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15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi friends!
I love our new 2023 Bolt EV, but HATE the seat! This was supposed to be our new family car, but I could never get comfortable in it, and it just seems to be getting worse. (Fortunately, my wife likes the car and has NO issue with the seats!)

I found out from another thread here that Gen 2 VOLT seats have the same bolt pattern.

My sister has a Gen 2 Volt, so I went to her place and compared the driver seat of the two cars. The Volt seat is wider - not by a ton - about an inch at the most, and it really depends where you are measuring it. But the important part is that it's a slightly different shape - one that won't pinch my hip bone!

Today, I went to a salvage yard and bought a driver's seat out of a 2017 Volt. It looks pretty good overall, and even has blue stitching on it, like our Bolt does!

I expect that mechanically, the seat will pop right in, but I'll need to figure out the difference in the wiring between the old and new connectors.

If anyone knows where I can find some good info on the pin-outs for the seats of the Bolt and the Volt, please let me know!

-Ben Nelson

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· Registered
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here's some photos and more information about comparing the seat in my car to my sister's Volt. On my blog -

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15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This morning, I got the Volt seat physically mounted in the car. Very easy, it's only 4 bolts. Uses Torx 50 bit.

Seat physically swaps right in, but of course the wire harnesses are different.

WITHOUT any wiring hooked up:
I no longer had heated seat.
Airbag indicator light lit up on the dash.
Did NOT have the "Your seatbelt isn't put on" chime.

The Gen 2 Volt seat isn't as comfortable as the Gen 1 Volt, but way better than the Bolt seat.

The seat doesn't pinch weird on my hip bone and thigh, causing pain.

It's easier to get in and out of the car. The plastic airbag trim doesn't dig into my leg getting in and out of the seat. It feels like I slide right into the seat now.

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This area of the seat is much better than the Bolt version:
Hood Automotive design Vehicle Grey Personal luxury car

Automotive design Grey Motor vehicle Car Personal luxury car

Seatbelt latches are the same, so no need to change the belt. I guess the sensor on the seatbelt must work different than I thought. I was really expecting the car to beep at me for not having my seatbelt on, because of the wiring being disconnected.

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15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This was just a quick physical swap of the seats. I still need to work on the wire harness. That will take care of the airbag issue and restore the seat heating.

Adding padding to the seat isn't the answer for me. The Bolt seat is simply too narrow in the seat bottom. The part of the seat bottom that curves up to hug the outside of the thighs are too close together, too tall, and too steep.

The plastic airbag cover digs into my leg getting into and out of the car.

It's like the entire Bolt seat bottom is just wrong.

· Registered
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm building an adapter.
One reason I can't just pull the pins out of the plugs is that they are both male connections. The male/female connections on the Volt vs Bolt are opposite of one another - male connection on the seat in the one, and male connection on the body on the other.

I have the body side half of the connection which came with the Volt seat - cut off with very short wires sticking out of it.

I decided to get started with the power wires and airbags, since having the airbag system work is a primary concern.

I soldered some wires onto the short cut-off ones from the Volt connector, following the pin diagrams I have. Then I crimped the smallest female spade connectors I had on the other end.

In the car, I could just plug in the Volt seat. On the Bolt body side, I needed to manually plug in each wire individually (which is fine, because there's just four.)

Turning the car on, there was no longer an airbag error! Looks like I'm off to a good start! I also found some automotive connectors I had in the garage. With those are some bare female connections which will fit the pins in the Bolt body side connector.

Next, I need to add the wiring for the seatbelt and for the heated seat.

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15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I already tried using some various piece of foam to sort of fill in the center bottom of the seat. It helps with the hip pinched-nerve feel, but causes other problems. For it to work, it lifts me up almost two inches. That throws off the shape of the curve of the seat back.
It still doesn't do anything for the plastic airbag cover digging into my leg while getting in and out of the car, and then I also felt like I was sliding around on every turn because the seat was essentially flat.

I finished up the wire harness and got it plugged in.
Upon turning the car on, I got no airbag error.
The seatbelt buckled or not light works.
The heated seat works.

When the harness tucked under the carpet and the seat back in normal position, you don't see the DIY harness or anything else.
Looks 100% stock.

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Electrical wiring Gas Audio equipment Technology Electronic device
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15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
There probably needs to be sufficient space between the B piller and door, and the seat.
There is such little difference in space between the door and seat, I can't imagine it making any difference. Airbags aren't even designed by the car manufacturers. They are third party and the same brand is used in all sorts of different vehicles. I'm sure that the exact same airbag would also be used in other cars where it's in a location that's 1/2 an inch different.

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15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Seat height is about the same. If anything, the Volt seat is the TINIEST bit lower. I only say that because my leg gets caught on the seat less getting in and out than it does on the Bolt seat.

I'm trying to figure out the best way to physically hold the wires in the connector. On the seat side, the salvage yard just cut off the cable, so I have the connector that matches the seat, although it only had very short wires on it. At least there was barely enough to solder some longer wires to it.

I do NOT have a matching connector which would plug in to the car. I DO have the right size single-wire terminals which are appropriate to go to the individual pins in that connector. So, I now have a perfectly good pig-tail going from the seat to the car body EXCEPT that there isn't much physically holding those pins in.

SO, I'm trying to figure out the best way to do that.
After thinking about what I have for skills and resources, some sort of "cast-in-place" filler material would be great. A friend was recently using hot-glue in a project as "poor-man's acrylic". I decided to make a test piece.

I have some generic automotive connectors and wired one up with 3 wires to it. Then I crimped matching bare terminals on another three wires and just plugged them in - but NOT in a matching housing - just the wires hanging there. Next, I wrapped some masking tape around the electrical connector and shot some silicone lubricant spray inside it to act as a release agent. Then I warmed up my hot glue gun and gobbed a generous amount into the connector.

After it had cooled, I pulled off the masking tape, trimmed off the extra glue, slid a knife blade between the glue and housing, wiggled and fanagled it a bit, and finally got it to pull cleanly free. The connections are good and the hot glue is a perfect shape matching the mated housing. I can plug and unplug it easily. It even makes a nice POP vacuum noise when I pull the connectors apart.

Based on this, I think that simply using hot glue would be a perfectly acceptable way to hold the wiring in place.
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Also, man am I sick of all the negative comments!
On social media, I have gotten HUNDREDS of comments about this. For the most part, it's also hundreds of Thumbs-up, but 9 out of ten comments are some variation on "but the air-bags!!!!". One person was convinced that swapping the seat would void the warranty on the entire car. Another person is convinced that building a pig-tail is going to randomly cause the air-bag to fire.
People never even read the comments that are already there, they just keep repeating negative, ignorant thoughts.

I have had a handful of private messages and the like sent to me saying something along the lines of "Thanks for doing this", "You're a pioneer", etc.
Those are the people I do this for!!!

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15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 ·
The heated seat isn't working. At least on the driver's side - the 2017 Volt seat.
After doing some research, both of the front seats are controlled by a "Seat Heater Module" which is mounted under the passenger seat. So, for example, if I simply removed the passenger seat, the driver seat would no longer be heated.

The Seat Heater Module appears identical between the 2017 Volt and the 2023 Bolt, but it IS a different part number. Not sure exactly what the difference is, I would imagine it's probably some minor difference in the software/firmware. But it's just enough that the Volt seat heater comes on and stays on full blast, and can't be controlled with the Bolt's seat heater button.

The passenger seat heat still works fine.

I wonder if I also swapped in a passenger seat from a Gen 2 Volt (with the Heater Control Module mounted under it) if the heat would then work with both seats, or if it would still be incompatible with the switches in the Bolt.

For now, I simply disconnected pin #1, which carries the 12V+ power for the seat heater. I would think that I could actually just rig up a manual POWER switch on that wire to make a simple FULL-ON/FULL-OFF for the heat on the driver seat, although that would certainly be inelegant compared to still using the Hi/Med/Lo switch built in to the car.

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15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Do you have a Volt handy you could check the signals coming from it's module...
My sister has a Gen 2 Volt, but I'm not sure exactly what I'd be looking for. According to the data I can find, it looks like the Seat Heater Module uses some kind of a LAN signal.

The only thing I can really think of off hand is if, for example, the Volt heat has different resistance than the Bolt heater and THAT'S what measured by the Control Module. That's a total guess, but there aren't any temperature sensors in the seat, and for safety at a minimum, the car needs some way to monitor it.

In theory, a resistor could be installed inline to give the correct signal, IF that's actually how the car works.

When I drove the car yesterday, I certain DID miss the seat heater! Leather in the cold is colder than cloth in the cold!

Since the "Hot Glue Test" seemed to go pretty well, I decided to do this for the car. There's more wires in more rows than on my test piece, so it didn't look as nice, but in the end the wires are held in well. I can unplug and replug it and all the terminals go where they are supposed to.
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The plug did pull out nice and clean. No gunk where it shouldn't be.

Since the Bolt 2LT has a power driver seat, there is 12V+ available to the seat all the time, so you can adjust the seat before you hop in. Unfortunately, that also means that the heated seat (while not properly controlled by the wrong module) is ALWAYS ON! Great way to burn your butt AND kill the 12V battery when parked.

I cut the main 12V wire on my custom pig-tail and added a pair of male/female spade connectors. Then I wired up a length of 2-conductor cable to a beefy power switch. I simply inserted the switch inline with the 12V power.

With the switch on, the seat heats up. With it off, it doesn't. Nice and simple. Not elegant, but effective. I at least want the heated seat for now, and I can still continue working on figuring out how to get it fully integrated.
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For anyone wondering, the seat draws less than 5A of current.
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Tune in for future updates as I continue to work on this.

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15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #27 ·
I DO have the original Bolt seat, but don't want to do anything that would end up destroying it.
The Bolt is brand new, and there's nothing saying we won't sell it in a year or something like that, so I want to have the original seat available to simply reinstall.
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