If you need to purchase a large part such as a quarter panel, hood or fender, don't order it from a catalog. Find a carshow or swapmeet within driving distance and buy it there. Benefits of this is you get to see the quality of the part, you ensure you won't end up with a damaged part from careless shippers, and you don't pay costly oversize shipping or worse, very costly truck shipping. The money you save could be used to buy even more parts! Bob-"mr409"
When placing an order from most restoration type vendor catalogs, avoid buying normal wear items such as oil filters, tune up parts, brake parts, shocks, etc. In most cases, these very same items can be had for ALOT less at any normal auto parts store. An example; a PF-454 spin on oil filter I recently saw in a popular well known catalog was listed for $8.20! This same filter can be had at auto parts stores for under $3.50. Another example is the now hard to find PF-141 cannister filter. Not generally stocked on store shelves anymore, it can still be had from any GM car dealer for around $5.00 but in vendor catalogs, expect to pay about $10! The same holds true with most all normal wear items including; spark plugs, plug wires, brake shoes, belts, hoses, starters, etc. You can really save alot of money by doing this not only on the cost of the part but you'll avoid those pestly shipping chages too! Bob-"mr409"
If you are planning a project (or projects) that require alot of RTV sealer such as the assembly of an engine or two, consider buying the larger cartridge tube that fits a caulking gun over the small tubes. These are available at Autozone, Advance Auto, etc. Bob-"mr409"
Whether money is tight or you just hate overpaying for stuff like I do, it's a good idea to make a price list of the common items you buy for your car. (also good for other things you use in everyday life too) Prices vary greatly between stores and while one store may be cheaper on a few items, you can quickly lose those savings on other items. An example; Bondo spot filler sells for $1.98 at Advance auto but it's only $1.43 at Walmart! Another store in my area (A&A auto parts) wants almost $3.00 for that same spot filler! Another example; Copper oil gauge line kit is $13.95 at Autozone and is only $8.99 at Advance auto for the exact same brand! Of course, there are countless others so it's not a bad idea to price and compare with some of the things you frequently buy. Bob-"mr409"
Need to buy door glass for your car or truck at a junkyard? Before you go and remove it, find out how much it will cost, then find out the cost for the whole door. If the glass is $15-20 and the whole door is only $25, you might consider taking the whole door. Even if you don't need the door or it's not in good condition, you can either sell the window regulator from it (and any other parts) or the sheetmetal if good. The sheetmetal can be used to make patch repairs too. All said and done, you might get your glass for free in the end. P.S. leave the door hinges bolted on the door and sell those later too! Talk about getting your moneys worth! Bob-"mr409"
Purchase oil in the gallon containers or buy it by the case to save money. The large containers are also nice to use for storing used oil in until you can dispose of it properly. Bob-"mr409"
Shipping parts? I found it cost effective to ship with the post office for smaller/lighter parts but UPS is better for larger/heavier items. Remember too, books, CD's, tapes, video's, etc qualify for the special media rate mail at the post office which is alot cheaper!
Need to ship cylinder heads? Bolt them to a piece of plywood that fits the bottom of a heavy cardboard box. Trim the box down in height to meet the heads. This way they won't move around at all. This is also useful for bucket seats!
When your out "junkyarding", always be on the look out for those rare accessories such as; power trunk releases, tilt steering, power vent windows, etc, etc. Check other GM models that might interchange with your Chevy too. It's best to do some homework ahead of time and make a list of what's good and what's not. Then you can take that list with you!
If your like me, you've got more than 1 or 2 old cars or trucks in your collection. Try making a wish list of parts needed for that next junkyard trip. Your sure not to pass by any of the good stuff with that list in hand!
Avoid buying wiring diagrams that some vendors offer as these are already in the shop manuals. It's better to invest that $7.00 into a shop manual if you don't have one.