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Salvage Yard Pros/Cons

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 05 Sep 2015, 10:19 am
PGBCruiser's Avatar
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Default Salvage Yard Pros/Cons

So, I'm constantly reading about the great finds at salvage yards; thinking, "man, that would be good to have."
Being a complete mechanical newbie, I lack the experience AND TOOLS (I have basic homeowner tools) to head out and grab a dash cover, window control switch, etc.

Here are some questions:
What tools do you guys usually bring (trim removal tools, ratchet set, WD40)?
Is it common to have an "Oops" moment removing something; and if so are you paying for it?
Are some parts (plastics) suffering damage being in a salvage yard exposed to the elements for who knows how long?
Most importantly, how often are you greeted by a snake or hornet's nest when you open these cars up?

Thanks -I'd love to grab a few things to help my very limited budget; and I'd like to learn on a $35 part versus buying new; but I am a rookie.
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Old 05 Sep 2015, 11:02 am
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Default Re: Salvage Yard Pros/Cons

Quote:
Originally Posted by PGBCruiser View Post

Here are some questions:
What tools do you guys usually bring (trim removal tools, ratchet set, WD40)
?
I use two tool configurations. First, if I'm just "cruising" the yard to find stuff I might want. I just put some tools in my back pocket, like two screw drivers, channel lock pliers, 8" crescent wrench, box cutter and side cutters. This allows me to make many "quick grabs" if I see something cool that can easily be harvested.

If I'm actually going to a yard to grab parts, I take the entire tool kit from my PT. To this, I add a Craftsman 19.2 volt 3/8 drive impact wrench. If grabbing engine or suspection parts, I may instead take my matching 1/2 drive impact wrench. Here a link to the items in my PT tool kit:

Stuff for PT Tool Bag

Quote:
Is it common to have an "Oops" moment removing something; and if so are you paying for it?
No, I do not pay for it if I brake it. Many folks at pull it yourself salvage yards literally "cut" the parts out of the car they want. I've seen entire cars basically destroyed for a simple part because someone brought a saw instead of a wrench. This is very wasteful. But the salvage yards are very large and the folks running them cannot watch everything. For me, I try to not do this. But I do sometime go to the salvage yard to "attempt" something on a PT that I wouldn't try first on my own. And when I do, I put on the extra parts back into the cargo area of the car so others can find them later. But if I break something, I don't worry too much about it, because I'm likely one of the more conscientious folks about this issue already. And the yard makes a lot of money off of me.

Quote:
Are some parts (plastics) suffering damage being in a salvage yard exposed to the elements for who knows how long?
Yes, the sun and weather does destroy lots of stuff in a salvage yard. But strangely, how the car was maintained before it was salvaged often matters more. I've seen two salvage PT's side by side in a yard. And everything in one car would be deteriorated while everything looked new in the other car. And once you find a nice car like this second one, that's the one you will often want to pull you parts from.

Quote:

Most importantly, how often are you greeted by a snake or hornet's nest when you open these cars up?
All the time. I often keep "OFF" in my tool bag. And I have carried wasp stray too. But this is standard when doing anything outdoors in Arkansas. The biting bugs rule here and we are all just there subjects. Snake don't bother me much. Rattlesnakes like salvage cars. But if you bang on the car first, they will rattle and often they will take off and leave. Again, Arkansas is full of snakes, so this is fairly common and no big deal.

PS: The environment in a large salvage yard can be rough. This is especially true in hot weather. Imagine a square mile of open gravel filled with piles of extremely hot metal in the blazing sun on a day over 100 degrees. You need good work shoes or boots that you can walk long distances in. You need a good hat to protect your head and sun glasses or tinted safety glasses for your eyes. And gloves for you hands. Carry your own water too. And you may need sun screen. Lot's of sun screen. And remember, the restroom may be a quarter mile away from where you are working.
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Last edited by Handy_Cruiser; 05 Sep 2015 at 11:20 am.
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Old 05 Sep 2015, 11:28 am
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Default Re: Salvage Yard Pros/Cons

Google the parts removel especially videos this will help with what you need to take. But remember you will see something you hadn't planed on you want. Being careful not to damage or lose your cel phone you can most likely google how that comes off too.
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Old 05 Sep 2015, 12:42 pm
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Default Re: Salvage Yard Pros/Cons

One big lesson I learned the first time I went to the yard is that don't go cheap on not renting a golf cart if there is one available......
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Old 05 Sep 2015, 02:43 pm
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Default Re: Salvage Yard Pros/Cons

I don't need any parts, but anxious to see what they have just the same. Enjoying all the parts finds that you folks share with us, photos are appreciated. Once of these days I'll need to replace something, and will go to a local pick.
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Old 05 Sep 2015, 02:57 pm
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Default Re: Salvage Yard Pros/Cons

Here are some questions:
What tools do you guys usually bring (trim removal tools, ratchet set, WD40)?
Usually, a set of wrenches, bolt extractors, pliers, mechanix gloves and WD-40.....depending on what part you are actually looking for....as I said, It would be really comfy to rent a golf cart so you can also bring any kind of tools you want i.e power tools etc.
Is it common to have an "Oops" moment removing something; and if so are you paying for it?
You can have fun and wreck out anything inside the yard as long as nobody sees it and you don't have to pay for it.

Are some parts (plastics) suffering damage being in a salvage yard exposed to the elements for who knows how long?
Just get whatever part you think you need and still in good shape.

Most importantly, how often are you greeted by a snake or hornet's nest when you open these cars up?
hate snakes but stupid me, that never came up on my mind....thanks for the reminders!


Thanks -I'd love to grab a few things to help my very limited budget; and I'd like to learn on a $35 part versus buying new; but I am a rookie.
The price of getting an OEM part less than the price or even just a fraction of an OEM or even an aftermarket will be your best reward for all the efforts.


Also don't forget to bring extra towel and a bottle of water on hot summer days like today.

Last edited by ColTED; 06 Sep 2015 at 10:09 am.
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Old 05 Sep 2015, 09:31 pm
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Default Re: Salvage Yard Pros/Cons

Since I have a crap load of tools, (4 tool boxes) I usually take a set of 1/4" drive sockets and ratchet and a 3/8 drive ratchet with sockets from 10mm to 22. I also take a few extensions for the 3/8 and a reducer to the 1/4" drive setup. I also take long and short, large and small flat tip and phillips screwdrivers. Needle nose pliers, channel lock pliers and vice grips. I take a 6, 10 and 12" crescent wrench too. Most times I have a set of torx drivers and allen wrenches too, along with a ball peen hammer. I like to be prepared. And don't forget the universal joint for your 3/8 drive ratchet. They come in handy. I also keep a couple of "S" type screwdrivers in my tool box. They've got a phillips screwdriver on one end and a flat head on the other. And I ALWAYS make sure to have a box cutter with me. Snakes don't bother me, but the damned wasps and fire ants do. I usually keep a can of wasp spray with me. It works on the ants too. In the cooler months or winter, I don't worry about the ants, wasps or snakes.
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Old 05 Sep 2015, 09:56 pm
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Default Re: Salvage Yard Pros/Cons

pros= if you find general parts in very good condition the price is generally reasonable.
Cons= if you find hard to get parts in very good condition the price is generly high.


I would generally look in a factory service manual to get an idea the tools I would need to get a part.

The last time I went to a pick n pull it was to measure various ohm resistance of Oem Chrysler wires and to dissemble a few 41te / A604 the PT's automatic transmissin to examine failed parts.

I have never encountered animals or bugs even in the days when a trip to the auto recycler was a every weekend event.
Most of the time now I shop for used parts on ebay, craigslist or amazon. Most of the time they are close to,the same price as a pick n pull and you dont get dirty to pull the part.
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Last edited by NitroPT; 06 Sep 2015 at 01:44 am.
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Old 05 Sep 2015, 10:38 pm
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Default Re: Salvage Yard Pros/Cons

The above replies are spot on. It does pay to kind of 'figure out' what you will need as far as tools ahead of time, but sometimes you'll see something that you don't have the right tool for. Where I go they stamp your hand, and you can get back in later in the day if you come back.

One of the first things I ALWAYS buy when I get a new car is a set of Field Service Manuals (not a Chilton's book or whatever). To me those FSMs are like GOLD for knowing how to disassemble and reassemble your whole car.

I have gotten everything from an emblem or small trim pieces, an upgraded stereo (or three or four ) and speakers, even music CD's, all the way up to a complete set different seats for one of my cars.

As far as breaking things, yep it happens. Oh well, I hate it when it does, but I do at least try to be careful.

And yes, some people do destroy a car just to get a part out. Not cool. I usually save screws and small hardware from the parts I take, but don't tell them. I just throw them in my toolbox. They do toolbox checks but have never said anything. And the parts that I remove to get at what I want, I put them inside the vehicle for someone else if they need them.

The places I go don't rent golf carts, they just have a bunch of wheel barrows, and if you want or know you will need one, you gotta get there early.

I have been surprised by a hornets nest once or twice, but so far no snakes.

Have fun and try not to spend all day drooling at the cool stuff you will find (like today - an almost complete 1964 Plymouth Belvedere, in restorable condition, and a beautiful black 1990 Imperial with Infinity stereo and digital dash) *sigh*
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  #10 (permalink)  
Old 06 Sep 2015, 12:28 am
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Default Re: Salvage Yard Pros/Cons

As a start on of the 75-100 piece black plastic box tool sets usually found on sale for about $20-30 at Sears, Target, and even Auto parts stores are a good junkyard companion. Most have wire cutter/strippers, pliers plain and needle nose, straight and Phillips screwdrivers and bits, some metric and standard hex keys, wire brush, 1/4 drive and 3/8 drive sockets, adapter, extension and wrench, crescent wrench, even some tore bits.
PT Cruisers use 10mm head bolts for most all sheet metal attachments and the radiator fan, a/c condenser, oil cooler assembly up front., 7 and 9mm to remove inner fender panels, 12 and 13mm for hood latch, oil pan plug, a 15mm here or there, Torx for tail lamps and here and there through the body. If you work on them it doesn't take long to know, and remember, what you need for tools at the yards.
A little folding basket cart is also nice to have to pile all that smalle stuff in.
Remember to keep, and collect as many fasteners as you can when you're working pulling a car apart. They will always come in handy and most yards don't even charge for them if it's a pocketful or double handful.
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