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Installing 997 Seats Into a 986 Boxster
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Installing 997 Seats Into a 986 Boxster

Jan Kramer

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$500-$850

Talent:

****

Tools:

Wire cutters, DVOM, masking tape, Sharpie, Dremel tool, soldering iron, solder

Applicable Models:

 
Porsche 986 Boxster (1997-04)
Porsche 986 Boxster S (2000-04)
Porsche 987 Boxster (2005-12)
Porsche 987 Boxster S (2005-12)
Porsche 987 Cayman (2007-12)
Porsche 987 Cayman S (2006-12)

Parts Required:

997 seats

Performance Gain:

Better comfort and better looks from new 997 seats

Complementary Modification:

Replace the shifter boot

Installing 997 Seats Into a 986 Boxster

I have a 1998 Boxster, which had pretty worn seats. When I wanted to replace these seats, I found several nice looking seat pairs for later 997 Porsche models. I decided to buy a pair of seats from a 2007 Porsche 997.

Unfortunately, these seats have a completely different electrical connection compared to my original Boxster seats. Not only are there different plugs, but the complete seat is powered via e CPU with memory function. The CPU is using a CAN bus signal , which my old Boxster of course does not provide. After looking at several websites, searching for wiring diagrams, I decided to re-wire the seat control switches myself, bypassing the memory CPU.

NOTE: Porsche seats must now be ordered from a Porsche dealership. 

The following images include photos and a description of the re-wiring job. The seats are installed in my car now, and all seat motors work well. The lumbar adjustment is still not re-wired, perhaps I'll do this next winter.

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Locate plugs that carry the wires from each seat motor.
Figure 1

Locate plugs that carry the wires from each seat motor. The heavy wires are power, the thin wires are signals (not needed here).

Cut off the plugs, and strip 5mm insulation from each end.

Trace the wires from each of the motors (look at the plug at each motor) and label the wire ends.

Test each wire pair using a 12V source, the corresponding motor should move.

Locate and remove the seat control panel from the side of the seat.
Figure 2

Locate and remove the seat control panel from the side of the seat.

Remove existing plugs and cables.

Remove cover of the switch board.

I did not take any photos before I started the wiring job, that's why the photos show only the completed job.
Figure 3

I did not take any photos before I started the wiring job, that's why the photos show only the completed job.

There are four switches on the board. Each switch has 5 contacts as shown in the diagram.

Here are the switches shown again with their designated connections (+, -, Mot).
Figure 4

Here are the switches shown again with their designated connections (+, -, Mot).

Preparation of the circuit board.
Figure 5

Preparation of the circuit board.

Preparation of the circuit board (continued).
Figure 6

Preparation of the circuit board (continued).

First step: Connection of all positive(+) pins (shown in red).
Figure 7

First step: Connection of all positive(+) pins (shown in red).

Second step: Connection of all negative (-) pins (shown in blue).
Figure 8

Second step: Connection of all negative (-) pins (shown in blue).

Third step: Connection of all power supply (-) and (+).
Figure 9

Third step: Connection of all power supply (-) and (+).

Fourth step: Connection of all Motor cables (pairs of orange and orange/red).
Figure 10

Fourth step: Connection of all Motor cables (pairs of orange and orange/red).

Now reinstall the seat control panel, connect the +12V and -12V supply to the battery,
Figure 11

Now reinstall the seat control panel, connect the +12V and -12V supply to the battery, and connect the motor cable pairs to the corresponding wires coming from each seat motor.

Test the polarity of each motor cable pair by temporary connecting the cables and moving the switches, if the seat moves in the wrong direction, simply switch the polarity.

As the winter ended, I lost my patience and did not repeat the same work for the lumbar adjustment. Perhaps I'll do that next winter. For now, the lumbar is set to a comfortable position and I am not moving it.

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Comments and Suggestions:
jonnycool Comments: Hi Jay : Mine re still working after all these years until tonight when my wife tried to move the seat... no power!!! so I had to drive, but got back home and wiggled the wires and hey presto they worked again : so maybe it's time to lose the duck tape..lol I just noticed your lumbar support post so I'll be looking into that now, still the best mod I ever did to the car thanks to you buddy!!!
August 6, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the sharing your info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jay Comments: Hi guys. Just in case anyone gets here. I updated my thread to add the wiring for the lumbar controls. The link is below in the third comment.
April 17, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jay Laifman Comments: Hi guys. Believe it or not, even though I rewired them, it took me until this weekend to actually install them. Much to my dismay, the driver's seat with all the rewiring still works fine, but the passenger seat wasn't working! Actually, the back worked, the lumbar worked, but not the front switch. After much frustration and problem solving, it turned out that when I reassembled it, I snapped on the front switch knob slightly crooked!!!! Ugh.

January 11, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up and sharing your experience
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
paseb Comments: hi guys, i followed all your steps and it doesnt work.
there's a problem with the polarity of the switch. They only go 1 way. I havnt tried to connect with the motors since with the test light, it doesnt work.

can you help me?
September 13, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give the directions another look and compare them against your wiring. I have not done this procedure, so I can't offer much help.

I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Hyperdrive Comments: Hi Nick, thank you for the response. I didn't know if the memory seat switches 1,2,3 in the 997 go directly to the seat control module or if they connect through something else first. I was thinking of purchasing the 997 memory seat switches and trying to retrofit them into the 996 memory seat switches. This way I would get all of the seat functionality and would not have to modify the seat controls. Can you tell me if there are any other relays or modules between the seat memory switches and the seat control module?

Regards,

Barry
May 7, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It looks like there are two seats in 997 models, base and an UP model. They do not go to a control module, so if you are feeling up to it... you may be able to hard wire it together. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Hyperdrive Comments: I have a 996 with the memory seat buttons. Will the 997 seats work if you install a 997 memory seat switch module?
May 7, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not that I know of. You can cross-reference the part numbers to be sure. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Trackrocket Comments: I'm amidst this same project, except my 987 seats don't have power bolsters, but they do have heat. The 2004 Boxster I just bought for my wife has heated seats but they've been changed out for earlier black non-heated out of a 98 or something...I have a gray interior and just so happens I had a set of 987 seats in gray from a race car project that fit perfectly. They are two way powered seats with manual fore/aft/up/down adjustment, only the recline is powered so that part should be easy...has anyone tackled getting the heated seats to work?
April 14, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I haven't. I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Wes Comments: I have a 2003 Boxter S and had the passenger seat removed to accommodate placement of my wheelchair into the cockpit, as I am a paraplegic. Now I have an airbag indicator light on constantly. In the manual it states that now all the airbags are not functional and to have a PTS2 installed for diagnostic and reseting. Is this necessary. I have tried a variety of electrical checks and connections with no results: the airbag indicator light remains on constantly. What to do?
May 22, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will have to have the airbag components on the passenger side bypassed to stop the light from coming on. Then reset it using a Porsche scan tool. I would check with a Porsche dealer about having the items bypassed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
MikesC4Cabrio Comments: Jan,

You are a hero! I just got 2 997 sport seats via EBay and started biting my nails off when I saw the difference in cabling between driver and passenger seat.

Thank you for this. Very helpful!

Cheers, Michael
June 18, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jay Comments: Here are some more details on the lumbar switches.

There are three connections. The "top" one is square and is right under the push button itself. This is the output that goes to two places: the lumbar and the rectifier for all but the back one. There is the middle one which is 12V. And, there is the bottom one that goes to ground.

The grounds and 12V can all be shared.

Oh, and on the passenger seat, where I said you just add 12V and ground, this is at a big yellow connector under the seat. There are only two big connectors inside of it. It's pretty obvious which one is 12V i.e. the red one and the other one is ground.
December 13, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jay Comments: I just did this. The drivers side and passenger side are different. The passenger side just needs power and ground and everything works. On the drivers side, it is a coded system that sends a binary signal to a computer, which has a memory. The pictures above are to the drivers side. I basically wired it to match the passenger side, and everything works. Instead of doing all the wires above, I first figured out what preprinted paths were already there and used them, where I could. I also had to cut/break some paths. And, as he noted, you definitely have to cut through the board to break a path under the main switches.

One other trick is that you definitely need to install those three black cylinder rectifiers - 1N5404. I picked them up at Radio Shack for a few dollars. Three of the lumbar switches go through them before going to a single output.

Here is a thread I started with pictures of the passenger side:

http://forums.pelicanparts.com/porsche-911-technical-forum/640940-installing-997-seats-older-car.html
December 13, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jan K. Comments: I used 1mm diameter speaker wires for this job, have not had any problems so far. The ends of each orange/orange-red wire in the photos above was soldered to the original wire at each motor see gray and green plugs in first photo. Again, no problems with that since a year now.
December 26, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Puddinhead Comments: Great article. I have a 1996 C4S 911 and am trying to mwire newly acquired 996 seats in my 993. The 996 driver seat is memory controleld which fouls things up; wiring wise. Question: Did you find that the original wires from the seat switch unit were too small and neede to be replaced with thicker wires to handle the direct 12volts ? The original thin wired seat switch unit are for signals from the seat ECU/Module ??

Thanks,

Patrick
December 11, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I'm not 100% sure, but the seat controls in the 996 & Boxster might go through a relay prior to sending voltage to the motor. Although that would require a two-way relay for every motor in each seat, which I don't think it has. Indeed, the memory seats are controlled by the computer, but I think the switch mechanism may be similar. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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