When you first find out that a car has heating elements in the seats, you probably think "what a great idea for chilly weather in the fall and winter time." However, if you ask an owner of a newer car that features said seat heaters, they'll tell you that the heat function doesn't just warm you up on a cool fall day, the heat also makes for a great therapeutic treatment as well. Many people with sore backs (either from age or from too many hours in a classic Ford seat) will benefit from adding seat heaters, as well. We've used the seat heaters in rental cars numerous times over the years to help with back pain on a long drive or even to keep us more alert late at night. Now you can have the same OE-style seat heaters in your classic Ford thanks to Distinctive Industries.
1. The seat heater kit from Distinctive Industries features seat back and seat bottom heating elements, a full wiring harness with three-position switch, and installation accessories like tie wraps, foam tape, and more for two seating locations. Each kit does one seating position.
2. To install the heating elements, the seats will require removal, as the upholstery will need to be partially removed. For the front bucket seats, the retaining nuts are accessed through these floor pan holes under the car. Adding seat heaters to the rear bench seat is an option as well, if you often carry passengers.
3 After removing the four ½-inch retaining nuts (per seat), the seats can be removed and transferred to a suitable work location.
4. Tackling the seats as separate back and bottom assemblies will make things easier. Remove the seat side shield/pivot trim to access the seatback pivot pins. You’ll find a pair of lynch pins (or sometimes cotter pins if the original pins are lost) that need to be removed so that the seatback and seat bottom can be separated.
5. With the seatback and bottom separated, we set the base aside to work on the seatback first. Use a trim panel tool to remove the seatback’s rear trim panel to access the upholstery’s hog rings.
6. You may or may not need to remove all of the seat upholstery’s hog rings. A lot depends upon your seat type and how you wish to install the heating element. The easiest way to remove the old hog rings is with a pair of hog ring cutters, but barring that, you can use a good pair of side cutters or twist them out with pliers.
7. Placing the heating element over the loosened upholstery will determine if the heating element needs to be trimmed to length (you can shorten the element by cutting it across the top). For this ’65 base seat upholstery, the element’s length is perfect as is for the seatback.
8. We’ve found that for the seatback heating element there was enough room between the foam cushion and the upholstery to simply slide the heating element into place; adjusting the position of the element as needed to center its position. Ensure the heating element’s wire harness is at the bottom of the seatback.
9. After positioning the heating element, the paper backing for the adhesive tape that comes pre-installed can be removed. Grasp the backing at one end and carefully pull it to the opposite end of the heating element.
10. Apply pressure to the heating element along its edges as shown to help secure the adhesive edges to the seat foam on each side of the element.
11. The wire harness that is at the bottom of the heating element will need to be routed to the inside edge of the seatback. Ensure the harness does not get pinched or is not too close to the frame where it might get caught up in hog ring installation.
12. To reinstall the upholstery, you’ll need new hog rings and a pair of hog ring pliers. Eastwood offers both a straight-nose and bent-nose hog ring pliers and hog rings in packs of 100.
13. You shouldn’t have any trouble positioning the upholstery back to its original location and using the original hog ring holes as a guide to secure the upholstery back to the seatback frame.