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Challenges of replacing seats in OLD Rangers

Posted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 6:58 am
by cgrey8
As many of you know, I have an 89 Ranger as my daily driver. And with the exception of the driveline and paint, it's surprisingly OEM including the seats. And while the seats are not ripped up shreds YET, they are definitely showing their age. They are getting to the point where I'd like to replace them with something a bit better.

I'd heard rumor that Ranger seats are pretty much interchangeable from year to year. But I started looking at my 97 Ranger's seat bolts and the size of the mounts, angle of the mounts, and spacing don't look the same as the 89. I haven't done an in-depth analysis with measurements between the bolts front-to-back and side-to-side yet. But it got me to wondering if there's an online resource that shows the known bolt-down dimensions of vehicle seats and what years are inter-compatible? My guess is this doesn't exist.

If this were 20 years ago, I'd just go to the junk yard and find a set of seats in better condition than these and swap them. But 89-91 Rangers are kind of hard to come by in yards these days and I understand why. Fewer of them are on the roads, so fewer are getting wrecked these days. Demand for parts from this era Ranger is also slim for the same reason. And it's not likely parts on vehicles this old would be of much value anyway. So any that do come in are almost immediately scrapped for their metal.

Even seats pulled from a "newer" Ranger are not likely to be in great shape. So even if I can't find OEM seats for my era Ranger, I'd gladly consider seats that might fit, even if they require some "adaptation" to fit, and get them reupholstered. Either making adapter plates or drilling new holes in the floorboard aren't unreasonable. But if I'm going to go to that extent, I wouldn't mind upgrading away from the factory 60/40 bench to bucket seats and installing a center console/arm rest. Being I have an extended cab, I suspect a set of seats from a 2-door car where the seat slides forward would work just like the OEM seats do. Again, it's just a matter of figuring out what's compatible and won't locate the seats too high or at some wonky angle.

And of course, the seat belt buckles will need to work with my Ranger's seat belts unless somebody knows an easy trick for replacing the sliding lock plate on belts. I'm assuming I'll have to reuse the buckles I have now. I really don't want to have to figure out how to swap the belts just to work with the seats.

Anybody have any experience with Ford seats and swapping between years and models that might be able to give me useful tidbits? Or if there's a company that custom makes seats and can simply make new seats that bolt right in, I'd consider them. Although most of the aftermarket seats I found just google-searching seemed QUITE expensive.

Also if anybody knows of a modular center console that would work well. Most modern consoles today tend to integrate and mold with the front dash and thus don't "stand alone" very nicely.

Re: Challenges of replacing seats in OLD Rangers

Posted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 4:51 pm
by cgrey8
Turns out, I've asked this question before. I found that thread and reminded myself about the details that have already been given, and I that I just forgot about.

It seems that seats are made up of the seat portion, the sliders, and then mounting hardware that mounts the seats down to the floorboard. I didn't realize the mounting brackets and sliders came off the seats and thus presumably can be reused on aftermarket seats.

The downside is I have a broken mounting bracket that I hack-fixed years ago with angle brackets and bolts. If I had a welder, it would've been far easier. Perhaps I can justify getting a welder once I figure out what I'm putting in the truck.

But looking back at the aftermarket sites that sell just seats, they also sell center consoles in various widths to accommodate different size vehicles. The seat and consoles look quite good. I may be able to justify the premium long as the shipping isn't equally as ridiculous. I'm thinking I can fabricate something to mount them to my sliders...another area that having a welder might come in handy.

There is a ranger station had a post of what all vehicles do directly bolt into the truck. But every vehicle listed are equally as old, if not older, than my truck so procuring seats from them isn't likely. Despite the price, I'm thinking I'm going to have to go the aftermarket seat solution and accept that the cost is my punishment for not doing this years ago when seats for my era Ranger were far easier to procure.