If you love cars and love rebuilding them when they don’t work, you’re probably the kind of person who’ll consider a self-service junkyard a kind of wonderland. You can head out to one of these places and practically get enough parts to make your own car for a couple of hundred dollars. Here’s what’s considered hot today in the world of junkyard auto-parts. Once you’re done with this list, you’ll probably never think of heading to an auto parts store again. It’s just too much fun bragging about how you put in a new transmission for $50.
An old and reliable transmission
If you have an old GM truck with a bad transmission, any junkyard should have a few old trannies that you can try out. An SM465 (’68 -’88), SM420 (’47-’67) or NP435 (’64-’93) can be very versatile. Any of these units offers an excellent 6.32 to 7.02 first gear range, and can be easily set into any of dozens of popular engines. All you need is an adapter by Novak, JV Conversions or Advance.
A 9-inch Ford axle
One of the most successful axle models in American automotive history, the 9-inch Ford axle can be found in practically any junkyard, usually a ’77-’86 F-150 or Bronco. Truck units are 65 inches wide, and van units are 68 inches. They come with huge drum brakes, a 5×5.5″ wheel pattern and a 31-spline shaft. If you find a unit with a large N stamped into the metal above the transmission rod, you should go for it. It stands for Nodular-iron center section, and comes with extra strength.
Spring plates and U-bolts for Ford trucks and vans
Technically, the U-bolts or spring plates in any vehicle are supposed to be purpose-built for the model. Nevertheless, people do get away with using whatever works. Pieces from old Ford 150 trucks, Broncos and vans are often reused in other trucks if they fit. As long as you know something about rebuilding cars, you can repurpose these pieces in a wide variety of vehicles.
Saginaw 800 power steering
If you are setting up a project upgrading an old GM car to power steering, you should look for a Saginaw 800 power unit out of any GM car from the 70s. If you can find a unit from 1976 (you’ll see the number 76 imprinted in the metal), you should get it. It has extra-large bearings and extra housing strength.
A Quadrajet carburetor
Quadrajet carburetors are popular for their precision and their ability to let engines idle reliably, no matter what angle the vehicle may be at. They are especially popular among off-roaders. When modified, their capacious secondary’s can support engines as powerful as 500 HP. Units found on cars and trucks by GM manufactured between 1970 and 1977 are the most in demand.
If you’re interested in a new set of disc brakes
If you have lots of time on your hands and need to change out the disc brakes on your classic car, you should consider hunting for the right pair of used Chevy calipers on any of various cars made in the 20 years leading up to 1991 should be an excellent choice.
Finally, if you can find an old Chevy V8 carburetor-based engine, you can pick it up with all the accessories necessary for less than $100. It can power up your Jeep wonderfully.