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Old 05-11-2010, 09:21 AM
Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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Tip on finding parts for your older car.

Yesterday I bought a stop light switch for my 1959 Rambler American at the local parts store and was reminded how often the parts for these cars are hidden away waiting for us to tell the partsman how to find them. I had never seen one of these books until I spent a while as a parts man back a number of years ago.

Many, if not most mechanical parts are cataloged two different ways, by "application" and by "specification".

Application is "Make model and year", while Spcification is "Height, length, thread count, hole size and count and width". The specification book even has pictures! I call them coloring books.

What kind of car doesn't even matter, you could be buying it for a tractor, it is strictly the PART we are talking about not a car no one has heard of.

It would blow you away at how many parts on cars are shared with other makes, or in industrial applications. I remember having a master cyl in stock at our local warehouse for a friggin Harley 45 Trike!!!! It was the same used in fork lifts as I remember!

My Rambler for instance has many Ford parts on it. U joints, distributor parts, all Ford 6 cyl from the late fifties early sixties.

"Bear claw" latches do you know where they came from? They are used in Motorhomes.

I brought the part in set it on the counter and give me one of these. I knew we would be going to books as there was NOTHING by application in the system. He came back with the book, we found in a couple of minutes the exact part which did NOT have the Rambler in the application list!

He went to the shelf and got it and I was walking out in less time that it would have taken to get a radiator hose for a 2005 Cobolt.

I will be going in to get my control arm bushings the same way and I will bet they will have them.

If you are going to a "McParts" store in a strip mall, you are likely out of luck. You may need to go to a REAL parts store. Where is the REAL parts store? Ask a local repair shop where they buy their parts, it won't be a "McParts" store, it will be the REAL parts store in town (or the next town). Often they are off the beaten path. They don't need the big sign or exposure or national advertizing because they get their business from the shops and often have a salesmen going out working with them. This is where you will find the pros in the business.


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Old 05-11-2010, 10:11 AM
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when I got the stop light switch for the '65 American I had, I went to the local carquest down the road, and it was actually listed by application... 1 peice strut rod bushings for it were obsolete, but the 2 peice strut rod bushings for a Gremlin fit and worked just fine.. also, there was no listing for a rear brake hose for a '64-'65 American.. so I used 1 listed for a '60-'63 or '66-'69 ( 2 listings same P/N ) and it worked perfect... carquest books are nice, because just about everything listed under application, is listed with a specification also
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Old 05-11-2010, 08:11 PM
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If you're incredibly lucky, you'll run into a McParts store that has somebody who knows where they hid the paper catalogs, and how to use them. Not real common, but they're out there. They probably used to work at a real parts store, or are dedicated car nuts like us.
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by jimfulco
If you're incredibly lucky, you'll run into a McParts store that has somebody who knows where they hid the paper catalogs, and how to use them. Not real common, but they're out there. They probably used to work at a real parts store, or are dedicated car nuts like us.
True. There's a couple gearheads at the local ImportZone (one has a late 60s Chrysler droptop. BIG boat car, but its cool!)

I spent some time in one as well. Found out that oil filters for a mid-80s Mustang 5.0 (302) will work on my Jeep 4.0 (all) and a lot of mopar minivans and pickup truck/durangos.

A oil filter for a late 90s Ford Taurus (long and kind of skinny, I think it might be the same used on the modular engines) will fit Saturn "S-Cars" (the 1.9 SOHC/DOHC engines), but like the Ford filters mentioned above, offer more capacity.

I had a Grand Am (3400, same as the 3100, and found in all sorts of GM stuff) that used a little oil filter, and looking into some years of Astro van (and all years of s10-Blazer) use a longer version of that filter.

Just some thoughts to improve your car's oil filtration. The extra capacity will help dilute combustion byproducts and condensation as well.
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