Remove seat side panel

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I need to replace a switch on the driver's seat side panel, the panel containing the controls seat movement. It appears that there is a screw or two inside of the panel hidden by the bottom seat cushion. The question is: does the bottom seat cushion need to be removed? Or is there another way to remove the side panel? This is for a 2004 ES330

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Lexus holds its service manuals close to its chest, so that one will be forced to go to the dealership to get the answers. Unless you can find someone who has actually removed one from  this generation ES, its a search and find out situation.

That said, if your forward and backward switch still works, the best way to remove it without breaking it is to remove the entire seat from the car, lay it on its side and look for the fasteners. There are only 4 bolts that hold the seat to the car. Slide the seat all the way back and remove the two at the front at each side. Then slide it all the way forward and remove the two at the rear , one on each side.

Then disconnect the battery and lean the entire seat back, and reach under its front and disconnect the wiring harnesses that come up from the carpeting to the seat. There may be several of them, one for the seat belt near the center console, a large one or separate ones for each seat switch and the lumbar air pump, and a YELLOW one for the side air bag built into the seat. That Yellow one will have a small red piece that must be removed first, before disconnecting the yellow connectors. The battery must be disconnected before you tackle that yellow connector, or you stand a chance of having the seat airbag blow up in your face. Now the entire seat can come out of the car.

Lay it on its side and see how the side panel disconnects. Usually its slid over the front frame, and lock tabs snap over the rear of the frame. So prying those rear lock tabs out and then sliding the entire panel forward may release it enough for you to disconnect the wiring harnesses from the three side switches. Sometimes the side panels have three or more screws that hold them to the seat frame.

Your switch may have had its connector come loose, and it may just need to be reseated. Or the switch may just be dirty. Once you have it in your hand, use some electrical contact cleaner spray (any auto supply store has it) to spray the fluid into any crevice  of the switch and then cycle the switch in every direction, and repeat the process. Wait 5 minutes for the fluid to evaporate, and then hook it up to the harness (reattach the battery for the test) and try it. EBay or a wrecking yard may provide a cheaper switch than the dealership, by a long shot, if you can't get your old one to work.

Good Luck!

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