Have you ever been to a REAL junk yard where you have to find and take off the part you want yourself? It is quite an experience!
Years ago I went to junk yards where there were a couple hundred cars and I took a couple wrenches and got a small part off a car. Lately, the junk yards I have called about parts, are ones where you tell them what you’re looking for and then go back the next day to pick it up. THEY take the part off the car.
Recently, though, I had the time of my life in a REAL junk yard. It covered over 200 acres with thousands and thousands of cars — all kinds and makes. There was a pricelist handed out when you paid your modest fee to get into the yard, that listed every part imaginable and what it will cost. We went on a Sunday, we thought early, but when we got there, we had to park at least a half mile away. The place was “crawling” with people! There were all kinds of people there – old ones, young ones, guys with girlfriends, guys who knew what they were doing, and a number of guys who had no clue what they were doing. Most spoke no English. Some came in nice decent clothes, but EVERYONE left covered with grease and dirt, including me. In looking around, I’m pretty sure I was the only grey haired lady in the place; in fact, one of the very few women.
The yard is organized by make of car and labeled section and row, so it was easy to find the cars we were looking for. We lugged, or I should say, my husband lugged, our 5 gallon buckets of tools a good quarter mile to the cars we were looking for. We went to find a front bumper assembly for a ’95 Celica. There was a blue ’94 and a silver ’98 one there. Since our car was the same color blue as the blue one there, that’s the bumper we took off. Then, looking at the engine, it’s the same engine! So we decided to take that, as well — just in case we need parts for the one at home. Besides, it looked in better condition than the one at home. We tried and tried to get that engine out, but to no avail…it was stuck to the transmission and no matter what we did, it was not coming out. I called my brother, who is a mechanic, and asked him if there were any tricks to this procedure. He gave us some hints on what to do, but it just would not budge. The yard was closing, so we had to leave our engine halfway out. We checked out with our treasure of the bumper assembly and drove the 2 hrs. back home, with the promise of coming back Monday to finish the job.
Monday morning came bright and early. The yard opens at 8:30 AM, so we had to be the first ones there to make sure no one got our engine. Sure enough, we were the first ones in line. Not as many people were there today, but there were still some who must be regulars that I recognized from Sunday. We went right to “our” car with the engine hoist and got right to work. We decided the only way to get the engine out was to take the transmission with it. How easy!! We were done in no time! Then we decided to take the computer from the car “just in case”. They hide those things in the most difficult places! We had to tear the whole inside of the car apart to get to the computer to unbolt it and take it out. I really learned alot about how they put those interiors together.
Then we had time to look around at some of the other cars to see if there was anything else we would need. There was a huge machine crushing cars and then picking them up and carrying them to another part of the yard where they were loaded onto a flatbed trailer to be hauled to the scrap yard. It was fascinating watching the guy working that machine — he was having WAY too much fun! In fact, even the regular yard rats, driving a truck around to pick up stray tires and parts, looked like they were having fun. My husband said if we didn’t live so far away, he would apply for a job there. It was fun crawling around in the engine compartment and inside of cars to seek out our special treasures!
The hardest part of the day was pushing the engine hoist, with the engine, back to the checkout counter. Once that was accomplished, we had to transfer the engine to a wagon to take it into the sloping parking lot to another hoist so we could put the engine onto the truck bed. Wagons with several hundred pounds of engine do not travel well downhill and over stones! We both almost killed ourselves getting it to the hoist in the parking lot. Finally we got the engine loaded and tied down and were on our way home again after a hard day at the “office”. It was so much fun! I can’t wait to go back again!