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.
Once the cup holders are removed two long screws can be removed and this will free the front part of the console.
In the rear of the console there are plastic covers on each side that need to be removed.
Under the covers there are 4 screws (2 on each side) that will allow the arm rest 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.
The belt buckle can be removed with a standard T50 torx bit.
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.