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Old 12-22-2020, 08:34 PM   #1
volvowagoon
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Default Fun with heated seats

I have a 1989 245 DL with inoperable heated seats. Neither of the switched illuminate when they are turned on which tells me that there is a bad ground to the system, a bad power wire wire to the driver seat switch (fuse confirmed good), or some other crazy thing going on involving a botched wiring job.

Did you bet on number 3? Of course you did. Why else would I be making a thread?





Dear god! First of all, that dangling connector is supposed to be connected to the black wire which has clearly been yanked hard enough to no longer have a terminal. Second of all, why is this such a mess? Not a single wire is where it's supposed to be. Third, what up with the tar?


Here it is sorta cleaned upish.


Terminal rebent so that it actually stays in the connector body...


I removed the console and pulled this cute little guy out of there. I think I'm immune to the virus now.


I had to redrill the little self tapped ground on the bracket because it was completely stripped and not holding any of the ring terminals anymore. I don't think it's going to help the heated seat situation, but a fix is a fix!




Here's the seat back in after I cleaned up the wires a little bit.


Anyway, this was all for investigative purposes. I ran out of daylight, and put things back together before I could finish diagnostics. Here's where I am. Ground (D) is good which kinda surprised me given that the lights in the switches don't work either. There is no resistance between the switch (J and I) and ground (D). Power is also good. I have 12.4V at the switch (J and I) when the key (B) is on. When I come home tomorrow I will check to see if I have power and ground at the grid (C).

Questions:
What does everyone else's connector F look like? the female end on both seats is something stupid small like 20g wire. Is this normal? It sure doesn't seem large enough to power a heating grid. Also, does anybody have tips for cleaning up these old switches? Mine work, but the terminals are pretty corroded. I wonder if this alone is my illumination problem. Both bulbs appear good.
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1986 Buick Grand National - Restored to stock™
2002 Camaro V6 T5 +T - The trashy car that's fun to drive
2010 C30 T5 - The boring but trusty daily - 198k
1989 245 DL - The boring but not trusty daily - 231k
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Old 12-22-2020, 11:00 PM   #2
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Did you check the grid for continuity? Could also be the little temperature switch in the grid. Mine was fine, just not actually connected to the grid anymore.
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Old 12-22-2020, 11:26 PM   #3
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Could also be the little temperature switch in the grid.
yep, it's labelled E in the diagram.
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Old 12-23-2020, 07:49 AM   #4
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http://cleanflametrap.com/seatHeater.htm Seat Heater Testing
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Old 12-23-2020, 08:09 AM   #5
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Thanks guys. I did end up checking continuity before I went to work because I knew it was going to bother me all day if I didn't. No dice. It looks like I'll be peeling the seat cover back as explained in Art's guide.
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Old 12-23-2020, 05:58 PM   #6
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on my drivers seat I cut out the thermostat and soldered in a piece of wire, maybe not the best idea, but it sure gets warm and comfy now!
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Old 12-23-2020, 06:22 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by philski o'flood View Post
on my drivers seat I cut out the thermostat and soldered in a piece of wire, maybe not the best idea, but it sure gets warm and comfy now!
Is that a common thing to fail? I saw that it's often a broken connector.
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Old 12-23-2020, 07:34 PM   #8
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mine wasn't getting very warm with a working thermostat
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Old 12-23-2020, 08:05 PM   #9
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I'd get a set of heaters from wagonmeister if I were you. Much easier, way less hassle. All the stock ones are dead.


See here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/eSXaVMn8JbAgyvQ46
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My knob has a big chunk of steel on it

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Old 12-23-2020, 08:31 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Harlard View Post
I'd get a set of heaters from wagonmeister if I were you. Much easier, way less hassle. All the stock ones are dead.


See here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/eSXaVMn8JbAgyvQ46
Thanks for the tip. Looks like good stuff. If I'm going that deep, I'll for sure get a grid and heater kit for both seats. I wish somebody was making foam

I almost forgot that that I can take my time with this! I have the seats from my old wagon in the basement. One even has a known good heater, so that could be helpful for diagnostics. I wish seat foam was a bit cheaper, but I think I'll manage with what I have.
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Old 12-23-2020, 10:47 PM   #11
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I do need to make mine hotter. On a cold morning it gives me a sliiiightly warm bum then shuts off and doesn't come back on. The heater in my '88 244 wasn't spectacular but it would actually turn back on to maintain bum warmth.
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Old 12-24-2020, 07:14 AM   #12
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Take care with your mods. In the past 20 years I've read a story or two about monkeyed seat heaters being the cause of a serious carbecue.
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Old 12-24-2020, 01:00 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by cleanflametrap View Post
Take care with your mods. In the past 20 years I've read a story or two about monkeyed seat heaters being the cause of a serious carbecue.
I agree with this. I'd prefer to keep the thermostat in place. Personally, I don't like having winter swamp ass anyway. In my C30, the hotter of the two settings is only on when I first get in the car. Then I turn it off within a block or two. lol On the other hand, my fiance could probably leave the seat heater on all year long without realizing anything. I need that protection!
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Old 12-24-2020, 08:44 PM   #14
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Seat heater kits have come a long way. Many now come as a seat and back rest kit with hi low switches.
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Old 12-29-2020, 08:50 PM   #15
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I bought the wagonmeister kit along with the grids. I hope I don't regret not buying seat foam. I'm thinking for now I'll wrap the foam in another big piece of fabric before putting it together so that I can avoid weekly vacuum jobs.

Anyway, after confirming continuity I cleaned and installed the torn up driver seat from my old car. It warmed up very quickly too! No it's not blazing, but it's adequate. I never found out what happened to light in the switch, but I'm not going to worry about that right now. Warm butts for the winter is the first priority.

I noticed some interesting stuff after looking at the old seat. There's a little trim piece on the back which the back that seems to be missing. I might have to transfer this over.


There's a little clip that's supposed to hold the wires in place. That would have helped my seat had the wires been routed properly to begin with. I'll transfer that as well. Also notice that the wire is a lot thicker than the one I posted earlier. This looks a lot more normal.


However, this seat has seen better days. I really wish I could get the stock '89 style seat covers. They look so much better IMO. At the same time, I didn't even realize that mine were wrong until now. I'm going to leave that alone. At least both front seats match.






Next to my sketchy desk chair for reference.

Last edited by volvowagoon; 12-29-2020 at 09:00 PM..
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Old 12-29-2020, 10:56 PM   #16
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Most of the foam is fixable. I like to use microfiber towels as batting/reinforcement.
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Old 12-30-2020, 10:54 AM   #17
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Most of the foam is fixable. I like to use microfiber towels as batting/reinforcement.
How do you go about keeping them in place? Is there some kind of glue that works well? That's good to know though. Thanks for the reassurance.
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Old 12-30-2020, 01:05 PM   #18
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I like to use 3M Spray 80 cement for foam repairs and gluing.
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Old 12-30-2020, 07:18 PM   #19
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Is nobody going to talk about that awesome desk chair? Gives off the same vibe as the old Top Gear UK car seat sofa.

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Old 12-30-2020, 09:35 PM   #20
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Is nobody going to talk about that awesome desk chair? Gives off the same vibe as the old Top Gear UK car seat sofa.

Haha I thought it was a perfect thing to do since the fancy desk chair had seen better days, and I had an orphan Volvo seat in great shape. However, it's not as easy as it looks. I just made a simple bracket out of four pieces of flat stock. I centered the chair on that which was a bad move. The balance is way off for one. If you pop a squat you are likely going all the way back. If you do it too fast I'm pretty sure the whole chair would fall over. Good thing for the neck savers! It's also too tall in the all the way down position. Needless to say, I don't sit in it much. I could fix it, but I'd have to be pretty bored. There's a lot more to a chair than one would think!

I'm probably making one of those tables pretty soon too. I have a 3800 block that's pretty worthless to me and a flat Electro-Motive train windshield. That sucker is THICK and heavy.
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Old 01-27-2021, 09:50 AM   #21
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I'm coming back to this. My fiancé is not happy with the seat positioning and I can't say I blame her. The strangest thing is going on with the rails which I can't seem to understand.

First of all, I didn't know that these seats had a rear tilt adjustment until I removed them. That super strange to have the lever on the back of the seat too. I never noticed them on my old car either. Second of all, see how I'm adjusted to the middle slot on the inside? I don't have another picture but the outside is adjusted to the top slot. This makes the entire seat gangster lean and it's pretty annoying. I tried forcing the track into a level position. It worked. It also made the seat feel normal. However the whole thing was so loaded up in a bind that the forward/backward adjustment (the one for taller/shorter legs) did not work at all anymore. Given the height difference between my me and my fiance, I found that fore/aft adjustment to be more important than not leaning a bit.

I checked my other seats to see if maybe this was normal and I was chasing the wrong thing. Nope. They're definitely not supposed to be this way. Is my seat track bent? Did the previous owner do something weird when they replaced the floors? Luckily I have the seat track from my old car. Maybe it will give me clues.
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Old 01-28-2021, 02:14 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by volvowagoon View Post
First of all, I didn't know that these seats had a rear tilt adjustment until I removed them.
Front tilt, too. Separate lever, according to the owner's manual.

Quote:
Second of all, see how I'm adjusted to the middle slot on the inside? I don't have another picture but the outside is adjusted to the top slot. This makes the entire seat gangster lean and it's pretty annoying. I tried forcing the track into a level position. It worked. It also made the seat feel normal. However the whole thing was so loaded up in a bind that the forward/backward adjustment (the one for taller/shorter legs) did not work at all anymore.
Any chance the front adjuster is also off a slot?
Forcing the rear "flat" would then twist the whole thing.
Make sure both sides of both ends are the same.

Here's the owner's manual page for a 1989 240.....





...and the seat track parts diagram for 85-87 (I assume it's similar to an 89?) ......

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Old 01-28-2021, 02:17 AM   #23
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Yeah it sounds like it's not squared up.

Btw you can put an adjustable base into the passenger side if you are so inclined.
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Old 01-28-2021, 08:56 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by MasterBlaster View Post
Front tilt, too. Separate lever, according to the owner's manual.


Any chance the front adjuster is also off a slot?
Forcing the rear "flat" would then twist the whole thing.
Make sure both sides of both ends are the same.

Here's the owner's manual page for a 1989 240.....

...and the seat track parts diagram for 85-87 (I assume it's similar to an 89?) ......
Thanks! No, three out of four adjusters are in the same spot. It's always just the one in the back and to the inside that's hanging too low. The front adjusts wherever I want it to go. Super odd. Luckily I have parts seats in the basement and one of them has an adjustable track I can rob and compare. I'm going to try getting to that tonight if I have time.

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Yeah it sounds like it's not squared up.

Btw you can put an adjustable base into the passenger side if you are so inclined.
I agree. Something is very wrong. When I pull this seat out, I'm going to pull it's track off, compare with my spare, and try installing the spare track on both the seat and the floor to hopefully find a difference. I realize that I may not find an issue since the track is not very sturdy on it's own, but you never know.



For those of you interested in my desk chair, the investigating I did last night helped me find the four passenger seat adjustment bolts. Since I was able to tilt the seat forward a bit, the whole thing is a lot more stable now.
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Old 01-31-2021, 02:41 PM   #25
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I apologize in advance for how difficult this is to follow. I'm not sure how to address a lot of these parts and mechanisms either. Also keep in mind that I have the actual seat from the car and a spare battered seat from my first Volvo which was also blue.

I cleaned up the seat track from from my old car, and removed the seat from Moose.




As soon as the seat came out of the car, it was pretty apparent that the track was not my issue. The bolts had so much tension on them and everything worked as it was supposed to once it wasn't attached to the floor anymore. There's that! I guess I'll need to strategically misplace a floor jack under the right rear seat mount in hopes that it will tweak the floor in such a way that this won't happen anymore. Worst case scenario will be tearing the carpet out and fixing the floor. Let's hope not...

I didn't bother with the seat track swap. I just threw the seat back in as-is but with the height adjusters level. It was a massive pain to install that way, and the difference in height was noticeable. However, it still felt very wrong. I'm definitely still leaning. After a little bit of fiddling and having my fiance sit in the seat while I made adjustments, it's been determined that the seat back adjuster has contracted the gangster lean. All I have to do is push on the back right of the to make up for the slop in the adjuster. That makes the seat feel 100% normal again. I probably stripped it out while I was trying to force the seat backward despite the un-level track. I do recall hearing a pop at one point...

So like most issues with this car, it's going from 0 to 100. It all started with a heated seat problem and turned into possible floor pan repair and full seat restoration. I guess this is the one nice thing about having worthless spare parts. I can investigate before trying my hand at interior work for the first time on a decent (looking) seat. Remember this junky thing?


It donated it's body to science.


This would explain why the seat felt so terrible.


We already knew that this didn't help either. lol


Bare frame


Now I'm trying to understand how this back adjuster fails. I've read a few old threads about this, but most of the descriptions are pretty vague. They also did not have any pictures. Without removing more parts, this link bar seems to be the most obvious culprit. Would the fix be to hold the seat in a good position and weld the bar where my screwdriver is pointing? Should I pull this one out and use it in the other seat? I'd prefer not to have this issue again if I can help it!
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