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Challenges of replacing seats in OLD vehicles

Post by cgrey8 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:32 pm

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.
...Always Somethin'

89 Ranger Supercab, 331 w/GT40p heads, ported Explorer lower, Crane Powermax 2020 cam, 1.6RRs, FMS Explorer (GT40p) headers, Slot Style MAF, aftermarket T5 'Z-Spec', 8.8" rear w/3.27s, Powertrax Locker, Innovate LC-1, GUFB, Moates QuarterHorse tuned using BE&EA


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