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  #106 (permalink)  
Old 07-30-2006, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuthnCustoms
...theres alot of good knowledgable folks at the auto parts stores....
I don't know where you've been shopping but the only place I ever find knowledgeable people behind the counter is at NAPA and that is sometimes even a crap shoot.

If you go to Auto Zone or any of the others, if it's not in the computer they have no clue. Just try walking into Auto Zone and asking for a thermostat for an early Chrysler hemi. They'll try to sell you one for a 5.7 liter. As far as most of them are concerned, if it's not in the computer they never heard of it. Or ask for a gasket set for a TH-350. When they ask what car it's for tell them a '53 Chevy pickup and watch the stupid look on their face..... A what? ..... Occasionally, and I do mean occasionally you will find someone who knows what they're talking about but that's usually when he's an old retired mechanic that's just working there to keep busy.

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  #107 (permalink)  
Old 07-30-2006, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Centerline
I don't know where you've been shopping but the only place I ever find knowledgeable people behind the counter is at NAPA and that is sometimes even a crap shoot.

If you go to Auto Zone or any of the others, if it's not in the computer they have no clue. Just try walking into Auto Zone and asking for a thermostat for an early Chrysler hemi. They'll try to sell you one for a 5.7 liter. As far as most of them are concerned, if it's not in the computer they never heard of it. Or ask for a gasket set for a TH-350. When they ask what car it's for tell them a '53 Chevy pickup and watch the stupid look on their face..... A what? ..... Occasionally, and I do mean occasionally you will find someone who knows what they're talking about but that's usually when he's an old retired mechanic that's just working there to keep busy.
the autozone i usualy goes to has 5 regular people ive seen there for years..2 of em are not bad at all because they have a side biz doing custom lowriders..1 other one is a woman & i aint kiddin when i say she KNOWS what she's doing & seems to really know her stuff..any others?..for example..my son went to buy a new battery for his 85 GT stang..came back here with it..i couldnt of even fit that thing into a bronco battery box let alone a little fox body..i went with him when i he took it back(he was only 16 at the time)..we walked in at different times..i stood back & listened to the guy argue THAT was the right battery for his car & my kid didnt know what he was talking about..by the time i stepped up & called him a few names & wanted to see tha manager..he had already dissapeared into the back parts isle & wasnt seen again..i havent seen him there since though..wonder why?

at the advance auto store we deal with is ALOT better than autozone..dont know if its because of the manager that runs it CARES what his employess know or not but..most of the guys there are knowledgable & older..i geuss it depends where you are dealing with the stores..locations & who runs them..the local NAPA store we have close by here?..only 4 guys work there..they know NOTHING hardly at all..i practicly have to go online here at home & then take a part number in for them or they dont know what the hell you are talking about
soo..i geuss its like i said..it all depends on where you are at
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  #108 (permalink)  
Old 07-30-2006, 04:18 PM
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You're luckier than I am. The Auto Zones around here will hire anyone off the street and with 15 minutes training on the computer they're "experts".

Usually I have to tell them exactly where to look to find the part I need. The only place besides Napa I've found that usually has knowledgeable people is Pep Boys. Unfortunately living up here on the mountain means the nearest Pep Boys is 3 1/2 hours away.
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  #109 (permalink)  
Old 07-30-2006, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Centerline
You're luckier than I am. The Auto Zones around here will hire anyone off the street and with 15 minutes training on the computer they're "experts".

Usually I have to tell them exactly where to look to find the part I need. The only place besides Napa I've found that usually has knowledgeable people is Pep Boys. Unfortunately living up here on the mountain means the nearest Pep Boys is 3 1/2 hours away.
Oh god, I know wutcha mean Centerline.. A perfect example of this is that my friend went into Auto Zone to see what they thought about the idling problem he had where it kept having a bad surging problem from 300-1100 rpms. He asked one of the guys at the counter about it, told them what he's checked out/changed, and the guy suggests and I kid you not, "Why don't you just sell your truck and buy another one? That's what I do." ... Are you kidding??? Luckily he wasn't telling that to me or I would've had fun with that moron Geez, he almost sounds like those spoiled celebrities who buy another Ferrari just because their other one got a small scratch on it. My god... it's wayyy beyond repairable!! Sell it and get another one!
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  #110 (permalink)  
Old 07-30-2006, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Classix_Lover
Oh god, I know wutcha mean Centerline.. A perfect example of this is that my friend went into Auto Zone to see what they thought about the idling problem he had where it kept having a bad surging problem from 300-1100 rpms. He asked one of the guys at the counter about it, told them what he's checked out/changed, and the guy suggests and I kid you not, "Why don't you just sell your truck and buy another one? That's what I do." ... Are you kidding??? Luckily he wasn't telling that to me or I would've had fun with that moron Geez, he almost sounds like those spoiled celebrities who buy another Ferrari just because their other one got a small scratch on it. My god... it's wayyy beyond repairable!! Sell it and get another one!
I don't know what the auto parts stores are like that you guys are talking about ... but here in Alberta, "Partsman" does NOT equal "Mechanic".

The Trades and Aprenticeships Board here clearly differentiates the two "skilled trades" as such.

Start Here, then click on "Trades and Occupations" for an alphebetic index,

OR click on the direct links below:

"Parts Technician" description

"Automotive Service Technician"

In my opinion, asking a partsman to diagnose your problem ("hey buddy, drive it a little closer to the phone wouldja" ) would be like asking your grocer to fix your plumbing.

Partsmen have to have basic mechanical aptitude in order understand the terminology and provide you (or your mechanic) with the part that you ask for ... BUT it's not our job (or in the customer's best interests) to make assumptions and/or potentially wrong diagnostic decisions. OK... maybe some parts (like batteries) we can test, and make intellegent decisions on replacement. We can install wiper blades, tail-light bulbs, etc ... but for the most part, you wouldn't want us working on you car!

Likewise, (again - my opinion) most mechanics WOULD NOT make the best partsmen. Most of them have no concept of inventory control or paper flow. If you left it to them you'd have at least 6 of every part ever known to man sitting on your shelves (collecting dust), but you'd never be able to find them when you needed them.That's why every successful repair shop has mechanics in the back and "pencil-pushers" in the front.

Incedentally, when customers press me for free diagnostic information ... I often (jokingly) recommend that they "jack up the radiator cap and drive a new car underneath it", too.

Another one of my favorites:
Q.) "How much do you think a (fill in the blank) is worth ... just off the top of your head"?
A.) "Probably less than a hundred (or thousand)."

Man ... I could go on for hours ... but I won't.

Maybe we should have a new thread on this. There is a LOT of mis-information and name-calling going on regarding this subject, and it gets the hairs on the back of my neck up almost every time.

Last edited by 66GMC; 07-30-2006 at 06:59 PM. Reason: Links to definitions
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  #111 (permalink)  
Old 07-30-2006, 06:21 PM
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I applied for a job at one of those places. I got turned down for being overqualified. All I wanted was a summer job that relates to cars...
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  #112 (permalink)  
Old 07-30-2006, 06:23 PM
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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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  #113 (permalink)  
Old 07-30-2006, 06:38 PM
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My first choice for parts I can buy over the counter is NAPA. Has been for over 30 years now. Pep Boys is too far away for me to consider using them.

My local Auto Zone and Advanced change counter people so often I never see the same person twice. (not that I go in either place much)

The comment about selling the truck cause it has a surge problem reminds me of advice Tire Rack gave me earlier this year.

I wanted 235/75/15s on the back of my 150 Wagon. The Tire Rack web site says a BFG T/A radial is 28" tall which is about 1" too tall to clean the wheel opening on the rear quarter panels of my Wagon. SO...... I called Tire Rack to speak with one of their techs about this. I explained what I'm buying tires for. A '57 Chevy 150 Handyman 2-door Wagon and that I wanted a 235/75/15 tire on an 8" rally. We talked some and then this tech says, "You'll probably need to use a torch."

"USE A TORCH?"
On a '57 Chevy???????????????

Is this guy on drugs?
NO WAY..... am I using a torch on a '57 Chevy to make a set of tires fit my car. I had to settle for 225/75/15s for my rally wheels but at least I didn't use a torch to make them fit.
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  #114 (permalink)  
Old 07-30-2006, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
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.

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.
Well said, Martinsr.

BTW, the worst "stupid question" that I ever had to ask was back in '79 when I was working at a Datsun/Volvo/Amc-Jeep dealership (what a gong show ... and whole other story).

The guy was looking for a transfer-case chain and the question (I kid you not) in the parts catalog was (paraphrased): "Which side of the steering column does the brake pedal hang from?"

"HUH?"
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  #115 (permalink)  
Old 07-30-2006, 06:50 PM
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Actually Martinsr, there are a few former mechanics that have worked at Auto Zone near me(dunno if they lost a bet or something ). One of them I actually like because he knows what he's talking about but haven't seen him around there lately, well.. I usually don't go to that Auto Zone, only go there with my friend sometimes whenever he needs something. I stick to Orielly's since they have some good people there. I dunno which Auto Zone my friend went to when the guy told him to buy a car and even if you are underqualified, come on.. that's pretty damn stupid to suggest to someone to buy another car What he should've done is say, "Hold on one minute, I'll get so and so to help you out." There are a couple of people at Auto Zone who do know what they're talking about... sometimes so I don't find it strange at all to ask them a question as long as they know what they're talking about but unfortunately as Centerline pointed out, they're willing to hire anyone off the streets so I don't have much luck anymore with having anyone from Auto Zone help me out with a good suggestion.

Had an old timer give me a blank stare when I asked him for a set of intake gaskets and he asked, "What year?" "For a 70-72 454, oval ports" I responded. He then dismissed me saying, "Sorry, we don't sell anything aftermarket." .....???????????????????? I started to argue with him telling him I just need a set of intake gaskets, not a hard thing to do at all, but he kept saying the same thing. Went to another auto store down the block, said the exact thing to them, waddya know, I was in and outta there in 1 minute with a new set of gaskets.
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  #116 (permalink)  
Old 07-30-2006, 07:11 PM
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Honestly, I dont think that that guy telling your friend to seel the car is wrong. I probably would have said the same thing. In my experience of trying to explain things to people, it gets me know where, and they are still lost, so I generally give a smart remark. Or I offer to show them, but a parts guy cant do that.

I dont have any problems with answering the questions to get the right part. Out of all of the local parts stores, there is only one guy I will not deal with, but its because he is a tool. I've heard him mouth off to customers, and hes done it to me. I'm surprised he has a job. He went as far as to call someone stupid to their face while I was there, because they asked about the terminals on a battery.

I did however have a bad experience with getting the right parts once. I ordered a new throttle cable, because mine sheared off where it threads into the firewall. I got all the make and model questions, told them its 2wd, has a 20R, which is a 2.2L motor, its a 5 speed, 1980, etc. When it gets there, its the wrong length, and not th eright fitting on the end, so I had them check the computer to see if somehow it got mixed up. But it showed up as the right part in the computer. Somehow, it looks identical to the throttle cable meant for a truck with cruise control, which was not available until 1981... So I asked for a refund on my card. Never got the money back for that...
So I went to Napa, and they got me the right part, no problems.
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  #117 (permalink)  
Old 07-31-2006, 09:58 AM
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Well I love 283s and would take a nice 3 deuce 283 dressed in corvette or old cal custom valve covers anyday. But 350s are just plain boring. I just can't see why you would put a ton of money or time into something then take the easy road when it comes to driveline. I have had owners of credit card show cars tell me they put a 350 into thier vintage Ford because the chrome kit cost less.
Nothing against Chevys either, just tired of seeing 350s in old Fords.
I can relate to running what's cheap. I got a strong 429 in a trade and thats what I am running in my rpu. If course then I had to spend more on a bigshaft toploader and 9 inch than I had into the whole rest of the car.
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  #118 (permalink)  
Old 07-31-2006, 11:58 AM
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Centerline,

I really enjoyed your essay, though 8 pages of responses later, I am just now finding it.

When it was time for me to build my '39 Chevy, I had a problem...what do I have to do to make my "belly button" rod different enough to make it visable in the veritable sea of '39 Chevys.

I decided to drop a Ford engine and driveline into it...and then I found another category of folks to whom you didn't elude in your essay...those who for no apparent reason, disrespect all forms of streetrodding NOT including the "me too" 350/350 setup. Kinda like the lame mentality central to the Harley/Davidson vs. metric bike diatrides.

My Ford 289 can clean the clock of most 350s, and yet people will come right up to me and tell me what they think of my setup using a variety of unsavory adjectives and adverbs.

So much for creativity...

Having said that...I DO look forward to each and every show. The majority of folks express almost a sense of relief and refreshment when they see my car or some good-natured poking.

To add further to your essay...If you look at the manufacturing community, they tend to perpetuate the phenomenon. You will find that most provide fabrication parts to service the "me too" streetrodding community. Just go to Chassis Engineering's catalog and find a "SBF to '39 Chevy engine mount kit" I'll save you the trouble...you won't find it. Entry-level fabricators will use what's available instead of custom-fabricating something original, and that is 75% of the market out there.

I hear all about the trials and tribulations people experience dropping SBCs into every "whatever" rod they're working on...The most challenging thing I ran into was getting an oil filter to fit...1985 Chrysler Reliant...$2.98...Checker Auto...done.

George
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Old 07-31-2006, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by gdubstub
.......I decided to drop a Ford engine and driveline into it.........My Ford 289 can clean the clock of most 350s, and yet people will come right up to me and tell me what they think of my setup using a variety of unsavory adjectives and adverbs.

George
I absolutely love it! It's great to see someone who doesn't let everyone else decide what power train he's going to run. Besides there are already enough Chevys in Fords it's time for a few Fords in Chevys for a change.
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Old 07-31-2006, 07:09 PM
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Up in the photo gallery, I show you how it's done...this is what a Ford looks like inside of a Chevy. Not many of us around...I know of only 3 in my circles (MN Street Rod Assn.). I know and meet a lot of rodders, in my role as a monthly article contributor for the MSRA LineChaser.

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