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Re: Drivers side seat heater repair and costs

Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:10 pm
by pistol64
:idea: :idea: :arrow:

Being stubborn just paid off !!!!!!!!

I used the diagram above and seperated each part of the circuit.

The short story is this, When you have an open circuit on this system (the indicator light will blink) on then off each time you push the button.
The heaters ( seat bottom and seat back ) are wired in series and then they finish off by going to ground.

I was reading in an earlier post that if the light blinks and then it goes out again this is likely a big indicator you have a short circuit. AKA a broken heater element. In my case the back seat heater is broken, it has a short circuit.

The other thing I did to verify the result was I wired the seat bottom on the drivers side to the seat back on the passenger side and the system is working for at least ten minutes. So the next thing to do will be to replace the back heater on the driver side. ( if you unhook the wires they will stretch enough to do this test from the driver side to the passenger side, also I had to remove the wire plug from the seat frame of the drivers side to make it stretch. )

i will get back to this thread with an update..

An FYI in closing the heaters are now available in Ontario at Dorman dealers. (Carquest)
Rock auto is good but more money than neccessary for this part.

Re: Drivers side seat heater repair and costs

Posted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:07 pm
by pistol64
Updated info on seat heaters

I got one of the back seat heaters from dorman and installed it. Just to confirm the previous results, the seat heater now works because it is wired in series from the bottom heater to the back heater and the short circuit is now eliminated.

I think i went about this the hardway but what i figured out is the OEM pads have a short lifespan and now that these parts are available in the Toronto are on a days notice it is becoming an easier problem to overcome.

The wife has a hot seat and now I have less headaches..........its cheaper to keeper!!!!!!!!

Re: Drivers side seat heater repair and costs

Posted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:20 am
by pwschuh
Thanks to all for the feedback in this thread. Just bought an 08 TX Limited. Both of the front seat heaters exhibit the same symptoms. You push either switch and both lights come on for 1/2 a second and then go out. No heat.

Is there a way to tell which pad has the open? (i.e. seat bottom or seat back?) Is it typical for both driver and passenger seats to fail together?

Re: Drivers side seat heater repair and costs

Posted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:24 pm
by pistol64
I would use an ohms meter which should show resistance. Mine showed about 4 - 8 ohms as I recall. If you get an infinite reading at the seatheater or "0" then you have an open circuit. (try pushing on the seat heater in different places to prove there is a short circuit in the heater pad) You should be able to do this without removing the seat covering or heaters. the bottom wireing is easy to find because the wire pokes through a hole on the bottom of the seat near the back rest. The wire plug for the back rest heater is found from the back when you remove the material that is " J hooked " to the bottom of the base of the seat.

Having said that make sure you have no loose plugs and you are getting power to the seat heater module under the passenger seat. If you unplug the seat heater module you can actualy remove the seat heater control module from the plastic case it is stuck into. (it is the gadget riveted under neath the passenger seat

Re: Drivers side seat heater repair and costs

Posted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:05 pm
by markndan
There's lots of great info here about replacing seat bottom heaters (some other posts have step-by-step pics as well). Does anyone have any tips for replacing the seat back heaters? I've confirmed that my seat bottom has continuity, but the back does not. I confirmed by trying the heaters with both old and new back heaters plugged in (before actually going through the replacement).


Re: Drivers side seat heater repair and costs

Posted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:03 pm
by jacksdf
My drivers seat on my 2007 Freestyle Limited has been out for a while. Annoying but I do not want to pay big bucks for the dealer to fix it. Not yet ready to try my own replacement. Curious if anyone has tried to eliminate the back heater from the series to get the bottom heater working solo? That would work for me in keeping my buns warm.

Re: Drivers side seat heater repair and costs

Posted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 7:07 pm
by nbkcu33
My wife's seat heater just went out in her '07 Freestyle Limited. I am handy with tools and a multimeter, so this job does not look hard at all. I do have two quick questions, 1) Do you need to "de-power & re-power", as Ford calls it in the service manual, the SRS system before working on the heater? 2) Does anyone have the part numbers for the bottom & back heaters?

Re: Drivers side seat heater repair and costs

Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:56 am
by markndan
I didn't get OEM parts. I ordered mine from Rock Auto at ~$25 each. It's pretty easy to drill your way down to find the parts.

I got halfway into the project before determining that the back heater was faulty. I hadn't yet cut the hog rings off the seat bottom, so I decided to cut my losses and just put everything back together. As I mentioned a few posts ago, I couldn't find any tips on removing the seat back cover. And since I'm working outside and it's currently below freezing, I basically just chickened out. If you change out the back heater, I'd love to get some tips (or even pics!).

Good luck!

Re: Drivers side seat heater repair and costs

Posted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 8:52 pm
by pistol64
I attached 2 pics from when I changed the seat back heater.
In order to remove the seat back covering you need to unhook a j strip under neath the seat back. You also need to unhook the seat covering on the back of the bottom seat cover, then you need to roll up the seat back covering. Part of the seat back covering is held in place with velcro, I would say changing the seat back covering was easier than the bottom seat heater. Also the seat back heater is held in place with 2 sided tape. You also need to remove the small lever on the seat that works the lumbar support. I would reccomend that the seat covering should be above freezing as it is vinyl and not leather.

Re: Drivers side seat heater repair and costs

Posted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:07 am
by ronklo
I have a 2004 FreeSTAR. I think the seat heater design is probably very similar to the Freestyle. My driver seat also does not heat, and I have diagnosed it to the seat bottom heater pad being open circuit. I haven't attempted the repair yet, since I'm having touble locating a pad. Ford discontinued it (was $41 US or $75 Canadian), and now want to sell the whole cushion for $285 CDN (even got a quot of $1162. from one dealer !!). I'm an electronics tech so pretty straight forward for me. Just a few notes and comments to share.
The seat cushion has a variable sensor in the seat bottom to only turn the heater on when it senses weight on the seat. My passenger seat actually dis-engages the passenger air bag (light comes on on the dash), if there is some weight, but not alot on the seat, I'm guessing to protect a small child. If you are attempting to diagnose the heat issue without enough weight on the seat, you may not get proper results. I found if I disconnected the 4 wire connector and tried turning on the seat, it turned it on for a couple seconds, then turned off, and I couldn't turn it back on. I'm guessing this is to prevent power going to the heater if the sensor is not being picked up properly. I think the system may also get temperature readings back to control on/off of the heaters and moderate the temp. This makes sense since the heater switch has a low & high light, and I doubt they lower the voltage to the heaters for the low setting. So if this sensor is not working properly, you may be changing heater pads for nothing.
The pads are in series (meaning power goes in one pad, then out to the input of the other pad, then out to ground). If one pad has an open circuit, neither one will heat up. Just to note, one poster said he had an open circuit but called it a short circuit. These are opposite things. Open circuit is no continutity or infinite, and short circuit is full continuity or zero ohms. (don't meant to critisize, just clairfy).
The way to check continuity of the heater pads is to disconnect the pads from any connectors. My seat bottom and back pads are connected together in series inside the cushion, so I stuck a sewing needle into the wire between the 2 pads, and measured the resistance of each pad relative to this sewing needle. On the seat back I had 3 ohms, and the cushion pad was open ( or infinite which usually shows as 1.000 with
the 1 flashing, 0's constant on most digital multimeters).
Hope this helps someone. I'm happy to see some of you got the pads from alternate suppliers. I'll check them out.

Re: Drivers side seat heater repair and costs

Posted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:29 pm
by bluedog1157
I have a 2008 Taurus-X Ltd. Will be 3 years old in a few weeks. Just had my 3rd seat heater to go out last week at 93.000 miles. First one went at 38,000 so no warranty. At nearly $400 a pop, I have had it with Ford. Thanks to those that posted the photos. I will buy the after market part and do it myself.

Love the car, but quality is just not there. This is just one more item in a long list of problems.

First day, the dealer burned out the front brakes delivering the car from another Ford dealer a couple counties away... they had to replace pads and rotors before I could take delivery. Two weeks later at 1200 miles the tranny jumps into limp mode. I was lucky that another Ford dealer was just a couple miles down the road and I limped it into his lot. They took 3 days to repair it as the dealer had to consult with a factory rep. It was the first 08 they had worked on.

Then one of the rear seats ripped the first time an adult sat in it (140 pound woman). The dealer replaced it, but it took 2 times as they ripped the first replacement while installing it! Next, it was the steering rack. And shortly after that the transfer case, which turned out a week later to be a front axle problem. Thank goodness all that happened during the 36,000 mile warranty.

The first seat heater was on the passenger side. As this is my commuter car the passenger seat does not get that much use. The leather was barely showing any use at 38,000 miles. The driver seat went at 45,000 miles, and I only use the seat heat for maybe 5 minutes, till warm, then switch it off. Now it is the driver seat again at 93,000 miles. From reading the forum it seems obvious that Ford has a problem and again is doing a great job hiding it and will probably avoid a recall... just like on the rusty aluminum hood.

Yes, my hood is rusting under the paint on the front and rear edges. No warranty from Ford and dealer wants $650 to repaint, with no warranty that it won't rust again. I will be touching up the spots where the paint has popped off again -- soon as the weather gets a little warmer.

But what bugs me most is the light in the speedometer (dark from 0 to 60). Ford dealers wants $120 to replace it. Funny thing is that it isn't shot, just loose. It will flicker on at RxR crossings, and sometimes works for several days. Guess that is another DIY job went it warms up. Anyone know how to get to those bulbs? I'm told there are 6-8 in the cluster, so I want to change them all.

I just looked at the new 2011 Explorer (aka Taurus X, aka FreeStyle) today, while they were checking the seat. Nice looking car, but I wonder if Ford did anything about the seat heater or the hood rust problems this time? My guess is we will know in about 18 months, when owners start posting here.

p.s. The Ford guy today actually told me that the heat pad was a part that doesn't last forever. I told him my wife's Volvo wagon is now 16 years old, with almost double my mileage, and she has never had a seat heater problem... and she uses it all the time! (Actually the Volvo has had far less repairs in 16 years than this Ford in 3 years. But then, it was built 5 years before Ford acquired Volvo.

Re: Drivers side seat heater repair and costs

Posted: Sat Feb 19, 2011 12:11 am
by ronklo
Has anyone used the Dorman heater on a Freestar, and if so, what Dorman part number or type, make model etc.
There does not seem to be a true Freestar part from Dorman.

Re: Drivers side seat heater repair and costs

Posted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:03 pm
by Rickoz
Mine's out again... third time. First two occurred under warranty so zero cost. Now I am at 6 years and 60K miles and have been quoted $500. I will talk to the service manager about this one and look to Ford Corp for help if necessary. Guess I need to dig up that original service bulletin too.

Re: Drivers side seat heater repair and costs

Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:43 am
by kidfam
Oh, great my Driver's side seat is out again for the fourth time.

At different times I have replaced the seat bottom 3 times and the back once.

Now its out again and I will have to get out my Ohm meter and jumper wire to see which pad went bad again. The Dormont pads have a lifetime warranty however I get I need to buy spares as I don't want to take the seat out, get the bad pad, put the seat back in, wait for warranty replacement pad etc etc etc.

This really sucks

Re: Drivers side seat heater repair and costs

Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:29 pm
by pistol64
So here we go again, the bottom seat heater element is burnt out again. I can say I learned a lot about these heaters through the school of hard knox. But the part that stands out the most is exactly how cheap these heaters are............