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Adding Next Gen seats to an older S

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As I'd posted in another thread, I was in the process of trying to add Next Gen front seats to my 2014 Model S. I had missed the window for Tesla to do it (and I didn't want to pay over $6,000...), but this is my one bugaboo with our December 2014 build: the seats are not that comfortable for long drives (which we do several times each year).

I found a set of Next Gens here in the SF Bay Area. Unfortunately for me, I didn't recognize till after I got home that one was a 2015 vintage (passenger), while the drivers seat was built in December 2016.

The passenger seat was a direct swap. One wiring harness and the air bag connector. However, when I went to replace the drivers seat, I recognized the newer seat had connectors had been totally changed by Tesla, and were not compatible with an older car. I reached out to the prior owner, who had said these seats had been in his 2013 S. I didn't really get anywhere, as he said he had a mechanic do the swap, and he said the wiring harnesses needed to be changed from seat to seat. Looking closely, this appeared to me to be a very involved process, and quite frankly, the harness in the drivers seat did not appear to ever have been touched, let alone removed, swapped for a 2013 harness, then returned to the 2016 configuration.

Not wanting to tear the seat apart to get all the wires out (there are 25 wires in the two connectors of the 2014 seat), I started looking at other options. Doing a wire by wire comparison, I found that the 2016 seat only has 24 wires. The one extra wire in the 2014 seat is red with a green stripe. Acquiring a wiring diagram for the 2014 seat, it appears this extra wire is the ground wire for the seat heater. In the 2016 seat, the seat heater ground ties into another wire before the harness, resulting in one less wire.

Otherwise, all the wires match up color for color. Since I didn't want to tear the seat apart to replace the wires, I decided to explore simply cutting off the connectors from the 2014 seat and attaching them to the 2016 one (there is also a three wire harness for the air bag mounted in the seat. The connector is also different between the two seats, though the wire colors are consistent).

A couple of points if you ever decide to pull your own seats out:

1. Be sure to turn the power off in the vehicle before disconnecting or connecting any wiring...
2. There are two different sized Torx bolts holding the seat in: the two outer rails are secured by T-40 bolts, while the inner rails are held down with T-47 bolts. Before starting this, I didn't have a T-47 wrench. I quickly found out that a T-45 socket (that I did have) won't cleanly pull these two bolts. Buy a T-47 socket and save yourself lots of aggravation...

I initially cut the connectors off the 2016 seat. In doing so, I recognized there are two blue wires of similar size and two same sized yellow wires. One of the blue wires is the power for the underseat light. I marked both sides of the cut with black ink to differentiate them. Likewise, I determined where one of the yellow wires terminated at the Memory Seat Module harness (MSM), and marked that wire similarly.

Speaking of the MSM, be sure to take the MSM out of your seat and put it in the replacement one. This will apparently save you lots of grief, as I have been told that if you don't do this the new seat won't work in your car. (I swapped mine, and everything works fine).

The 2014 has one connector with 8 wires, one with 17, and the three wire airbag connector. I put a male insulated crimp connector on each wire coming out of the seat. There is a large black, a large red, and a medium sized green/yellow wire. Each of these got a larger connector, while all the rest got a smaller one.

I really hesitated in cutting the connectors off my 2014 seat, as I worried that if this didn't work (or something shorted out), it was going to be a nightmare to remedy. I waited several days before deciding this afternoon to move forward. I pulled the driver's seat out, and proceeded to do the deed.

Working slowly and meticulously, I added a female insulated crimp connector to each wire of the 2014 seat harnesses. I had left about 4" of wire on each harness, and ignored the red/green wire in the harness. I plugged each in, checked to be sure the connections were all solid, then wrapped each connection bundle with tape. I did the same with the airbag harness.

Putting the seat into the car, I plugged the connectors into the sockets, and loosely bolted the seat down. With trepidation, I turned the car back on, and low and behold, everything works. No error messages, all the functions are there, and the memory module (while having to have settings reset) works fine. Bolted the seat all the way in, and test drove it. So much more support than the original seats!!

The last thing I need to do is go to a body shop and have the tethers installed between the door panels and the doors (new with the Next Gen seats). I looked into the airbag timing, and have been assured that the change is so minute that it is not a problem, so for now I am not going to worry about having the airbag control module refreshed...

Here are some photos. While I just finished this today, I am already glad I went this route. I knew that if I tried remove the wiring harnesses completely from the seat that I would screw something up majorly...

Here are a few photos;

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Balls. Of. Steel.
I've worked on cars my whole life, built a couple street/drag cars too. I do not have the balls to cut a single wire on any of my Tesla's.
Good work! I'm stoked it worked for you!
I was more worried about damaging the seats digging all the various connectors out of both seats to switch the harnesses over. Since I could tell from diagrams that the relevant wires were the same, and just the main connectors different, I looked at this as the easier of the two choices...
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I’m sure it’s possible, but considering how involved the process appears, swapping the connectors was easier. Don’t know if you’ve looked at the underside of a drivers seat, but there is a lot going on there...
Glad to hear your seat upgrade went well. I'm planning on doing the same for a recently purchased 2013 P85+ . I'm hoping Henry will come across another low mileage set of tan next gen seats. He's only 45 minutes away. I wonder if the two seats will fit in the back or if I'll need to borrow a truck.
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As I said, we didn’t find the first generation seats comfortable for long distance trips. 2nd generation (next gen) seats offer significantly improved bolstering. In my experience, this greatly adds to driving comfort.

Or, I could just say “because I wanted to”.
I want to say, "quite impressive". Just the research to figure out the commonality between the two different seats is impressive. Finding the nerve to cut and patch is equally extraordinary. And I recognize where you said you thought about it a day or so before you went back and did the deed.

I do understand why you wanted the nex gen seats too. I wanted them when I had a '13.
After reading your initial post back in March, I've been waiting to get my Model S back, and finally it has arrived!
It took me about 3 hours (No rush at all) to retrofit my newly purchased 2nd hand NextGen Seats, from a scrapyard in Norway.

I was in contact with Tesla Copenhagen Denmark, whom equipped me with the just right spare part for such task (I hope it is OK to unveil the mat.nos.):
For the total of approx. U$135.

When installing the driver seat, I've discovered that the plugs in the car, was mounted too far from each other, for the adaptor to be there. So we had to unwrap the wires.
12018-05-16 19.58.28.jpg

Why change to NextGen?
See the difference in my pics... there is way more support in back and thighes.
It feels more like you are being hugged. It makes a great difference. (I'm 1,8m and 80kgs)
Though, I have heard that some larger people prefer firstgen, as they are more spaceous.

NOTE: The airbag (PSRCM) should be reprogrammed.
And I'm uncertain if it is done correctly now, as I had a airbag-fault prior to installation.
But as I can see in the Retrofit Bulletin SB-15-13-002, it is straight forward to change in the "toolbox".
2keB Thanks for the pictures of the 4 cables needed to do the refresh. My service center sold me 2 of the driver’s side cables which only work on one side because of pin assignments. I have been trying to convenience the SC for weeks now that there has to be a second cable that is different from the driver’s side. Tesla has taken out the patch cable 1x MS SEAT HRN PATCH NONMEM- SEAL TO UNSEAL (1139367-00-A) for the passenger seat out of their electronics parts catalog. This is why they were having trouble finding it. When I gave them the number it does not show that it exists. However when the SC checked the Fremont plant inventory it shows they have 292 in stock. I am crossing my fingers that they will ship me one so I don’t have to go the route of splicing wires.

So if anyone is doing this refresh give the part numbers to your SC and see if they can order.


It will save a lot of hassles trying to figure out wiring diagrams etc.
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Where are you guys finding the used seats? I'm located in the bay area and there should be lots of "used" ones I hope. :) I wonder how critical it is to get the airbag reprogrammed. Service centers would be reluctant to do it since it wasnt installed by them.
My service center does not have a issue with the reprogramming of the airbag. Each one will be different I guess. Keep a eye out on eBay. also the Tesla parts for sale section of this forum. That is where I found my set.

Thanks for your help. If I ever find a seat, worst case, I'll go to your service center in Roseville since I frequent that area a couple times a month!