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Old 07-30-2006, 06:27 PM
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Boy are parts guys stupid, or are they?

I thought I would bring this over to a new thread....Why I have grown to hate the Small Block Chevy..... an essay

RIGHT ON 66GMC!

To add to your very eloquent post I would like to say that 99.9% of the parts a guy looks up at a parts store is right there in the computer. Most parts stores have very good software and it is VERY easy to find the part. The thing is this software knows NOTHING. You have to simply tell it THE MAKE MODEL AND YEAR and it will tell you just about 99.9% of what you need to know. You could work at a counter MONTHS without every needing to look up some strange 1956 Rollsroyce dumptruck fan belt so don't piss and moan when the guy doens't know a thing about. We LOVE our cars, we know every nut and bolt and that before April 28th 1964 the passenger seat on a Mustang didn't adjust. We know that mid year 1947 our Chevy AD (standing for "Advanced Design", like anyone else cares) switched from lever to tube shocks. The counter guy couldn't possibly know that your 65 Vette was the only year for a 396. Or that a 65 Gran Sport Skylark uses Sport Wagon rear axle bearings, come on, give the guy a break. Just tell him MAKE MODEL AND YEAR!

You know guys, you can save yourself a lot of trouble by not trying to show the counter guy how little he knows about cars. First off, he sells parts, he is not a mechanic so he isn't going to have much to tell a guy who has a car with a surging problem. I don't care if we take a time machine back to the "good old days" when parts stores had knowelgable people at the counter, few would "know" what was wrong, and that was before computer managed engines. He could GUESS and help you "throw parts at the car" but he would have little solid information for you. Only "Well the last guy who came in here with that problem bought a fuel pump and he never came back so I guess that fixed it, I guess you need a fuel pump."

So instead of walking in and saying "I want an oil filter for a small block Chevy" just so you show the guy how stupid he is because he was born after the small block lost two bolts on the valve covers. He most likely does know more about getting seven hundred horse power out of a 1.8 Honda motor than you but that is another story. You simple say "I want an oil filter for a 1980 Chevy Camaro with a 350." Is it that hard to just say that? I worked at a NAPA auto parts store for a year (did you guess that already?) and I have to say I know cars pretty well, I can look at a 54 Chevy head and a 54 GMC head and tell you the difference. I can look at a Buick 364 and 401 intake and tell you the difference, that doesn't mean I know everything. There is NO WAY any of us could answer all the questions asked of the parts guy, no mechanic can answer them all either. And I learned real quick there are a lot of guys out there that will ask for a part that THEY may know but not know the answer to another very common question. I mean, I could go in and say that I want an exhaust manifold gasket for a Buick 401 and they would look at me stupid. But I could say I want an exhaust manifold for a 1965 Buick Skylark with 400 and get the same thing (GM had a rule that nothing larger than a 400 could be in an A Body so Buick called the same 401 that would be found in a LeSabre a "400" when in the Skylark). I could stand there and show him how "stupid" he is for not knowing this ridiculas trivia but would that make him feel good and get me my part?

So, this one day I had this guy who would do this to me, try to show me how smart he was. He was from a shop and he would always pull some stupid crap like he was better than me. So one day he came in and asked for an oil filter for a Chevy small block. I asked what it was in, he got all smart with me and said "A SMALL BLOCK CHEVY, WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET A SIMPLE SMALL BLOCK CHEVY OIL FILTER?"

I turned around and pulled the five or six filters for SBC's (from a tiny four or so inch from a four wheel drive truck to a huge two quarter and put them on the counter. I asked him which small block Chevy filter did he want? He got the idea, just say the make model and year of the motor, that is all the guy is asking, make model and year.

Unless you want the counter guy to GUESS. Is that want you want for them to GUESS what the make model and year are? I don't, I have important things to do. I want the correct parts the first time. I want to treat the counter guy with respect so he helps me the next time.


I would have "Pros" all the time get the part they ORDERED only to ***** that I sent out the wrong part. This happened on a daily basis. I have to say, I had bought probably hundreds of thousands of parts from dealers and parts stores up that time and I never fully understood what I am going to say right now. Read it slow, take it in....You hardly ever get a "wrong" part from the parts store, YOU gave them WRONG info and got the "right" part.

I had a guy once tell off the delivery girl, I mean tell her off bad with dirty names and all. I was so pissed I left the counter and got in the little NAPA truck with the hat on the top and went over there. I walked in, walked over to the truck and peered in at the motor to see a CLEVLAND 351 NOT the Windser he had ordered parts for!


When they look up something and ask you a stupid question like "Does your Chevy Lumina have ABS?" When you go to ask for a fuel filter (YES there is a difference between the ABS and non-ABS cars fuel filter!) just tell him! Don't piss and whine just tell him. He is not making the questions up, it is there in the computer or book.

Just tell him the make model and year of the motor, tranny, rear end or what ever you are working on.

It will make things much easier on you and the counter guy.

I have to tell you, I went to an AutoZone on my road trip (a couple of weeks ago) and the counter guy told me the exact same thing my brother did on my cel phone (he is a mechanic with 35 yeas experiance). Some are good some are not, it isn't their fault. It is "just a job" to many people, sorry, but that is what the public has demanded. CHEAP PARTS, so we got them. All the small parts stores have closed and now all we have are the "McParts" stores with poorly paid people at the counter in between retail jobs. THAT is what we asked for (Americans in general) so we need to "help" the poor guy get us our parts to save the money we so desperately wanted to save.

Brian

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Old 07-30-2006, 06:37 PM
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Right on.
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Old 07-30-2006, 07:50 PM
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that works for me 90% of the time. but some are useless counter guys if there are books involved in the lookup, or if they just don't know, like when I went into a big napa with a actual paint center, told the counter kid I needed 1 gallon of MS Acrylic grey primer, he walked around the paint dept amiously then told me they didn't sell it, rather than tell me, he did not know where they kept it, so I got it at the local NAPA. Advance auto does have a nice look up system on there computer, there system even has listings for my '51 Chevy in it, just that's all they are, listings. any of the parts on those listings I have gone for , have been listed obsolete. I go there for bleeders for my '67 Falcon, tell the counter girl what I needed, she tried the computer, computer did not have a listing for a Falcon, so she tried to tell me I did not own a '67 Falcon because it didn't exist, all I needed was front bleeders so I told her to look it up as a '66 Mustang ( same front brakes/ front end ultimatly ), ordered them, came in the next day. I went to Advance Auto for an oil filter for my '51 Chevy, tell them an exact oil filter number of Purolator P51, they look it up, it didn't exist, so I went home got on google and searched for purolator's site, found a filter search, searched P51 and it came up as P20051, a renumber, the dude should have seen a X refrence on his screen, the filter search I used linked to a autozone page, so I called in the order. I like my local autoparts stores, the counter guys know me, the cars I have and what books to look in.
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Old 07-30-2006, 08:52 PM
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Ugh...did we have to bring this topic up again. There are good and bad parts counter people just like in any other profession.


I tend to shop only at my local napa anymore. Only time I go to Advance is when I need the free scan or when they have the same exact part for a lot cheaper. I don't touch Auto Zombie.

Experiences within the past year at Advance Auto/Auto Zone regarding our 1997 Cougar XR7 4.6L:

#1) SES (Service Engine Soon) light came on in so I drove over to AutoZone to get it scanned for free. The lady behind the counter asked the make, model, year so I told her '97 Mercury Cougar, it's OBDII so you can scan it. She's like ok lemme grab my scan tool. Being the nice guy I am, when we get out to the car I tell her the OBDII diagnostic port is on the passenger side so she's not looking around forever. She proceeds to argue with me that all cars have it on the driver's side, I had to actually open the freaking door and prove it was there. Bought OEM sensor to fix EGR problem at NAPA

#2) SES light again, misfire. I go to Advance instead hoping they are smarter. They have a more advanced (pun intended) scan tool that asks for engine code. I tell him 'W' code 4.6L. I'm not kidding you next question was "Is that pushrod or SOHC?" What a retard. The 4.6L is only 12 years old, used in everything from trucks to mustangs and you still don't know it's a OHC engine. Fixed problem by going to Ford for OEM O2 sensors.

#3) SES for rich bank 2. Came on when idle in gear at a light. Decided to take the IAC (idle air control valve) off and clean it since O2 sensors are new. Went into Advance to buy a can of throttle body cleaner & to get a replacement gasket. Parts guy was surprised and said I shouldn't need a gasket for that (like vacuum leaks in your intake are good for the engine ) Spent next 15 minutes and couldn't find a gasket listed. Went up to napa and parts counter guy says he doesn't have a part # for that, went in back and grabbed the valve itself. It had an extra gasket that he gave me for free
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Old 07-30-2006, 09:34 PM
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I generally try to look up the part myself at home using the company's webpage. Then I can walk in a say give me one of these. My favorite Advance store has a really sharp manager that isn't afraid of the paper catalog for some of those hard to find items. Plus they know I have a Rigging Degree from Harvard, so they'll let me search the shelves for that special something. LOL.

MartinSR............ I agree, just answer their questions. If the folks really are that dumb, they wouldn't be smart enough to ask the question in the first place.
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Old 07-30-2006, 09:48 PM
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Re: 78 Nova Man

I have had all those issues with my 97 t-Bird

Finally gave up----I now take it to the Ford store for everything
Both of my Birds are troublesome lil buggers--but I like em and will drive em till the wheels fall off---both cars are now approaching 120K miles.
Im afraid that the new Ranger will be troublesome as well--bought the extended warranty--I'll have that used up before the truck is 4 yrs old

My GM vehicles were troublefree untill I sold em--flat wore out
280K on my bonneville---never in a shop---sold it for 250 a couple of years ago --Liked the ride and handling of the birds better

Brian----I understand what you are saying about parts people---the best parts person I have ever come across was at a NAPA store

SHE completely understood that I was working on something that she could not look up in the 'puter. She would help me find what I thought I could use and more often than not--did use

I cant say the same for AZ, O'reileys, Pep Boys,

Bryan

P.S. Brian--when I first saw your name---thought it was a friend of mine in Charlotte, NC. First post I read of yours--sounded exatly like him
Then I looked at location----different sides of the continent.
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Old 07-30-2006, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 78novaman
#2) SES light again, misfire. I go to Advance instead hoping they are smarter.

I'm not kidding you next question was "Is that pushrod or SOHC?" What a retard. The 4.6L is only 12 years old, used in everything from trucks to mustangs and you still don't know it's a OHC engine.
More name-calling ... great.

Yeah ... I guess we DO need more threads like this that may help to educate
the more ignorant among us.

Yup, every "parts guy" should know every detail about every engine in every car built between 1901 and 2007, right?

Does it ever occur to you guys that it's YOUR car ... you probably know it a little better than say your uncle's brother-in-laws wife's sister's Suzuki Swift?

Maybe he skipped class on "Ford Day" ... or maybe he just doesn't give a rat's derriere that they were ALL SOHC or MAYBE he just read the question that was displayed on the scan tool!

Or <heaven forbid!> he just plain had a "mental eclipse". Have you NEVER done that? Let something fall out of your mouth and immediately wish you hadn't?

Give me strength!

It's no wonder that nobody sticks around in this job ... it's just not worth the abuse.
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Old 07-30-2006, 10:05 PM
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Ive had all kinds of parts people help me. As long as thier nice and helpful and willing to help, it doesn't bother me much if their dumb as dirt.
Ive had some that were just plain tarded, and were no help though. Like when I when in for new tranny mount for my truck for the stock th350c. The computer didn't show a th350c for my truck and the guy argued that it was never made with ti in there.
So after a small arguement he looks in his book and it shows a listing for th350c but no listing for a mount. So he finds the pictures of the mounts in the books to match one up to the stock one (which I had with me) and the guy says screw it, here you look itup, and handed me the book to find it.
Well I found what could have been the right one, going off of a picture in a book I show the guy thats what I need. He then argues with me that its not the right one.
I finally walked out of there and went down the street to oriellys. Where the guy at that counter looked it up and had it for me within 5 min.

The nice and dumb people are ok as long as their willing to help, and don't argue with you over something stupid like that.
Its the ones that flat out say that it never existed when you have proof.


Brad
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Old 07-31-2006, 07:50 AM
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don't ond so much that they don't know my car, no biggie, but when they start harassing you, that you knwo nothing about your car, that kinda shows a bad parts guy. ie, i whent to the local parts source to pick up a rear crank seal, was told that engines didn't have them, ok, no worries, prolly not in the system, spoke to another employee that knew what i was looking for, and helped me find it, another guy ended up getting the part for me, who in turn harassed me about wanting to check to make sure it was the right part. then telling me i didn't know how to instal it, because i'm younger (21) blah..parts guys...i like parts girls, funny enough, they seem to be the most helpful.
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Old 07-31-2006, 09:55 AM
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I only work on street rods at my shop.
The parts store that I deal with has gotten to know me so well that they don't answer the phone when i call. (I think they bought a caller ID just because of me) I really don't blame them. I rarely have an application or year. Many times my customers have no clue either.

"it's a 37 ford with a 350 and turbo 400" "well I think it came out of a 69 nova" " Send those 4 possible #'s out and I'll pick the one that fits"

sound familiar?

I have been collecting illustrated buyers guides from the parts stores for a number of years. I spend the time looking up the part, and just call with a parts number.

Or I go there and sit at the end of the counter with the collection of paper catalogs from the basement.

Or they just let me wander the aisles, opening boxes until I find the part that will work.

I don't slight the counter guys for not wanting to spend eternity looking up a part for me. It can't be profitable for them at all.

Later, mikey

BTW, I rarely get hassled or called stupid when I'm at the counter. I'm not sure why.
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Old 07-31-2006, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 66GMC
More name-calling ... great.

Yeah ... I guess we DO need more threads like this that may help to educate
the more ignorant among us.

Yup, every "parts guy" should know every detail about every engine in every car built between 1901 and 2007, right?



It's no wonder that nobody sticks around in this job ... it's just not worth the abuse.
Amen brother.....
Not only the abuse from the front of the counter, but the guys in management (corporate NAPA).....more sales, no overtime, one less driver...why do you spend so much on gas.....Do more with less.
After 30 years in parts...i finally had enough.
Sucks when i have to find parts, have an AutoZone, O'Reilly and Pep Boys, within 2 miles of the house...and no one in any of those stores can find their a@* with both hands. If it is NOT in the computer, it does not exist. I still have to drive to NAPA....to get what i need.
I have asked managers from all three stores why they can't get a good counter guy...first answer usually is "we don"t pay enough" Second is..."there aren't any left."
If i ever hit the lottery....i'm building a store...Good counter guys, enough inventory to sell out of, reasonable hours........ah, hell, there i go again, time for my meds
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Old 07-31-2006, 11:37 AM
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It's my turn now!

Yeah I hear it all the time those guys at the parts store don't know this or that and it's their fault they don't know it. Well let me tell you this, I'm one of those guys that works at the parts store. And it's even Autozone!
But now let me tell you this part of it, I started doing parts store work in '79 and have done it off and on since, both part-time and full-time. I've worked for NAPA, Carquest, HI-LO/O'Reiley's and Western Auto/Parts America/Advanced Auto Parts( How many of you know that name changed that many times?) I started working on cars with my older brothers around '69/'70, I've build many cars from mini-stocks, street stocks, modifieds, Street racers and a NHRA leagal SS/JA that I ran at the old Cajun Nationals in LA. Now I'm building my last one a Street Rod my '46 Chevy Panel truck. To help with the cost I went back to work on my off duty time at Autozone. Now I've always enjoyed doing the work, to me its fun and now a way to relax after a bad shift at the fire station.
But you are correct in saying its not the counter guys/gals fault if you don't know what your working on or give them the wrong info. I see it and hear it everyday I work. I've got this year car/model and I need this, but what you don't tell me is the motor/trans came from this year truck. I guess I'm supposed to read your mind and know this. Or the guy with a R/S Camaro that swears he can put a Dodge truck power steering pump in it he just needs the right pressure hose to hook it up, Don't know what year truck or motor size just that he knows he can do it. Why don't you have that hose?? Now I'm not defending all counter folks, there are some that are pretty bad and thats on them. But the biggest part of the problem is the customers not knowing what they need or what they are working on. Example my '46 Chevy, with a '78 350/turbo 400, '72 Ford 9" from a wagon, M II frontend(kit). Now I need to replace the master cylinder in it, What do I tell the counter guy? I need a master cylinder for a '46 Chevy 1/2 ton Panel Truck or do I tell him I need a master cylinder for a '75 Ford Granada with front disc and power brakes( which is where it really came from) Which way do you think I'll get the right part the first time.
Yes allot of the younger guys don't know that this part from this car will also work on this one and no we don't have the huge double row book racks like we used to (I miss them) and I've found that in different stores the older guys are teaching the younger ones what they know, it's just not that easy to pass years and years of knowledge on. Hell, I'm teaching assistant managers how things work and how to look things up. The computer systems in these stores ask some silly questions but thats the program not the guy pushing buttons. So all and all work with the counter folks, give them a little break, We are not mind readers,we don't know unless you tell us.
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Old 07-31-2006, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 66GMC
More name-calling ... great.

Yeah ... I guess we DO need more threads like this that may help to educate
the more ignorant among us.

Yup, every "parts guy" should know every detail about every engine in every car built between 1901 and 2007, right?

Does it ever occur to you guys that it's YOUR car ... you probably know it a little better than say your uncle's brother-in-laws wife's sister's Suzuki Swift?

Maybe he skipped class on "Ford Day" ... or maybe he just doesn't give a rat's derriere that they were ALL SOHC or MAYBE he just read the question that was displayed on the scan tool!

Or <heaven forbid!> he just plain had a "mental eclipse". Have you NEVER done that? Let something fall out of your mouth and immediately wish you hadn't?

Give me strength!

It's no wonder that nobody sticks around in this job ... it's just not worth the abuse.
I apologize for the name calling, I was tired last night when I posted that.

I worked in the parts business for a while while I was in college. I had phone & parts runner/picker at a truck recycling yard & rebuild center. Even after just a month I had most of the Dana, Spicer, Eaton, Detroit Diesel, GM, Ford, Dodge,and heck of a lot more figured out. We had huge cross reference books that dwarf what you find in NAPA that I used almost everyday.

I suppose I can't understand how you can be in the parts business and not know the basics on an engine that is used in about everything full size that Ford has produced for the last 14 years. That would have been like me not knowing the 366 & 427 were big block GM motors used in C50 & C60. Or that the housing & ring gear in a Mack differential is parallel to the ground, perpendicular to the standard orientation. Or that no matter what you do you WILL snap a countershaft in a 13sp eaton trans sometime in the trucks lifetime

There are parts houses I will not go to due to the idiocy the people behind their counter are capable of.
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Old 07-31-2006, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Or they just let me wander the aisles, opening boxes until I find the part that will work.

I don't slight the counter guys for not wanting to spend eternity looking up a part for me. It can't be profitable for them at all.

Later, mikey

You don't shop at my parts house, do you, Mike? Same type of stuff. When I walk in, typically the first question is, "Is this for your truck, the car, wife's car, or something for someone else?" I'll never forget the first time Toby asked that. My wife was walking in with me, she went ghost white. Mentioned something about doing too much business there. And, on the way back out, she said I should try buying stock in the store. I guess it would be cheaper in the long run....


In a while, Chet.
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Old 07-31-2006, 04:10 PM
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Most of the parts people I deal with are dead on, they know the old cars, some of them have old car's. that's why I will pay more for better service, when I ask for a part and the parts guy tells me to go to the junkyard to get it ( GM HEI distributor, asked for a Pertonix Ignitor which they can order ), that's not good service. when I go anywhere for parts, I always give a make, model and year, unless it's my favorite Carquest, tell the counter guy that I'm working on my Falcon and he know's to look up a '67 200 6cyl automatic sedan, in the books, course if he forgets, I don't mind telling him, not like it's his job to memorize what my Falcon is.
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