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.

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Another Trip To The Ojito Wilderness

I made my third (what is becoming an annual) trip to the Ojito Wilderness in April of 2013. What I like about the Ojito is how close it is to Albuquerque and how short the actual hikes are to some amazing landscapes.

Campsite by gregjsmith, on Flickr
Campsite by gregjsmith, on Flickr

This time we took a hike up to the Bernalitto Mesa immedialty west of the hoodos. It was about a 500 foot climb to the top.

Large chucks of the mesa have broken off by gregjsmith, on Flickr
Large chucks of the mesa have broken off by gregjsmith, on Flickr
View of the campsite from the mesa by gregjsmith, on Flickr
View of the campsite from the mesa by gregjsmith, on Flickr
Cabezon as seen from the mesa by gregjsmith, on Flickr
Cabezon as seen from the mesa by gregjsmith, on Flickr
Looking east from the top of the mesa by gregjsmith, on Flickr
Looking east from the top of the mesa by gregjsmith, on Flickr

What's The Future Of The Intel New Mexico Site

Intel outside by cjc4454 on flickr
Intel outside by cjc4454 on flickr
Intel outside by cjc4454 on flickr

An article in the Albuquerque Journal “Intel’s N.M. future” looks at the Intel Rio Rancho site’s comparison to other state and it’s possibility of building out to support Intel’s latest technology.

Now, with Moore’s law still pushing Intel to double down, or perhaps double up, on the number of transistors it crams onto each chip, New Mexico is vying for the next round of investment in factory upgrades to produce smaller transistors, measured in nanometers.

The plant was last upgraded in 2009 to go from 45-nanometer transistors on chips to 32 nanometers. But that means today Rio Rancho is two cycles behind the curve, since Intel is already producing 22-nanometer chips at other factories, and the company is building manufacturing capacity for 14-nanometer chips at its plants in Arizona and Ireland.

“The next node is 10 nanometer, and no decision has been made yet about where that will be,” said Kirby Jefferson, who became Intel’s Rio Rancho site manager in May. “New Mexico could be 10 nanometers, but next after that is seven nanometers, and maybe New Mexico could be the place for that.”

Another article on the Albuquerque Journal “Intel’s RR plant still viable” that came out at the same time wonders what if Intel’s New Mexico site doesn’t get any new technology.

It’s a question that surfaces in conversations at coffee shops and board rooms in the Albuquerque metropolitan area: Will Intel Corp. invest in upgrades at its plant in Rio Rancho to produce next-generation technology or, as the chips it now produces here become older and less useful, will the Rio Rancho factory wither up and go away?

But the man now running the show in Rio Rancho, site manager Kirby Jefferson, says that kind of talk is premature, because even without upgrades for newer technology, the plant will have plenty of work for years to come.

Largest Scorpion Found So Far

Largest scorpion found in the house to date by gregjsmith, on Flickr
Largest scorpion found in the house to date by gregjsmith, on Flickr

I haven’t had very many scorpions in the house this year compared to previous years. The one I found last night may have been the 3rd one I have seen this year but it’s by far the largest I have ever seen.

Sonoran Hot Dogs

Sonoran hot dog

From the azcentral.com article “Serving up a special treat: Sonoran hot dogs

For the uninitiated, Sonoran hot dogs are bacon-wrapped wieners piled high with beans, mayonnaise, cheese, onions, tomatoes — and for the more daring, mushrooms, guacamole, salsa and jalapeño peppers — all stuffed inside a fluffy white Mexican roll called a bolillo.

Bacon-wrapped hot dogs are a fast-food staple in Sonora, Arizona’s neighbor to the south. Known as “hot dogs estilo Sonora,” they are so popular, Sonorenses, as people from that state are called, eat them as often as Mexicans in other states eat tacos.

A true crossover hybrid of American and Mexican border culture, Sonoran hot dogs also have long been popular in Arizona communities closer to the border. In Tucson, scores of restaurants and street vendors sell Sonoran hot dogs. This past summer, a battle between rival vendors became so heated, the FBI got involved. In the end, one Sonoran hot-dog vendor was charged with trying to extort $600,000 from another.

Sonoran Hot Dog photo from Hal Dick on Flickr.

Wallow Fire Is 10% Contained

6-4-11 Hwy180/US191 32

According to InciWeb:

The fire is 10% contained. Currently the fire is not threatening Eagar and Springerville area. On the eastern side of the fire, fire behavior was moderate. Today’s activities include mop-up and hazard tree removal in the Alpine, Nutrioso, and Tal Wi Wi areas. Mop-up is underway in the South Fork area following the burnout operation conducted last night. Burnout operations were completed along FR 220 south to US 180, northwest of Luna, NM.

Also see the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests’ photostream on flickr.