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.


Overpriced Designer Crap

Check out these coat racks. Described as:

Structure painted plate white with 5 satinized semi-transparent plastic hooks. Attaches to the wall with regular screws.

There’s nothing fancy about the materials or the design. How much would you expect such a thing to cost? Say under $30 at the most? No, $250! I’ll wait for the Target version.

Found via BLTD

The Wayne-Dalton iDrive

Let me start off with a rant. To those marketing monkeys setting around trying to find names for new products: For the love of God leave the “i” off the front of your product. Yeah yeah, it was cute to have Macintosh related products with an “i” on it when the iMac first came out. But even that got old fast. It might make sense if your product had something to do with the Internet but even then your pushing it.

My point being that iDrive isn’t really a unique name and it’s mostly associated to computer related things. Yet Wayne-Dalton choose this name for there garage door opener. Yes people I’m talking about a garage door opener here.

Despite the stupid name it’s a very innovative product. It’s about as high tech as you can get for a garage door opener. It mounts directly above the garage door and therefore has no chains or other devices to run along the celling of the garage. It’s self contained in a small one small unit.

In the box comes 1 iDrive motor unit, 2 key chain remotes, 1 wall mount remote, 1 outside keypad remote, a light fixture and assorted screws and hardware. What doesn’t come with it is a wired wall mount remote. That means it’s completely wireless.

The wall remote has a “interlock” button on it that prevents it from working when it’s not in the case. Basically the case pushes the button and it works. Or as far as I can figure that’s what it’s purpose is. Maybe it’s a reset button or something but I couldn’t tell. All I know is that this button had come off the circuit board and that the wall remote showed no sign of life. I already had the main unit mounted on the garage door and didn’t want to pull it down to take it back to the store or worse: call Wayne-Dalton tech support. I whipped out my 15-watt soldering iron and soldered this surface mount button back on. The remote worked.

That was just the start of my problems. For some reason this thing did not want to receive signals from the remotes, or so it seemed. I went through the wall remote programming instructions (which are the same for the key chains) about a hundred times before I could get it to operate the garage door properly. Even then it was hit or miss if it would operate the garage door. It was completely random if it would open or not when you pushed the button. What was really strange was it would work better with the front cover off and would work consistently in the morning but not in the afternoon. This points to some sort of overheat situation, a sensor or something that thinks 70 degrees is too hot. Since we use our garage for the main entry into our house getting this thing to operate reliably started to become a big issue. So I broke down and called tech support.

I hate calling tech support for anything, particularly for consumer devices. Mainly because I get some person on the phone who doesn’t understand that I’m more technically inclined then most and don’t need to get the instructions for pushing the button. In this case it took 4 separate calls to tech support to get this thing replaced. In all 3 cases the first thing they made me do was go through the process of programming the remotes.

First call to tech support was after they closed (there on eastern time, I’m on mountain. Yesh!). They called back a few days later (phone message said 24 hours). It was at work so not much I could do. Guy said the reason the cover was a problem was because it was interfering with the programming button. Said that I should “adjust that”.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=gregssite-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B000KKVHVG&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrOK, that wasn’t the case. Next call to tech support. Guy makes me go through the programming of all the remotes. Jump through a bunch of other hoops. Still no resolution. He gets his next level tech support on the phone. Makes me go through programming the remotes. Blah! It’s not a programming issue already. Guy makes me take the wall remote out of it’s housing to get closer to the main unit with it. But wait a minute this this has some interlock button that prevents it’s from operating when it’s out side of it’s case. I told that to the guy twice, but he just didn’t get it. (Why do I know more about this thing them him?) Ok clearly it doesn’t work for sure now. He thinks the fuse is bad. I really was hoping the fuse was bad but when I pop it out it doesn’t appear to be bad. He suggests that I replace the fuse anyway and if that doesn’t work to call them back and he will make sure I get a new motherboard for this thing. I agree. I should have got his name. Oh and the wall remote didn’t work at all after that.

“Look”, I said to the 4th tech support person, “I’ve already been through this with the last 3 people. Not only do I know how to program the remotes because it’s in your manual and I’ve done it a hundred times, not to mention that the last 2 tech support people walked me through it and it didn’t help.”

“Sir, to me it sounds like the wall station isn’t programmed correctly.”

GRRRRR!!!! I’m a pretty calm person, but this set me off. I nearly yelled at the girl that A) The 3rd tech support person I talked to said that if I had to call back that the main unit would get replaced (which he put in his computer file, he promised me he would put it in the my file) b) I already told her that I went through this procedure a gazillion times and I am not doing it again.

“Well, I will have to send this through engineering and the warranty department since I cannot replace it because I couldn’t verify the proper operation”.

Fine, whatever. Just get me a new part. (I should mention that she did send me a wall remote)

A week later I get a call from Wayne-Dalton. They basically were sending me everything, a new main unit, wall remote, key chain remote. Yahoo!!! Finally some good news from these people, I thought for sure that they were going to give me a hard time about this and the eventually result was going to be me returning it to Lowes. Frustrated even more that a great idea didn’t work out.

A few days later the parts arrive. I installed the main unit the next weekend. What a relief, it works just as expected at any time of the day. One noticeable difference is the light control. WIth the old unit I could turn the light on from the wall remote but I could never get it to turn off. But it’s still not totally without problems. There’s a “detent” setting that controls how the motor arm thingy drops down. Right now it’s set in such a way that the motor never drops down into it’s locked position. I’ve only been able to get it to go down before the garage closes
or not at all. There’s som
e fine tuning to do with i
t but I never had to do that with the old one. I’m just happy the darned thing works.

Next step, getting the computer to control it.

Safari 2.1 Screws Up My CSS

I’ve put considerable effort into removing the tables and going pure CSS on this site. Today Apple released Safari 1.2 that really screws up everything. I’ve fixed some of the issues but for some reason Safari doesn’t render the center column. That could be due to my crappy CSS coding or a bug in Safari. Either way it’s obviously broken so I’ve removed the theme switched until I can get at least on style sheet working correctly.

[Update:] OK, Camino, Mozilla and Omniweb all have the same behavior. But IE on windows doesn’t do it. I’m very perplexed. I also discovered that one of my Ads is producing Pop-unders! Say goodbye to everything except Amazon.com ads.

[Update 2:] May not be Apple’s fault completely. I had the “position” of the middle box set for 10 pixels from the bottom. Apparently this means 10 pixels from what ever part of the browser window you can see.