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Technical Anybody know how to speak "parts counter"?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Gasoline Junkie, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. I have better luck using Oriellys or Rock Autos database to search for myself, then taking an actual part # in to the store for the counter person to look up. Otherwise they'll give you the blank stare.

    Sent from my SM-J727T1 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    Terrible80, squirrel and sidevalve8ba like this.
  2. zzford
    Joined: May 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,823


    I had an uncle that was a mechanic and shop owner back in the 50's and 60's. He used to say that a good parts man is worth every bit as much as a good mechanic was. That was back when parts stores didn't sell "fragrances" for your interior.
  3. Sheep Dip
    Joined: Dec 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,572

    Sheep Dip
    from Central Ca

    Most everything is on-line now days, so to save time I just look up the part and part number that I want offered or listed by them on-line, print it and deliver across the counter to them.
    Works every time.
  4. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,219


    I needed a new ethanol resistant diaphragm for a 55 Olds Dual Action, Fuel/&Vac pump for my 1955 Olds Powered 32... My normal guy at the former "Carquest-now Advanced Auto Parts" had no info on the STOCK "OEM style"Chevy SBC 55-57 bolt together single action pump by Carter that does use the exact same fuel diaphragm that you can swap into the Olds pump.,,..but, a slightly younger counter guy overheard our conversation and knew about that exact unique Chevy pump right away...then found a pic of it on their computer system, as they have no books now.....then I found out he is a long time racer and gear head.. Got it next morning there...I am sure I paid more than online, but needed it when "I wanted it"..

    hey! careful now!, all my girlfriends like that stuff in my hotrod! ...."French Vanilla" LOL
    belair likes this.
  5. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 5,090


    It will only get worse. Many newer cars at the dealership parts counter require the VIN number.
    bobss396, Truck64 and lothiandon1940 like this.
  6. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 4,750


    Here in Oklahoma, as most of the nation now, O’Reilly’s is very common. Not sure if all are alike, but the O’Reilly’s in our town has a guy in the back that handles all the local shops, they usually put their best man back there and put their new people on the counter, might try that. Also our O’Reilly’s has a full set of books behind the counter and most I have stopped at around the nation do too.
    I had a fuel filter plug up on my motorhome in Nebraska, stopped at a O’Reilly’s, naturally they didn’t have the right filter, the manager also told me they didn’t have anything that crossed. I asked for the Wix book, he asked why? I told him I was going to find a filter for my Cummins. Checked dimensions of the spin on filter, finally found one that fit that was a five micron instead of ten microns, bought it, under protest of the manager, telling me it won’t fit. I said ok, give me the filter. Put it on drove off, the “manager “ had no clue as to how I did that. Bones
    rjones35 and zzford like this.
  7. Wish there was an O'Reilly's near me.:(
  8. Just so you know,
    I'd guess that on 60-70% of any parts you'd ever need that you'll save 25-80% buying the stuff on line. Amazon is kicking everyone's ass
    Truck64 likes this.
  9. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,793


    You have a computer, so look up the part# and give them that. Works for me. GOOGLE is your friend.
    Truck64 and Cincinnati Slim like this.
  10. 40FORDPU
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 2,974

    from Yelm, Wa
    1. Northwest HAMBers

    Pros and Cons about Rock Auto (shipping costs, as on a multiple parts order, may be shipping from several locals and charged accordingly).
    Whether you buy from them or not, they are a great resource for parts identification (pictures and part numbers).
    zzford likes this.
    zzford likes this.
  12. I went in to Orielly's the other day and asked for some plasti-gage. The kid at the counter said it should be in isle 3, which is their performance isle. I thought we were going somewhere. He's a good kid. :cool:

    I told him that there wasn't any and so he asked me what its used for. I told him and I got the blank stare.

    The old guy in line behind me started talking about the good old days with books and we sort of made light of the situation. The kid wasn't offended, and genuinely wanted to know, but I had to go elsewhere to get some plasti-gage. :)
  13. On the other hand, when I get on a web site to find a certain part (Summit comes to mind), they have all these mindless questions to answer first and I can't get past them to find what I need. I'm the one that feels like the dummy! :confused:

    It's very frustrating sometimes.
  14. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,406

    Rusty O'Toole

    You have to work with the system as it is. To find a part number they have to enter year, make, model, engine, transmission at least and possibly other details. Then they get a part number. Unless you enter ALL the information you don't get a part number.

    Don't blame the poor counter guy because he hasn't memorized every part number for every car made for every part for the last 70 years. Just give him what he needs to help you.

    Go in prepared with answers for the questions you KNOW he has to ask, and in a few minutes he will have your part.

    I will admit that being able to remember the year and model of every part on your own car may be a strain for some of you so I suggest you get a notebook and write down the source of each part as you build the car.
  15. Gasoline Junkie
    Joined: Nov 20, 2010
    Posts: 329

    Gasoline Junkie

    According to the numbers on my engine block, the engine in my car is from a '74 motorhome/school bus. I guess I can use that as far as gaskets but i'm not sure what kind of ignition that would have had, i'm currently running a standard points dizzy so I don't know what they could look up for that

    Sent from my SM-G930T using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  16. Terrible80
    Joined: Oct 1, 2010
    Posts: 780


    The Autozone near my work kicks ass! I go in with: I need a starter for a Vortec V6 for a forklift. Counterman lets try a 19xx chevy. I walk out in 20 minutes with a starter for 1/2 the dealer price. A lot of counter people don't give a shit about cars---it's just a job. But there are some good ones left and learning as best they can within the system .
    zzford likes this.
  17. 30dodge
    Joined: Jan 3, 2007
    Posts: 442

    from Pahrump nv

    I walked in to Auto zoned to borrow their compression test kit. The kit did not have the adapter for the 7/8" spark plugs that I needed. I was told by the manager there was never a plug that size. I walked out to my truck grabbed a plug ----- we don't carry industrial parts.
  18. One of the blessings of retiring to a small town is a locally owned parts store with banks of real catalogues. Need to look up a weird part? No problem. If they don't have it, it will be there the next morning. Hats off to Mark and Donna.
    mountainman2 and slowmotion like this.
  19. 1974 "P-30" is what you tell them.
    P-30 was the designation for the 1ton chassis that got everything from bread trucks to motor homes. The points and condenser as well as cap and rotor will be the same for anything prior to the introduction of electronic ignition. 1974 was the first year and trial introduction of electronic ignition and very limited around 3000 units.
  20. Gasoline Junkie
    Joined: Nov 20, 2010
    Posts: 329

    Gasoline Junkie

    That's really good to know, I work at a buick/gmc dealer and we have a chevy store next door so i'll see if they can help me out!

    Sent from my SM-G930T using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  21. Bill Nabors
    Joined: Jul 24, 2011
    Posts: 283

    Bill Nabors

    I worked parts at car dealers or Harley shops starting in 1963. I was involved in getting Harley started with computer inventory. Computer inventory in all shops has helped in having stock on hand and getting it quick if they don't have it. I can remember Harley having a 6 week back order on common parts in the 60s.
    I went to work for Advance in the mid 90s as a manager. I had a law degree, but didn't want to practice at that time. At one of the meetings, I questioned the use of counter help without automotive knowledge. I was told" it doesn't matter if it is Kotex or spark plugs, take the information the customer gives and look it up. If they get the wrong part, it is because they don't give you the right description." I have kept that in mind now when I go get parts.
    The scary part is that at the local ORileys the guy who seems to know the most is dummer than a rock and I got the wrong part almost every time. I try to use a big quite kid who listens to what you want and double checks every thing. It takes longer, but you don't end up taking it back.
    I have showed some of the kids the paper books and they seem to want to learn.
  22. I have a '74 C-60 bus converted to a motorhome, and it is considered "medium-duty" truck. Usually NAPA and Orielly's has most everything I need.

    The small block medium duty motors are also a good source for high performance build ups (except the small valve heads of course). Everything else SBC fits. But the guy behind the counter probably doesn't know or care. :cool:
  23. juan motime
    Joined: Sep 14, 2017
    Posts: 54

    juan motime

    Shortly after I started this project (9 years ago) 1950 International Pickup, I decided I would never remember all the different parts in this thing. So I started a parts journal with year, model, part number.
    To give some examples;

    Block: 67' 318 Dodge
    Heads: 72' "J"
    Trans: 96' Mustang T5
    Flywheel: 85'-87' 130 tooth, B-150 Van
    Pressure Plate: 85' Dodge B-150 10.5"
    Disc: 96' Mustang 10.5" 10 spline
    Release Bearing: 96" Mustang
    Clutch Fork: 93' Mustang 5.0 L
    That's just scratching the surface!!
    Too many different parts to list, but you get the idea.
    SO !!!
    All parts houses, all counter people are not equal.
    No sense in confusing anyone or blaming them.
    I plan on keeping a list of all these parts in the vehicle, just for brake downs while traveling.
    Makes for a happier kroozzz.
  24. Bikelessbill
    Joined: Oct 1, 2013
    Posts: 111


    Having worked for Advance Auto Parts for 8 years I know first hand that they would rather hire someone cheap with no automotive experience and show them a computer than pay descent wages for experienced help.
    zzford and ClayMart like this.
  25. Another thing that is a big problem with us older guys is that GOOGLE knows everything! :D You just have to ask it the right question to get the right answer! ;)
  26. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 3,242


    For the record, the place I deliver for has several old heads who can dig into the books (well deep into the 30's probably) like a hound dog on a soup bone. They take this shit serious. A couple of promising up & comers, and a few zero's, just taking up space & collecting a check, who wouldn't know a hubcap from a distributor cap. YMMV.:rolleyes:
  27. Gasoline Junkie
    Joined: Nov 20, 2010
    Posts: 329

    Gasoline Junkie

    That's a really good tip, good to keep with you when you're on the road.. a little peace of mind is priceless

    Sent from my SM-G930T using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  28. Agree but what are we going to do when all the auto parts stores go out of business and we need a part now, as in on the side of the road.
    A bunch of good points from both sides. I myself do the research and know the part # before I go in. The thing I like about most Napa stores is that they let me hop the counter and look for myself. I have done this for radiator hoses, belts and brake hoses. Nothing beats one on one comparison with my mock up or old part.

    I'm guessing you'd better have a plan when they close up.

    I had another in depth conversation with one of my parts suppliers. The particular part in question was a $39 part my cost. His cost on it was $30.00. He was willing to sell it at 34.00 and make $5.00- wait till next afternoon. Summit racing listed the exact same part for $19.95- available next day. Amazon had the exact same part for 12.99 2 days free shipping.

    I told him he's stupid for buying that part at $30.00 from his sources. Buy the damn thing on Amazon and sell it for 17.99 if you only want to make $5.00. The "main" mother hub for them has got to be buying close to Amazon prices. The individual stores buy from the mother hub and then sell to us. Lots of luck selling parts you don't have at nearly 3x what they can be had for, might be different if you had it right now I said. How the hell am I supposed to tack a little bit on and be at 40 when anyone can look and find it for 12.99. Then I told him you know I get free gas for the efforts of buying on Amazon. I said you should pick an hour and study the sales you made, the profit generated and comparing the exact same hour to buying you stuff on Amazon. Bet it doubles.

    It's sad but Amazon is kicking everyone's ass.
  29. For normal parts, I just go to Rock auto, pick the price range I want, order the part and wait for it to show up on my doorstep. I don't need any more frustration than I already have in my life.
    j hansen, zzford and Truck64 like this.
  30. Gasoline Junkie
    Joined: Nov 20, 2010
    Posts: 329

    Gasoline Junkie

    Doesn't sound like a bad way to go

    Sent from my SM-G930T using The H.A.M.B. mobile app

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