For those that are interested, I just purchased some seat heaters for my Elan.
I was able to install the heating element for my driver's seat last night. The
verdict ... It works great! Now I am able to drive with the top down in freezing
conditions and be comfortable. BTW - I also have/use a wind blocker. So for those
that are interested in the seat heaters check out this site ... http://www.Katzkin.com
As for the price, it cost me $106 a seat, which included shipping and handling.
Additional seat heater links:
This material contained on this page is informational in nature only, and does
not imply all knowledge needed to safely work on the electrical system of your
Elan! It also does not include all instructions needed to properly install seat
heaters into your seats. I will not warranty the contents nor will I take responsibility
for your actions if you should attempt to work on your car based solely on these
instructions. See DISCLAIMER.
Failure to follow proper procedures can lead to vehicle fire and possible personal
injury or death!
Jamie gave me the inspiration needed to install seat heater into my Elan. I
know I already live in Southern California, where the weather is always great,
but with the seat heaters I can be assured I can drive with the top down ANY day
or night, except when it rains a few days a year!!
I purchased the seat heater kits from Katzkin
as Jamie mentioned above. They were $88 each--I picked them up myself so there
was no shipping for me. The kit is actually manufactured by Inalfa
Sunroofs and seems to be very well made. Each kit comes with general instructions
for the heating pad installation. The wiring has a built-in 10Amp fuse and fuse-holder
and there are connectors that snap into each heating element so the seat is still
easily removable. There is a lighted switch which has 3 positions: 'hi', 'off'
and 'low.' The switch is finished in black plastic, similar to the color of the
Elan's mirror control switch.
The supplies needed for this installation are not that many, but it is an intricate
and involved project. It requires a good time commitment and lots of swearing!
The hard part is disassembling the seats to put in the heating element pads--the
easy part is the wiring for the heaters! Plan to spend a full workday or 2 half
days to get the whole project done!
With regard to wiring in the units, you only need an ignition-switched 'hot'
and a 'ground.' It is certainly possible to "splice" the hot wire into
another switched component on the car, but these heaters will draw a good current
when in use. Thus, if you do this you will have to change the fuse of what you
splice it into or you will likely end up blowing the fuse of the other circuit;
and also with this set-up it would be possible for the other system to get damaged
from using the higher fuse.
We are VERY lucky in this regard, however! I scrutinized
the Elan electrical system manual and discovered gold! Lotus has placed wiring
into all Elans for the factory security system, which no US Elans have installed.
The electrical manual describes this system in detail as there are instructions
for its post-production installation. Thus, there is an empty relay and fuse spot
which can be easily accessed; and it just so happens
it is even located in the speaker enclosure behind the left seat !! Even better,
there is a wiring harness that comes alive with the placement of the relay and
fuse with 4 connector wires that you can use for this project as I did.
[As an aside, these 4 wires would be perfect for use
in the installation of about anything electrical. They
consist of: a permanent 'hot', an ignition-switched 'hot', a 'ground', and a 'hot'
lead from the headlamp/gauge lighting switch! ]
Pad Installation into Seats:
Remove Seats: [Whew, these seats weigh a whopping
38 pounds each!]
- Remove the seats using a 17mm socket wrench. Hint: when you go to re-install
them, the single larger spacer goes with the rear-outer bolt.
Disassemble seats: [HINT: seats are modular and
not sided--this means you can change the seats so the left becomes the right and
vice-versa if you wish, if the driver's is significantly more worn !!]
- Remove bottom runners with 12mm and 13mm sockets--one bolt of each per side.
- Remove black circular plastic adjustor wheel. There is a center plastic piece
that is just held in by friction. To remove it just carefully pry it out. Underneath
there is a 10mm bolt which retains the angle adjuster outer wheel to the seat.
Be sure to get the little metal washer under it too!
- Now you must remove the side plastic triangular piece. It is held in place
by 2 small plastic push-pin-fasteners. To remove these you must carefully pry
the center pin up and out of the fastener from underneath (use long thin flat
screwdriver)--be careful pulling this center pin out as the plastic is soft! With
the center pin removed you can then gently pry the rest of the fastener out. Now
remove the plastic trim piece to reveal the 2 side screws beneath it.
- Now you may separate the seat back from the seat bottom by removing two 13mm
bolts on each side
Seat Back Pad Installation: [Do this before the
bottom to get a sense of progress going as the bottom is much harder!]
- Simply remove the ' tongue' from the ' groove' along the length of the bottom
of the seatback to open up the cover.
- Fell up the seat back with your hand to feel where the heating pad will go.
- Cut a bit of the end off the pad to make the right size fit and place it under
the seat cover up the seatback. I fastened the bottom edge to the seat back cushion
with a dab of 3M adhesive spray and that's all.
- Now close up the tongue and groove, with the connector coming out the proper
side and you are done with the seat back
Seat Bottom Pad Installation:
1. Remove seat cover and cushion together from the underframe.
- Use a flat screwdriver to pop open all the metal
retaining clips on the bottom of seat bottom (there is one hiding in the back
corner of each side too).
- Pry open the small metal retaining O-clips from the rear sides of the bottom
of the cover (save in place for later replacement).
- Carefully pry the retaining metal sleeve slightly away from the edges of the
seat cover all the way around the seat with a flat screwdriver.
- Now you may remove the 'tongue' from the 'groove' all the way around the 4
sides of the bottom of the seat.
- Carefully lift the seat cushion and cover upward from seat bottom frame and
leave the frame and bottom flap behind
2. Remove seat cover from cushion.
- Carefully invert the leather seat cover upward and away from the cushion.
Yes, it is still attached to the cushion!!
- There are retaining wires which connect the cover to the cushion running WITHIN
the cushion in roughly a checker-board (H-shaped) pattern. This is a tricky part--you
must find the deeper of the wires (times 4) and cut the ends of them (buried slightly
within the cushion) with wire cutters to remove by sliding out these deeper wires
- Once all 4 deep wires are removed the seat cover will come free of the cushion.
- Now remove all the little metal loop retainers from under seat cover as you
will be reinstalling the seat cover without these!
3. Place heating pad and re-attach seat cover.
- Place heating pad on cushion to determine where to place reinforcing black
strips. See kit instructions. You will place the black strips on the pad where
it will contact the cushion grooves.
- Cut small holes in the black area per kit instructions for passage of your
new retaining nylon zip-ties.
- Put a plastic dowel in place of the wire elements in the 2 cross brace areas.
You can leave the 2 side wires as-is.
- To slowly re-connect the cover to the cushion, run the large zip ties up from
the bottom of the cushion, thru the cushion, thru the pad (in the reinforced area),
over the plastic dowel, then back down thru the reinforced pad area, and back
down thru the seat cushion to make a loop!
- You will do this 3 times on each horizontal strip.
- Place a new holder strip, supplied with the kit, on the bottom of the seat
cushion so that the 3 zip ties will go thru it. Do this once for each row and
then loosely connect the zip ties--you will not tighten them fully until the sides
are reattached and you are sure everything is right!
- Place large zip ties on the sides in the same fashion. I chose to do this
as it was easier than reconnecting the little metal loops. The kit only supplies
6 zip ties per seat so I bought more--very cheap! You may keep the top wire here--you
will not go thru the heating pad on the 2 sides. I put 2 of the wires I removed
along the bottom to loop the side zip ties around them for support.
- Zip all the ties to secure seat cover to cushion. They do not have to be monster
tight, just tight enough to make the seat cover stay in place and look right to
- Trim the far end of the heating pad to the length of the front edge of the
This is the reverse of disassembly, you can figure it out! This is where you
could switch the seat sides if you wanted.
After replacing all the tongue-and-groove sides of the seat cover, use a rubber
mallet (or gentle hammer) to close the gaps of the metal retainer lips around
the bottom. Don't forget to re-do the 2 small metal O-clips on the sides of the
Relax, the hard part is over--get yourself a beer and your sanity back!
Before proceeding with the in-car wiring, you MUST
disconnect the positive lead to car's battery--or risk an electrical fire like
Remove Seats and Center Console:
You already removed the seats, right?
- Remove the left and right rear speaker housings by pulling forward and upward
on them. They are only held in place by friction and by a little plastic socket
on the inner side.
Remove center console:
- Carefully pry up the edges of the mirror switch and the 2 window switches
and lift them out of their spots.
- Disconnect them from their wire harnesses.
- Open lid to storage area in center console and remove the 2 screws on the
- Lift out this tray and then remove the 2 larger screws beneath this tray.
- Remove the 2 large screws beneath where the window switches sit.
- Gently lift the console up and forward to remove it. You will need to have
the parking brake max up and the shifter forward to help it clear on the way out.
Be careful not to scratch anything as it is a tight fit.
Locate In-car Wiring and Wire-in Heaters:
The relay strip is located behind the left rear speaker housing (see first
picture below). Mine looks different because it was moved a bit for placement
of my subwoofer. You will see there are 2 relays in place on the left of the unit
with an empty socket between them--this is the "phone relay" spot we
will be using (see second picture below).
The relay you need for this is a Bosch Mini-relay (Lotus part #
A100M6015F) which is identical to the one on the
left end, which is the fuel-pump relay. For the final wiring you must obtain another
identical relay and place it into the unused receptacle. However, you can simply
"borrow" and use the fuel-pump relay while you install the heaters;
but you will obviously not be able to drive the car until you replace the fuel-pump
relay [BTW, this is the perfect anti-theft trick if you are
leaving your car for more than a day or so!].
[FYI, I did check all my
local auto parts stores, electronics stores, GM dealers, and a few other auto
dealerships with NO success in finding the relay in question!
I finally got one from R.D. Enterprises for $24 plus shipping--though they are
cheaper from Dave Bean at $8.25. I still think this wiring is better than using
an add-on relay (for only a few bucks) as the end result is nearly "factory."]
Now that the relay is in place, this completes the electrical connections to
the white plastic connector at the middle of the strip. The four wires at this
connector consist of: a permanent 'hot' (purple wire); an ignition-switched 'hot'
(green wire), a 'ground' (black wire), and a 'hot' lead from the headlamp switch
(orange wire). You will need to place a fuse into the fourth (or end)
fuse slot to activate/fuse the green wire for your wiring!! I chose to place a
15Amp fuse here--I would rather have this fuse blow, which is readily accessible,
than have one of the fuses blow on the individual heater wires, which end up buried
within the center console upon reassembly!! Leave the third fuse spot blank as
it is for the purple wire which we are not using. (FYI:
I have not had any problems to date using the 15A fuse with both seat heater on
Locate the WHITE plastic harness connector under the relay strip and remove
the outer "dummy" cover from it (it took me a while to realize this
is a blank connector attached to it so I wanted to point out its true name). this
reveals the 4 'male' ends of the aforementioned wires.
Now you must simply twist the two red 'hot' wires from the heaters together
and the two brown 'ground' wires together. I used "14-16AWG female bullet
connector ends" (local hardware store) to plug the reds into the green and
the browns into the black wire. I used this size as I could get the two red and
brown wires twisted together into the end of this--the female end was a bit too
large so I closed the size down with a pliers. I used empty "18-22AWG female
bullet connector ends" to plug the other 2 male ends--these actually fit
the white connector better, but I could not get the twisted wires from the heater
side into the small end of this size connector for crimping, so I chose the other
as stated above.
That's it as far as wiring it to the car--I told you this was the easy part!!
I did shorten (cut) the leads (red and brown wires) a bit from the harnesses as
they were too long. You can now trial the system: plug it all together, replace
the battery lead, and be sure it works properly!
Run Wires within Car:
Now you must run the wires from the wiring connector to the switch, wherever
you put it. If you put the switches in the center console like I did, you can
cut out a place for them with a new, sharp utility knife (did you just hear your
mom's voice say, "don't cut yourself with that knife"?). If you do this
be sure to error on the small side for the switch hole and then enlarge it slowly
as needed. If the sides are too narrow it will "pinch" the switch and
make it hard to toggle.
Also when the switch holes are finalized, turn the console over and place spots
of epoxy at all the corners of the cut console--this is how you keep it from cracking
in the future due to the weakened area you created by cutting it !!
From the switches the wiring runs back to the respective speaker cover area
to plug into your seats at the connector plugs. [HINT: use small nylon zip ties
to hold the wires where you want]
Now re-install the center console. I recommend putting a piece of tape on all
the switch plugs so you can pull them up through their holes while you are replacing
the center console down!! Be sure not to pinch any important wires and that it
sits flat down.
Re-install the seats, plug the connectors together, and hide them under the
speaker area covers while you replace them.
Now you are done!! Congratulate yourself by snuggling
up with a cold beer or two in your new hot seats! But please don't drink and drive.