Rebuild or replace classic car parts? | Angle key

This is the age-old question and debate when it comes to classic and vintage vehicles

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The title represents an age-old debate between gears and shade tree mechanics. Some, wishing to keep their classics as close as possible to the original, avoid the idea of ​​installing a reconditioned part such as an alternator or a starter. And some of this rebuilding group are also quietly (or not so quietly) relishing in the sense of self-sufficiency that comes with being able to fix something rather than replace it. The replacement side of the argument usually sticks to their choices due to easier jobs with factory spec rebuild quality rather than garage bench work at home. And even for those who apparently have a lot of free time, the choice to trade in a unit pays off in time for more enjoyable entertainment. But what could be more pleasant than tinkering?

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With some components, rebuilding gives you the option to improve factory performance. For example, alternators and generators are always sized to simply meet the electrical needs of the vehicles in which they are installed and nothing more. After a few years of adding power-hungry sound systems, or maybe a better lighting system, these minimally built units are showing their weakness. Most of these power dynamos can easily accommodate better windings and internals to increase amperage output, leaving the same exterior look, but with much better performance.

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Motors easily fall into the same category. You can buy a reman or new or strip down the existing unit for a machine shop overhaul and make some upgrades along the way such as better intake, exhaust, porting, remote oiling , etc.

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When it comes to bench overhauling common items such as brake calipers, it is essential to ensure that the piston bores are within limits and free of pitting. You cannot get oversized piston kits to compensate for excessive wear. It means knowing the specs and being able to measure them.

Some things are just not candidates for rebuilding. Steering boxes and rack and pinion assemblies are good examples. Yes, for the most popular rides you can easily find affordable seal kits but they rarely if ever work because when these gears leak it is usually related to worn surfaces not seal failures . Metal supply lines on rack and pinion assemblies may be replaced, but not with aftermarket or original equipment parts; they are rarely offered. Instead, simply remove the lines as intact as possible and take them to a hydraulic line shop for duplicates at a fraction of the cost of a complete rack assembly.

Rebuilding older carburetors is a worthwhile exercise, but not just to save money. Once you have mastered rebuilding these fuel units, it will be much easier for you to make adjustments and clean them down the road due to the knowledge you have gained from rebuilding them from scratch.


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