1997 Ford Ranger Seat Belt Buckle Replacement

1997 Ford Ranger seat belt buckle with broken button
1997 Ford Ranger seat belt buckle with broken button

The belt buckle (the part connected on the seat that the seat belt latches into) on my 1997 Ford Ranger failed. The button would stick in a pushed state and the belt would not latch or it would latch and then pop out while driving. Sometimes I could hit the button housing and the button would pop out, but it was getting more and more difficult to do. Normally I would search online and order the parts but not wanting to wait any longer to replace the buckle I purchased a new part from a local Ford dealer for $130. I could have probably found it cheaper online but when it comes to safety equipment I prefer to have OEM.

The new buckle came with instructions and will fit 1995 through 1997 Ford Explorer and 1996 through 1997 Lincoln Mountaineer. It also came with instructions but I could not access the screw holding the buckle on the seat which left two options, removing the seat or the center console. I chose to remove the center console.

First the cup holders were removed to access two screws underneath. The cup holds are held on by two clips in the front and sort of hinge of two plastic tabs in the back. I pulled up on the front of the cup holders then pulled the cup holders out.

Cup holders pop out to get to the screws underneath
Cup holders pop out to get to the screws underneath

Once the cup holders are removed two long screws can be removed and this will free the front part of the console.

Remove these two screws
Remove these two screws

In the rear of the console there are plastic covers on each side that need to be removed.

Screw cover
Screw cover

Under the covers there are 4 screws (2 on each side) that will allow the arm rest to be removed.

Screws need to be removed
Screws need to be removed

Once the arm rest is removed there is one final screw to be removed. One the center console is removed access to the seatbelt screw is straight forward.

1997 Ford Ranger center console removed by gregjsmith, on Flickr
1997 Ford Ranger center console removed by gregjsmith, on Flickr

The belt buckle can be removed with a standard T50 torx bit.

150,000 Miles And Still Going

My 1997 Ford Ranger rolled over to 150,000 miles today.

Ford Speed Control Deactivation Switch Recall Cost

Ford has issued a Speed Control Deactivation Switch Recall (09S09) on a number of trucks and SUVs. They sent me a letter to about my 1997 Ford Ranger and suggested I have it fixed as soon as possible.

Ford cannot be confident that over many years in service, a speed control deactivation switch installed on your vehicle will not leak brake fluid, posing the risk of a fire. This condition may occur either when the vehicle is parked or when it is being operated.

This risk exists on vehicles equipped with or without speed control.

Ford Motor Company has authorized your dealer to perform the repairs under this program and your dealer on your vehicle free of charge (parts and labor).

Your dealer may be able to perform this repair while you wait; however, due to scheduling requirements, your dealer may need your vehicle for a longer period of time.

Please call your dealer without delay and request a service date for Recall 09S09. Provide the dealer with the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of your vehicle. The VIN is printed near your name at the beginning of this letter.

Until you have the recall service performed, park your vehicle outdoors away from structures to prevent a potential fire from spreading.

I took it to the local Don Chalmers Ford who was able to get my truck in immediately. They had my truck for about 6 hours and gave me a receipt. Total cost of the repair charged to Ford was 28.89. I realize Ford has millions of these to pay for but I have never taken my truck to a Ford dealer and had such a cheap repair. If I had to pay for this myself, I wonder how much it would have cost me.


My 1997 Ford Ranger Qualifies For The Car Allowance Rebate System (Cash For Clunkers)

There is nothing wrong with my 1997 Ford Ranger except that it’s getting up there in age (kind of like me). Since it’s my only vehicle I am always concerned about total failure or some expensive repairs that could be more than the value of my truck. I’m very interested in what the government’s CAR Allowance Rebate System (formally known as Cash for Clunkers) could do.

Cars.gov has the requirements for the program:

  • Your vehicle must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date
  • Only purchase or lease of new vehicles qualify
  • Generally, trade-in vehicles must get 18 or less MPG (some very large pick-up trucks and cargo vans have different requirements)
  • Trade-in vehicles must be registered and insured continuously for the full year preceding the trade-in
  • You don’t need a voucher, dealers will apply a credit at purchase
  • Program runs through Nov 1, 2009 or when the funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.
  • The program requires the scrapping of your eligible trade-in vehicle, and that the dealer disclose to you an estimate of the scrap value of your trade-in. The scrap value, however minimal, will be in addition to the rebate, and not in place of the rebate.

According to the fueleconomy.gov website, my 1997 Ford Ranger qualifies for the gas efficiently requirements because they say it gets an combined gas miles of 16 MPG.


I was surprised to see that the EPA says my truck gets such low gas milage. I can get at least 18 MPG in town and 22 MPG on the freeway. I was also surprised when I compared my 1997 model with a 2009 Ford Ranger that the 2009 model gets 1 MPG less.


If I were to replace my vehicle under the CARS program, I wouldn’t replace it with a super fuel efficient vehicle. I would need to replace it with another truck (yes I do actually use my truck as a truck and utility vehicle). This doesn’t help me very much because nearly every new truck gets nearly the same gas mileage as mine. I compared my truck to a variety of similar trucks. I could find two that met the mileage requirements and only one actually qualified.


The 2009 Chevrolet Silverado 15 Hybrid 4 wheel drive qualifies on the gas miles requirements as it gets 20 MPG. But for some reason it is a Category 2 or Category 3 truck and I cannot trade in my truck for own of those. I don’t know what they category requirements are but seems kind of silly on the surface.

The second possibility is the 2009 Toyota Tacoma 4 wheel drive. It barely gets 2 MPG more than my current truck netting me $3500 in rebate. Is it really worth it for me to trade in my perfectly good working truck for a new one?

Kelly Blue Book says it’s worth about $3000 in trade in value. CARS is not saving me much on the trade in. A new Toyota pickup will be about $26,000 leaving me for about $23,000. That runs just under $400 a month depending on financing.

I just don’t think it’s worth it to trade in a perfectly good pickup that may or may not have problems in the immediate future for a $400 a month payment.

1999 Ford Ranger Electric For Sale On Albuquerque Craigslist

There is a 1999 Ford Ranger Electric for sale by a dealer in the Albuquerque Craigslist for only $27900. I’m very tempted to purchase it (I won’t).

I’ve reproduced the craigslist ad here and swiped the pictures from Flickr.

Update: I continue to get email asking if this car is still for sale. I am not the seller, I reproduced the ad from craigslist because I found it interesting. Don’t email me asking if its for sale.

1999 Ford Ranger Electric – $27900

Reply to: sale-1057064108@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

Date: 2009-03-02, 12:01PM MST


Only 400
in existence!

a piece of automotive history!

Operating and maintenance
costs are low….no oil changes….just plug
it in to fill it up with a charge. The car even makes its own energy
when the accelerator is released and the electric motor generates a
charge to the battery. It is powered by a rear-mounted 90-hp electric
motor with a top speed of 70 mph.


Ford was forced to manufacture
this vehicle between 1998 and
2001 so it could meet the California Air Resource Boards Zero Emissions
Vehicle regulations. It cost over $80,000 for Ford to make this
vehicle! If you have seen the movie, Who Killed the Electric Car?, you
will know the whole story of what happened to electric vehicles like
this Ford Ranger. Most of them were crushed upon lease return!

There were only 1500 Ford Ranger EVs made between 1998-2001 and today
there are only about 400 left with only 100 that have the special
Nickel Metal Hydride Batteries. Compared to older lead-acid technology,
NiMH batteries are lighter, charge faster and increase the overall
range per charge. Lucky for you and 399 other individuals, not all of
these Ranger EV’s were crushed. These vehicles were warehoused after
lease return and finally released to Ford’s battery pack manufacturer
for testing.

Vehicle Systems


  • Tires: Low-Rolling
  • Air Bags: Driver and
    passenger side
  • Equipped Air
    Conditioning/Heater: Standard
  • Anti-Lock Braking System
    (ABS): 4-Wheel
  • Steering: Electro-Hydraulic
  • Brake Assist: Front
    & Rear – Disc
  • Regenerative Braking:
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Audio System (AM/FM/CD):
    AM/FM Cassette
  • Recharging Specifications:
    Conductive Charging – 240v/30
  • Suspension: Front – A Arms/
    Rear – Leaf Spring


  • Wheel Base (in.): 112
  • Overall Width (in.): 69.4
  • Vehicle Size: Overall Length
    (in.): 187.8
  • Payload (lbs.): 1,250 lbs.
  • Max Number Occupants: 3
  • Overall Height (in.): 65.6
  • Curb Weight (lbs.): 4,196




  • Acceleration: 0 – 50 mph in
    12.5 seconds
  • Recharging Time: 6-8 hours
  • Range: avg. 60 miles
  • Maximum Speed: 70 mph
  • Miles: only 9k!


2010 Ford Ranger

3A2C8A90-6903-4E3E-8628-603763F7A1B9.jpgFord has announced the 2010 Ford Ranger and it looks almost like the Ford Ranger I bought in 1997. Ford’s press release promotes safety including AdvanceTracĀ® with RSCĀ® (Roll Stability Control) and side air bags. They also promotes the 21 to 26 MPG that the tiny 2.3 liter 4 cylinder engine gets.

I guess there’s some money to be saved by keeping with the same basic design of a vehicle for over a decade. The base price for a low end 2009 Ford Ranger is about $17,000. Compare that to a more innovative truck in about the same size range. The 2009 Honda Ridgeline runs about $28,000 on the low end. I’m not sure a low end Ranger and low end Ridgeline compare exactly however.

You might think that the Ranger might make a good platform for some innovation. Body styling aside, how about an electric or hybrid for Ranger? Oh wait, Ford did Make an electric Ford Ranger and killed them in 2002.

The only option is LionEV, which will offer an electric Ranger for $38,950. That’s almost the price of a hover conversion. LionEV also offers conversion kits for Rangers (electric, not hover) for about $10,000.

100,000 And Going Strong

My 4×4 Ford Ranger reached a milestone today when it reached a 100,000 miles. I’m happy to say I’m the original owner, purchasing it new in 1996 (it’s a 1997 model) with something like 27 miles on it.

It’s been a good truck, disproving to me that american cars can be well built. It’s not without out it’s share of problems. For the last few years I’ve had a terrible vibration in the vehicle. I’ve taken it to Don Chalmers Ford who diagnosed it with need tires and shocks. I agree that tires can cause some bad issues with it but they weren’t the problems I was having. I could tell it was a front end problem especially since there was sever cupping in the front tires. I finally took it to Bob Turners who correctly diagnosed with needing front new springs. They weren’t even able to properly align it, it’s strange that Don Chalmers didn’t figure that out, even though they charged me $90 for a vibration analysis.

I’ve not heard of spring going bad, but since they have replaced them the tires wear properly and it rides a thousand percent better. Perhaps more people need them and don’t realize it.

I’m experiencing a breaking problem and I suspect the front right (and maybe left) rotors are warped and need replaced. It will be the first time that any such work as been done on this vehicle. Meanwhile my coworkers are telling me how their brand new Nissan need rotors right after they bought it. Other than that there’s been a few minor things, some emissions related thing need replaced a few months ago and some and a few issues with a electronic 4 wheel drive switch.

The engine runs as strong as it did the day I bought it. It doesn’t leak anything or burn anything it’s not suppose to. And the gas mileage is about 15 mpg, not great but near what it did when I got it (and not bad for a 4×4). Thanks Dad for showing me how to take proper care of a vehicle. With luck, I will have it for another 100,000 miles!