Classic Car Parts Buying Tips

When buying parts for re-sale, here are a few issues to look for.

1.       Air cleaners with a mouse nest inside often turn out to have rust pin holes because of mouse urine. Use a wire brush to check for pin holes.

2.       Carburetors were often modified. Look for missing parts like choke flaps. Check to see if the venturies are frozen. Don’t buy carburetors that are froze up unless they are really something special.

3.       In intakes and exhaust manifolds, look for snapped of bolts, stripped out or repaired threads, cracks, or repairs. Also on intakes, some of them had a tin pan riveted to the bottom (for example small block Chevy). This heat shield kept carburetor from vapor locking. If it’s missing, don’t buy the intake.

4.       Don’t buy cylinder heads that were heavily modified.

5.       Look for cracks in blocks on the sides around the soft plugs, especially on junk cars sitting for more than 20 years.

6.       Clean swap meet blocks are suspicious. They could be block that was tanked and magged and found with cracks. Dirty, greasy blocks are a safer bet.

7.       Don’t buy oil pans with rust on the inside. No one trusts them.

8.       Check steering boxes for bind. Make one full rotation.

9.       Make sure all turn signal and hazard switches in steering columns click like they are supposed to. Also, don’t buy columns with cut wires.

10.   Look for missing or worn teeth on flywheels. Check stick shift flywheels for heat cracks. If you find any of these issues, you need to pass on buying the flywheel.

11.   Look for cracks, cuts, or broken out mounting bosses on bell housings. A solid bell will “ring” for 5 to 10 seconds when you tap the side of it.

12.   Take the time to remove the covers on all manual transmissions or rear axles and check the gears and synchronizers for wear. Don’t assume they are okay. Carry a ½” wrench in your back pocket.


This snippet of information is direct from Dave’s book “Classic American Car Parts”  get more great part picking information like this and learn to run an eBay business selling classic car parts by buying the book today.

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