, just kidding Thank you for sharing!
lol no problem
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Unread 01-06-2011, 09:55 AM   #15
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Wow, awesome detailed write-up, with great pics. I had mine repaired under warrantee soon after I got mine, but it only worked for a year, so I've been living without it since then. I might attempt this repair, thanks for making the effort to document the procedure.
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