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2004 LeSabre Limited Dead Heated Seat


pcmos
12-04-2009, 02:58 AM
Recently my driver side heated seat simply quit working. Passenger side is working just fine. When I press the button to activate the driver heated seat, the button displays "Hi" as it should. The seat just never gets warm, if I press the button again, nothing happens, it doesn't change to "Lo" like it normally would. In fact it sort of "locks up", the button just fails to do anything until it's pressed a few times. After a few presses of the button, it will finally change from Hi to Lo and then Off. Unfortunately the problem isn't the switch as I tried swapping it out. Has anyone had any experience doing further diagnosing and / or replacing the heated seat pad itself?? I'm just wondering if there is some common problem with the system or something I should check first.

stuzman
12-05-2009, 10:42 AM
Recently my driver side heated seat simply quit working. Passenger side is working just fine. When I press the button to activate the driver heated seat, the button displays "Hi" as it should. The seat just never gets warm, if I press the button again, nothing happens, it doesn't change to "Lo" like it normally would. In fact it sort of "locks up", the button just fails to do anything until it's pressed a few times. After a few presses of the button, it will finally change from Hi to Lo and then Off. Unfortunately the problem isn't the switch as I tried swapping it out. Has anyone had any experience doing further diagnosing and / or replacing the heated seat pad itself?? I'm just wondering if there is some common problem with the system or something I should check first.

Here is some stuff I posted awhile back...
http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=470557&highlight=troubleshooting+heated

pcmos
12-05-2009, 05:35 PM
Ah, yes, I found your post after putting mine up. I ran a search in the forum and read through it. The factory shop manuals provide a good description of the functionality of the heated seat system and all of the modules involved. I can rule everything out except the heated seat module, thermistor, and heated seat element. Essentially your problem sounds identical to mine. I was hoping someone would jump in and say "oh it's a problem with the connection between such and such, and is a very common simple failure on these cars."

Did you end up actually following through with the repair?

I'm worried that the seat heater pads won't be available from the dealer because I can't seem to find them in any of the OEM online dealer databases where I usually have no problem digging up hard to find parts. GM Parts Direct doesn't show the element pad in their listing. The shop manual claims that the thermistor is integrated in the heater pad on this car, which would rule out the use of an aftermarket pad.

stuzman
12-06-2009, 12:31 PM
Ah, yes, I found your post after putting mine up. I ran a search in the forum and read through it. The factory shop manuals provide a good description of the functionality of the heated seat system and all of the modules involved. I can rule everything out except the heated seat module, thermistor, and heated seat element. Essentially your problem sounds identical to mine. I was hoping someone would jump in and say "oh it's a problem with the connection between such and such, and is a very common simple failure on these cars."

Did you end up actually following through with the repair?

I'm worried that the seat heater pads won't be available from the dealer because I can't seem to find them in any of the OEM online dealer databases where I usually have no problem digging up hard to find parts. GM Parts Direct doesn't show the element pad in their listing. The shop manual claims that the thermistor is integrated in the heater pad on this car, which would rule out the use of an aftermarket pad.

The car belongs to the wife and I asked her if she wanted me to fix it. She wasn't worried about it, so I didn't follow up with any repairs on it. If you do find out anything about where to get the heaters, let us all know.

pcmos
01-14-2010, 11:09 PM
Just to give everyone an update. I stopped at the dealer on my lunch break today near work to ask about the dead heated seat. The parts manager said they make a heater element replacement kit that includes everything to swap out the heater element pads in the seat. The whole kit for the driver's side is 175. I'm not terribly upset by that price and I'm pleasantly surprised to find the part is easy to order. Hopefully when I get one of my upcoming paychecks I'll be able to allocate 200 bucks to keeping my back side warm in this cold NJ weather.

I also want to do some further diagnostic work and make sure that the heater element is the actual problem. I'll confirm a dead element with a simple resistance check, although I can't really imagine what else could be wrong. Passenger side still works just fine.

consultIII
01-14-2010, 11:45 PM
I've changed the element before. It shorted out and actually burned throught the material the wire element is housed in. Was melted into the seat foam but didn't burn the seat cover.

pcmos
01-15-2010, 12:44 AM
Did you do the repair with the seat mounted in the car or did you remove the seat and work on it outside of the car? I may remove the seat for cleaning and restoration anyway since it seems like the sort of job that would be a lot more comfortable to do in my living room. I'd also like to replace the cushion and backrest elements together. I know the vertical backrest has a heater element in addition to the horizontal cushion. I'd like to go ahead and replace both if I can.

dpalomaki
01-15-2010, 08:43 AM
When you get the parts, please share the part number, maker, etc.

While mine are working now, that may not always be the case into the future.

jtb1992
09-27-2017, 12:04 PM
I have 100% the exact same issue on my 2004 Buick LeSabre. Did you ever find out what is wrong?

pcmos
09-27-2017, 12:28 PM
Wow, I posted this originally back in 2010... I can't be 100% certain because I traded the car in 2011 before fixing it. I'm fairly sure that the heater pad glued on top of the foam cushion had a broken wire in it. You can unplug the electrical connector under the seat and test the electrical resistance of the pad with a meter and compare the measurement with a known good pad (i.e. other seat.) A broken or damaged wire would reveal a very high resistance or a completely open circuit. When you dismantle the seat you find that the heater pad is just a felt sheet with some electrical resistance wire embedded in it like a heated blanket. The pad is glued to the foam cushion just under the leather cover. It's very simple to replace; just peel the old one off and stick a new one onto the foam. I learned quite a bit about the seat construction when I bought my 2006 Lucerne CXS and modified the horribly uncomfortable front seat cushion so I could drive the car without experiencing DVT symptoms. The Lucerne was the last GM product I would ever buy... when your 2004 LeSabre dies don't be tempted to jump to the Lucerne ESPECIALLY not the 4.6L V8. Find a gently used 2008-2011 Lincoln Town Car.

PS if you decide to pull the leather cover off the foam cushion to replace the heater pad you'll see that the leather is attached to the foam with Velcro. Be very careful to make sure that you don't rip the Velcro off of the foam. The hook or rough half of the Velcro is embedded in the foam cushion but it tears off easily. If that happens there is only one glue that will reattach the Velcro permanently to the foam... Black RTV silicone adhesive (like what you would use to seal your oil pan.) Every other fabric glue, spray adhesive, etc will eventually peel away from the foam, RTV will not.

Tech II
09-27-2017, 02:10 PM
I have done a few of these.......the usual suspects are the switch, seat module, located under the seat, and the heating element pad(s).....

One thing you can do, is turn the key to on, don't start the vehicle, and put your ear near the seat module(usually near the front edge of seat).....now press the heated seat switch ....you should hear the module click...if it does, the switch and module is usually ok, and the culprit is the pads.....to verify, you will have to disconnect the harness from the module and do an ohm test on the element circuits......if you find an open, you need the repair kit....

I found a schematic for a 2000 Bonneville....should be the same....

There are two connectors......you want C2.......term A is red, term C is blk, terminals D and f are grey......this way you know you have the right connector....

Attach ohm meter to A and C harness terminals......this reads the resistance of the pads which are in series.....if one is bad/open, you will get infinite resistance or "OL"......if ok, single digit resistance....then do the same thing for D and F...this is a thermistor, so you are looking for some variable resistance.....if "OL", it's bad.....thermistor is part of the new pad kit....

Seats do not have to be removed....just peal back the seat covers to access the pads....the old elements don't have to be removed....new pads go right over the old ones.....then make your final connections to the pads and to the module.......double check your work before putting seat covers back on, by testing the elements for heat....

$175 back in 2010? Ouch!

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