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Flex seats fit in Explorer

Discussion in 'Ford Explorer Police Interceptor Utility PIU' started by Fedon, December 24, 2017.

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    1. Fedon

      Fedon New Member

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      Just an FYI. I just finished fitting 10 way adjustable, heated leather seats from a 2010 Flex in my PIU.

      Final results:

      <blockquote class="imgur-embed-pub" lang="en" data-id="aKibk9x"><a href="//imgur.com/aKibk9x"></a></blockquote><script async src="//s.imgur.com/min/embed.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

      TL DR: 2010+ Flex seats will work in the Explorer, they bolt right up, the wiring is the same but will have to be modified to add additional movement. I suspect that these seats are the same with a lot of Ford vehicles...id bet the Ford Edge seats bolt right up too.

      Why? Well, i've been on a hunt for Explorer seats to replace my worn out, only one track moves on driver seat stock PIU seats for about a week now. Locally its slim pickings. For some reason there just arent that many explorer in wrecking yards here and the ones i called from car-part.com even though they show interior parts are telling me "we dont deal with interior parts" which is really strange.

      So i called a local junkyard and the guy says he has a 2010 Flex and swears up and down that rear seats are interchangeable. Hes 10 minutes away so i decide to go see the car.

      Nice black perforated leather, no tears, no damage, we haggle a bit and i take the fronts and 2nd row home for $250 CAD. In my mind, its a risk worth taking. Worse case scenario i get to do some welding and cutting.

      Get them home and sure enough, rears are identical to the PIU other than having the latching mechanism instead of the rear bolt down bracket.

      Fronts look the same and after examining them closer will work. The wiring is night and day and it took probably 6 hours total to convert both seats over to Explorer wiring.

      Lets talk about the drivers seat first. First lets talk about how the stock Explorer seats work. Theres one main plug (which is different between Flex and Explorer) This plug connects the airbag, shock sensor, seatbelt latch and power to the 6 way adjustable seat. Power and ground go to the multiswitch at which point a set of wires go to each motor. One for back and fourth, one for raising the front and one for raising the back. So far pretty easy.

      The biggest issue is that Flex is a memory seat and a 10 way power adjustable. Underneath the seat is a memory control module. So on the Flex plug, the power goes to the switch, but from the switch the wires dont go to the motors, they go to the module, and from the module you have 4 wires to each motor. two for movement and two are the HAL effect sensor wires so the module has a way to track movement. As well, we now have a motor for seat recline and lumbar support. So how do we get this seat to work?

      The solution is to remove the wiring harness from the Explorer which will come with a 8 pin connector to the seat movement switch. That obviously wont work with the 12 pin connector on the Flex seat. The best way to do it, is to depin the 12 pin connector, repin the Explorer wiring harness into the 12 pin connector and this will leave 4 wires left over. Cut them 12" away from the connector and discard the rest of the Flex wiring harness.

      Thankfully Ford used the same wiring color codes between Flex and Explorer. Find the connectors for recline and lumber motors and cut them off the Flex wiring harness and rewire into the 4 wires still sticking out of the 12 pin connector. Voila. You've turned the memory Flex seat into a 10 way adjustable seat that will fit in an Explorer. The heated seat connectors can stay and if you are so inclined be put on a timed relay to be activated by a switch. (gonna deal with this later)

      The PIU passenger seat has no power movement. Everything is manual, while the Flex seat i got has the 6 way power motion just like the stock PIU drivers seat. If you want to keep the passenger seat manual, simply remove the cushions and covers off the Flex seat and put them on the PIU seat, but i wanted the 6 way adjustable seat dammit!

      The crazy part is that the Flex and the Explorer utilize a totally different passenger detection system for activating the airbag. On the Explorer its an air bladder that goes to a pressure sensor. Someone sits, the bladder is squeezed and the pressure to the sensor goes up. On the Flex the 4 points on the seat that connect it to the rail have a sensor on it. Not 100% how they work, whether they are transducers but the Explorer has no clue what to do with them. So to have the airbag system work properly, we'll turn the Flex seat into an Explorer seat as far as the system is concerned

      So similarly to the drivers seat, we combined the Flex and Explorer wiring harness. The seat bladder sensor and bladder were moved to the Flex seat and the entire wiring harness from the Explorer seat was reused. I then spliced open the Flex wiring harness and separated the wiring going to the motors and switch. No memory module here to worry about, the wires go directly, i just didnt want the rest of the harness to sit there. I cut the power leads off and left them hanging for now. The rest of the Flex seat wiring harness can be discarded.

      Tape the two remainders of the harnesses together and you have a working passenger seat. Oh and the seat buckle plug is different on the passenger seat so you have to reuse the Explorer seat buckle and its wiring harness.

      Lastly the PIU i have does not provide 12v or ground to the drivers seat. I spliced into the 12V and ground on driver side, fished the wiring over to the passenger side, added a 2 wire plug to the wiring harness and the wire coming from the drivers side, fished it all through the factory flex hosing and voila. Working passenger seat.

      What a novel!

      I hope that it was helpful, and many thanks for providing wiring harness schematic links for me to use.

      As far as the rear...well, the stock PIU doesnt have the hooks necessary for the Flex seats to latch into. I forgot to take them off the Flex in the junkyard. Gonna have to go back and take them off as well.
       
      Last edited: December 28, 2017
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    3. Inane222

      Inane222 Member

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      Good work Fredon and thanks for taking the time to share that info.

      Let me know how the rears work with the hook from the flex. I have a 17" PIU and they only fold flat. There are times where I wish they would release and tumble forward like on the retail models. I haven't really looked into what it would take to modify them.
       
    4. peterk9

      peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      This thread may give you some idea; Second row seat question

      Peter
       
    5. Fedon

      Fedon New Member

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      I thought id be nice to repay some of the info that made my life a lot easier in regards to the PIU.

      Unfortunatelly the wrecker is closed until January so i will have to hold off finding out about the hooks until then.

       
    6. Fedon

      Fedon New Member

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      Okay UPDATE: The folding brackets WILL NOT FIT if your PIU is equipped with the additional bracing. Two brackets that bolt to the floor of the 2nd row seat position are in the way. They must be removed so the stock folding bracket can be installed. I kept the X brace and the bracket that it bolts to behind the 2nd row seating but the forward braces have to be removed. You could theoretically cup holes in the brackets where the rod would but you'd have to add spacers under the outboard brackets to match the raised inner portions. It would also make the seats tilt more forward....

      [​IMG]
      [​IMG]
      See the U shaped raised portion? It covers the indent that the seat lock needs to go into. Has to be removed.

      [​IMG]

      Outboard PIU bracket and the replacement rod bracket

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      and the final result

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]
      [​IMG]
       
      Last edited: December 28, 2017
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