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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > AUDIO/VIDEO + BLUETOOTH + Electronics/Alarm/Software > Heated Seat Retrofit



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      12-12-2008, 04:40 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Heated Seat Retrofit

'Tis the season, and my wife's caboose could be warmer. Of course, I didn't get the car new, so I'm suffering with 40 degree temps (okay, not that cold compared to some of you) and I'm ready for my next retrofit project.

...and before you say it, NO - I don't want to add some aftermarket grids and switches. I want it to act like, perform like, and be otherwise transparent that the car did not come factory equipped with heated seats.

I've been doing a little homework. What I've learned (or think I've learned):

1) BMW does make a heated seat retrofit kit for the E90 for ECE cars only. This kit does not apply to cars with Sport seats (which I have) and does not include the appropriate switch panel that goes in the center console, which they tell you to order separately depending on other options installed (sunshade/front PDC/etc...)

2) In looking at ECE parts diagrams, all of the seat heater grids/elements are available separately. However, in looking at the US parts diagrams, elements are NOT listed (at all), leading me to believe that the elements may come as part of the leather covers or as part of the foam upholstery and are not available without them. This in turn would lead me to believe that all US replacement parts have the elements on them already - does this mean that all US cars are already equipped with the elements on them already?!?!

3) In looking at the switch panel, it appears that it plugs into the back of the heater & A/C control panel. I've been told that this retrofit still won't work unless the car is coded (Vehicle Order change - adding 494?) to reflect the add of heated seats.

4) It appears that there are different seat modules for vehicles with heated seats. This would be consistent with the ECE retrofit kit which replaces the seat modules (and they are different depending on whether or not the car has memory seats.)

Homework to be done:

a) Check the car - is it already equipped with the elements? This is 75% of the battle.

b) Confirm the vehicle order add thing - this makes it a little more complicated for the average owner since most dealers won't touch it.

c) Confirm that the rest of the wiring is there at the seat area. Since the modules are different, it would lead me to believe that the wiring is there.


Anyone interested?
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      12-12-2008, 04:41 PM   #2
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I would be interested to know that too...
But I can't help you out.
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      12-17-2008, 05:33 PM   #3
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Hey man, I am digging into this too. My dilemma:

Have heated seats but they are non zsp. Bought a zsp seat that was supposedly heated. Swapped them out and only the forward/back/down/up and recline works. No lumbar, no heat and no bolster support.

In looking at the zsp seat harness there are three main wires:

Brown
Brown
Red

Then there are 9 other wires that are small and obviously NOT for supplying power. These are consistent for both harnesses.

Non zsp (heated) harness:

Brown
Brown
Brown/Red
Red/White

From this it is obvious to conclude that the harnesses are different (duh). I am assuming the brown power the forward/back/up/down and the reclining. I am figuring the lumbar and bolster support is the brown/red and they are on the same circuit. The red/white is probably for heating, but it is not on the new harness, soooooo... the question is whether the seat is heated or not. I will be doing a test this weekend with my wife's car which has zsp and is heated. I will take it out and then plug it in to my car, if I have heat with her's then I think it's obvious that at the very least the harness needs to be changed on this seat, but possible that these seats are not heated and I will need to put elements in.

Either way, I think this would be a great project to work on.
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      12-17-2008, 06:54 PM   #4
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The question you should consider (also) is if they are memory seats - I think there may be some functionality in the memory function and possibly different wires (seat position sensors? I dunno how it knows where its own position is.) I know there are different modules based on whether or not the car/seats have memory and heating function.
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      12-19-2008, 01:44 PM   #5
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Yes they both have memory and the memory works in the new seat. I almost 100% set that the red/white wire is for heat and that this new seat is not in fact heated. It looks like all three of the small gauge wires are constant on both harnesses. Here is what I think I am going to do:

Pull my wife's seat (heated, zsp) and plug it in my car. Does it have heat? If yes, than I know this is a non heated seat.

If no, then I know the wiring is off. So, I will pull out the multimeter and check which wire gives power when the heat button turns on. I will then try and find the corresponding wire on the seat. If no wire, then I assume no heat. I will then retrofit (or at least try very hard) my old elements into the new seat. If there is a corresponding wire then I will assume heat and then I will solder in the old harness.

At this point I am pretty sure this will be a retrofit job, though.

I will take pics for anyone else who wants to see how this goes...

Cheers and happy holidays!
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      12-19-2008, 01:54 PM   #6
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I would like to see how this works for you keep us updated on your progress.
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      12-20-2008, 12:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sageashton View Post
Yes they both have memory and the memory works in the new seat. I almost 100% set that the red/white wire is for heat and that this new seat is not in fact heated. It looks like all three of the small gauge wires are constant on both harnesses. Here is what I think I am going to do:

Pull my wife's seat (heated, zsp) and plug it in my car. Does it have heat? If yes, than I know this is a non heated seat.

If no, then I know the wiring is off. So, I will pull out the multimeter and check which wire gives power when the heat button turns on. I will then try and find the corresponding wire on the seat. If no wire, then I assume no heat. I will then retrofit (or at least try very hard) my old elements into the new seat. If there is a corresponding wire then I will assume heat and then I will solder in the old harness.

At this point I am pretty sure this will be a retrofit job, though.

I will take pics for anyone else who wants to see how this goes...

Cheers and happy holidays!
Yes, please take pics and some notes! That would be helpful for all!

I may to pull apart my seats to see if they have the grids also.

In my (limited) homework, I cannot find different part numbers for the seat covers or cushions (at least on U.S. cars...not true for ECE cars) that have/don't have heater elements. This leads me to believe they may be built in - of course, I may be wrong, but that's how I see the parts catalog.
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      12-20-2008, 01:22 AM   #8
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man i should have gotten heated seats! its so cold in cali now
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      12-21-2008, 01:51 AM   #9
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Sorry to say, but I do not think that there is an easy (or hard) way to do this. Like a prior poster pointed out, to get heated seats requires A. an overhaul in the wiring B. fillaments put in (which requires taking the seats into an upholster). This is not to say that it can't be done, but it is more work and $$$ than I willing to throw towards it. I did take some pictures, so if you would like I can post them.
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      12-21-2008, 02:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saigon View Post
man i should have gotten heated seats! its so cold in cali now
damn jimmy, I'm so glad I got heated seats

hahaha
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      12-21-2008, 06:26 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sageashton View Post
Sorry to say, but I do not think that there is an easy (or hard) way to do this. Like a prior poster pointed out, to get heated seats requires A. an overhaul in the wiring B. fillaments put in (which requires taking the seats into an upholster). This is not to say that it can't be done, but it is more work and $$$ than I willing to throw towards it. I did take some pictures, so if you would like I can post them.
Yah - post 'em!
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      12-21-2008, 07:03 AM   #12
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Well, in reading the TIS, it says the heating elements (at least in sport seats) are built into the foam upholstery. In looking at the parts catalog, I cannot find where it specifies heated and non-heated seats in the upholstery or seat cover info...thus STILL leading me to believe that all sport seats may have the elements built in. Someone that knows for sure... please chime in!
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      12-21-2008, 04:52 PM   #13
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I'll post the pics later today. It's not whether the elements are there that seems to be the problem, it's that you have to take the leather off the cushions to get them. I'll post some pics for ya later today.
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      12-27-2008, 04:49 PM   #14
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If the car came with heated seats then it has the elements. if it did not originally come with heated seats then there are no elements. the reason the parts film doesnt show with or without heated seats is because all of the new replacement parts come with heaters built in, this way they dont have to manufacturer 2 different part #s. In the long run its easier/cheaper to just install the grids in all replacement parts. If 1 or both of your seat bottoms needed a replacement for other reasons and you may have at least one or 2 of the seat bottom elements. You will still need the elements for the seat backs.
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      01-08-2009, 03:33 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DT_ View Post
If the car came with heated seats then it has the elements. if it did not originally come with heated seats then there are no elements. the reason the parts film doesnt show with or without heated seats is because all of the new replacement parts come with heaters built in, this way they dont have to manufacturer 2 different part #s. In the long run its easier/cheaper to just install the grids in all replacement parts. If 1 or both of your seat bottoms needed a replacement for other reasons and you may have at least one or 2 of the seat bottom elements. You will still need the elements for the seat backs.
Damn...that's a good answer. Just not the answer I was looking for. So....somehow, I have to get both my seat bottom/seat back cushions replaced on BOTH SIDES (under warranty - LOL) to make this retrofit easier, eh? That sux.

Would it not have been easier to produce one part for vehicle assembly and parts stock with the elements built-in in the first place?!
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      01-20-2009, 12:53 AM   #16
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let's say you picked up some heated seats.. how are you going to retrofit the wiring and heat seat button in the dash?
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      01-20-2009, 02:33 AM   #17
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I'm pretty much assuming the wiring is already in place, as I don't believe there are two harnesses. It looks like both underseat modules need replacement (in my case, ones WITH memory seats.) The button panel plugs into the back of the climate control. The car then has to be coded to see the addition of heated seats. The modules are controlled by the JBE/CAN network which, once coded, should work.

I haven't done much homework on this as other home projects have taken priority. However, soon I will pull one of my seats to look carefully what exactly is required. I'd hate to replace all four cushions just to make this work...but I don't want to do the aftermarket thing like I installed on my wife's Acura.
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      01-25-2009, 12:24 PM   #18
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Hi Gents,

I'm trying to do the same thing on my 2007 E70. I have managed to get my seat covers changed under warranty and brought a controller off ebay, but still have not got them working. It seem there is nothing to plug the heating element into and there is the coding issue, which again my local dealer is not being helpful. So am happy to try some things out, if anyones got any ideas.

Regards

Ste
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      01-27-2009, 04:27 PM   #19
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As far as I know, those seat elements plug directly into the module under the seat.
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      02-07-2009, 01:25 PM   #20
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Thanks I have found the plug under the seat for the heating, but the dealer can't give me the part no for the cable it plugs into. Do you think it has to go into the seat control module. I have also spoken to the dealer about coding...no help there either, so ideas on how it can be a DIY option.

Cheers
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      10-22-2009, 09:58 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saigon View Post
man i should have gotten heated seats! its so cold in cali now
man .. i used to go to school in LA. now i moved to chicago..and my car is originally from LA. so cold.. so cold
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      11-27-2009, 03:13 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Ste View Post
Thanks I have found the plug under the seat for the heating, but the dealer can't give me the part no for the cable it plugs into. Do you think it has to go into the seat control module. I have also spoken to the dealer about coding...no help there either, so ideas on how it can be a DIY option.

Cheers
Yes - In looking at my car, I found that my seat modules have the "ports" for the two heating elements, but since they aren't modules for seats with heaters, the modules do not have the "pins" to plug into. It's obviously that the modules were built from the same case, but the guts are different. Both seat modules require replacement and I have to believe from the wiring diagram that both seat elements plug right into the module, just inches from the heating elements. All other wiring appears to be in place.

It would seem to me that if you have the elements, try to get the correct seat modules for your car, get the car re-coded for the option, and get the switch panel to plug into the back of the climate control panel. My bet is that it will work.

As its gotten into the 40's every night this week, this is becoming a more interesting retrofit every day. I really need to pull my seat covers off and look inside to confirm that I don't have the elements. I would love to maintain the OEM function of these, using factory elements, modules, and switches if possible...
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