2000 Ranger. Here's How To Fix Broken Seat Back Rest
OK, after searching the net I found that the seat back rest adjustment on Rangers being broken was a common problem. When this happens the seat back rest will no longer lock into the various adjustments you want to set it at.
The only info I could find was for Rangers where the actual adjustment lever had snapped, and the fix involved drilling out a few new holes to re-attach it to the rest of the mechanism.
Mine did not have a broken seat lever, but rather something else was involved. If I put my hand up under the seat on the side where the lever is and felt towards the back of the seat I could feel the part that comes down from the back rest and how it moved when I moved the seat forward and back. I could also feel that this part had a broken off bolt in it.
Further feeling around I found the part that it was supposed to be attached to, and that this part also had a hole for the bolt to go through along with the remains of a sleeve that the bolt must have went through to prevent binding of the two parts.
Be careful when feeling for these things and moving the seat around or you could get your fingers caught in a meat grinder. I ended up pinching my fingers when I moved the back rest around too fast while not paying attention to what my other hand was doing.
Anyway, once you've confirmed that this is the problem the good news is it's going to be a simple fix by putting a new bolt and nut along with two washers (to keep things from binding up) in there. The bad news is that while it's a simple fix it isn't going to be easy. Not hard, just a little touchy due to the tight spaces involved when trying to get a new bolt/nut/washers in there and threaded together.
So, first thing I did was pivot the seat rest around until I could just bearly see the bolt hole for that below the side of the seat. In just the right spot you'll be able to see it from the side so long as you lift the seat's little skirt that hangs down on the side. I broke out a drill and drilled out the broken bolt first. Once that was done I fished around in there and tried to put a nut and bolt in the two spots where they connect by it was obvious it just wasn't going to happen unless I took the seat out for more room and to see what I was doing.
Removing the seat is very easy. There are four bolts holding it in place. First, unplug the wiring harness on the floor near the right side/back of the seat. Next. Remove the seat belt from the little belt loop it goes through on the back of the seat. No tools involved here, just slide it through the loop so it's no longer catching the seat. You'll also see a plastic seat belt mount on the floor with a plastic cover and a torx screw. No need to remove that at all so don't worry about finding that tool.
Remove the four bolts holding the seat to the floor. You can slide the seat forward or back to have easier access to the front or back ones. The two in the back have a black plastic cover over them. It will unsnap towards it's front and can then be pulled off. Just note how it went on and keep the two separate from each other in case they are different.
Once you've got the four bolts out just flip the seat over. inside the truck unless you feel like removing it for more room to work. Since I have a king cab having both doors open gave me plenty of room to easily flip the seat over by turning it sidewards facing the driver's door. In fact, now that I think about it I just laid the seat on it's back which gave me a good view of the bottom where I need to put the bolt.
Now moving the back rest forward/backward by just pushing on the bottom of the seat or lifting it. Get a good idea of how it moves, how much clearance you have (don't use too long of a bolt or it might bump into something), and what it's supposed to be connect to. You'll easily see what it was supposed to be bolted to. Get the right angle or use a mirror (tiny dental mirrors work great) so that you can see if anything is in the hole of the part it attaches to. Mine had a metal sleave that was all bent and torn up stuck in it's hole. I simply took some needle nose pliers and pinched the frayed ends of the sleeve on on side and this allowed it to be pushed out of the hole.
Now find yourself a bolt that isn't real long and test fit it into both holes (one at a time) to make sure it's going to fit through both. The work area is tiny so I just used some medical hemos (not going to spell the full name of that tool), but some slender needle nose pliers should also work well. Use them to hold the bolt so that you can fit it in there and see if it will go through both holes (again, one at a time just to see that it fits).
Move the seat until the two parts seem to line up with each other right. you may have to pull on the lever and or grab it's part with some pliers to move it slightly around until it is where you want it.
Now grab yourself two washers and a nut for the bolt. Stick one washer onto the bolt and then hold the bolt with your hemos (or whatever) and insert it into the part's hole that is attached to the back rest first and then through the other part's hole. This may take some time to wiggle the back rest/lever/etc around until the two holes match up.
Once you have the bolt in place now grab another washer with your tool and slide it over the other end of the bolt and let it sit there. Now take your nut by holding it with a tool and hold it as straight as possible against the bolt. Take an open ended wrech and start turning the bolt to try to get the two to start threading together. This is the hardest part, and once you get them to start threading you're home free. Took me a good half hour to get them to start threading straight.
Once done I'd just use your finger or the tip of some tool and just spin the snut down as far as it will go and then tighten the bolt/nut up snug, but not so super right that the two parts won't pivot with each other. I did mine pretty darn snug though and had no problems with moving.
Before putting the seat back in obviously try moving the seat around and adjusting it to various spots to make sure all is well now and fixed. Sit the seat back into place and start (but do not tighten yet) all four bolts. I covered all of them with never seize to both protect them from coroasion (they exit the bottom of the truck and are exposed to the weather) and since I like to use this stuff on any bolts/nuts when I do repairs to make sure it's easy to remove next time. Nothing bothers me more than stripping a nut or bolt because it was rusted in place or something.
Once all four bolts are real snug re-attach the wiring harness plugs back together and thread the seat belt through the proper loop(s). All done! While your at it notice that there is a cloth "pocket" or sleeve at the back of the arm rest base. It's a nice place to stick the middle seat belt ends and hide them, which I guess are used for a third person or if a child seat was in the middle of the truck. I don't like those things just laying on the floor back there.
Hope this helps anybody with a similar problem. I just bought this truck with 93000 miles on it and I wasn't happy with having a plastic clothes hopper behind the seat to keep the back rest up.