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Old 07-28-2021, 07:52 PM   #1
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My van (Dodge chassis) tossed a hubcap. Don't know where or when. Saw it was missing yesterday. Went online (ebay, etc) and found a couple of battle-scarred units for $30 but they looked bad!

I posted here on the trading post forum to see if anyone had a spare. It was too hot to go boneyard shopping yesterday afternoon so I delayed that chore until this morning. I haven't frequented the local boneyards in many years. I was saddened to see that the yards I used to frequent were mostly gone....victims of urban sprawl/renewal. Or maybe the owners just retired. The two yards that were still in operation didn't open until noon.

I went to the local pick-a-part and paid their admission fee ($1) only to find that there was exactly 1 Dodge van and it no longer had wheels or hubcaps. I finally succumbed to the 21st Century and googled "auto salvage" on my phone from the pick-a-part parking lot. Found a place called Tear-a-Part about 15 miles away. Their website showed a 2000 Dodge Ram Wagon in their inventory. I called to confirm it was there but they couldn't tell me if it had any hubcaps.

So I drove down there and paid the $1 admission fee. The girl told me where the van was parked. As I headed down the row I could see it from 200 feet away and I could see that it had black caps instead of chrome. The black caps look almost identical to the chrome caps but the part number is different by one digit. I almost turned around and went home but decided to go look at the van to see if there was anything else on it that I need. Also I figured maybe there might be a cap on the ground somewhere else in the yard that no one knew about. A longshot, but what the heck. I'm retired and what else do I have to do today?

As I looked at the van (originally red, but with a thick coat of white orange-peel paint with the name and phone number of a daycare center on the side) I confirmed that the black caps on the driver side were the wrong part number. Pulled one off to be sure. The only difference between the painted vs plated caps other than paint/plating is the black caps have four rectangular slots in the side to insert a pry bar to pop the cap off. The chrome caps do not for some reason.

As I walked around to the other side of the van I started wondering if I would rather put 4 black caps on my chrome wheels or drive with one chrome cap missing. I looked at all four caps when I suddenly noticed the passenger side front cap has a thumbnail size section of paint missing. Chrome was shining through! I looked closer and saw that it did not have the side slots. I found my pry bar and pulled it off. Sure enough the part number is the one I need.

Took it to the desk and paid $3.00 plus tax for my treasure. I just spent 90 minutes with 0000 steel wool and a can of Goof Off. Got most of the paint off. I was working in the shade of my van outside. Can't use Goof Off in the garage. The fumes will knock you out for a week! At midday I ran out of shade and had to quit. I still need to work on the lower ring and some of the crevices but it looks OK as is on the van. Just looks a little grimy. I'll finish it maybe tomorrow when it's supposed to cool off a little.

Pics below show one of my other caps next to my junkyard find. The chrome bit shining through the paint is at about 4 o'clock. The second pic shows the cap after my first cleaning session, also next to one of my other caps.

Moral of the story. Know the part numbers you are looking for and don't assume anything from 200 feet. Give it a close examination.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Hubcap-black.jpg (266.3 KB, 32 views)
File Type: jpg Hubcap-clean.jpg (288.5 KB, 20 views)

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Old 07-28-2021, 08:08 PM   #2
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I used to haunt my local pick a parts when my "classic" cadillacs were just "old cars"

I sometimes "practiced" a disassembly/ repair procedure on a lot car before attempting the job on my own car


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Old 07-28-2021, 10:46 PM   #3
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This story brings back memories of when I was so broke that junkyard parts and recapped tires were part of my routine.
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Old 07-29-2021, 01:09 AM   #4
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Good storytelling. Going from despair to victory when an unexpected treasure is is always a good feeling.
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Old 07-29-2021, 08:11 PM   #5
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Good eye to see that small detail of chrome showing through! Also great that you had the patience and perseverance to check the 2nd salvage yard and go the distance to look at the caps closely. I'm old enough that I remember my dad buying junk yard parts for hits car, and I got a 1971 junk yard engine for a 1965 Rambler that I owned in the 1980's.
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Old 08-05-2021, 04:51 PM   #6
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Great story! I remember when I was young. Used tires were our game back then. They weren't much but it was what we could afford.

And "rerefined oil". My old Chevy used more oil than gas and I carried a case of the stuff in my trunk. It costs a dime a quart. It was oil from oil changes that had been "filtered" (I guess for metal shavings, who knows). A company in OKC collected the used oils from service stations (anyone remember them?) and recanned it in a cardboard can with metal top and bottom. I used a quart about every fifty or sixty miles and that story is precious to me because it makes me appreciate my shiny toys today.

I bet no one else on this forum ever heard of used motor oil being resold in quarts!
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Old 08-05-2021, 05:54 PM   #7
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Not oil but the local yard I used to haunt had recycled antifreeze.
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Old 08-05-2021, 06:03 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Doneworking View Post
I bet no one else on this forum ever heard of used motor oil being resold in quarts!
I do remember, although I can't say I was ever tempted.

OTOH, given the lifetime of modern oils, and the propensity of people to perform needlessly-frequent oil changes, maybe the practice should be revived.
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Old 08-05-2021, 07:41 PM   #9
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The real "rerefined" oils actually went to a company that picked up drain oil at shops, as least around here. It was filtered with a fine mesh filter and maybe run through a water removal process and primitive additive package added back in. It was about 20% the cost of new oil when I was in high school and college.

Most of the shops back then had a bottle draining setup they put all the empty bottles in to catch the bit that was left. Many/most of the shops didn't use 55 gallon bulk oil that I saw anyway. The shop people used the bottle drained oil in their own cars so free to them.
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Old 08-05-2021, 10:48 PM   #10
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My grandfather owned a used lumber yard of five city blocks. It ended in my 10th year as my dad built two Little League baseball fields on it and the east end of the property became an engineering metals manufacturing plant. Directly across the street was a scrap metal yard where mostly it was a baling operation but you could walk through the waiting parts and buy “useful” stuff. The auto junk yard was out in the country. My first day of legal driving which was the last day of the 1950’s decade I got stuck in the mud at the auto junk yard. That’s why we always traveled in a “posse” in those days to push you out in those situations. My dad had a tire changer to remove and replace tires on the rim. We were always scrounging for tires and they were usually nearly bald. I frequently changed tires. I had frequent flats.
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Old 08-06-2021, 02:19 AM   #11
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These are all great stories of our youth and simpler times. Here is a question: does anyone know what "drip" gas is and did you ever use it??

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