So the exhaust on my 1974 GMC 3500 dump truck fell off on Saturday. I fixed it yesterday, but to do so I had to buy parts.
It wasn't a big breakdown, I needed no pipes or mufflers. It was just that one of the studs from the manifold rusted through and the donut disappeared to where ever they go when that happens. I looked in the garage, but all of my exhaust parts seem to be off my wife's former vehicles because they are all dainty little things. I went out to the truck and measured the pipe and took the remaining stud out so I could get the right size. While I was there I soaked the remains of the broken stud in WD-40.
I gathered my courage and headed for Parts Source, since it was Sunday and all the good parts stores close on Sundays. I looked around, hoping to find some generic parts in those little red "HELP!" packages. No such luck. I walked up to the counter and told the kid behind the counter I needed some exhaust parts.
"What kind of vehicle?" He asked.
"1974 GMC 3500," I said.
"4 wheel drive?" he asked.
"Two," I said.
"Air conditioning?" He asked.
"No," I said.
"What size engine?"
"292," I said.
"So the small V-8?" He asked.
"No, great big in-line six," I said.
"That doesn't exist," he said.
"Sure it does," I said. "It's existing in my yard this very second."
He stared at me blankly, no idea what to do if the vehicle wasn't in his computer.
"Let's try an '84 2500 with a 350," I said, being pretty sure the studs and pipes are the same size and hoping that an '84 was new enough to show up on his computer.
"What parts do you need for that?" He asked.
"Same ones," I said.
He ran through the same list of questions and then said, "I don't list that either. Are you sure it's not a '94?"
"Well, bring out those parts and we'll see," I said.
"Which parts? The '94?" He asked.
"Does the '94 have dual exhaust?" He asked, turning to his computer.
A lesser man might have cried at that point. This kid apparently thought I owned three trucks, each a decade apart in age, that all had the exact same exhaust problem. Not me though, I've played this game too many times. "Yeah, but I only need the left side," I said.
The kid checked his computer and said, "Actually both sides have the same part numbers." The tone in his voice implied that I was somehow a little dim for not knowing that. I gave him my best smile.
He went and got them and laid them on the counter. "We're out of those, but the boss said this would likely work," he said. I wondered if boss had been hiding around the corner listening to this comedy act.
I measured the donut and it was the right size, then laid the old stud beside the new ones. The thread was the same, but the new ones were longer. "Perfect," I said.
"These are longer," the kid said.
"Yes they are," I said, "but they'll work."
"Are you sure? It can be pretty tight under there," he said.
"If they are too long, I'll just grind them down," I said, knowing that you could house an entire family under the hood of my truck.
"If you grind them, you can't return them," the kid replied.
"That's true," I said.
The kid rang up the parts and said "$14.67", then looked slightly confused when I handed him a $20.00. Probably hadn't seen a cash sale all weekend. He got the change right though, so maybe there's hope for him.
Anyway, the broken stud turned out pretty easily and it all went back together well enough, so the parts purchase took longer than the repair.