Extend your topless/doorless driving season by adding warmth to your drive by installing seat heating elements to your seats. Although the JK's heater can get pretty hot, it loses much or all of its effectiveness when driving topless and doorless. A great way to keep yourself warm on cold mornings or nights in your topless doorless Jeep is with an electric seat heater. There are several aftermarket seat heater options on the market today, but the two main reasons I went with WarmSeats are 1)The heating elements are waterproof, which I feel is essential for a topless Jeep, and 2)The big 11"x22" heating element size fits very nicely in the JK seats, covering the full length of the seat and back and nearly the full width of the center channel of the seat.
Parts and Supplies Needed Per Seat:
1 WarmSeats Waterproof Seat Heater
1 18-22 gauge wire tap
1 spade connector for 18-22 gauge wire
2 or 3 zip ties (about 4" long)
18mm impact socket
3" socket extension
6" socket extension
10mm box or slip wrench
T20 Torx driver
T30 Torx driver
C-ring removal pliers
Slip joint pliers
Long nose pliers
Small, 1" wide pry bar, chisel or putty knife
Connector crimping tool
1. This is what comes in each package (I bought two packages, one for each front seat):
- two heating elements, identical, one for seat, one for back
- wiring harness with relay and switch
- inline fuse holder with fuse (I didn't use this)
- a few small zip ties (I didn't use these, I used my own slightly bigger zip ties)
- general installation instructions
- sheet of tape strips to tape heating elements to cushions (not needed)
Although I've heard it's possible installing such seat heaters without removing the seat, I highly recommend removing the seat to make it much easier to access all the areas you need to get to.
Before removing the seat though, first determine whether or not your seats have side airbags. If they do, you should see an "SRS" tag on the seat, like this:
and a circuit plug underneath the seat that looks like this:
If you don't have side airbags and don't have any wiring connected to your seat, you can skip to Step 6.
2. Using a 10mm box or slip wrench, loosen then disconnect the negative battery post connector from your battery's negative terminal.
3. Place a non-conductive barrier underneath your negative battery post connector to prevent it from making electrical contact with your battery's negative terminal.
4. Pump your brakes several times and wait five minutes for the system to discharge. It's important to do this before disconnecting any airbag connectors.
5. After waiting at least five minutes, disconnect the circuit plug(s) underneath the seat. If you don't want to wait, you could use this time to start removing the seat bolts (Step 6).
6. Using an 18mm impact socket and an impact wrench and/or breaker bar with 3" or 6" socket extension, remove the four bolts holding the seat to the floor. These bolts are on there pretty tight, as one would hope they'd be. I started off with the breaker bar to get the bolt initially loosened, then finished removing it with the impact wrench.
7. I removed my back seat and used the back of the Jeep as my workbench.
We'll start by opening up the seat cover.
8. Remove the seat cover retainer in the front of the seat.
9. Remove the seat cover retainers on sides of the seat.
10. Peel back the front of the seat cover.
11. There are five clips across the seat, holding the cover to the cushion. This is what they look like before removal:
12. I used a pair of C-Ring Removal pliers like these to open up the clips for removal:
Here's what one of the clips look like removed:
The three clips in the center will not be replaced, so you could just use a pair of dikes to cut them for quicker removal.
13. Using a screw driver, poke a hole from the bottom of the seat cushion to feed the heating element wire through.
14. Feed the heating element wire through the hole in the seat cushion.
15. Slide the heating element under the seat cover.
16. Use a pair of slip joint pliers to squeeze the two clip on the sides back into place.
Here's the seat heating element in place after replacing the two clips on the sides.
17. Put the cover fully back on the seat and put the front and side seat cover retainers back in place.
18. Now it's time to open up the back cover. Tilt the seat forward and remove the back cover retainer along the bottom. This is on quite tightly, and is a bit difficult to remove.
19. In order to peel back the back cover, we need to remove the levers on the side. Use a pair of long nose pliers to pull off the retaining clip holding the levers in place.
Here's the front passenger seat with the side levers removed.
20. With the side levers removed, we can now peel back the back cover. If you have side airbags, this is as far as you'll be able to peel it back.
21. Slide the back heating element underneath the back cover and feed it in all the way up to the top rib.
22. Route the heating element wire to the side that would be closer to the center console of the Jeep.
23. Put the back cover back on, pull down tightly and put the cover retainer back in place.
24. Put the side levers back in place on the seat.
25. Tie down the heating element wires underneath the seat.
26. Set the seat aside and repeat Steps 6 through 25 for other seats being fitted with these seat heaters.
Now it's time to mount the switches and do the wiring. There are many options for switch placement, but because of the length of wires provided, you'll need to keep the switches pretty close to the seats unless you want to extend the wires. For the front seats, this means switch placement somewhere along the center console. Disassemble the center console to find a place to mount the switches.
27. This step isn't absolutely necessary, however it's easier working with the center console door removed and out of the way. Using a T20 Torx driver, remove the four screws attaching the center console door hinge to the center console.
28. Using a T20 Torx driver, remove the four small screws at the four corners of the side panel of the center console. Using a T30 Torx driver, remove the one larger screw on the bottom of the panel. Do the same on the other side.
29. Pull the center console side panels outward a bit and unlatch the side clips holding rear cup holder and rear panel in place.
30. Fully remove the center console insert by lifting up and pulling outward the side panels while wiggling the center console insert out the back.
31. I decided to put both front seat switches here on the passenger side of the center console. Not necessarily a great place for the driver side switch to be, but that's where I found space close to the seats.
32. There's an existing ground point under the front seat which I used to connect the ground wire from the seat heater wiring harness to. Crimp a spade connector to the white ground wire from the seat heater wiring harness and use a 10mm socket and wrench on the nut at this ground point.
For power to the wiring harness, I decided to tap into the switched power point on the left side of the front console. Since each seat heater draws only 3 amps of current, I figured this 20 amp fused switched power source should easily handle the load in addition to whatever I might plug into the power point, which is usually just my phone charger.
The front console will need to be pulled apart in order to gain access to the wire that we'll be tapping into.
33. Remove the bottom panel of the front console. Start by using a small pry bar, chisel or putty knike, and pry away the top edge of this bottom panel. There are two snaps on the top edge to pop out. Once these two snaps are popped out, you can lift the panel off.
34. With the bottom panel of the front console removed, you can now access the two bottom screws holding the front console main panel in place. Use a 7mm socket and a 6" socket extension to remove these screws.
35. With the bottom screws removed, carefully pull away the front console panel starting from the bottom. There are I think three snaps on both sides to pop out.
36. Tap the positive wire going to the switched power point on the left side of the front console, and run the red wire from the wiring harness (or red wires from the wiring harnesses of multiple seats) to this tap.
37. Reassemble the front console and center console.
38. Put the seat(s) back in place, connect the seat heater wires to the seat heater wiring harness, reconnect any factory circuit plugs underneath the seat, and rebolt the seat(s) to the floor.
There you have it. Enjoy your extended topless doorless driving season!