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1998 SLK 230
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128 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all, this is meant to be a tutorial for installing aftermarket seat heaters. Hopefully it will be helpful...

First of all thanks to Dick B and to Huskieowner for their valuable advice.

The kits I installed are H3 kits from heatedseatkits.com (with whom I have no affiliation). Other vendors sell very similar products. I was able to get the kits for $65 direct from them when I ordered 4 or more kits.

The first thing i did was to remove the seats :

on the outside seat rail in the front, there is a plastic cover that hides one of the four star pattern bolts. I removed it by prying gently with a small screwdriver (for this project, they should be called pry-ers since they have no other purpose)






slide it forward and it should come off... revealing one of the four bolts.

These bolts can be removed with a 10mm wrench. Two hints : 1) these bolts were tight and I could not budge a couple of them - so I used a length of pipe to insert over the wrench end to give my lever a bit more length. 2) adjusting the height, angle of recline and the fore/aft position will help expose the bolts.



There are two small wiring harnesses attatched to the seat bottom - remove these



Hint: place a thick beach towel on the door sill to prevent scratching - really

After the bolts are undone, you can now tilt up the seat away from you to facilitate removing the seat belt bolt. Pry up the plastic cover and remove the bolt with a 17mm wrench.


Hint: when replacing this bolt when reinstalling the seats, make sure that the belt is not twisted.

I placed the seat into the back of my 4Runner to give me a work space easier on my back (Thank you Huskieowner!) Although i dont have any pictures of this, on the back of the seat, you can pry up the material where it meets the plastic shell with a small screwdriver. I could not figure out how to get the headrest tunnels out - and it proves unnecessary. At the bottom of the seat in the back - there is a strip of cardboard that is inserted into a retaining slot - pry this up. By this time you've noticed that the seat back material is held in place with small metal clips with treachorously sharp points.




Hint: adjusting the angle of recline proves helpful...

Down the two sides of the seatback and the center (in my seats at least) are three metal rods that are held down with plastic clips. These rods help from the channels of the seatback.


On all three rods, I had to remove two out of the tree clips (starting at the bottom) to give me enough working space. The heating element will actually be pulled down into the center channel by the rod. So once the rods were disconnected and I could lay the heating element onto the foam and position it where i wanted it, on the heating element I used a marker to mark the spots where the clips had to go through. I cut the fabric of the element without cutting the carbon fiber honeycomb

Now this is important! Once you reinstall middle rod, it pulls the element into the center channel - take your time and smooth out the element as best you can - taping the element in place might me considered. Once you have taken the rods out of the clips and replaced them, you will not be in the mood to do this again to smooth the element out! really..... i was soooo mad....

Reclip the two outside rods. Making sure that the wiring harness is going to end up where you want it - toward the center of the car, replace the fabric. I wish I had some hints about this - it is not easy..... but a million times easier than... the bottom cushion!
I just started prying out the three cardboard strips around the bottom perimeter


There are plastic clips that hold on the three metal rods as in the seatback. I just cut these off. I just didnt have the patience to work each rod off the clip... plus these looked way harder to reinstall. As in the seatback, place the heating element (this element is supposed to be the one with 4 wires in the harness). I bore a hole through the foam for the wiring harness and actually made a small channel for the bump in the healting element - a sensor I think). I replaced the metal rods by using military grade zip ties ( I got a shrug from the hardware store when I asked what 'military grade' means when it comes to zip ties).

Replacing the fabric on the bottom cushion is not easy. I spent a lot of time trying to place the cardboard strips back into their retaining slots - I cannot fathom an easy way even in retrospect. Just time and patience! Putting some weight on the seat ( I was lying on it) seemed to maybe help.

I placed to switches on the flat plate under the shifter - right beneath the window controls.

 

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1998 SLK 230
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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)


Seats wired and ready for intallation. There are a little more visible rippling in the fabric, but certainly nothing that my back or bottom feels.


DickB advised to get the power from the switched post in the fuse box. I was hoping to just tap into the cigarette lighter - but life is hard. I already went this far, so I might as well do it right. I ran a wire from the third post from the left - which was switched. DickB recommends a fuse close to the post. This would protect against a short closer to the fusebox. The kit's harness includes an inline fuse too. In the future, I see myself tapping into this wire for a usb charging port or another cigarette lighter....
The red wire is from the fusebox



I have taken off the center console in order to fix a few cracks....

I reinstalled the seats, plugged in the harnesses, seatbelts and covers.....

It is soooooo nice to have heated seats! i am shocked how much I enjoy them.

Note: if you just replace the driver's seat and go test it out, the SRS warning light will go on. Once the passenger seat was installed, the light went out.

I will post a final picture of the switch when I complete my console repairs...
see 'my center console is cracked'

I hope this helps someone!
 

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1998 SLK 230
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128 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As far as the switch location, I have to thank Huskieowner.

The link for the kit does not seem to work from the post above.

I am not advertising for heatedseatkits.com , but that is where I bought mine... as I mentioned before, they had a deal for four or more... I paid $65 for their H3 kit. A search will give many different vendors that sell very similar items.

I only hope that the installation in the 4runner and CRV go as nicely! maybe easier too!
 

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Golf R32 / Prev R170 SLK
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As far as the switch location, I have to thank Huskieowner.

The link for the kit does not seem to work from the post above.

I am not advertising for heatedseatkits.com , but that is where I bought mine... as I mentioned before, they had a deal for four or more... I paid $65 for their H3 kit. A search will give many different vendors that sell very similar items.

I only hope that the installation in the 4runner and CRV go as nicely! maybe easier too!
Link works.
REMOVE the "auction ads bit up to" http:// ebay from the addy line in your browser after clicking on link..

This site is corrupting ads to ebay:(

Bazzle
 

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1998 SLK 230
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128 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Bazzle.....

The kit looks almost identical to the one I installed... In fact, it is from the same vendor! their email is to heatedseatkits.com.... i suspect that many on ebay sell from them. the only difference is that the kit I received was stated to be 9 x 18 inches (versus 16)... also, as I keep mentioning, the ebay ad I looked at said something like 'huge discount for 4 or more" so I called them directly and i got the price of $65 which clinched the deal (cheapskate that I am!)
 

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1998 SLK 230
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128 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
The holes....

Well as you can imagine, I wanted to be very precise with the holes. First of all, I wanted the switches to be exactly symmetrical - like they were always there. Secondly, I did not want them to wiggle. Thirdly, they could not interfere with anything beneath the plate.

Once you have the plate out of the car, you will see that there is a rim around the perimeter that you want to stay away from. Also, you must be aware of where the chrome plate inserts in the middle.
I placed some masking tape on the plate to protect the surface and to be able to mark my landmarks.

I determined exactly where I wanted the hole... traced a circle onto the masking tape.... looked at the circles from all different angles to be sure. After marking the center, I drilled a small pilot hole. I then used a piece that came with my drill bit kit. It looks a bit like a triton - three points with the center point inserted into the pilot hole.

Well, you just have to be careful. Once I got the holes to be just a tiny bit too small, I used a dremel with a cylindrical sanding tip to enlarge the hole to just the right size.

Overall, this was actually the most fun part of the project. Way more fun than replacing the uphoulstry!

And no, I did not buy an optional installation kit. Though appropriately sized wire taps would definitely be helpful. Zip ties too. band-aids.

hope this helps.
 

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1998 SLK 230
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Final pictures....

I finally completed repairs of the console and reassembled the various pieces... I touched up with the touch up paint from Viponds...




I think everything turned out pretty good.... all in all it was a moderately difficult project... but something I would be uncomfortable letting a shop do the work.

BTW, I also just installed seat heaters in my old 4runner - way way easier than the SLK.... thought the SLK installation looks way more professional.
 

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1998 SLK 230 KOMPRESSOR
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How much would you charge for this service? ;)

Aaron Lephart
 

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1998 SLK 230
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128 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
what would I charge? well... the hardest part of the entire project was reinstalling the uphoulstry. All the other steps were actually a bit fun and satisfying. But if i had to put a price on it.... if you helped.... maybe a lunch.

How much could a shop fairly ask for? I think maybe $500.... just a guess...

I hope installing my projector headlights will go smoothly! (my next project)
 

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2001 SLK 320
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good job on the seats... Looks very nice.
 
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