XJ Cherokee – Limited Heated Leather Interior Retro-fit

On the XJ Cherokee, particularly talking about the 1997-2001 model years, the “Sport” models came with non-power, fixed-back (no adjustable headrest) cloth seats. “Country” models came with a different seat style, which had a detachable headrest and are essentially a cloth version of the “leather” (vinyl) Limited trim seats. Anyways, onto the installation.

First, I removed the front 2 seats, which are 3 13mm bolts on each side, and a 15mm nut that I was able to get with a box-end wrench from underneath the seat. Next, I removed the rear seat. Pull the bottom seat out by its handles, press the lever on the passenger side where it mounts near the door sill trim and pull up to remove it from its fixed position. Next, remove the top half of the seat by pulling the latches to put it in its folded-down position, and removing the two 15mm bolts, one on each side near the bottom corner. Your interior cabin should be clear of seats now!

Remove the Center Console

Next, remove the center console by first removing the two Phillips head screws securing the lid, and then the rest of the Phillips head screws securing the inside bucket. Next, pop the transmission shifter trim (shift boot if you have a manual like me) and the transfer case shifter trim by pulling out and up to release it from its clips. There will be another Phillips head screw in each of these locations to remove. You should be able to wiggle the console out (if you can’t, move the transfer case shifter, the gear shifter, etc to find the best way to get it out).

The Missing Harness

Now – Chrysler, from the factory, did NOT run the harness across the cabin for Sport or Country models that didn’t have power or heated seats. However, what they did do, is ran the female connector near the side passenger door sill trim so that if you ever wanted to add power / heated seats, you could always add the missing harness and it will all be plug and play! The harness is part number: 56009841AC. Apparently, you can still purchase it here from Genuine Mopar Parts. I was lucky enough to find it MUCH cheaper on eBay.

Run the 56009841AC Harness

Now let’s move on to running the harness. At this point, we will need to remove the entire interior carpeting. So let’s remove ALL of the Phillips head screws from the interior door sill trim pieces, and then finish by “unsnapping” the seat driver & passenger seat belt trim pieces to completely release them from the floor. You would have to actually remove the seat belt Torx bolts to completely remove these trim pieces, so I just taped them to the sides of the interior to keep them out of the way while I removed the carpeting.

Gross! This will not fly for me, and this now becomes a bigger project. I will be sanding the floors down to bare metal, fixing any holes, and coating with some Rust ‘Oleum. Onto the pics!

As we see here, a nasty rot hole after I ground back an area that looked questionable. Now I will have to get a welder to plate this for me so I can be on my merry way!

Rust-protect the floors

With the hole plated, the floors sanded and acetone cleaned, I can now lay some paint. My choice was Rust-oleum rust-proof bedliner, I have had positive results in the past with this stuff. Get the PRO – it has the primer and bedliner in one. I would also grab 2 cans.

Next level: Soundproofing

So I decided since I will daily drive this a while, I wanted a quieter ride, so that meant sound proofing the entire floor. I bought “Noico” 36 sq ft off of Amazon. Had plenty left over! Lay it down, plan your sheets, and use a roller to apply it evenly and thoroughly.

The harness clips in and can be grounded with the other ground under the passenger seat. You then run it over the center console to the driver’s side seat area.

Re-install Carpeting, new seats

Feed power seat wires through holes in carpet on each side, as well as seat belt indicator wire on driver’s side only, and the two plugs for the OEM center console switch bezel. Take note that red is the driver’s side plug.

Diagnosing Issues With the Heated Seats

So, after everything was plugged in, bolted up and fastened into place, I went for a drive and tried to enable the heated seats for both driver and passenger side. I noticed the light would just continue to blink in the “HI” position. I did some research online and found out a few things.

Indicator lightDescription
Flashes for both “Hi” and “Lo” settingsHeating element is shorted out
Flashes on “Hi” onlyOpen circuit, likely a broken wire in the seat
Flashes on “Lo” onlyTemperature sensor malfunctioning

Disassembling the Seat Cushions

Well, I was planning on reupholstering the (destroyed) driver’s seat anyway, so this was really not a huge deal for me. I was told that the heating elements worked, but again, I won’t know that until I repair the open circuits in both front seats. Will post an update when I take care of this.

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