Tag Archives: Ford Ranger

SAK And A Zip Tie

𝙸 𝚐𝚎𝚝 πš–πš’ πš πš›πš’πšπš’πš—πš πš™πš›πš˜πš–πš™πšπšœ πšπš›πš˜πš– πš πš‘πšŠπš πš‘πšŠπš™πš™πšŽπš—πšœ 𝚝𝚘 πš–πšŽ πšπšŠπš’πš•πš’. πš‚πš˜πš–πšŽ πšŠπš›πšŽ 𝚐𝚘𝚘𝚍 πšœπš˜πš–πšŽ πšŠπš›πšŽ πš˜πš”πšŠπš’. π™Έπš πš’πšœ πš πš‘πšŠπš πš’πš πš’πšœ.


I had a rough start this morning just getting out of bed. My back has been bothering me, and my shoulder started giving me trouble this afternoon. I’m sitting here with coffee and my old friend the TENS unit right now.

I left the house at 7:00 and was on my way to being right on time to work when I took my second major turn, and the truck started shuddering. It didn’t want to pull, and my stomach just sank.

I left on time to be on time. And now, I was late.

We’re getting ready to go on our anniversary weekend trip soon. I do not need to put more money into Bruce right now.

Bruce is my truck. He’s green and temperamental. Marvel fans will get this.

Sometimes you need the right tools to fix a problem. But first, you need to define the problem.

My tool of choice for this situation is the OBDLink MX+. I have had it for a couple of years.

If you ever go to an auto parts store and have them figure out what’s making your check engine light come on, they are using a piece of equipment that does the same thing. This is a simplified version of that equipment that connects to my phone through Bluetooth.

I’ve deciphered more than a few problems with Bruce because of this piece of equipment. Today it was saying that the ignition coil had gone bad. But the ignition coil is only a couple of months old!

It turns out that wasn’t the problem.

It was too early in the morning for something complicated, so we always K.I.S.S.

KISS is an acronym; the letters stand for “Keep it simple, stupid.”.

And simple it was. On the ignition coil is a plug that carries the power to the ignition coil and allows God only knows what to happen in the engine. I can fix stuff on a simple level. I don’t even pretend to understand how the magic happens.

The plug has a small retention clip. This being a twenty-two-year-old truck, that clip had broken. This kept the magic from transferring to the ignition coil, which transforms the magic into something else. I know, pretty technical.


Now, I’m a terrible half mechanic. I don’t always have the right tools with me. My toolbox has work stuff in it. I don’t half mechanic for a living.

What I do, quite effectively, is troubleshoot at life. You can fix most anything just by getting your head to a place where you can think through the problem calmly.

Two fictitious characters from the 80s brought me to this, Hannibal Smith and MacGyver.

Troubleshooting is all about imagination. You have to be able to, and I actually hate this saying, think outside the box.

“Imagination is the most important thing the human mind has.” – MacGyver

I always have three things with me.

1. Duct Tape. Most of life’s problems can be solved by a liberal application of duct tape.

2. A Swiss Army Knife. (Thanks, MacGyver). Incredibly versatile tools that can be found in almost any configuration you want.

3. Zip Ties. I use these a lot at work. Fast and easy to secure a wide variety of things.

The simple fix was to use a zip tie to secure the plug to the ignition coil. Problem solved.

I had called Mags, and Dad had told her he’d come to me when she was dropping off the kids at his house for the day. I told her to have him call our guy with the flatbed before I got my head straight and figured what needed doing.

By the time he’d shown up, I was getting ready to fix it, but since he came, I let him get under the hood. And this was all about respect.

I’ve spent no small part of my life holding the flashlight, getting yelled at while he turned the wrench. But I’ve learned a lot from him. At 72, he’s still a formidable man. Arms like tree trunks and one of the best shade tree mechanics I know. He has forgotten more than I’ll ever learn about an engine.

All of this went down within forty-five minutes. And just like that, I was back on the road.


And that was this morning. It wasn’t the plan, but it was what happened.

A twenty-five-cent zip tie saved me a 150 dollar bill on a flatbed ride.

And at that point, Hannibal Smith steps in.

There’s a plan in everything, kid. And I love it when a plan comes together. – H. Smith

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars

Today on This Old Truck

I’m refurbishing the interior door panels today.

Well, maybe I’ll get one done. The deeper you get into something the more problems you can find.

I went to YouTube last night to figure out how to remove the spool handle for the window, and despite the guy knowing that every spool handle came off the same, he was wrong. Instead of a clip to remove said handle, it was a Torx head bolt. Luckily, I have an abundance of tools.

The other problem I’ve run into is a bit of upholstery that has given up over the years, probably to heat. Things wear down. There’s no helping it.

Separation Anxiety

And so I have an armrest sitting in front of the wife’s bread box with Gorilla Glue (not a sponsor) setting up and a couple of paper/chip clips bag holding it all together.

This is a high dollar operation.

I’ve taped up and dropped the first coat on the main door panel for now.

It is 11:34, and now I wait.


13:14

That door is done.

It came out loads better than I thought it would.

And now, on to the other door.

Before and after.

Because you’ve seen the first one, the other is pretty much the same, so I won’t bore ya.

Yep. I was able to get both doors done and still have some time this afternoon.

There’s a lot to be said for doing things yourself. It’s not just saving money. You try new things and learn new things. Believe me; I mess up often enough, but there’s a lot of knowledge in mistakes.

It might be the paint fumes talking, but it’s been a pretty good day.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars

Distinctive: Another Truck Post

I’m looking at fender flares for the Ranger. Fender flares are expensive. Not completely out of the question, but I’m looking for something a bit thinner. Not some big, bulky thing hanging off the side of the truck.

I think I saw some at the junkyard I mentioned the other week. If all four are in good shape, I may bargain for them when I return for the additional parts.

The other thing I’m working on is the rocker panels. I’m considering painting them with bed liner material. I’m just trying to figure how far I’m willing to go.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars

Not Too Shabby

If you haven’t figured it out yet I like to do it myself.

I have an old truck I’ve been finding parts here and there for and it ain’t easy.

Ever since Cash For Clunkers the pickins are slim, so I work with what I can find.

Sometimes that means refurbishing a part and bringing it back to life.

It ain’t perfect, but it suits me just fine.

I find that the more I do of this the more little tricks I find. Practice makes perfect.

This was a quick job today to test some paint that I’ve just started working with. I also needed to gauge the space on this piece so that I can install some switches for cut offs on my power to my dash cam and stand alone GPS point. I’m doing that so as not to put any drain to the battery when I’m parked and in store at work. Not that either of those are big battery drainers.

It’s not just the finding and refurbishing, this is fun for me.

It’s satisfying.

It’s a thing that I can sit back from and say, that’s done.

And I have something at the end of it.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars

Little Things

My wife loves spicy food. So much so that she’ll get a plate of spicy food and that’s not enough for her.

Nope. Then she’ll go to her standby. Texas Pete.

He’s the only other fella that’s any competition for me in life besides our son.

I don’t like spicy foods much. I might throw some Texas Pete on a burrito.

I do admit that Texas Pete rode with me in the army just in case I came upon some chili mac, which was likely to happen.


I got off work today around 1:00 and decided I’d go for a ride and make sure the truck was good. A long ride was needed. Maybe just wanted.

I was riding along and looking for places that might have a junked Ranger.

I need a few interior parts. Some plastic odds and ends. The interior is pretty great, amazingly. No tears in the seats. The dash and carpet are nearly pristine.

On down the road I ended up in a nearly ten mile long construction zone. I started counting Dollar Generals.

I also ended up in need of a bathroom.


My wife loves something else. Those little Smarties Mega Lollipops.

We usually find them at a candy store in Maggie Valley on vacation where she buys several. She doesn’t allow herself many treats like that. I’ve found them at Dollar General here and there so I grab them when I can.

They’ve been sparse lately, like lots of things y’all might favor the last year and some change.

I hit several Dollar Generals on the way today. Six in total. Found three of these suckers on the way at one store. Still stopped at two more.

I don’t know why.

It makes her happy.

I guess it’s love.

It’s the little things.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars

1999 Project: Update

I got the last of the worth of those ball joints. As in every red cent that went into them I used up. They were trashed.

Now, with the brand new ball joints the truck sounds so much better. No squeal, no shrill noises.

From squeaky to stealthy.

While I had the truck in I had him look over anything he might need to do that I can’t.

The bushings in the sway bar were shot, so he fixed those as well.

I also had him go ahead and do my oil change and rotate the tires.

And here comes the bill…

All that for less than the original quote.

Rides like a new truck.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars

Three Days After

I wrote about fixing my truck Sunday. As a part of this ongoing project (and yes, there’s a lot to do) I’m going to be posting here and there about it. This blog is my daily outlet. This is why I’m here.

🎼Some days are better than others…

Today was great!

I’ve been using OBDLink (Apple) with my OBD scanner. It’s a nifty little tool that can drop all kinds of info on ya while you’re on the move. My primary concerns this week are engine coolant temp and the voltage on the battery. I replaced the thermostat several months ago. The battery was dead Sunday. So worth watching over. The MPG was a plus today.

I drove home with the A/C on this afternoon. I also fueled up at a station that may have had okay fuel. But as far as gas mileage I’m pretty happy with either number.

Before I figured out the problem with the plugs it was getting 22/23 mpg. This is a huge improvement.

For a twenty two year old truck this is pretty phenomenal I think.

I have a little bit more mechanical to work on. I have some plans for the exterior and a few more improvements to the interior look and functionality.

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars

Sunday Morning (1999 Project)

This is how it starts…

Not a bad way to spend the day if there’s a favorable outcome.

8:00 AM: I’m starting off the day trying to figure the problem out with the truck and these spark plugs. And I may have found the problem. I think it’s the wrong set of plugs. You’d think the guy at the counter would have some knowledge as to what he’s selling you but I’ve trusted too much in that. It would seem he’s wrong.

(Further on I’ll be talking about O’Reilly’s. I didn’t get the bad plugs from there. – Credit where credit is due.)

I’ll be taking off to the parts place with a little more knowledge this time and the manual and truck info to back me up.


But first, church.


12:19 PM

I’m at O’Reilly Auto Parts and my man Chuck here confirmed part of a problem. I was sold single platinum plugs instead of double platinum plugs at the other parts place. The plug in five split and is causing misfire. These plugs couldn’t handle the workload.

We may be onto something…

1:00 PM: I got back home, stepped out of the car and directly to the truck. I went to work on replacing the plugs.

The Usual Suspects

I started at one and went to six. I didn’t pull a wire until I had the previous one gap checked, greased and seated. That fifth cylinder misfire was because of these old plugs. That would be number five in the lineup pictured above. Absolutely the wrong equipment for the application.

2:14 PM: After about an hour I was back on the road but it wasn’t all rainbows and roses, no. The battery had died and a cell had went bad so I was off to another O’Reilly’s to see about a new battery.

The truck isn’t cutting back like it was and no check engine light. No misfire. This, for me, is huge! I love my truck but it has to be usable to stick around.

At this point I was only into this little adventure for blood, sweat, and $32.00 USD. I was dreading having to shell out for a new battery. They aren’t outrageous but they aren’t cheap either. And this battery was only a year old.

Mr. Gene

But then I guess there was a bit of β€œwhiskers on kittensβ€œ. Turns out the battery I bought a year ago was under a two year warranty at O’Reilly’s. Those fellas helped me out big time to day.

A BIG SHOUT OUT to O’Reilly’s and to their employees. Gene and Jim in Camden, SC and Chuck in Lancaster, SC. They were super helpful and knowledgeable today.


And also, I’m thanking God. It’s getting hot and there’s no air in the Escape. The Ranger has super cold air. I prayed over the truck last night hoping that this was the problem. I needed it and it was granted. So thank you Lord for the hands and mind to work the problem and the grace to let this happen.


5:50 PM: I haven’t eaten all day. I was all about getting this done. And now it’s almost supper time.

Time to shower, eat, and relax. Tomorrow’s Monday.

And it’s gonna be a great day!

That’s it. That’s the post.

Seegars

The 1999 Project: Ford Ranger

So this morning I picked up a 1999 Ford Ranger, technically an antique (but I guess so am I).

Straight stick (as God intended) V-6, basic little single cab truck. It’s pretty much all original but I love to mod on the inside and a little outside.

I’m really wanting to flat black the whole thing, headlights to taillights, tint the windows, etc.

Right now I’m sitting in the Best Buy bay waiting for the stereo to be installed.

This is what I’m starting with:

Old school. With a cassette player.

Im having a Pioneer touchscreen with CD/DVD, Apple/Android CarPlay installed in place of the stock stereo. I don’t have any cassettes anymore and rarely use a CD or even the radio even. Nope I stream podcasts and music.

I love having my maps on a large screen. The latest iOS update gives me even more options with music and messages plus the phone screen remains in an independent mode where, if needed, it can be used without disturbing anything on the stereo screen.

I’m also having a backup camera installed (because I can).

I spent a good deal of time here today. More than I wanted but I’m not complaining. It’s an older truck and the wiring is coded a bit different than what the tech was used to.

We kind of worked together on it and in the end I got what I wanted so all’s we’ll that ends well.

Jay the Geek Squad Tech that worked on my truck (I have a truck again!) was fantastic. He did a beautiful job.

Jay working on the backup camera.

I certainly can’t complain. He didn’t cut any corners and did his very best to install what I wanted where I wanted.

So if you’re in Columbia, SC and you need a backup camera or a stereo installed go to Best Buy on Two Notch and ask for Jay.

Beginning to end.

Start to finish it was an experience and Jay let me see stuff I didn’t know was in the truck for future installs and such. So the time I spent today was well spent.

Time to drop a review and nice email to the manager. I have to tell them that I was impressed.

This is just the start of this project. I’ll be writing more about it soon.

(Special thanks to Mags for letting this happen. She’s too good to me.)

Seegars