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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 09-12-2006, 10:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Heated Seats Got Me Baffled !!

Since I bought my 1995 318i last year, only the backs of the front seats will heat up, with no temperature change on the seat bottoms. So, today, I checked for voltage at the connectors to the heat elements...all connectors say 12 volts. OK, then I checked for continuity from the heat elements themselves...now, I would expect to see that the circuit is closed for the heat elements for the seat backs( which work fine), and that the circuit is open for the heat elements for the seat bottoms( which don't work)....however, the ohmmeter reading for ALL elements is exactly the same, 6.3 ,so I checked the ohmmeter....probes apart, reading is 0.0...
probes together, reading constantly fluctuating....
What I don't understand, is that the continuity of the elements that work, and those that do not work, is the same, and since voltage is being fed to the elements connectors, then ALL the heat elements should be working.
Or, is there a fuse, or a fuse link, hidden somewhere, that may be blown and is not allowing the voltage to get to the seat bottom elements.
Everything else is working fine electrically, and mechanically, on this car, and I have checked the appropriate fuses, but all seem to be OK.
Any ideas ????
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Old 09-13-2006, 10:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't know about the seats, but you may want to check your ohmeter. With the probes together, it should read close to zero (typically something around 0.3 ohm), and you sould read an open line if they are apart.

The readings you got may not mean as much as one would expect. If the actual heating elements are connected across a smaller resistance, then whether they are in the circuit or not, your meter will read that other resistance, since a large resistance connected in parallel accross another circuit has negligible effect on the total resistance. Also, if there are any nonlinear elements present (transistors, diodes, etc.), then just using an ohmeter will not tell you the whole truth.

I am sorry I cannot be of much help, but I haven't played with the heated seats very much.
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