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1992 300E 2.6
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44 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I want to retrofit heated seats into my '92; I know what I'm in for as I've installed rear heated seats into my '01 VW. After wandering ebay, I found a complete set of heated/ortho seats with all the parts for sale, and since I have to tear into the car anyway I figured what the hell. I've found numerous threads on heated seat install, so I am not worried about that side of it. What I have not seen is an Ortho seat retrofit...has anyone ever done or attempted this? Does anyone have any pointers or advice to attempt this?

-I will have to cut the heating pads out of the donor covers as my car has a Mushroom/Cream colored interior.
-I will have to run lots of vacuum lines and wire looms.
-I will cuss and yell.
-I might attempt this in San Diego, with limited tools at best-anyone interested in helping out a member? Beers will be provided.
 

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W201 Moderator
89 190E2.6- 5-speed Manual, 95 E320 Sportsline-sold, 2001 E320 4matic Wagon-sold
Joined
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2,258 Posts
If you are installing the original ortho upgrade that came with these cars please read on. If not, ignore.

You will need the following to retrofit into OEM ortho seat(s).

Pump (has two outputs and also runs for 2 minutes to provide pressure to the system, when the ignition is turned on)
The vacuum canister to store the pressure
Vacuum controller(s) to be installed to the side of the seat(s)
Bladders that insert to the setback(s) (these are NLA, as far as I know)
About 4 feet if vacuum tubing

Weakest link in the system is the bladder. They tend to pop at the seams. (mine went bad when the car turned about 12 years old)
Second weakest is the pump as it tends to work a lot harder than the standard central locking pump.
Third is the vacuum controllers as they sometimes leak the air.

I was lucky to come across a car in the junk hard that had 2 bladders in tact, a working vacuum pump and 2 working controllers.
On top of that pick&pull was having a 50% off sale that day, so I think I picked up all the loot for less than $50.

Repairing my existing one was not that much work. And I see this as one of the simplest upgrades one can do.
The hard part is finding all the parts.

When I bought the car 30 years ago I never thought I would be using the limber support 30 years later, now that I have managed to mess up 3 disks on my lower back.
This feature sure comes in handy!

- Cheers!
 

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Registered
1992 300E 2.6
Joined
·
44 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
If you are installing the original ortho upgrade that came with these cars please read on. If not, ignore.

You will need the following to retrofit into OEM ortho seat(s).

Pump (has two outputs and also runs for 2 minutes to provide pressure to the system, when the ignition is turned on)
The vacuum canister to store the pressure
Vacuum controller(s) to be installed to the side of the seat(s)
Bladders that insert to the setback(s) (these are NLA, as far as I know)
About 4 feet if vacuum tubing

Weakest link in the system is the bladder. They tend to pop at the seams. (mine went bad when the car turned about 12 years old)
Second weakest is the pump as it tends to work a lot harder than the standard central locking pump.
Third is the vacuum controllers as they sometimes leak the air.

I was lucky to come across a car in the junk hard that had 2 bladders in tact, a working vacuum pump and 2 working controllers.
On top of that pick&pull was having a 50% off sale that day, so I think I picked up all the loot for less than $50.

Repairing my existing one was not that much work. And I see this as one of the simplest upgrades one can do.
The hard part is finding all the parts.

When I bought the car 30 years ago I never thought I would be using the limber support 30 years later, now that I have managed to mess up 3 disks on my lower back.
This feature sure comes in handy!

- Cheers!
Appreciate the guidance, what I figured I was in for but it seems worth the trouble. Here is what I found via ebay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/192878125617

It looks complete but I'm awaiting a reply, unless someone knows of a good pick n pull junkyard in reasonable distance of San Diego that I can scavenge.
 

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W201 Moderator
89 190E2.6- 5-speed Manual, 95 E320 Sportsline-sold, 2001 E320 4matic Wagon-sold
Joined
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2,258 Posts
The pneumatic/orthopedic parts all seem to be there.
Chances of all the parts working for both seats are pretty low in my opinion after nearly 30 years.
You should ask him to test it for leaks and operation with a 12V hook-up. It is very easy to do.
If he is not willing, that will be telling in itself.
I did that myself before digging in and replacing parts.
It is awfully expensive for used parts that will be very questionable for a pneumatic system.

Since I have been restoring my car for the last 3 years, I have pretty much seen all the available W201/W124 parts that came in to the 4 pick&pull 4 JY's around me.

I have only seen one car with this option. It happened to be a W201. So I stripped that one, the same way by taking of the seat backs which only were $11 each with the 50% discount. Should have bought lottery tickets that day...

So what I'm saying is these seats are super rare.

- Cheers!
 

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Registered
1992 300E 2.6
Joined
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44 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
The pneumatic/orthopedic parts all seem to be there.
Chances of all the parts working for both seats are pretty low in my opinion after nearly 30 years.
You should ask him to test it for leaks and operation with a 12V hook-up. It is very easy to do.
If he is not willing, that will be telling in itself.
I did that myself before digging in and replacing parts.
It is awfully expensive for used parts that will be very questionable for a pneumatic system.

Since I have been restoring my car for the last 3 years, I have pretty much seen all the available W201/W124 parts that came in to the 4 pick&pull 4 JY's around me.

I have only seen one car with this option. It happened to be a W201. So I stripped that one, the same way by taking of the seat backs which only were $11 each with the 50% discount. Should have bought lottery tickets that day...

So what I'm saying is these seats are super rare.

- Cheers!
I figured they were rare after researching them a bit, I hate taking things apart twice so what I can do is run the vacuum lines and power wires when I install the heated seats in preparation for whenever I can get the Ortho set-up installed.
 

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W201 Moderator
89 190E2.6- 5-speed Manual, 95 E320 Sportsline-sold, 2001 E320 4matic Wagon-sold
Joined
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2,258 Posts
There are only two vacuum lines (one per seat) to the pump so that part is easy.
You have to make sure the bladders are not busted before you install the seats. After the installation it is a pain.
As I was saying, adding the Ortho is a very simple job. It will be all plug and play as long as the components are in working order.

One more caution: The controller that bolts to the side of the seat rear has a plastic holster to hold it in place. Quite often those break at the bolt in area. People do not realize they are fragile and yank on the controller. I did that myself and had a heck of time finding the part online. It was dirt cheap like $7 shipped from Germany. If you end up needing the part number I can get that for you, but I believe it is inscribed in the inside of the part as well. The part identification is odd, it is called "seat cover" for some odd reason.

Good luck with this upgrade. If you make it work you will have a truly unique feature. I repaired mine over a year ago and it still works. But like I mentioned my controller, pump, bladder all had to be replaced and are no longer the original.
Let me know if you have issues with the instillation, I maybe able to help.

-Cheers!
 

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Registered
1992 300E 2.6
Joined
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44 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
There are only two vacuum lines (one per seat) to the pump so that part is easy.
You have to make sure the bladders are not busted before you install the seats. After the installation it is a pain.
As I was saying, adding the Ortho is a very simple job. It will be all plug and play as long as the components are in working order.

One more caution: The controller that bolts to the side of the seat rear has a plastic holster to hold it in place. Quite often those break at the bolt in area. People do not realize they are fragile and yank on the controller. I did that myself and had a heck of time finding the part online. It was dirt cheap like $7 shipped from Germany. If you end up needing the part number I can get that for you, but I believe it is inscribed in the inside of the part as well. The part identification is odd, it is called "seat cover" for some odd reason.

Good luck with this upgrade. If you make it work you will have a truly unique feature. I repaired mine over a year ago and it still works. But like I mentioned my controller, pump, bladder all had to be replaced and are no longer the original.
Let me know if you have issues with the instillation, I maybe able to help.

-Cheers!
I really appreciate the assistance with this. As far as the bladder failures are concerned, did they need to be re-stitched together? I do not know what they look like so I'm just assuming how they are put together, I would want to make repairs or reinforce prior to the install so that I would not need to worry.

Also, where exactly does the power feed for the pump get tied into?
 

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W201 Moderator
89 190E2.6- 5-speed Manual, 95 E320 Sportsline-sold, 2001 E320 4matic Wagon-sold
Joined
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2,258 Posts
The bladders are really nor repairable. Generally leak from one section to the next as there are 4 sections for different lumbar height adjustments.
The controller passes air from one to the others.

You will see settings of A-B-C-D-E on the controller. This is to control the bladders.

If it leaks from one to the next it wipes out at least 2 settings. So 2 leaks and they are unusable.

I can post a picture of my spare one when I get a chance.

I do not believe you need extra power connections. There already is permanent power coming to the pump. I think you may need one extra power that turns on when the ignition is turned on. This allows for the pump to run for 2 minutes to fill the canister.
So I'm thinking you do not need extra electrical connections, it may all be there in the connector already pre-wired.

The operation of the pump is this:
(1) It is powered all the time. If the door lock or trunk lock key is activated the pump/vaccum runs for 10 seconds or so as to turn on the actuators for central locking - this is normal mode (all pumps do this)
(2) For this pump if the ignition is turned on an additional "ignition on" signal tells the pump to pressurize the tank for 2 minutes.

That is it. The rest is controlled by the pneumatic actuator by your seat. No other wiring is needed. And only two vacuum tubes are to be routed to the pump/canister.
 
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