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5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi All,

I suspect that no one will ever have to do this. However, at your own peril.

I am 60% sorry about the blurry pics, but for a majority of this it was dark, or under a seat and my phone was doing what it could do.

Well, I have owned a lot of VWs over the years. But, I have always wanted a turbo wagon with a 6 speed. It needed to be the FSI, as I wanted the extra HP. I finally found the right one for me, although 200k (kilometers, I'm in Canada), that doesn't bother me much - 2 adult owners in its past.

The car is nicely optioned, it has Climatronic, MFSW, aftermarket GPS (one of the Xtronics ones) factory paint (Graphite Blue, although it looks like teal to me in the right light, very sexy) no accidents. Not to mention, the price was RIGHT!

There were some issues, the vent louvers were broken (took apart and fixed), the map lights were not working properly, turned out the switch was shorting and burnt itself to pieces, got another from dealer. Quite reasonable 120$. Center console rear trim needed replaced etc.

Everything mechanical seemed to be functioning perfectly, however the drivers heated seat didn't work. They had a bit of wear so I looked around for another set, but couldn't find one that wasn't destroyed. Finally I found a Donor car that was in a rear end collision, a 2008 sedan with 110k on it. Seat are like new. I assumed, incorrectly, that it would not be a problem swapping them out for my seats as they are the same generation cars...

As with most DIY guys, I picked up the seats on the way to work and once I got home from work I unloaded the 'new' seats from my wifes SUV and it was already dark. Not to be dissuaded by such a little detail I went ahead with the drivers swap, it was ultra cold and I really wanted that heated seat to work. I was really ticked that the MK4 Jetta I just sold had perfect heaters, and had no idea how much I would miss them. lol.

It was at the point where I had already removed my seat (lots of kneeling in the snow beside my car), and had the new one in the car that I realized the main terminal block was the same, but the seat belt harness and the airbag harness were different. The airbag actually looked similar enough in the dark that I tried for some time to get it to click in... Then things really took a turn for the worse when I started doing some real diagnosis and found that the not just the connectors, but the wiring was different colors too. The seat belt harness had the same color 2 wires, black and brown, but a different connector, so I wasn't super worried there.

So I resigned defeat (temporary defeat) and put my seat back in the car. I cant deal with dashboard lights. I was to find later that the seat has the power to trigger a LOT of lights. Not to mention that while tinkering horn went off, rear power hatch opened, other interesting items happened.

I started doing a lot of research about my problem. I spent 250$ on the front seats, they were essentially new and I wasn't about to give up. There are threads about swapping leather sport seats but nothing that really helped me, which was my connectors are different. I still haven't found a reason, however, I did find a couple wiring harnessed on EBay that were all denoted for manual transmission cars only. Not sure it that is the issue or not, maybe it was because my car was actually made in 2006 and there was a revision? Who knows. Doesn't matter really, I am set on making these work. Ha Ha.

I went to my dealer the next morning to try to order the connectors which would have made my life easier. I gave them my VIN and even with that they had no idea why my parts are different from what their schematic shows. I was surprised to find that they could not tell me what the wires did, as I was very concerned about tripping the airbag when rewiring (the airbag connectors had different color wires from seat to seat).

So starts the real content!
I decided to repin my terminal blocks. The dealer said I was crazy, that even the mechanics cut the connector and splice them on. That idea makes me a little sick. I looked for a tool to release the pins. I found a generic 5 in one type tool, which was too large to fit in. So I asked the wife for some pins from here sewing kit and modified them for the purpose. I gave them a whack with the hammer against my anvil to flatten the ends which I filed flat and sized to fit into the release slots of the connectors.

So here are the different connectors
My 2007 Passat

The 2008 Passat

Even though one seat is half power and the other full power (no memory) the main terminal block is the same. I guess one power line for all seat functions.

So, depinning the terminal blocks. It sucks. The dealer did not lie. I can see why mechanics just cut them and use solderless connectors (stake-ons). It took me literally hours to do 4 of these. Spoiler alert, I would find later that I had to do 2 more.. As far as I can tell, there is no magic formula. Insert, fiddle, repeat. I will say that the first thing that needs to be done is remove the pin retaining clip, which in my case was pink. Not hard, just get a pick and give it a little shove from the back side until there is enough visible gap on the front side to grab it and remove. The main problem, was on reassembly. The actual pins are different from mine to the donor, not just the connector. So to get the pins in the connector, I had to crush them a bit with a set of pliers. If you do this, you will see the 2008 pins are not perfectly square like the 2006. They have a little edge that runs the length of the 'main body' of the pin. You will have to bend that down or there is no way it will go in, in fact you will nearly cry when one is half way in and snaps off and you are kneeling infront of your seat on the garage floor asking yourself why you even got involved. Because of course, you have to do this in the light, i.e. before you go to work. Now, there is no question you are going to be late, very late.

The smaller black 2 wire connector on the new seats as shown above is even easier, it has a little 'flap' that you can swing down and expose the pins, much better than these yellow ones that are most grievous. For those of us unfortunate enough to have to do this, the metal pronged insert as shown above in the yellow connectors that add extra contact pressure and area, can (and have to) be removed with a pick and a LOT of patience. If you bend it, you are off to the dealer for new ones on reassembly. If it gets bent and shorts to the one next to it, I suspect a world of airbag deploying hurt. It goes back in super easy though.

For those that are curious, here is my floor well;

So now the root of the issue. Different colored wires. I am naturally concerned about setting off my airbag. I found this picture of the underside of someones seat that shows a connector with one set of colors (mine) going to another set (the donor colors). After much deliberation, realizing that there is nothing I can do about it because the dealers wont give the info out, even the parts guys don't have access to it) I had to try. So I repined my airbag connector and hoped for the best.

I put it all back in the car and reattached the battery. No issue? I put on my safety glasses and hearing protection, got in the car and started it.

No explosions. Beauty. MANY MANY dash lights. Did you know that your seat controls the parking brake? I didn't, do now! I knew a lot of the MILs were going to go away, just because the sensor lost calibration when the battery was off. The traction control and the steering positions sensor usually go off after a couple wheel stop to wheel stop turns. I was concerned however about the airbag light. Sigh.

To say I was aggravated would be an understatement. My lower extremities could start to feel the carnage my dealer would perpetrate to correct this mess. In the process of repining the airbag connector, I broke the pin for the black wire. Fortunately, I'm pretty good with this stuff, so I actually managed to get it soldered back together and inserted into the connector. I was unsure of why all the MILs would be on, is the airbag different? Is the seatbelt different (error checking is done by resistance of circuit, so anything is possible, supposed to be 470 ohms btw)? Is the seat different (more different than I anticipated), did that pin break again on reassembly?

I called my office and boss man wasn't there yet, so I stopped at my dealer. For 160$ they would tell me why the lights were on. They offered sometime next week.... I went to my local guy, and he pulled out his Ross-Tech and VCDS laptop and checked asap for me. For free. Guy wouldn't take any money. He could not say why, but the parking brake MIL was somehow tied to the airbag code. The airbag code was tied to the module code. The module code was tied to the seat belt latch code. The seat belt latch code was tied to my pocket book. It looked like this.

I bought a bad seat. Lesson to be learned about getting parts from a car that has been in an accident.

Fortunately, it seems that it is a fairly common thing and he felt that if I swapped my latch from my old seat to this seat problem should be solved. How hard could that be right?

Removing the seat belt latch from the old seat was easy as it was on my garage floor. And it is a half power seat - no front back electrically. I could slide it right off the rails and had decent access to the M8 triple square that held the latch in place. However, I got pretty nervous when I saw it had the same yellow connector that I had to repin to make the donor seat work. The mount looks like this.

After I removed it, it was on to the new seats which are bolted in the car because I have been driving it. I don't want to disconnect my batter again and lose all my settings so I just undo the bolts. The MILs are already on, and I'm pretty sure the airbags cant deploy. Anyways, I am not undoing that connector, just the seatbelt ones. I will say that was a mistake. As I was balls deep under my seat in the car, the rear power hatch opened and I realized anything could happen.. I decided to just stay where I was though and try to get the latch out of the donor. This was done by removing the 4 M10 mounting bolts (I was getting pretty good at this by now) and leaning the seat forward, propping it up with a coffee can. power the seat full back and up. This is where the cursing started again. It wont go off the track... or at least I couldn't make it do it. Zero apparent access to the M8. Yup, your going to be late again.

Does VW have a special took for this. Yup. Does VW sell tools? Nope. So I made do. Heres how it goes, because I suspect you don't have the tool either.. I am fortunate enough to have a stubby triple square set for 3/8 and 1/4 drive. The M8 just fits inside the track, but there is no space for a ratchet or whatever, so I used needle nose pliers to get the M8 into the track, and into the bolt. I adjusted the seat so that one of the material saving holes in the track lined up with the socket and put a 1/4 drive extention through the hole and into the M8. Smiles all around. I was wishing I had a third hand but surviving. Smiles quickly disappeared when I found that there is not enough clearance to fully extract the bolt. If you do, you cannot get your M8 out, for me, it was the exact size. Unbelievable. Would not have put a million dollars on that bet, but there it is. So by screwing it back in 2 turns I could get my M8 out. I had to use my needle nose and do the 1/1000 of a turn thing for A WHILE before it dropped out. No picture here. I was preoccupied with getting probed by the fickle finger of fate.

Once the latch was off, there was still the electrical connector. remove coffee can and lean seat back. This will let you look under there and find the connector. Ah yes, connector. So. Here we go again. repining the connector for under the seat. they don't line up, but why would they? I got mad, and sliced the other connector to bits after 30 mins of trying to get the pins out. Couldn't do it anymore. Wasn't going to use that connector anymore anyways. Very delicate operation, unfortunately the plastic is rock hard. Quite an ordeal. But ultimate success. I had (didn't have to, but did it anyways) to swap the retaining pin that keep the seat belt electrical cable from getting cut by the track. Not hard, just time consuming. As it turns out, the latches are slightly different length, didn't make a difference though. Here are the 2 different latch connectors.

Reinstall just like the uninstall. Start the bolt by hand (finger really, cant get a hand in the track..) and then progress to needle nose for incremental tightening. Eventually, you can get your M8 in and repeat the lining up and use your 1/4 drive through the hole. For this the seat is still unbolted, leaning forward propped up on a coffee can. Once tight, remove coffee can, go to drivers door, lean seat back and you will be able to see the electrical connection you need to re connect.

Bolt your seat down again. Start your car and cheer when the parking brake MIL is off. Cry a bit that the airbag MIL is still on. Take a bottle of homemade spicy pickled carrots to your guy with the VCDS to get him to reset the airbag code. He does and it doesn't come back. Victory.

Tell him to be ready because you are going to do the passenger seat next. At first I wasn't going to, as the passenger seat works fine and doesn't have a lot of wear, but then realized the perforations in the seats are slightly different. The spacing is different from hole to hole. Way to go VW.

There you go. Seats should be the same. They are not. It is possible, and for a heated seat that works? I'd do anything. Anything except pay the dealer that is..

5 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
And for those are interested, the passenger seat was closer. The seatbelt harness was the same, only the airbag needed repining.

The swap was perfect, no latch swap required.

Not sure if the seat heater works though....


1 Posts
I have a 2007 Passat Wolfsburg and I just got a pair of 2008 seats. Any chance someone has the pictures for this how to.
I would love to get mine in this weekend and can add pictures if needed.

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