Fixed my non-working Heated Seats *How-to w/ Pics* - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-19-2010, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Fixed my non-working Heated Seats *How-to w/ Pics*

My passenger heated seat never worked in my 96 Caddy FWB and I could find NO information on any sites on how to fix it so I gave it a shot myself.

First understand how they work. There is a switch on the seat that goes under the seat to a relay box that you can hear click when set on Hi or Low. The relay box gets power from the main power hookup under the seat. Power is then sent out to the Back rest heating element and the seat bottom element. The elements are made up of weaving wires that are underneath a glued down pad.



Here is the relay box removed from the seat. I took this apart and found a little corosion on the contacts for the relay. This wasnt the problem why mine didnt work but it could be for other people. Also good maintenance I guess

Since my relays were working the next thing to test is the elements themselves. Instead of tearing the seats apart you can test the elements with an ohm meter.



The black hanging plug is the plug from the seat back element. It has 2 wires. Set your ohm meter to 200 and touch it to both leads. It should be around 1 ohm. Could be 1.1 or 1.5, the elements themselves say .95 ohms so anything around that means there is no break in it. If there is a break in the elements wire somewhere it wont read any resistance.



These are the 2 wires that come from the bottom element. 1 had 2 wires and 1 has 4 wires. The plug with 4 wires put your multimeter end to the red wire and to one of the other wires on the 2 wire plug to test.

In my instance it was the bottom element that didnt have a reading. My seat back read 1.1. The bottom leather was pretty easy to release compared to the seat back. OF COURSE DO ALL THIS WITH THE SEAT OUTSIDE OF THE CAR!



Examining the element with the leather off I found a burnt spot. Obviously this is where the break was.

Instead of searching for a replacement I decided to try to repair it.



Turns out the wire is stranded copper wire with a hard jacket around it. This means it can be soldered easily. In the picture you can see the wire I stripped. MAKE SURE WHEN STRIPPING THE WIRE TO NOT CUT ANY STRANDS OF THE WIRE! This will weaken the wire and cause another burnout. Slowly strip away the insulation.



I used similar wire for the patch. Dont use anything smaller! Here you can see the patch.



To keep the cover back down over the element I used some gorilla tape. Glue might work also. I wouldnt use duct tape on stuff that heats up.

After the repair you can test the resistance again and see if it is fixed. Plug it all back in. Assemble the seat and enjoy heat again

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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-19-2010, 10:08 PM
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A break in the wire would read infinite resistance instead of no resistance.

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-19-2010, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Kiehl View Post
A break in the wire would read infinite resistance instead of no resistance.
yea, I phrased it wrong. The meter always shows infinate, if it shows a reading than thats a change from the infinate

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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2010, 10:14 AM
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Thanks for the info. I guess I know what I'm doing tomorrow. The FSM does not have very much I formation on this job. Thank agian for putting up a thread on this.

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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-20-2010, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Luckily my break was easy to find. Usually its in the bottom because of all the movement from people sitting on it. My wifes buick SUV has a problem with the seat bottom heater too. I doubt youll find a break on the seat back.

As nice as it is to have the seat heaters these early versions werent very good. Ive had them in my 2000 DTS and my wifes SUV and a grand cherokee and those all get so damn hot u gotta turn them off. The fleetwood just gets warm, not hot. I think some of it has to do with the leather, the heat cant get through as easy. Those other cars the leather has holes in it, fleetwood doesnt. If you turn the heaters on and nobody sits in the seat you can barely feel the heat. But when you sit on it and push that leather up against the heating element you feel the heat better.

Doing some quick searches I couldnt find replacement elements so thats why I decided to try the repair myself. The element has part numbers on them so maybe theyre still available? But youll tear up your foam trying to get it off. If I had a new element I would stick it down on top of the old one.

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1983 - Coupe Deville - Street Custom Show Lowrider
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-21-2010, 09:47 PM
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You left the bare soldered end's exposed to the padding??....

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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-21-2010, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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first of all it doesnt even get hot enough to melt solder. And its not exposed to the "padding" of the seat, the heating element has a fabric layer between it and the padding or leather. The only way it gets hot enough to burn like it did to begin with is when some of those strands of wire break and then you have all that amperage passing through just a couple little strands instead of a bunch, so it burns up.

I wouldve put something over the connections if I had something, but what would you use? I thought maybe heat shrink tube? Definately not electrical tape. Either way it doesnt get hot enough to harm anything on these particular heating elements.

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1996 - Fleetwood Brougham Black on Black V4P
1983 - Coupe Deville - Street Custom Show Lowrider
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-22-2010, 03:07 AM
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thanks for making the threat stupid ol me didnt know they had heated seats

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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-22-2010, 04:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoupeDTS View Post
I thought maybe heat shrink tube? Definately not electrical tape. Either way it doesnt get hot enough to harm anything on these particular heating elements.
I was thinking heat shrink...I've never dealt with heated seat's so what do I know, seeing the burn mark just had me a little worried is all.

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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-22-2010, 08:26 AM Thread Starter
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Newer heated seats (98+) get VERY hot. I dont know if solder would even keep on those.

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1983 - Coupe Deville - Street Custom Show Lowrider
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