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Jullian is not my name

How To: Replace Heated Seat Element Pads

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I finished replacing the seat heater elements on my driver seat over the weekend and wanted to post a bit of the process to replace them.  It took me less than 3 hours, including a break for dinner.  In my post under the topic Heated seats not working, page 14 I posted about my troubleshooting using PIT543A (Diagnostic Tips – Front Heated Seats).  In brief, I went through the troubleshooting steps and identified the problem as both of my heating elements that were impeding with too much resistance to function.  I have a 2014 Crew Cab SLT with Heated and Cooled seats and the safety seat vibrator.  The part numbers I ordered were 23170194 and 23223775.  They were perfect replacements, and I could also tell that there were some minor updates I could see from my originals.  Hopefully GM has fixed the garbage heaters that were installed originally and this time they’ll last a lot longer.  The heating pads have the cooling layer built-in to allow the seat venting to blow through the seat.  The heating element is covered by a felt material that sits right against the leather.  Under that is the layer for the ventilation material, which feels a lot like bubble wrap and allows the air to flow out through nickel sized holes spaced around the heating pad layer.  So contrary to some reports from dealers trying to explain poor performance, the heating element is directly against the leather… the venting layer is thus under the heating layer.  On to the actual work.

 

The first step to the repair was removing the seat.  Take the headrest off, it'll be easier to if you just get it out of the way right away.  Removing the rigid seat back is easy, and you can follow PI1091 for more info on that.  There are only 2 T50 bolts holding the seat in place.  Remove the plastic trim covering the seat tracks, and move the seat forward enough to get access to the bolts at the rear of the tracks.  With the trim removed, you can break the bolts loose and remove them.  I read this next tip online, but disconnect the negative battery lead before removing the big yellow and grey wire connector that you can now see with the trim removed.  That way you avoid potentially, yet unlikely, causing an air bag light to come on in your dash that your dealer would have to reset.  Slide the red safety tab back on the connector, then rotate the grey latch to disengage the connector.  This is the only connector going between the seat itself and the vehicle body.  At this point I took off all the seat trim I could get to.  The trim piece with the power seat controls has a hidden philips screw that is on the lower front of the seat that you have to get to from behind the trim.  Otherwise, all the other trim has visible screws.  Next, remove the seat belt anchor (another T50 bolt).  You'll have to take off another piece of seat trim covering the pretensioner assembly, and disconnect a wire that runs to the seat belt pretensioner trigger.  The pretensioner wire comes off by first prying up on the red safety tab, and then it just lifts straight off.

Edited by txab

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(Step 2 continue)

You can now tilt the seat forward so it lifts out of the front slots, and then out of the truck, just be careful not to scratch your paint or interior with the seat rails.  With the seat out, it was pretty straight forward what needed to be removed.  I just started unclipping all the upholstery clips around the seat frame, unplugged the pigtails coming off the seat heater elements, and pulled the 2 haptic vibration motors out of the seat cushion.  The real challenge came when rolling the upholstery up and off the seat back.  The seat leather/vinyl material is held to the contours of the seat by these long blue plastic splines that are sewn into the seat material. These splines are clipped into the seat foam by orange pinch clips that are embedded and glued into the foam.  There's probably about 10 on the seat back that have to be unclipped.  I watched some YouTube videos on older trucks, and it was exactly the same process for mine.  You just have to carefully use your hand or a pry tool to unclip the spline.  I ended up breaking 2 of the clips, but when I was finished, it really made no difference to the appearance or feel of the seat.  For the seat back, I only folded the leather up high enough to get the heating pad off.  For the seat bottom, it was very easy to just remove the upholstery entirely.

 

The easy part was replacing the heating pads themselves.  The old ones came off with no problem, there is some adhesive that is used to hold them in place, but it won’t rip any of the foam when you remove the old pads.  The pads have a connection to the cooling blower vents integrated into them, and removing the old connection took some force and prying, but they eventually came off.  The new pads come with the adhesive backing covered by some wax paper.

 

So now everything just goes back on in reverse.  Again, dealing with upholstery splines and trying to pop them into their clips in the foam was the biggest pain, but nothing too complicated.  Everything else was easy from there on.  The clips that hold the upholstery to the seat frame are rugged and easy to deal with.  Also, I was a little worried about dealing with the air bag in the seat, but it was a non-event.  You don't mess with it or any clips for it and hardly even see it.

 

The good news is that my seat heaters are working great.  It costs $177 shipped to get the 2 pads, and it really wasn’t too much work to get it done.  If it wasn’t for the pinch clips and splines making things difficult, it would have been even easier.  So just watch some leather seat or katzkin replacement videos, but again, overall it wasn’t a big deal to do.  In all, the things I’d suggest needing to complete this are a multi-meter and back probe kit for diagnostic, a T50, T15, and Philips screwdriver, some blue Loctite, and a breaker bar helps a lot when loosening the seat bolts.  Thanks to this forum for helping get this taken care of!

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(Pictures)

Driver's Seat with trim coming off

Driver Seat in vehicle

Rear of Driver's Seat with back pannel removed

Rear of driver's seat with back panel removed

Seat getting worked on

20180203_IMG_2444-4.thumb.jpg.037fd548c2b3f58bcf4ae3e0791d051f.jpg

Seat Bottom with foam exposed and upholster folded back out of the way and old heating pads removed.  The splines fit into the channels in the foam and you can barely see the orange pinch clips.  The 6 orange stripes are from the old adhesive.

20180203_IMG_2455-7.thumb.jpg.c72836791a3bc4f6005c50cd0178423f.jpg

New seat back pad on left, old on right. This is the cooling layer facing up.

20180203_IMG_2453-5.thumb.jpg.6f82ebc90b6168db19c04b8e9130ad9f.jpg

New seat cushion pad on left, old on right.  This is the heating pad layer facing up.

20180203_IMG_2454-6.thumb.jpg.09cce892af16aa6cc7563cff75c336d9.jpg

Edited by Jullian is not my name

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Wow, well done! Saved a lot of money.

 

Just the thought of attempting this repair would seem daunting to me and probably would've motivated me to pay the dealer to fix it. But after reading this I think I might give it a 2nd thought if I needed to do this repair, or replace the upholstery down the road...

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This is huge. My heated seat hasn't worked in over a year.

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what were your ohm readings? I'm thinking mine are going out they barley getting warm after 4 miles of driving

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Thank you for this guide, I changed out my heating element today. It took me about 1.5 hours. There is a YouTube video out there that was a huge help as well. It’s a shame you have to do this on such a new truck.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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On 20/01/2019 at 11:46 AM, dave07 said:

Thank you for this guide, I changed out my heating element today. It took me about 1.5 hours. There is a YouTube video out there that was a huge help as well. It’s a shame you have to do this on such a new truck.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Do you have a link to that video? I would like to try replacing this pads myself. Did you also replaced the back rest element?

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Do you have a link to that video? I would like to try replacing this pads myself. Did you also replaced the back rest element?



I just did the cushion element, not the back element. It should be just as easy to do the back, once the seat is out, should be easy to identify the clips for the back.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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26 minutes ago, dave07 said:

 



I just did the cushion element, not the back element. It should be just as easy to do the back, once the seat is out, should be easy to identify the clips for the back.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Thanks!

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On 06/02/2018 at 7:45 AM, Jullian is not my name said:

(Pictures)

Driver's Seat with trim coming off

Driver Seat in vehicle

Rear of Driver's Seat with back pannel removed

Rear of driver's seat with back panel removed

Seat getting worked on

20180203_IMG_2444-4.thumb.jpg.037fd548c2b3f58bcf4ae3e0791d051f.jpg

Seat Bottom with foam exposed and upholster folded back out of the way and old heating pads removed.  The splines fit into the channels in the foam and you can barely see the orange pinch clips.  The 6 orange stripes are from the old adhesive.

20180203_IMG_2455-7.thumb.jpg.c72836791a3bc4f6005c50cd0178423f.jpg

New seat back pad on left, old on right. This is the cooling layer facing up.

20180203_IMG_2453-5.thumb.jpg.6f82ebc90b6168db19c04b8e9130ad9f.jpg

New seat cushion pad on left, old on right.  This is the heating pad layer facing up.

20180203_IMG_2454-6.thumb.jpg.09cce892af16aa6cc7563cff75c336d9.jpg

Hi, any tips on how to remove the seat back panel?

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So the dealer recently replaced the bottom heater element in my 2016 GMC Yukon - the heater works now, but I feel the lane-alert haptic feedback vibrations while driving are now diminished  I am not sure if this is in my head, but I swear they were more prominent before the heater was replaced (I can barely feel the right side).  Could this just be in my head, or is there a real possibility that they somehow didn't replace these motors correctly when putting the seat back together?  Thoughts?  Thanks!

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