HOW TO: Repair Power Seat Switch (LONG)


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Authorized Seller
Mar 14, 2008
Hopefully this will be a useful contribution for those having problems with their power seat switch.

Given the insane amount of money I've already spent restoring Gumji, I've precious little left for the remaining repairs/parts so I need to allocate it judiciously. The main problem I've been having with the power seat is that it isn't reclining and I was initially going to just replace the switch (about $102 new) but I figured I'd take a crack at fixing it instead and save the money for parts I'm missing.

Below are the steps I took but as a disclaimer, I've provided this guide based on my own experience, YMMV so use at your own risk.

TOOLS REQUIRED (in order of use):
- Ratcheting right-angle screwdriver (if seat is still on car)
- PH2 Phillips head screwdriver (or bit if using ratcheting screwdriver)
- Small and thin flat head screwdriver
- Pencil w/good eraser on it
- 3 micron sand paper
- Q-tips
- Ox-Gard or dielectric grease

Although I will eventually need to remove the seat, I didn't have time to do it last night so I found one of those ratcheting wrenches that you can attach a phillips bit on and loosened the two screws (PH2 size fits perfectly) that held the switch to the seat. Next I disconnected the large and small connectors by pressing on the tabs and pulling them apart (sorry forgot to take pics of this process).

1) Front view of switch:

Before proceeding with the steps below, take some time to play around with the switch and engage each toggle shaft (indicated by the circular patterns at the base of each shaft on the rubber cover) and listen carefully to the clicking. It should be very nice and crisp (unless your switch is really loose). This is of relevance later when testing. The top toggle shaft controls the upright/recline and the bottom shaft controls sliding forward/backward.

2) Back view of switch (inspect to make sure all connections are solid and you do not see any wires loose from their terminals):

3) Remove the rubber cover:

(notice that there is a slot from where the rubber cover was removed, the cover will need to fit back into this slot to get a good seal)

4) Upon initial investigation I thought I found what the problem was and that was that the face of the switch wasn't snapped together tightly and thus the electrical contacts were not touching (this is the top view of switch with face facing up, notice how the face is not sitting flush with the base):

5) Front view of the top of the switch (notice how the tab is not fully inserted into the hole but is instead pushing up on the base):

6) I'm glad I didn't just make the assumption in step 4 and went on to open the switch by carefully prying on the edge of the base of the switch where the 4 tabs are. Upon removing the face, I noticed that there was a lot of gunk and oxidation of the contact points for the switches (notice how dirty and black the extreme top left and bottom right contacts are, you will need to clean all contacts circled for both switches):

7) These are the bottom (will need to be reinstalled other side up) of the rocker tabs and will need to be cleaned as well:

8) Taking a tip from my days working on 'puter hardware, I took an eraser and cleaned up as much of the gunk and oxidation as I could (be sure to clean up ALL of the eraser debris as well). I then took a 3 micron sanding paper and proceeded to sand the rocker tabs as well as the contact points in the base. Here you will see that it's all cleaned up (make sure you clean up the center as well since it's a contact point too and also note that in this picture the bottom of each tab is wider than the top, this is of relevance when reinstalling them):

9) Here I'm applying Ox-Gard (you can use any di-electric grease which will help keep moisture at bay) to all the contact points in the base to prevent oxidation and ensuring good electrical contact:

10) Here's the back view of the face of the switch, I didn't have any extra white lithium grease on hand so I simply spread apart whatever was left gathered in a lump:

11) Side view of the face of the switch showing how each toggle will go in with the toggle shaft closer to the top of the switch:

12) In order to prevent the rocker tabs from coming loose during reinstallation, take each toggle and put it on top of them in the base of the switch (don't forget the nut in the middle):

(unfortunately I forgot to take a pic of the rocker tabs in place so as to point out which end is wider and which is thinner but you'll figure out since they can only fit in one direction)

Next, carefully snap the face of the switch back on and reinstall the rubber cover and you're done with the reinstallation.

IMPORTANT, BE SURE TO TEST THE MOVEMENT OF THE SWITCHES. They should give a nice and crisp CLICK when engaged. If the switch does not sound right in one position vs. the others when engaged, there is a good chance one of the rocker tabs came loose and is not seated properly, you will need to take apart the switch and check (I discovered this problem after reinstallation and had to take apart the switch to reaffix the rocker tab properly)

The next steps are optional but HIGHLY recommended to test the switch out before reinstallation. You'll need a multimeter w/continuity check function (along with 1 needle nose lead and one small alligator clip lead).
Given that you're going to simulate moving the chair via a continuity check, it really doesn't matter what the polarity of the leads are but for purposes of simplifying the explanation, let's say that the lead with the alligator clip (red) is hooked up to positive terminal on your multimeter and the other lead with the needle nose (black) is hooked up to the negative terminal on your multimeter.

This is the larger plug with 4 prongs:

For purposes of testing, I've labeled each required prong as thus:
P (red wire) - Power source (clamp the positive red alligator clip on to this prong, you will not need to move it for the duration of the test)
F (blue/white wire) - Prong to test moving chair forward
B (white/red wire) - Prong to test moving chair backward
I assume the bottom left prong (black wire) is the ground but did not use it during this test.

This is the smaller plug with only 2 wires and female prongs:

R (red/white wire) - prong to test reclining of chair
U (white/black wire) - prong to test uprighting the chair

Labels on the two switches as follows:

(I didn't have an alligator clip lead thus I'm holding on to the red lead in the pic)

TSL - Top Switch pushed to Left
TSR - Top Switch pushed to Right
BSL - Bottom Switch pushed to Left
BSR - Bottom Switch pushed to Right

So basically to test the switch, you'll hook it up in this combination along with the position of the switch (you should hear the continuity chime when the switch is engaged in any of the 4 positions: TSL, TSR, BSL, BSR):

P, U + TSL - Simulate Uprighting the chair
P, R + TSR - Simulate Reclining the chair
P, F + BSL - Simulate sliding chair Forward
P, B + BSR - Simulate sliding chair Backwards

Hope you enjoyed this little how to and that it helps those of you facing the same issue I had with the seat switch.
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