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How To's
Rostra Seat Heater
 Installation Suggestions
for the Rostra Seat Heater
for the 2002 Thunderbird
2002 2003 2004 2005
Ford Thunderbird


Click on photos for larger views
as reported by Chris Wilson 

Please consult your local service manager before installing your heaters for warnings and suggestions to avoid system damage and personal injury.  Follow the seat heater manufacturer instructions when in conflict with the following suggestions, especially where safety is involved.  This procedure is only a suggested way to install the heaters.  WARNING:  The air bags in the seat can cause serious personal injury and be expensive to replace if accidentally energized!

1. Unhook the battery for safety due to the airbags in the seats!  I allowed 1 hour for the system to go dead before unclipping the two power connectors under each seat.  (Picture #1 shows the factory plugs after seat removal.)


2. I installed the passenger seat heater under the smooth thigh area, as hog rings tie down the tuck in front of the perforated area and I didn't want to deal with removing and reinstalling those. You can't install it from the rear of the seat due to the "Latch" bar. The driver seat can, however be installed from the rear of the seat in the perforated area of the seat and more under the buttock area.  I have learned that I prefer them under the front of the seat to heat the thighs and would now do the drivers seat there as well, which is easier anyway.  (Pic #2 Removing Front Cover.  Be careful as some have reported this metal VERY SHARP!  Pic #3 shows the cover pulled out of the tuck.  It is simply pushed back into place afterward, kind of like velcro.)
#2 #3

3. The lumbar heaters were the easiest to install once you figure out the trick of opening the bottom of the seat back. Just stretch the leather, and the interlocking plastic channels come apart easily.

4.  The Rostra Control box is installed easily under the seat using bag ties.  (Pic #4 shows this.)


5. I installed the switches in the side of the seats, just behind the power seat controls.  This requires only drilling through plastic and not any metal seat brackets.  Be careful as you want to miss the plastic reinforcing that is on the back of this panel.  It can be drilled and the switch installed without removing from the seat.  (Pic #5 shows this.)


6. I chose to run the wiring harness under the carpet to the threshold of each door, forward under the plastic "conduit" to the kick panels. (Pic #6 shows the Rostra wire near the plyers going under the carpet and coming out by the threshold, and #7
 shows it emerging from the conduit by the driver kick panel).  I took the driver side wire across the dash to the passenger kick panel, and tied them together.

#6  #7
7. There are three wires from each seat heater.  Black goes to ground, and can be grounded in any location.  I tied the two reds together after removing one of the fuse adapters that come from Rostra's 10 amp fuses (Pic #8 shows this).  That way I only inserted one adapter into the Fuse # 32 (20 amp cigarette lighter circuit). This is the wire that actually supplies power, and I felt this circuit probably had a heavier wire capable of handling the load.

8. I tied the two greens together and connected them to the adapter I had removed from one of the red wires and inserted this into fuse #26.  (Pic #8 also shows this.  The two greens are tied together with the white connector near the kick panel.  Note the red end fom the re-used fuse panel connector previously cut off in Step #7 (Shown in Pic #9). This wire must be connected to a switched circuit to power down the heaters when the car is off.  Note that they will still run with the accessories on, which could be a concern (See Addendum via BotNew56).  (The connections to fuse panel are shown in Pic #10.)

#9  #10

9. The thresholds and driver kick panel can be reinstalled.  The seats are finally reinstalled, and the three plugs connected under each seat.  Finally the battery is reconnected.  I did not lose anything including radio presets.  You may lose some settings such as radio, window drop, as well as engine "learning".

10. This wiring is done with the kick panel removed, which is then replaced after testing the heaters.  (Pic #11 Shows kick panel reinstalled with the Rostra fuses accessible.)  The fuse panel cover in the kick panel is replaced last. 
11.  Enjoy your new bun warmers!

ADDENDUM - BotNew56 did his power connections differently which allows power to the heaters only when the car is running. He connected to connectors outside the fuse area, but on the same panel.  Below is his description, which I paraphrased. 

The Red wire - Rather than connect to one of the fuses, I found the wire which goes from the switch which is hot when the switch is in accessory or run position.  That can be found at pin 15 of the connector C270(a) on the Central Junction Box (CJB) which is the circuit board that contains the the fuses in the cockpit on the right wall of the cockpit.

The Green wires from the heaters are supposed to connect to the "ignition on" from the ignition switch.  I chose to connect to pin 4 of connector C270(d). This is the fused side of fuse 3 in the CJB .  This is hot only when the ignition is in the "Run" position.   It is off on Accessory only, and Start positions.  This way the heaters can only be on when the engine is running.

There is a cover on the C270(a) which goes on (barely) with the connection added.

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