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My 2008 Ford Ranger XLT

2008 Ford Ranger

Why?

The Ford Ranger is so bad that I created its own page.  Press Home to see the other cars in my history.  I wrote this page hoping that at least one person will read it and reconsider their thoughts of buying a Ranger.  For a couple of thousand more I could have gotten a real utility vehicle instead of a make believe joke.


Have you seen that cartoon sequence of a simple children's swing?  You know, pictures of the marketing requirement, the sales brochure, the engineering design, the manufactured item?  I am reminded of this every time I approach my Ford Ranger.  I start with this because I believe that anyone who likes their Ranger is a few cards short of a full deck.  Unlike the cartoon which has various pieces missing or in the wrong place, the Ranger is its own worst joke on itself.

I would have bought a Toyota or a Nissan except that the dealers would not budge on their prices.  I mean they start out costing more but I did not need them to match the Ford price, just negotiate a little.  I knew I was buying the cheap version and I knew that I was missing out on the luxury of a well-designed car.  But I also knew that my wallet was going to suffer in any case and I wanted a bandage from the dealer.  El Paso's Casa Ford had the bandage.  $4,000 off the sticker price clinched the deal.  So this article is a list of bitching about the car.  I said I bought one.  I did not say I liked what I bought.  I regret that I could not like the Ranger better.

Toyota and Nissan invaded our country back in the mid 1970's with a deluge of car models that had all of the creature conveniences that Detroit never considered.  Detroit has always had the attitude that if we build it, people will buy it.  Asking what the people wanted never crossed their minds.  This is why GM went broke.  Chrysler went broke because it over-engineered its cars and the manufacturing quality was dismal.  Ford is on its heels and was awfully close to the GM bankruptcy except it bit the bullet earlier and tooled its plants to accept different sized vehicles.  But the bottom line is still that Toyota and Nissan work to build quality products that meet the customer needs.  American manufacturers have never figured this out and have dropped like flies since I first saw the Willow Run assembly plant in 1949.

Toyota Quality ?

Yes.  There is the ongoing Toyota brake and acceleration problem.  It will blossom and then fade.  Some people in Toyota made some very bad decisions.  But the real reason for all of the bad press is not the Toyota car problems.  The real problem is that the Toyota quality image has been tarnished and the American manufacturers want everyone to know it.  Right now might be the time to buy a Toyota: they need the sales like never before and they are dealing.

Buy American ?

Sounds great.  Many years ago when American Motors (Nash/Rambler/Jeep) was capsizing,  a bill was presented to the Wisconsin State Legislature for the state to only buy automobile products made within the state.  The head of the state highway patrol went before the legislature and informed them that the highway patrol would consist only of Chevrolets manufactured in Janesville as he would not permit his troopers to suffer the indignities and problems of an American Motors car.  This bill had a short life.

If you really want to buy American then you are best off following his example.  You can feel sorry for the out of work Ford people but you do so at the expense of not owning the car that you want or need.  When it comes to spending the amount of money you need for a new car, the first objective should be finding one that best fits your needs.  This means quality and design and features that are what you want, need, and are state of the art.  I can buy off on the quality, maybe.  But for design and features, the products manufactured for 1967 were better than the 200x Ranger.

Here is a list of minor Ford Ranger inconveniences that Ford could have just as easily improved but decided to stay with tradition (or incompetence).   I doubt following my suggestions would have cost Ford much if anything at all.

King Cab (Ford calls it "Super Cab")

Another great idea ruined by the Ford people.  Why? You cannot get to the rear area.  Either forward or backward  the seats stop in exactly the worst possible  position.  This prevents you from putting anything larger than a woman's purse in the back.  Great for small children who like to climb trees. There no trees to climb in this area so they get to climb the seat and step through the center console.  If I get into the cab with something small, I can toss it over the seat but then finding it later is a problem.  Lift the lever on the passenger seat of my Tercel and the seat slides forward and tips forward maximizing entry to the back.  Ford?  Anything you do makes access worse.  You simply cannot use the King cab space for the purpose it was intended.

Driving

Highway Driving

Be really careful here.  They even have it printed on the driver side sun visor: The Ranger is hard to control at highway speeds and because it is long and narrow, it may tip over.  Heed the warning: the truck is tipsy.  You feel it on curves, you feel it if you have to avoid something in the road.  Compared to my Tercel, the Ranger unsafe at any speed.  And I never felt unsafe in the Corvair.  Read the next section with a grain of salt/sand: for the Ranger, ALL roads are rough.  If I drive over 200 miles in any one day, I must take the next day off and stay at home.  My arms will be sore and my back muscles so tense that I really need a masseuse.  You see many Rangers as utility trucks: meter readers, inspectors, etc.  This might be he best use of these things.  Sort of the pickup truck version of the soccer mom Minivan.

Rough Roads

I had a Plymouth many years ago.  I ordered it with the maximum strength torsion bars.  I often stated that it did not bump over railroad tracks, it climbed them.  But even though it was a tough suspension, it was a suspension. It had some movement and some give.  I think that they forgot to put springs in the Ranger.  In the Tercel, the ride was interesting as the Tercel climbed up and down potholes too small to see.  The closest  analogy that I can make for the Ranger is that of a grasshopper.  The Ranger literally bounces from one hole to the next as if on a bent pogo stick with a stuck spring.  There is no front-to-back -- there is no give.  The truck bounces up in the air, sometimes leaving the ground even at 10 mph.  My daughter recommends railroad ties in the back.  I might just do this.  There are a few ties left out back.  Bumps on the head are dangerous because they might break a blood vessel.  In the ten minutes it would take me to find out, I would realize that I have not kept my will up to date and that Warfarin really is a dangerous medical option.  More probable is that I will land from one of these bumps no longer with the front of the Ranger landing straight ahead.  This is one reason for the sore arm muscles: when the Ranger lands it selects a new random direction.  This must be corrected immediately -- with some strength on the wheel or you will end up either seeing the world inverted or at least through a side or the rear window.  It is best to get a good grip on the wheel before the Ranger lands.  And remember this is true at ANY speed over 10 mph.

Soft Roads

The roads in this town are all dirt.  Dirt gets potholes which move every day.  Dirt is all the same color.  With polarizing sunglasses, you cannot see the holes.  The Ranger will get stuck on soft roads anytime, anywhere, pothole or no.  The right rear wheel will dig itself up to the axle before you even realize you are stuck and, no, I do not have a lead foot.  The Ford Owner's manual says to just drive carefully, never lower the air pressure, and let the wheel spin slowly until it gets traction.  Sorry boys, this is the best way to hang the Ranger's frame on the roadway that you can imagine.  I get sick to my stomach when I get out of the car and see dirt over the hub cap and sand spitting out of the muffler.  Once the frame is in the dirt, you need someone to tow you out -- do not even try to move as the springs will find this is the time to be real springs and force the wheels even deeper into the dirt putting additional weight on the dirt supporting the frame.

You want to drive on soft roads? Toss the Owner's manual and lower the tire pressure to between 15 and 20 pounds.  If you get stuck now, lower to 12 pounds, carefully dig out the right rear tire, and get some help to pull the Ranger back to undamaged roadway -- backward is easier than forward at this point.  Make sure to raise the tire pressure again before driving on the highway. You might apologize to the homeowner in front of whose house you have just created a big, soft, hole.  Or you might carry a shovel.  Or maybe the homeowner knows about Rangers.  One time in the neighborhood when I got stuck, the neighbor's boys rushed out with shovels while the mother pushed.

Traction Solution:

The Ranger came with a donut tire even though the dealer assured me that it was a full spare.  I should have crawled underneath and looked for myself.  The original equipment Continental brand tires are P225 70SR15.  No one except a Ford dealer stocks this tire.  A while back when I had a flat and needed a new tire a Discount Tire center had one old black tire this size.  I should have passed.  It thumps and I am sure will need replacing soon.  This time when I had a flat (somehow or other these Continentals get flats, even in the tread area, that require replacement), I broke down and ordered two new Michelins from Costco along with a new wheel.  Now I have an extra donut and two new Michelins in the back and the other rear Continental is now the spare.  I explain this in detail as the personality of the car has changed dramatically.  First off, the Michelins have sufficient traction to handle the dirt roads.  So far I have not had to reduce the tire pressure to drive around town.  Second off, highway driving is sane. If I keep the Ranger long enough all of the tires on the ground will be Michelins.

By the way, this improvement does not come as a great surprise.  My Datsun 200SX came with Bridgestones and rode like a truck on rough roads.  When I replaced the Bridgestone tires with Michelins,  I could drive across the desert feeling safe while easily maneuvering around the rattle snakes.  On the highway, the Datsun now drove at 120 mph in comfort (yes, I was that stupid).

2012 October

I have had the Ranger 4 plus years now. I hate more every day.  The tires for this car have been discontinued by almost everyone.  Michelin has discontinued this tire.  I had a flat on one of the Continentals.  I tried multiple places and found that BFGoodrich still makes this size tire.  So now I have two Michelins in front.  Two brand new BFGoodrich in the rear.  One Continental as a spare and one unmounted Continental.  I would abandon the extra Continental since it is well worn except that someday I may need it if there is no one still making the tire anywhere.  I hated the original Continentals because they had no traction.  I was wrong.  The Continentals do have traction -- just not very much.  The BFGoodrich have no traction.  None at all.  I have had them a month.  I have gotten stuck at least once per week.  I must learn to drive with zero traction tires.

Seats

Years ago I bought a 1989 Dodge Minivan.  That car was a mistake.  Buying it was a second mistake.  Not just my individual Grand Caravan LE (with the trailer-towing package): the car was an engineering lunacy.  I swore off any American car and specifically swore off anything that came close to the Chrysler Corporation.  The Dodge Regional Office informed me that the seat was designed for little old ladies doing their daily shopping and delivering the kids.  It was not designed for the highway or for anyone over 5' 8" tall.  The seat has a firm ridge across the top and a fixed headrest jutting forward.  This means that anyone average height for a gringo or taller can only drive the car knowing that they will need serious neck massage when they leave the car.

The Ranger has the same problem.  I guess housewives have gone beyond daily suburban chores.  If the seat were as bad as the Caravan (and they never did fix that problem -- and the Dodge pickup his the same), I would have noticed it immediately.  It took multiple trips before I noticed the sore back and neck.  Dealer solution? Recline the seat so the seat does not contact my neck.  Right.  And then neither does it contact my back.  Have you are driven a car where you have no back support at all?  Believe me, the sore neck is the lesser of evils.

Lumbar support

Oh. I see from the owners manual that some seats have a lumbar support knob.  Great.  I like lumbar support knobs.  With a long back, they are helpful.  But when the seat is pathological in the first place, what is a little lower support when the seat it trying to break your upper vertebrae?  I do not have the problem of such a knob in my bucket (?) seats.  Walgreens sells a nylon mesh lumbar cushion.   These work well.  They provide a flexible support wile giving airflow.  This is valuable on hot days.

Bucket Seats -- Not

They are NOT bucket seats.  The dealer said they were but they have this 60-40 split just to the right of the center console.  Special order seat covers.  Really dumb but it permits a third rider up front.  This is necessary because a third rider could not go in the back.  And, you know, the inability to get from the front to the back is a real hazard and should be the subject of a safety recall.  Again.  The Tercel.  There is a handle on the side of the seat.  This permits you to set the seat angle.  Mostly you set it all the way forward to reach the back or all the way back to sleep or to your favorite position for riding.  Then there is the handle under the seat at the front that permits you to move the seat front to back.  The Ranger has these.  They work.  But the Tercel has a lever in the back.  The Ranger does not.  This means that the child in the back is locked in.  He cannot get out.  With some boys this might be an asset -- but it means that in an emergency the kid can not get out and you cannot get to him!  There is no back lever.  The back lever in the Tercel releases the seat to go all the way forward and the seat back to flip all the way forward.  The Tercel is small but with the seat in this position an adult, even me, can get into the back seat without a problem.  The Ranger does not have the ability to move the seat and the seat back in a single operation.  Worse -- even if it had such a lever, an adult could not get back to get his kid anyway.  An adult cannot get to the back.  Permitting a child to ride in the back is a safety hazard.  I say again, the Ford marketing people and the engineers should not have been laid off 30 years ago.  And I know from personal experience that the Ford corporate executives have seen the Tacoma and Frontier and they know about these dangers -- they do not care about your safety or your child's.  They saved $5 on a lever.

Split Seat Warning

A serious word of warning here.  The split seat means that you cannot use standard seat covers.  Buy special order from J. C. Whitney.  But now you have a real problem.  If you use the console cover, you cannot use the console -- the cover seals the console shut.

Another warning.  More severe.  The little tray at the front on the floor is sort of nice for holding things.  But when you move the driver seat forward you will smash anything in that tray.  Unless what is in the tray is stronger than the drink holder at the front of the seat.  In this case, you break the drink holder.  And, of course, there is no seat release at the back of the seats but that is a separate issue.  You know, I think the king cab for Ford was just an after thought.  No.  The Ranger itself was just an afterthought.  No serious design work whatsoever went into this product.

Center Console

What were they thinking of here?  There is a center console.  It is shaped strangely for the available space.  Maybe if there were a nice shift lever on the floor, the console would be the right size and shape.  As it stands, it is truncated by about 8 inches.  So there is a 8" space to collect junk to then fall on the floor while you are driving.  The truncated center console folds up -- and it needs to because it covers the seat belt latch.  This means everything inside sloshes to the back every time you get in the car.  But that would only be a problem if it were big enough to be useful.  They have molded lots of breakable plastic inside to restrict usage. Maybe some engineer got cute with a row for coins and maybe that strange plastic arrangement is to hold sunglasses which have no business being in there.

And a word of warning here.  The center console flips up to make a sort of bench seat.  Enough back support for your pet cat.  BUT. When you flip it up, make sure it is latched tightly.    Latching is not automatic.  Flipping the console up when it is not latched will quickly transfer the entire contents into the rear area.  The area I have already described as needing a small child to gain access.  Even when latched you have a problem.  You have seen those Laundromat clothes dryers tumbling you clothes?  This is nothing compared to the confusion of your belongings inside the console after you have flipped it.  AND you know that this has happened as soon as you do it since you hear all of your coins in the front row jingling their way to the back and bottom.  What makes this worse is that the bottom instead of being nice and smooth has all sorts of little niches and crannies designed to collect dust and tiny items (maybe dangerous) and small coins.  For your own sanity keep your coins for toll booths somewhere else.  It will be easier to fish into your pockets looking for change than frantically attempting to locate the jingles that were flipped into the black hole of the center console.

The center console sort of reminds me of those little trick boxes from when I was a kid.  Remember?  You open it up and see a ball, close it, tilt it, reopen it and, surprise, no ball.  Repeat the process and again see the ball.  Some Ford engineer thought this so cute he installed a half-inch space between the bottom of the center console and the ledge between the seats.  So now you put something on this ledge (fabric covered no less) in front of the console and start to drive.  What you placed on the ledge slips neatly under the center console and you think it is lost.  When you stop, it (maybe, maybe not) magically reappears.  Great fun for a five-year-old.  Not so much for an adult.  Great way to lose sunglasses or cell phone.  They could have made the center of plastic, slightly dished and it would have been useful.  Now it is just a nuisance that must be regularly cleaned with a carpet cleaner.  Then again if they had done it right, the center console would have been long enough to cover the area and it would only be exposed when the console was raised.  Come on, guys.  What were you thinking here?  Would it have cost more to have done it right?  How much more?

Ash Tray

The car actually came with a cigarette lighter and ashtray.  Detroit maintains this legacy but you can discard the ash tray and use the hole for a drink holder.   They could have priced the ashtray as a dealer option and saved most of us money.  Maybe they think the Marlboro man wants to drive a pickup instead of riding a horse.  Oh.  I forgot, the Marlboro man is dead and has no use for a Ranger.

The drink holder actually snaps to the driver seat/console.  Moving the seat forward forces this anachronism into the little front trays -- smashing anything in them. I tossed this thing and bought a cheap "organizer".  A little clumsy but nothing gets broken when I move the seat.

Front/Dash Panel

Cigarette Lighter(s)

The cigarette lighter sticks obtrusively out of the center left of the dash.  You can remove the lighter but now you have a useless hole.  There is a matching hole on the right side.  The Japanese have conveniently located their 12V jacks out of sight although still within easy reach.  Why out of sight?  Gadget theft is a major issue today.  The last thing you want is a myriad of cords hanging from the center of your dash panel.  The Nissan I rented had the second plug inside the center console.  The primary plug down and to the left.  Useful and hidden and a little too smart for the Ford engineers  The dash on my Ranger looks like a cow being milked.  The CPAP inverter, rear camera, radar detector, two cell phone chargers, and my camera battery charger.  All of these are normally in the center console but for my Ranger, they sit down below because running cords to the console is hazardous.

Storage Areas (There aren't any)

New cars have lots of little storage areas wherever possible.  Male mammals have vestiges of nipples. Ford has vestiges of storage areas.  The little bin at the bottom of the doors?  Again smaller than those in my Tercel.  If I drop something into it, I cannot fit my hand inside to get it back. Under the dash is a nice pocket for gadgets but they cut it in half.  Why? They wanted to prove that they are with the "In" crowd.  The left half has a bright chrome MP3 player jack.  They could have put this jack up where they have the second (or even the first) cigarette lighter plug.  This would have been better but then you are again advertising an expensive gadget.  I repeat: the upper dash is no place for electric/electronic equipment plugs. Replacing one of the few storage areas with a covered to provide a 3/8" chrome hole  is really stupid.  And now the cord for the MP3 player wraps around the steering wheel or your hand while you are driving.  Doesn't anyone at Ford drive a Ranger?  Maybe they know better.  Maybe someone will read these pages and not buy a Ranger.  That would be best.

Glove Box

It could have been twice the size and be useful.  As it is, I can keep that black book of papers and maybe some medicine but not much else.  My Tercel had a bigger glove box.  The Ranger small glove box is the reason for the plethora of "pickup cab organizers" (Google it).  The inverter fits just right into the glove box.

Instrument Panel

Glare

During the day they have a real Catch-22.  If you wear sunglasses, you cut the glare from the clear flat dash gauge cover enough to read the gauges -- otherwise you just see the reflection of your hand on the steering wheel.  The plastic makes a good mirror but eliminates any chance of seeing your controls.  But if you wear the sun glasses, any of the LCD panel displays disappear.   The radio display is the first to go -- and it has the clock.

Dash Lights

The lights are not nearly bright enough and to see them at all means going to the maximum brightness.  At night they are bright enough but during the day they are obscured by the upper dash.  Since I drive on two-lane roads much of the time, I drive with my headlights on.  But even with the lights on when I wear sunglasses, the dash if very hard to read.  There is also a generic problem with LEDs. and LCDs. You cannot see their LCDs with sunglasses.  This makes the clock on the radio display useless (the entire display window is black).  LEDs can be made bright enough but then they would be disturbing without sunglasses.  With sunglasses if one of the Christmas tree warning lights come on, it is highly unlikely that I could see it.  And no, there is nothing wrong with my eyesight.  Ford has a desert proving grounds.  They should use it.  At Chrysler the desert group had an unending list of requirements sent back to Detroit.

Pretty Warning Display

I think this is the place where their engineers hung out instead of doing real work.  Right in the center of the dash display at the bottom is this grid of warning lights.  Again, you can lose some with sun glasses and some I have not figured out.  But they have even screwed these up.  For example, when the car has decided that the seat belt needs to be fastened, you get a chime alarm.  Continuous.  The Tercel turned of the alarm after a few minutes.  When my dog sits on the seat, the alarm goes off for the entire trip..  But this is the seat belt. 

Tire Pressure Indicator

There is actually a light for tire pressure.  Considering the problems that Ford has had with Firestone tires, this is probably necessary.  While in town, I use this to remind myself to lower the pressure to 15 pounds.  When leaving town, this reminds me to raise the pressure back up to 32.  But the other day while driving on a dirt road detour, I got a flat tire.  Probably some construction junk that I did not see.  In any case, I drove for a while on the flat - until I reached hard road and looked down to see why I had the drag.  The tire pressure indicator was lit.  I had a flat tire.  Changing the tire was actually easier than I thought it would be.  The jack works and the spare tire raising mechanism works.  The dealer lied to me: I had only a donut -- but it worked..

What did not work was the stupid flat tire indicator.  It came on.  It is yellow/cream.  Most of the display things that are problems are red.  Maybe driving on a soft tire should be cream and a flat tire red.  Maybe this is too much to ask but a flat tire should be red and not cream.  But this is negligible compared to the real problem.  The Ranger has a chime alarm -- I hear if from the seat belts.  But when you have a real problem -- like a flat tire, no chime.  No audible.  Maybe if you drove on nice smooth Interstate highways all of the time, you would notice the flat immediately or have time to spend looking for displays to arrive.  But when you are driving on the roads which mandate a small (or large) truck, taking time to watch for random display lights is guaranteed to give you problems more serious than a display is capable of indicating.  If I watched those lights, I would lose a fender, something serious on the undercarriage, or discovering that the Ranger cannot fly (I already know this but a real-time example would eliminate my need for heart medicine).  I bought the Ranger because I knew the local roads would ruin any American car and maybe a Japanese car as well.  But I thought a small pickup would be able to handle a dirt road.  I was wrong.

Gas Gauge

Interesting.  They have the normal quarter/half tank markings.  They are in white and very visible.  The Empty indicator is Red.  Not visible.  It looks like you  are in serious trouble when you get to one quarter tank: it looks like you are on or below Empty.  I guess I shall get used to it.  But I should not have had to;  after all there are about 20 little lamps that light up for all sorts of reasons in the lower center of the dash.  It looks like Christmas when you turn on the ignition.  I am sure that one of these indicates that the gas is low.  The red mark for empty is just stupid.

Speedometer

The reason that our country is not  Metric is because the UAW and SAE thought they could prevent the 1970's onslaught of Japanese vehicles if they cried about needing two sets of tools.  They failed on three counts. They did not stop the Japanese invasion.  They did not stop the need for two sets of tools.  They did stop the migration to Metric.  In this day and age speedometers should be able to display American and Metric speeds equally well.  And as a matter of fact a growing number do.  But Ford?  Probably not in my lifetime.  The little tiny metric numbers are centered (obviously) at the very smallest circle that could hold the necessary digits.  Other cars have at least moved these out to where they are usable.  I mean, i really hate the French but Detroit is just across the river from Ontario, a French-speaking, Metric-using culture.  Are there not enough  Canadian engineers in Detroit to impact the cast-iron thinking of Ford executives?  Maybe Dearborn is too far from Detroit.  We had a lot of Canadian engineers at Chrysler.

Headlight switch

Another golden oldie: most new cars have the headlight switch as a rotator cuff on the turn signal post.  This is great.  The Japanese have created a third post on the right side for windshield wiper control.  Not Ford.  You must reach down into the darkness to find the headlight switch to turn it on and then again into the darkness when you leave the car to turn it off.  Nothing automatic here.  Even Chevrolet, the ultimate dark age vehicle, has learned better than this.

Ceiling Light

Remember the old days when you turned the dome light on and off by forcing the maximum panel dimmer position? And thereby (ruining your preferred dash panel light settings)  Remember?  Nobody has done this for 20 years.  But no.  If you have a Ranger, you still have the problem.  The little 3-position switch at the side of the dome light does not exist.  I have gotten into the habit of reaching for the thing I want to change.  I need to relearn what knew when I first got my license 50 years ago.  And they have it turn itself off in a few minutes.  They could have saved money by doing it right and using the electronic timer for a better purpose.  Tradition.  Ah, tradition.

Heater controls

Another gotcha.  My Japanese cars all have the same 4 slide controls: Fan switch, Inside-Outside air control, temperature, vent choices.  And, separate push buttons for the AC and the rear defroster.  These are intuitive and do exactly what you want.  Oh, in some cars the AC is also implied when you slide to Defrost.  But otherwise what you set is what you get.  On the Ranger there is no need for the rear defroster switch: there is no rear defroster.

So how did Ford screw this one up?  They still have the old, I mean really old, traditional 3 knobs.  You know: before they had Air Conditioning.  Those 3 knobs.  The left sets the fan speed.  The center the temperature control.  The right a vent selector.  No Inside-Outside control.  No AC button.  So you can blow air in your face or you can use the AC.  I should just be able to set the switches to what I want.  Some Ford engineer has already guessed what I need and replaced my choices with his personal preferences.  Or maybe, he thought that adding AC to the selector knob was the best he could do in his spare time rather than adding the obvious little (blue on most cars) button.  Adding positions to the rotary switch cannot have been cheaper than adding a separate button.  They did not save money here.  Maybe the assembly robot would have needed to be a little smarter.

I fiddled with the Ranger air control switch until I figured it out.  It could not be more stupid:
There are 8 positions:
1.  The vertical dial position is OFF.  The fan switch has no OFF -- just low to high.  This is at least counter-intuitive and backwards.
2.  The right side of OFF has positions for air flow: up, down, defroster, and some combinations.  ALL activate the AC.
3.  The left side of OFF has 3 positions: Upper vent, AC, and Max AC.  They ALL activate only the upper-vent.  The bottom two also activate the AC.

Therefore:
1.  You have ZERO ability to control outside air flow.  In fact, I have no idea if the vented air is outside, inside, or a combination of the two.
2.  The right side and the left AC and Max AC positions blow cold air.  I believe all of the vents are open.

In other words, of the 8 switch positions, 3 are absolutely useless.  The ONLY position for which the fan blows but the AC is off is to blow air in your face.  You cannot get total air circulation in the car no matter what you do -- unless you want it cold.

The end result is that when driving on the highway, my feet freeze -- with the windows open at 100 degrees outside.

If I use the temperature control switch, worse things happen.
1.  If upper-vent-only, then I get hot air in my face and my feet (and the rest of the cabin) get no circulation at all.
2.  If I use any other position with the fan on, the foot temperature alternates between cold and warm as the AC unit cuts in and out.

And they actually paid engineers to make my life miserable?

Ignition Switch

I thought everyone had bought into the Lock, Accessory, On, Start sequence.  Ah No.  The Ford still has Accessory before Lock.  After having had a Dodge Caravan 20 years ago I was at least prepared to try backwards before thinking that Accessory was omitted.  It seems to me that some years ago there was a problem with cars going suddenly the wrong way and plowing into things in front of or behind due to shift lever errors.  It also seems that nobody admitted to a mechanical problem and they did complain about user error.  As a result, the manufacturers all standardized the shift order to: P R N D 2 1.  Good idea.  A little late maybe but they got there.  Maybe nobody is going to crash through their garage door because the ignition switch order varies between common sense and American but it would be nice for it to be consistent.  Common sense?  The key comes out in first switch position -- not some place in the middle of the selections (ala Ford).

Keys and Locks

This one really caught me off guard.  You get two keys with the Ranger. Any expensive Ford for that matter.  Each has a little fob with buttons to lock and unlock the doors and to blare the horn.  Sort of neat but the rented cars had a few more buttons and were much more user friendly.  Now I know why people use the fobs to honk their horn as they walk away from their cars.  The locking button is inconsistent.  Sometimes it will lock on the first try, sometimes the third or fourth.  The horn only beeps when the door is already locked when you push the button.  Because the button is cheap and operates erratically, you push it as many times as necessary to hear the horn honk.  Sorry, but I think it is stupid to push the fob while standing next to the door to see if the door lock goes into its little hole just to save a little noise.

Also note that the buttons on the fob are reversed from the door lock buttons on the inside arm rest -- but these do not beep if you do them wrong but you can see if the little button on the door has popped up or down.  Do not be driving when doing this as you need to turn your head half way around to see the button.

The real surprise is the security feature: you cannot make duplicate keys.  They will not work.  The plastic cap on the original key hides a little radio transmitter (RFID) that must be in the switch for the motor to start.  Other keys may actually fit the switch and turn the lock but the Ford motor will just crank over until the battery is dead.  You can buy a third key from Ford for $25.  You must program this key by using the original two and playing on-off games with the switch.  You had best do this when everything is new as if you need to replace one of the original two keys, the dealer will charge $80 or more in addition to the $25.  Lose or break a key: $100 minimum.  I guess this is cheaper than having your car stolen by an amateur.  A professional just buys one of the computers to match the radio signal of the car.  Gimmicks.

But you know why Ford is going broke?  Gimmicks like the door lock key and the gas cap.  They make a small profit when you go to buy duplicate parts that you can only get from Ford  But if you are as frustrated as I am, you do not buy another Ford.  You see, this anti-theft embedded RFID in the key is a gimmick.  Compare this to the Altima.  Same concept except for the Altima there is no key -- just a button.  Altima puts the RFID chip in the key fob.  The fob with your house keys goes in your pocket.  The same little computer knows the fob is there and you just push the button.  Why bother with a key if the computer chip is all that is necessary?  AND you do not have this three-inch pointed monster poking holes in your pockets as does the Ford key.

In the Ford,  I leave the store and try to remember where I left the Ranger.  It is easy to find: it is tall and cherry red with reflective tape. Oh.  There are lots of red pickups -- I pick out mine and walk up to it. I juggle the keys out of my pocket then push the key fob to unlock the door.  The fob is cheap and it may take a couple attempts to get the door unlocked.  And I must be within 20 feet so that I can see the black button against the black door plastic.  Yeah. Right.   I know the Ranger unlocked because it lit me up as it turns on the inside lights.  When I am in dangerous areas, the last thing I want to do is tell the world I am entering my car. I open the door, toss in my things, get in, close the door, put the special key in the ignition, and turn it to start the engine.  The light went out. Push the button to lock the doors. Whew.  I was not robbed this time.

In the Altima,  I leave the store, look in the right direction and push  the fob button (maybe even with the keys still in my pocket and maybe 80 feet away).  From down the aisle I see the lights blink.  I  walk to the Altima. See.  This is the difference.  Ford makes a token approach so it can claim to be as modern as its competition.  I guess tokens are good enough for red-necks.  Some people actually like their Rangers.  Then, (maybe, maybe not) I return the keys to my pocket, open the door, hand in my store things, get in the car, push the button, the doors lock, and I drive away.  Secure, fast, easy. 

You cannot tell me for the people in Dearborn security is not an issue.  Remember I lived there:  I can remember diving under my car to avoid robbers as I pushed the button to activate my alarm.  Oh. Right.  The Ford does not have an alarm it just makes the horn go beep beep beep.  The Dodge had the alarm.

Short version: buy the Altima and you need no key and the fob works from 80 feet away.  Buy the Ford and you need the special expensive key and the fob unlocks the key only from 15 feet away, sometimes..  And mine wore out on the exact same week that the warrantee expired.  Now I just have the key.  And notice that unlike many cars, the key only locks/unlocks the door in which you have inserted it.  Cars 20 years ago would lock/unlock the other side door if you double-clicked the key rather than a single click.  20 years?  Ford has not got a chance of catching up with today.

Fuse Panel

This is a very bad joke.  Like many cars, the fuse panel is next to the right foot of the front seat passenger.  Ford, of course, uses the mini-fuses.  These are about the size of a penny.  The panel has a couple of very large pullouts in the very front and center.  My cigarette lighter fuse failed for no apparent reason the very first week I had the truck.  The little diagram in the owners manual does not tell you where the fuse for the second lighter is.

The panel is typical of Ford.  They have copied everything that anyone else has done.  But like many cheap copies, they have forgotten the reason why things are done the way they are done.  The only way you can test the fuses is with a strong flashlight in your third hand.  As your body will cover any outside lighting even in Arizona.  Then because of the large plugs in front and other reasons, you must use your left arm and hand (cramped badly) to fit the tester prongs into the dots in the fuse tops.  To see these dots in the dark you must have great night vision.  Telescopic vision is also necessary.  In addition you must be a short, anorexic acrobat to maneuver your body around the front seat structures.  In other words, it would be to your advantage to have an anemic 8 year old daughter on hand if you need to replace a fuse.  My daughters are grown so I live a fuse blown.  I note that nothing I have plugged into the other lighter plug has blown that fuse.  I presume the first fuse was a cheap thing.  You know, quality control.

Electric Windows

Wow.  I really like electric windows and mirrors because I spend most of my driving time alone and need the comfort and convenience of pushing buttons to adjust without endangering my life by reaching across the car at 80 mph.  But again, Ford has lost to the Japanese.  When I turn the engine off, the power to the windows goes off.  This means that when I go to get out of the car I have to re-insert and turn the key to raise the windows.  In the Japanese cars, the power stays to the windows, and lights for an extra minute so that you can secure your car on the run.  Somewhere there is a little Ford computer retaining the ceiling light power.  Ford engineers?  Maybe they have not ventured from Dearborn since 1969.

Mirrors

I have always had problems with mirrors.  I am fairly short with a long back.  I sit with the seat close enough for my feet to hit the peddles and my head almost touches the ceiling -- in many cars it does touch.  If the windshield has a blue strip across the top, I cannot tell the color of the upcoming traffic light.  The Ford Ranger mirror sits exactly in my line of sight.  That means if there is a car approaching from the right, I shall not see it -- even after I have hit it.  The mesh of black dots on the windshield just makes it worse.  The side view mirrors?  To get them adjusted correctly I must do it manually as the electric adjusters just click at that far forward.

Front Bumper

This reminds you of the Civil War term: shoddy.  You know, the clothing made from compressed fibers rather than woven material.  Pretty but not designed for its utilitarian purpose.  The lower front bumper of the Ranger is made of a black shoddy plastic in a lack of design the negates its purpose.  I used to wonder why I saw so many Rangers driving around with their front bumper removed.  Now I know.  Don't kick the bumper hard or hit one of those concrete parking barriers.  The bumper will break taking integral parts with it and damaging your radiator.  When I bought the Ranger my first response to this was: "How could anyone be so stupid?"  The 1989 Dodge Caravan LE bumper constricted the air flow so badly that an "Engineering Change" caused Chrysler to drill holes along the entire underside of the bumper permitting air inside the engine compartment.  It still overheated when you stopped or drove slowly and the bumper would collapse if you pressed on it with your hand.  I thought that was stupid until I found the Ranger.  They have shaped their shoddy plastic into a nice Cheerio smile to make the car look friendly -- like the Chevron ads.  The problem is that where you need a bumper the very most, all you have is this big Cheerio hole  with the radiator on the other side.  At 70 miles an hour a pigeon will ruin your day.  Maybe the license plate holder that the dealer did not install would protect me from the pigeon.  But then the Ranger might look like a Cheerio with buck teeth.  I don't know.  Why can't they just make a bumper that protects you from bumps?  Something that would make a utility vehicle sturdy instead of shoddy, maybe?

Postscript:  I hit a dog on the highway.  The dog died.  I almost stopped before I hit this dog just standing n the road.  No town.  Ho homes.  Middle of nowhere.  This dog is in the road. Not a big dog.  My dog is much bigger  .I felt sorry for the dog.  I held my dog a little tighter.

In any case the shoddy Ranger bumper split in half.  In pieces. Worse than that my radiator leaks and is curved neatly in the bottom center most of the way to the top.  I need a new radiator.  I need a new bumper. I need some support (?) brackets -- same shoddy black plastic.   I shall invest in one of those off road under bumper things that make you look like you want to drag race through the mud.  I saw three other Rangers today missing their lower front bumper.  I wanted to wave.


Malicious Manufacturing and Design Practices

Yes, the company does this.    Lack of design is just lazy.  Malicious manufacturing is just that: malicious.  Here are two examples:

Gas Cap

The gas cap is plastic and has markings above the threads which change annually.  Annual changes make it very expensive for after-market companies to keep up.  The threads do not change.  Just the plastic lines above the threads.  If you use a cap from the wrong year or an OEM, the little light on the dash panel says the gas cap is missing.  Malicious.

Oil Filter

The oil filter has two problems, both resolvable but also malicious.  Compare the Ford filter to a FRAM filter and the differences are immediately obvious.  The Ford filter is highly polished and is just enough smaller that a filter wrench designed for a standard replacement just slips.  If you try to use a friction, adjustable wrench you will find that the highly polished Ford filter stays in place and your wrench turns freely.  No, pieces of sandpaper will not help.  I tried.  Note also that the better FRAM filters have a black coarse end section to assist in the proper installation and removal of the filter. 

Oh. If Ford had installed the filter properly this would be a minor problem.  But Ford assembly has attached the initial filter so tightly that you need special tools and/or assistance to get it loosened.  Unlike the gas cap problem which is permanent, this is a one time problem.  One time only unless you are dumb enough to buy a Ford replacement filter and believe tighter is better.  The FRAM filter says 3/4 turn after initial contact.  4,000 miles later it was still tight, did not  leak oil, and I took it off with my right hand.  The hand with the weak wrist.  When I had the Honda they always called me the finger tight kid.  Some things don't change.

Not a filter problem but a problem.  My Toyotas had a brass washer between the crankcase bolt  and the crankcase.  This made removal easier since the heat did not tighten the bolt .  Two times now I have had to go to a mechanic to loosen the Ford bolt because my wrenches were not strong enough and someone somewhere had roughed up the hex head edges.  Not bad but enough that my 3/8 sockets do not quite fit right.  One of these days I shall buy a new bolt.  If I bought one of those washers, the bolt and washer would probably fall out as I drove down the highway.

My Fault

I bought the 4-cylinder.  This was a mistake.  I should have remembered from my experience from the Dodge Coronet: the smaller engine is not necessarily the most efficient.  Because it is a 4-cylinder, the rear end ratio is higher.  The higher ratio means that the engine works harder on hills and at higher speeds.  After all ,most people do not buy a truck to have sufficient torque to haul  their loads.  The small 6-cylinder is available with two rear end gearings.  With the lower gear ratio at highway speeds the engine is running at much lower speeds than the 4-cylinder and the 6-cylinder with the higher gear rear end.  This means more power on the highway and less down shifting on hills or bridges. The cost of the lower gear ratio is in hauling really heavy loads around town.  So take it from me, if you want one of these (or other brands) and plan on any highway driving, buy the 6-cylinder with the low-gear rear-end rather than the 4-cylinder.  The increased performance of the 6-cylinder comes with matching gas economy.

Quality?

At 34,000 miles when I changed my oil (I always change my own oil and brakes), I noticed fresh transmission fluid on the bottom of the transmission.  I have an appointment for service at the local Ford dealer on Friday.  I am sure they will blame it on me rather than honor a warrantee.  But then other than the absence of engineering and marketing and the absence of a  useful front bumper, there have been no visits to Ford for fixing things that went wrong.  But to go wrong at 2,000 miles short of the warrantee?  What if I had not changed my oil?  Nothing to do with repairing a transmission is cheap.

Surprise!  The dealer is covering it on warrantee.  The problem: a bad seal.  The dealer does not stock transmission seals so I must allocate two days next week for the transmission to be removed, repaired, and replaced.

Summary

Why do I write all of this about my Ford?  My father worked for GM.  I worked for Chrysler.  I grew up with Detroit iron.  I am ashamed that a company as great as Ford is so arrogant (or so stupid, same thing) that it would rather go broke than to give in to the customer.  Toyota and Nissan would not have the market share they have if Detroit responded to customers.

I am not talking about gas shortages or economic evolution.  I am talking about the items listed above.  My daughter warned me about this.  She warned me AFTER I bought the car.  Not her fault -- I did not warn her about what cars I was looking at.  After 40 years it would seem that a company on the financial ropes would have at least attempted to understand why.

When I was young my friend, Chuck, was a Chrysler fan.  He took my dad on once (only once) and my father put Chuck down with a comment that Chrysler was a good company, it is too bad they just don't make better cars.  I thought that a little rough on Chuck but I came to believe my father was wrong.  He was correct: quality control on Chrysler products has become a world-wide joke.  As you can see from other of my pages, I think Chrysler is a bad company and deserved to go broke.  The Dodge pickup however has corrected most of my complaints about the Ford pickup.  I mean the Dodge driver cabin looks like a serious attempt to make driving a pleasure.  But I agree with my father: it is too bad they don't make better cars.  To me it looks like the Ranger is a good, solid pickup.  2008 truck. 1970 design.

The Japanese have asked the people what they expect in a car and then exceeded those expectations.  Ford marketing has asked what is traditional and has maintained those traditions. It reminds me of Fiddler on the Roof.  Traditions are fine cultural legacies.  So are corded telephones.  Some legacies are best left in museums:  Nash, Hudson, Studebaker, Kaiser, Chrysler, GM, and Ford.  The days of selling whatever you make are history.  I went cheap.  I know I went cheap.  I got what I paid for.  I could have bought the Toyota or the Nissan.  But I went cheap.  The sad thing ... I have explained the sad thing.  Enough.

Oh.  So far I like my Ranger.   I am disappointed that 40 years of progress have been lost on Ford but the car seems to be sturdy and, hopefully, reliable.  Ford claims to be reliable.  We shall see.  As I said once to someone:  You only complain about things that can be improved.  Otherwise it is just bitching.

If you want bitching, see my diatribe on Ford Credit.

Future Action

I am lucky.  Had I awaited another week to change my oil, I would have gone past the warrantee mileage.  I hate it when products are designed for the life of the warrantee rather than the life of the product.  And 36,000 is a minimal drive train warrantee!  So now I must either buy an extended warrantee or trade the Ranger in for a real car.  I think I will be better off with a real car.  I shall start looking at  Nissan and Toyota Ranger equivalents.  Last time they would not deal on prices with the Toyota recall problems and the state of the economy, and it being almost April, I think they will bargain now.  I hope so.  Every time I buy an American car, I regret it and promise never again.  I am getting too old to back down another time: this time we will have a Japanese pickup or car.

2012 April

It is 4 years later now. I still have the Ranger. As I said earlier, I shall keep it as long as I can. It has 78,000 miles. A couple of things.

Quality

This is strange. As a whole the car has lived well. The front lower bumper is half gone. I hit a dog. The radiator was replaced but I could not figure out how to replace just the lower half of the front bumper. A 2"x2" piece of wood does nicely. Painted black and the damage is almost invisible. I was almost stopped when I hit the dog. The amount of damage is out of proportion to the mishap.

The electric and door controls are a problem. A real problem. The little watch fob for locking and unlocking the doors quit a long time ago. The other one still works unless it is hot outside. The left door pushbutton lock sometimes locks but mostly it does not. It will always unlock. The zinger is the left door handle. It just plain broke A friend has a similar Ranger with the same problem in the rear bed door. These things are plastic -- all plastic. They are not designed for every day use. We are back to the "designed to break" problem.

The most interesting thing that has happened is an email that I received complaining about this web page. The man was irate. Probably still is because I have not made the changes he desired: remove the page. My intent in writing this page was to let everyone know that regardless of the quality issues, Ford has given up and instead of producing a desirable product with designed features to make the car attractive to the 21st century, Ford has continued down the 1960's path of ignoring the customer and just putting its product out there as sort of take it or leave it. I had hoped that someone might buy a competitive product that had 21st century features.

My reader had great credentials. He worked for a fleet company and dealt with repairs to the fleet cars and trucks. He promised to produce tabular information comparing repair costs for the different makes and models.

Apples and oranges. I am sure he can prove that the Ford quality is as good or better than the competition. I have had this truck for 4 years and its repair history is about the same as my Camry after 6 years. The things needing repair after 6 years in the Camry were things that you might expect to wear out. In all of my life I have never had plastic door handles break. The little watch fob door lock things are new to me. Maybe others wear out in a year or so too. But my point is not quality. That is certainly an issue and I think that the Ford could do better. But my point is that Ford has a 1960's attitude toward design and customer relations. My reader is a good guy. Maybe better than I deserve. I am sure he can prove that the Ford quality on a statistical basis is superior. The problems in quality that I have had have not appeared on other cars in the last decade. The fact that Ford produces products so out of touch with the current decade I think is disgusting. But then the needs of a fleet are very different from those of the average driver. The needs of the start and stop meter reader are quite different than those of someone who needs comfortable and reliable basic transportation.

2012 November

I have had the car over 4 years now.  Every day I hate it more.  I really hate the wounded grasshopper travel down bumpy paved roads.   Sometimes I feel that if I were not always alert that I would end up landing sideways and rolling over.  Quality is not an issue: the Ranger has little.  I have had to replace the driver-side outside door handle.  Plastic.  And it just broke off.  I am gentle.  Really gentle.  The tab on the fuse box door gave up a long time ago.  The door floats around the floor now.  It has company.  The dome light cover.  It falls down every time I hit a bump.  This week the right side visor broke off.  It is cardboard inside and its fasteners just gave up.  It makes a nice food place mat for the dog.  I do not use the visors much anyway but now there is just a chrome stick mounted on the right-side ceiling.

I have my own clock and thermometer.   The clock on the radio is only visible when the ignition is on.  And it randomly loses minutes.  Nit just one or two.  Maybe 20 minutes at one time.  It reminds me of the old mechanical clocks that got dust in them.

I have an inverter in the glove box.  There is no other place for the inverter and now there is no room for anything else in the glove box.  The center console box now closes every time.  No surprise -- when I close the lid I slam it with my fist until I hear it click.  I really got tired of fishing things out of the back area when I tilted the console and it flew open.

The dash panel is impossible to read when wearing sunglasses..  It is just difficult any other time.  The LCD clock disappears with sunglasses.  Maybe Ford thinks that people only want to see their clock and want to change stations at midnight.

I saw on a web page someone asking if the lower front bumper is necessary.  You see so many Rangers missing this piece.  Understandable as it is made of the cruddiest plastic imaginable and breaks so easily.  Yes, you do need it.  Your radiator (and other critical pieces) hang below the upper bumper and are protected by the lower bumper.  It takes very little effort to damage the radiator if the lower bumper breaks. I know: I have a new radiator.  I have placed a 2x2 crosss the remaining portion of the bottom of the lower bumper.  Painted black, the 2x2 gives my Ranger the appearance of a snarl rather than the mouth of a goldfish.

2013 August

I turned 100,000 miles this month.  The Ranger engine still runs fine.  Maybe I should be thankful.  Power steering is history.  I have asked the local mechanic to find me a new unit.  Maybe a couple of weeks if I am lucky.

The electric windows seem to operate OK.   The switches are a roulette game.  Maybe one of the three will work at any one time.  All three at the same time?  You would lose that bet.  I need to keep the driver side window half open so I can reach inside to open the door.  The second outside handle has broken.

2013 September

I got another email about my complaints about the Ranger.  He was polite.  It was a short email.  He asked why I bought the Ranger in the first place as many of my complaints could have been seen on an initial ride.  In that respect he is somewhat correct.  In many cases I have purchased a car after I have rented a similar car for a long trip.  Had I rented a Ranger for a week, I would never have bought one.  He also commented that the new Ranger is so improved that I should get one of these.  Here I disagree.  I have been wounded by the lack of customer care in Ford engineering.  That wound will not heal. If they make a better car today, why did they not make one then?

In any case I am glad he wrote.  I had hoped to not need a new car for at least another 5 years.  It looks like I shall need one next year.  This will give me ample time to evaluate the new cars and to determine what I need.  I am looking at some Nissan models.  My experiences with Nissan and Toyota are very good.  The quality has been there.  The customer comforts designed in by their engineers have exceeded my expectations.  This is my problem with the Ford: I had been spoiled by the competition.  And I really wanted to "Buy American".  My next car may be made in America but it will have been designed by people who want me to enjoy and not just survive the experience.

I can try to find a power steering unit online.  A local mechanic can install it.  I can have my rear quarter panel fixed by a paint shop in Puerto Peñasco.  I know I can buy a new door handle online and probably the power window switches.

In one respect my emailer is wrong.  Many of the things that I hate about the Ranger would have never been seen on a single ride.  A tire size unique to my Ranger to be discontinued a few years after purchase.  Anything that breaks: door handles, window switches, sun visors.  I can see the fuse panel but it never occurred to me that the passenger seat travel distance was so short as to preclude getting to it -- or the back area.  I would have quickly discovered the center console being too short and the need for a lumbar support.  One week in the car would have made clear the absence of storage areas and the useless door pockets.  One drive home would have made clear the lack of traction.   My daughter found me a new lumbar cushion that I like.  The old one wore out.  She bought two -- one for the passenger.

I have a new complaint.  The wheel design holds dirt inside the outer metal and the inner metal.  I drove through some mud a week ago.  It dried inside the wheels.  All of them.  I have been to the car wash twice attempting to clear out the mud.  Maybe in two more attempts I can get it out.  The thumping going down the highway makes me know that my car is not new.  Too many cab noises keeping rhythm with the thumps.  I shall check the wheels on my next car to make sure that they do not hold mud.  The radio still works -- maybe if I had used the DVD player more often it would too.

2014 April

I just had one of the worst customer service experiences of my life.  Let's see.  Right now I have made arrangements to have the car repaired.  It needs the right rear quarter panel straightened.  My fault, I backed into a power pole getting unstuck from the sand in the street.  The Goodyear original equipment tires did not help.  I replaced them with Michelin shortly after the power pole incident.  The lower front bumper will be replaced.  I hit a coyote at 5 mph.  The coyote ran off.  The bumper was destroyed. As was the radiator.  I replaced the radiator after the coyote incident.  Figuring that a new bumper was a waste of time and money, I replaced the broken section with a 1x2.  It has lasted well although it needed repainting once.  The hood needs repainting.  A ramada stake danced on it leaving an interesting pattern.  The left door handle needs replacing again.  Poor design and cheap plastic.  The power window switches only work until the weather turns hot.  The power lock switch stopped unlocking the doors a while back.  Of course there is the ignition lock problem:  It only goes to the lock position on alternate Thursdays so I must leave the key in the ignition permanently.

The power steering unit leaks.  After much trial and error we have located the leak.  It comes from a metal cap on the pressure hose.  It has leaked for a while.  I cannot locate this part online so I drive to Alexander Ford in Yuma. This is a 125 mile drive -- each way -- but I can do other things on the trip.  The man at the parts counter says that his assistant will arrive shortly.

This assistant is the most incompetent or the most malevolent customer service person I have ever encountered.  I shall give him the benefit of believing incompetence since we have never met and he would have no reason to want to harm me.  Yet.  I describe the part: a small metal cap on the side of the power steering hose.  I describe to him my car as he warms up his computer: 2008 Ranger 4-cylinder XLT.  He tells me that what I want is a "pigtail".  Now this is crazy but then my experience with Ford does not put misnaming a part out of the question.  Since I do not believe he has identified what I want, I ask for a picture of the part on his computer.  He shows me an exploded diagram but the part he claims is what I want is  rectangular with corners.  I tell him that this is not a good picture.  I want a better one.  I point out that he has given me a name of something ordinarily associated with wires and what I want is a metal cap and absolutely no wires.  I repeat "No wires" multiple times.  He finds a second diagram.  The diagram is correct.  It is my hose and associated components.  I show him the round metal cap and tell him this is what I want.  Instead of ordering what I have indicated as what I want, he orders something not even on the diagram.  Why he does this I do not know but I presume that he has ordered the part I want.  I am aghast at the price: $48 dollars.  I put it on my credit card, get the receipt, and leave.  Not quite.  He says that the part is not in stock but that they will have it tomorrow.  I tell him that my drive is 300 miles and I cannot afford to make the return trip less than the following Thursday.  He says he will hold the part only that long for me.  Nice of him.  I am sure that if I do not get it on that day they will charge me for re-ordering the part.

OK.  So I show up on Thursday as promised.  A special trip 125 miles.  Each direction.  He identifies me and tosses a plastic bag with a wire connector in it on the counter. I inform him that this is not even close to what I ordered.  What I ordered specifically had no wires.  He goes back to his computer and informs me that this is the correct part.  I again ask for the picture and again point out the part I need.  He says that this is the power switch and that I should have known the name of this.  If I had named the part correctly, he would not have ordered his "pigtail".  The part numbers are even close.  The parts bear no resemblance.  They are not on the same place on his diagram -- if the pigtail were there at all.   As if this episode is entirely my fault, he will correct the order and get me my metal cap(aka power switch). The price difference is  $15.  I ask for the refund and am informed that I owe another $17.  The price is more and not less.

He says it will be in on Saturday.  He expects me to make another 300 mile journey to maybe get the correct part this time?  He says he will do me the courtesy of mailing the part to me -- at his expense.  I tell him that where I live there is no mail service.  He will ship it UPS.  I tell him that there is no delivery service at all.  There is no phone.  There is no Internet.  But he is determined to not confront me again.  He wants an address.  I give him my Yuma mailbox.  I pay the $17 on my credit card and leave.

I go back to the gas station and discover that my credit card was not returned.  I get a cell phone call while pumping gas and paying with my debit card.  When finished with the gas I check my phone missed call log.  It is a Yuma number.  I call it.  It is the Ford dealer receptionist.  She has no idea who called me.  I suggest the parts department.  The man answers and I tell him that he has my credit card.  He will hold it for my return.  I show up a few minutes later.  He retrieves my card and says "Thank You".  Going against my courtesy, I say nothing and don't even think about a "You're welcome". Mostly I want to scream.

If I am lucky, next week the correct part will be in my mailbox.  I shall have paid $65 for a small metal hose cap and made 3 300 mile trips.  I shall have encountered unbelievable incompetence.  For my effort I would have expected him to at least eat the $17 price difference.  No.  He thinks he is being gracious by offering to mail the part to me.  This is not gracious. This is just not wanting to confront the reflection of his incompetence.

And the parts manager 10 feet away is smirking at his computer the entire time I am there.  He knows I am being shafted.

People wonder why I hate Ford. I wonder why anyone does not.  The product is poor.  The service is intolerable.

As soon as I am able, I shall replace this sick contraption called a Ranger with a new Nissan.  This incident has exceeded my endurance.

The Future

I will need a new car soon.  I hope I can make it until summer of 2014.  The new 2014 cars are out next month.  I am afraid of them.  The changes are serious.  Drive-by-wire is the new term.  No more mechanical linkages.  Everything is be electronic sensor.  Gas pedal.  Brake Pedal. Speedometer.  Steering.  Steering?  A safety feature: no more steering post to impale the driver on a head-on collision.  The goal?  A steering stick in place of the wheel in ten more years.  sometimes I think the only reason I see so few children and dogs in the driver's lap is because the steering wheel is in that same place.  No steering wheel?  More kids in the driver seat with daddy or mommy.

I hope my Ranger can last until next summer.  By then the serious bugs will have been identified and isolated in the 2014 cars.  Never again a Chrysler (I had three).  Never again a GM (I had one).  Never again a Ford (only one and that was the worst in my lifetime).  I had two Nissan.  I loved them.  I had one Toyota.  I loved it.  But the Toyota price is too high.  I can barely afford a new Nissan -- and that will be a cheaper model than I would have chosen.  I am looking at the all wheel drive Rogue.

Honda?  Not in the mix.  The two Honda motorcycles needed an attorney just to get them to honor their warrantee.  When a company thinks it walks with God, a lowly customer has little chance on his own.   That may have been a long time ago but the Honda generator that was to cost as much to repair as a new one from the competition let me known that little has changed in 30 years.

In a few more years there will be more hybrids but right now I cannot afford one of them either.  Maybe if I include the gas price in the car price I can rethink this.  Right now I just have sticker shock.

Just a note.  The letters "FWD" were used to indicate 4 wheel drive.  Not any more.  Now they must use "AWD" for All wheel Drive.  I guess people would confuse FWD to mean Front Wheel Drive.  Why not.  I can think of no other reason since I see no 3 or 5 or more wheels on the ground for normal automobiles.

Near Future

I have had it.  My encounter with Alexander Ford Parts was the last straw.  Sometime this month I shall replace this atrocity (aka Ford Ranger) with a real car: a Nissan Rogue.  They are a bit too big for my tastes but they do the trick.  They have current technology -- unlike the Ford Ranger whose engineers design to 1960's standards.  They have built-in more things than I could imagine.  And I suspect quality  will not be an issue based upon my previous Nissan automobiles.

2014 May

I did it! The Ranger is history.  The Nissan dealer s would only give me auction (i.e. junk) trade in prices but the Ranger started and now ends as a junk vehicle.  I put in about $500 just to clean it up.  This includes: a new front black under bumper, power steering, back rear minor repair, paint, power window switch, etc.  But it is gone.  I shall miss it.  No.  The Ranger was always recognizable in the parking lots with the oak rails around the back.  But it feels so good to not have the car to worry about any more.  Now I have a 2014 Nissan Rogue.  Just the drive home from the dealer made me wish I had done it sooner.  The Nissan Rogue has all of the things that are missing in the Ranger: comfort, road handling, electronic features, and storage spaces close to the driver.

Ford Credit

I mean the Ford Ranger I bought is an engineering nightmare but I handle that elsewhere.  But Ford Credit?  Cannot the Ford Motor Company hire anyone anywhere with any brains at all?  They send me a bill every month.  Most places send a payment book and you mail in coupons.  No.  Ford Credit sends a bill every month.  They send it to the wrong address.  That address is nice enough to forward it to me.  It costs them.  Every month I call Ford Credit and complain.  Every month they say they will fix the problem.  Every month they do nothing at all.  Every month my new bill gets forwarded.

I ask Ford Credit  to stop sending bills.  They refuse unless I have automatic withdrawals from my checking.  Nobody gets automatic withdrawals from my checking.  This bill sending is apparently a method of harassment to convert everyone to automatic payments.

After  several months of phone calls, rather than again correcting the address, I try giving them different address.  They print the new address on their web page.  Now there are two addresses on the information page for my account:  Their address (incorrect) for me and my address for me (the second one).  They will not correct their address no matter what I do.  I can update my address as many times as I want to but they will continue sending their bills to the wrong address.

My suggestion?  First off, do not buy a Ford truck.  If you like living in the 1960's, you'll be happy.  Second off, if you insist on buying the Ford, use your credit union or something but avoid Ford Credit unless your head is stronger than your wall and you like bruises.

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Written:  2008      Updated:  May 18, 2014      Back To Top