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PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 8:52 am 
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Location: New Bern, NC, USA
Background:

At about 55,000 miles, my wife’s FreeStyle heated seat stopped working on the driver’s side. The passenger side was working fine. The controls indicated that the elements were on, but they did not get warm at all. I troubleshot the issue down to an open in one or both of the heater elements. Since the elements are in series, an open in one takes both out of service. There are two in the seat; one heater pad is on the lower seat cushion and the second is in the lumbar section.

I decided to buy replacement elements and install them myself, but my experience working with upholstery is meager at best, so I put off the job until the fall. I purchased both elements from RockAuto.com in the summer of 2010. The Dorman part numbers were 641-205 for the seat bottom and 641-206 for the seat back. I think I paid around $65.00 for the pair shipped.

Note: The driver’s seat in my wife’s FreeStyle has all the options; power everything.

Here are the steps I used to replace the seat bottom heater pad:

1. Remove the screw from the rear underside of the plastic trim. I used a mirror to locate the screw head (Figure 1). It required a #2 screwdriver in my case. Once the screw is out, the only things holding the trim in place are four (4) push clips. Two are behind the seat position controls, one is just aft of the controls and one is on the right forward edge of the trim. Carefully pop the clips loose. The one on the front gave me the most trouble, I took my time and did not damage anything. I left the seat controls connected so I could move the seat back and forth as required (Figure2).


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2005 Ford Freestyle Limited FWD, Fully Loaded, 141k Miles. Wife's daily driver. My other cars are Mustangs.
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 Post subject: 2005 Ford FreeStyle Driver’s Side Seat Heater Replacement 
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 8:54 am 
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Location: New Bern, NC, USA
2. At this point, I decided to remove the entire seat cushion. The seat cushion is held on by some J channels that lap over the sheet metal edges on the underside of the frame (Figure 3). There are a total of six (6) of these J channels. The front and back each have one and each side has two. I started in the back. When I disconnected the J channel, I found the two sides that wrap around the back were held in place by Velcro (Figure 4). The Velcro came apart easily. Some of the J channels required quite a bit of force to disconnect. The one by the seat belt retention clip was the hardest to reach.


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2005 Ford Freestyle Limited FWD, Fully Loaded, 141k Miles. Wife's daily driver. My other cars are Mustangs.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 8:58 am 
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3. The seat cushion is now only held on by the heater pad electrical pigtail. There is a white pushpin that is taped to the pigtail that will need to be pulled free first. The connector releases once you push the locking tab in and give it a gentle tug (Figure 5). The cushion can now be safely removed after guiding it free of the seatbelt latch. The electrical connector has four sockets in it. If you want to check the heater element out with an ohmmeter, read the resistance of the two outer sockets. You should get between 0.6 and 1.2 ohms (by the Ford Service Manual). If yours reads infinity like mine did, the element is broken and needs to be replaced. The back heater pad connector can now be seen mounted on the right rear side of the seat frame (Figure 6). The back connector only has two wires, not four like the bottom pad. In my case, only the seat bottom pad was broken, so I did not replace the seat back pad. By my estimation, each heater pad produces around 60 watts at 12 volts or 120 watts per heated seat. DON’T DISCONNECT THE YELLOW PLUG! (Figure 7) This is for the side curtain airbag.


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2005 Ford Freestyle Limited FWD, Fully Loaded, 141k Miles. Wife's daily driver. My other cars are Mustangs.


Last edited by veeight on Sat Nov 13, 2010 9:15 am, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 8:59 am 
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Location: New Bern, NC, USA
4. Now you need to take the cushion to a comfortable workspace to begin removing the original hog rings that hold the leather to the seat cushion. I started on the outside edges and worked my way inwards until all the original hog rings were cut and the remnants removed from the foam (Figure 8 ). The heater pad is sandwiched between those layers and glued onto the foam cushion. I decided to leave the original pad in place since I was certain that I would tear chunks out of the foam when I pealed it off. I cut a semicircle out of the original pad where the electrical pigtail connected to it to make room for the new pigtail (Figure 9). I then carefully placed the new pad exactly on top of the original with the factory applied glue strips (Figure 10).


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2005 Ford Freestyle Limited FWD, Fully Loaded, 141k Miles. Wife's daily driver. My other cars are Mustangs.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 9:01 am 
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5. The new hog rings now need to be installed that will hold the leather to the foam cushion. This was a challenge to me since I had never done anything like this before. The Dorman heater pad kits come with a set of hog rings and the cheapest hog ring pliers on the planet. The first set of pliers fell apart when I tried to open them! Not very confidence inspiring, to say the least. I ended up using a pair of needle nose pliers to install the new hog rings. I started from the middle and worked my way outwards. I tried to use the same holes the factory did, although their craftsmanship was far superior to mine. On the plus side, you will never see my workmanship once the leather is on (Figures 12 & 13). There are a total of seventeen (17) hog rings that will need to be installed.

6. I then cut the black tape from the original pigtail that held the white push pin in place and swapped it to the new pigtail to make for a clean install (Figure 11).

7. The seat cushion is ready for installation which is pretty much the reverse of removal. Again, the toughest part is getting the J channel into place around the seat belt latch. Your buns should now be nice and warm again for the upcoming cold season!


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2005 Ford Freestyle Limited FWD, Fully Loaded, 141k Miles. Wife's daily driver. My other cars are Mustangs.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:27 pm 
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Great post. Nice pix's and explanation. Hope never to go there, but feel more confident now, since you have.

Thanks...

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 9:21 am 
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Location: Cartersville, GA
After driving my wife's new car with heated seats, I've decided to add them to my 05 Freebie. I found the Dorman kits on a few websites but I can't tell if they come with harness and switches. Can you confirm?

Very nice overview too, thanks for posting!

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:19 am 
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Location: New Bern, NC, USA
WGRoper wrote:
After driving my wife's new car with heated seats, I've decided to add them to my 05 Freebie. I found the Dorman kits on a few websites but I can't tell if they come with harness and switches. Can you confirm?

Very nice overview too, thanks for posting!



The Dorman kits I purchased contained the heating pad with a pigtail, instructions and the cheapest set of hogring pliers ever made in China. I think there was around 20 hogrings included as well.

No vehicle side harness or switches, though.

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2005 Ford Freestyle Limited FWD, Fully Loaded, 141k Miles. Wife's daily driver. My other cars are Mustangs.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:50 am 
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Thanks for the quick reply. I can likely source some switches on eBay or electronics vendors online. Good to know. I'll also need to add some relays, the standard automotive type that the car alarm installers use. I'm pretty sure I've got some in a cabinet in the garage that were leftovers from previous projects.

I did find a wiring schematic on Dorman's site that described how to wire them with the relay for two heat seatings. Basically, it switches the back and bottom elements from being in series with each other on Low to being in parallel on High. Simple enough.

http://www.dormanproducts.com/documents ... ctions.pdf

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:16 pm 
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Well, it's been almost a year since replacing the lower element and guess what: it is broken again. If I decide to do this repair once more, I will use a genuine Ford part instead of the Dorman aftermarket piece. I priced out the Ford part at $98.81 plus shipping at SilverStateFordParts.com.

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2005 Ford Freestyle Limited FWD, Fully Loaded, 141k Miles. Wife's daily driver. My other cars are Mustangs.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:59 am 
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I finally got around to installing mine this weekend. It has been nearly a year since I bought the heat pads from Dorman.

So far so good, you are 100% correct about those silly hogring pliers they include with the pads. Unbelievable junk. If anyone plans to do this themselves, I'd recommend getting a decent set of hogring pliers. Or just use a couple of needle nose pliers.

The pads are a little too warm, I may add a rheostat in each circuit so I can dial the heat down a bit. I need to take some measurements on the two pads and see what they wattage works out to be, I think if I could halve the power it'd be just about right. I wish I had thought of that before I put the pads in the seats.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:47 am 
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I just puchased a 2005 Freestyle in perfect condition. I was not equiped with heated seats and I would like to add them. I know I can purchase the heating elements and the control module. Just wondering if my car has all of the necessary wiring being that the car did not originally come with heated seats. Also on the previous post what did you use for switches. Did you purchase factory switches or add something external? It appears the factory switches are integrated in the hole heater controls, doesn't look like an option for my car.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:03 am 
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There was no seat heater wiring in my car. I made up the harness myself using the standard automotive type relays that car alarm installers use, they can be bought at most any auto parts store. The Dorman installation instructions have a good wiring diagram for using these relays to give you two heat settings, a low and a high. Basically the heaters are wired in a series circuit when on low and in parallel when on high.

I found a DC-DC Buck Converter module that would drop the voltage to 5v to the circuit without wasting a bunch of energy in the process. I plan to order it this week and install in the main power line going to my homebrew control harness. I'll let you know how that works out.

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