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Used Parts

There’s a saying that your motor vehicle is probably the worse asset you’re ever going to have, it depreciates quickly and is always going to require regular, probably expensive maintenance. The depreciation part might not exactly be true, ask of Ferrari owner, but the part about requiring regular maintenance certainly is. Even if you maintain your motor vehicle to the most exacting standards sometimes fate lends a hand to make ownership of a motor vehicle even more of a financial burden. An accident can be one of the emotional and financially damaging events in anyone’s life. Faced with tough economic times repairing a motor vehicle can send anyone’s finances over the edge. However, there is a cost effective solution to repairs, used parts. Used parts offer significant savings and are in most cases identical to a new part in every way aside from age.

The challenge in finding the appropriate used parts for your bike, truck or passenger vehicle is where to look. The immediate thought that springs to mind is to search South Africa’s scrap yards. This makes sense, however there are problems in this approach, it’s going to be time consuming and frustrating in equal measure. Even phoning around is going to take up a lot of time.

The alternative is to make use of the Internet to find the part that you want. A professional locator service will be able to find your part quickly and efficiently.

Part Find’s offers a service that will usually result in the used part that you require being located within 24 hours. Visit www.looking4spares.co.za to make use of their free locator service. It’s as simple as filling in a used parts request form. However make sure that you have as much information about the part as possible. Information such as engine, gearbox and diff codes, VIN number (found on license disc) and make and model are always helpful. An alternative is to phone looking4spares on the company’s national contact number 0861 77 77 22. In today’s economic climate it makes sense to seek out cost efficient alternatives to traditional approaches. Used parts offer value for money and the services of a parts locator like looking4spares can save you time and stress. It makes sense.

Used Auto Parts

In tough times families are always looking for ways to stretch the household budget. It seems that we’re being advised to tighten our belts everyday. Unforeseen expenses can have a devastating effect on family finances. Anyone who operates a motor vehicle can be faced with the unforeseen expenses related to an accident. Sometimes the insurance excess involved is out of all proportion to the damage done to the motor vehicle. Where one or two parts need to be replaced it may be more cost effective to source the parts in a personal capacity and have a mechanic fit the parts. This may result in a significant cost saving. For even greater savings it would be advisable to source used auto parts. In almost all instances the quality of used parts is equal to that of new parts and the cost is far less.

The challenge is in locating the part or parts that are required for the repair. One of the most useful locations to find used auto parts from is a scrap yard. There are hundreds of scrap yards throughout South Africa, each carrying parts for bikes, light and heavy commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles.

However inventories are not static and each of these yards may or may not have the particular part that you are searching for at any particular time. It would be time consuming and potentially extremely frustrating to make enquiries of each of the yards until, by chance the required part is located. The answer is to use the Internet to find the particular part that is required.

Visit Part Find at their web site looking4spares.co.za and their speedy and easy to use parts locator service will find the part that you’re looking for, usually within 24 hours. Part Find have a network of salvage dealers across South Africa and this network means an unrivalled inventory of used auto parts. If they can’t find it chances are no one can. You can also contact Part find on their nationwide toll free number, 0861 77 77 22. So if you want value for money in these tough times and speedy, professional service contact Part Find today.

Scrap Yards

Car or truck scrap yards can be a dangerous place with, rusting metal, sharp edges and the often mentioned and always feared junkyard dog. But it can also be a goldmine of used auto parts and spares and accessories. Most of us will at one point or another in our lifetime be involved in a motor vehicle accident and need the auto scrap yards for used auto parts and car spares. Hopefully the incident is not serious and we walk away unharmed. But often we are faced with a situation where one or more of the motor vehicle auto parts needs to be replaced. In tough economic times this can place an uncomfortable burden on the family resources. However the thrifty consumer might want to consider sourcing the auto part or used auto parts from all parts scrap yards. These parts offer enormous savings over new parts when purchased from scrap yards.

The car or bakkie or 4x4 scrap yards  are also the destination of choice for the driver of older or rarer models of truck or passenger motor vehicle. Often certain auto models have been discontinued and the manufacturer no longer carries stock of a particular auto part. In this case the scrapyard may be the only choice left to the consumer. In most cases second hand scrap yards across South Africa will have the used auto or commercial parts you’re looking for, however be sure to have as much information at hand as possible to ensure that the scrapyard part you find is identical to the damaged part. Information like engine, gearbox and diff codes, VIN number, mark and trim of vehicle are always helpful when at the auto scrapyard dealers scrapyard.

Even once you have all the information required, it is simply not feasible to visit all scrap yards in the hopes of locating the part or parts needed. Even phoning around will be both time consuming and costly. A scrapyard is your answer. A scrapyard is always near. A scrapyard is always available. A scrapyard is always just a scrapyard full of accident damaged vehicles.

There is a solution, Part Find has a database of South African salvage dealers who hold inventory at scrap yards throughout the country. A visit to the Looking4spares website and fill in a used parts request form will allow Part Find looking4spares to locate the auto part you require for your vehicle, usually within 24 hours. By using the services provided by the looking4spares.co.za web site you will be saving both time and money, not a bad option in these tough times. If you would rather speak to a Part Find representative in person then you can contact them on 0861-777722 nationwide. Looking4spares is your scrap yards link to all leading scrap yards and scrapyard leaders in Southern Africa.

Here’s A Box Of Tricks To Make Your Passes Quicker!

Hi Performance Street Rod skills aren’t hard to learn and in many situations they’re almost simple. Unfortunately, its tough to tune a car with a set of braced up Weber carbs if you don’t know how to set up a single carb. By the same token, it’s impossible to cool down a high compression, radical big block engine if you’re having trouble cooling down your mom’s old Malibu.

In sports they call it ‘basic skills’, if you don’t have the basics down pat, you cant run the quick E.T’s. To make it worse still, there aren’t any many weekend workshops or places you can go to learn the basic skills of ‘engine tweaking’ and modifying your muscle car to cut down those tenths. No, there’s no university to teach you the skills of engine building, engine tuning and hot rodding, but there is a substitute for the ‘school of hard knocks’. Check out the following how-to guide, there’s a boxful of tips below to get you there quicker.




Metallic Materials Used in Engines

Metallic Materials

Metals are characterized by having a crystalline structure, and the bonds between the atoms are such that the electrons in the outer shell are not bound, but are free to roam within the lattice. This explains their high electrical conductivity and good thermal conductivity. Metals are seldom used in pure form, because their qualities are enhanced by being alloyed with other substances. They’re grouped together as either ferrous (ie, they contain iron) or non-ferrous.

The strength of the finished parts depends to some extent on whether the parts have been cast, forged, or machined from a steel solid, and the various alloys are tailored to have the qualities needed for the relevant manufacturing process. The casting process involves pouring liquid metal into a mould, allowing it to set, but forging utilizes two or more dies that force red-hot solid material into the shape required.

Ferrous Metals

This group includes all the alloys that contain a high percentage of iron ore. They differ from one another mainly in the amount of carbon present. Most of these are refined from pig iron, which is obtained from smelting iron ore with coke (dehydrated carbon) and limestone (calcium carbonate).

Wrought Iron contains less than 0.1 per cent carbon and between 1.0 and 3.0 per cent finely divided slag (a mix of metal oxides) distributed throughout the material. It has a high resistance to corrosion, and in the past was used for water pipes and other products that were used in a corrosive atmosphere. It is easy to weld, very ductile and forms a good outer surface for protective coatings to adhere to. Most cast iron alloys are usually cast into a shape, hence the name. These days the term cast iron usually refers to grey cast iron, so named because fractures show a grey appearance. It contains between 2.1 and 4.0 per cent carbon, and 1.0 to 3.0 per cent silicon. It is fairly brittle, but has a low melting point, makes superb castings, and has excellent machining capabilities and wear resistance.

Steel contains at least 0.3 per cent carbon, and very small percentages of other elements. Most steels contain no slag, and are classified according to their carbon content. The amount of carbon added will increase the hardness and strength of the steel. There are so many different steel alloys so we will only mention the more important groups:

Plain-carbon steels consist mainly of iron and carbon, and are classified as low carbon (0 to 0.25 per cent C), medium-carbon (0.25 to o.55 per cent C) and high-carbon (above 0.55 per cent C). These steels vary mainly in hardness and therefore in tensile strength.

‘Carbon Increases the Strength of Steel’

Nickel steels contain between 5.0 and 35 per cent nickel. They offer increased resistance to low temperature impact, increased magnetic properties, and resistance to corrosion at high temp. Nickel chromium steels are tough and ductile and exhibit high wear and corrosion resistance. Molybdenum steels are easy to harden and stay hard at high temp. By adding molybdenum to low-carbon steel increases the tensile strength. Chromium steels have increased core toughness and wear resistance. Triple-alloy steels contain nickel, chromium and molybdenum. They offer a high strength-to-weight ratio and good corrosion resistance.

Non-Ferrous Metals

1. Aluminium

The most important of these is aluminium. It has sporadically been used for major engine components since the dawn of motoring. Its major attraction for design engineers is the fact that that the same part is two thirds lighter if made from aluminium instead of steel, but unfortunately it is also a lot less stiff by the same amount, and a lot softer. This means that any change from steel to aluminium  can only be done after a complete redesign of the part. In practice, this means that some of the weight advantage of aluminium is inevitably lost when used in high stress situations. Aluminium alloys have improved beyond recognition in the last four decades. Aluminium’s great come back started in the 1960s, when aluminium cylinder heads started to replace traditional cast iron heads. Aluminium is often alloyed with copper, zinc, manganese, silicon or magnesium. Interestingly enough these alloys are not corrosion resistant as the pure metal. In the latter form aluminium tends to form a clear protective layer of oxide. On the other hand when aluminium alloy is in electrical contact with some other metals such as stainless steel, galvanic corrosion sets in quickly. Corrosion is a problem inside a water-cooled engine with an aluminium head and a cast iron block. One of the solutions is to use a cylinder head gasket fitted with stainless steel rings around the bore to prevent contact between these metals. American vehicles use on average about 157kg of aluminium, compared with 110kg a decade ago, and the metal is used to an even greater extent in Asia and Europe. In fact the only barrier to increased utilization of aluminium is the metal fluctuating price on world markets.

2. Magnesium

Most people are familiar with magnesium because “mag” wheels as well as beverage cans are made from such alloys. It is the third-most commonly used structural metal after steel and aluminium, and has two-thirds the density of aluminium, and shares with the latter metal the propensity to develop a thin layer of oxide that prevents against further tarnishing. From there conception VW Beetles and Porches were designed with magnesium-alloy cylinder heads and block crankcase units. At the time the alloy was relatively inexpensive, and its lightweight was needed to curb the rear end mass would have on stability and handling. When the Beetle died so did the use of magnesium alloy. During the Beetles peak production years the Volkswagen Company used 50% of all magnesium consumed in Germany, amounting to nearly 42,000 tons a year.

Magnesium is highly flammable in powder form, and even from small chips arising from machining can catch alight. The resulting flame cannot be extinguished with water or carbon dioxide: sand should be used instead. Currently, most European companies use magnesium under the trade name Electron, for items such as transmission casings, intake manifolds and cylinder head covers.

3. Titanium

This metal is names after the Titans of Greek mythology, and has been called a space age material because it has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal. It is as strong as some steel alloys, but weighs 45% less in pure form, and only slightly more as an alloy. It is also highly corrosion resistant.

Engine Parts

The materials used for various engine parts are:

1. Cylinder Bock / Crankcases

During much of the pre-1930 era it was common to build up the engine using a two-piece cylinder block. The part housing the cylinders was cast iron, either in unit with or separate from, the cylinder head. The lower part housing the crankcase was an aliminium casting, and so was the sump. For many years cast iron has been used for engine blocks, but at present it is considered too heavy for petrol units, but is still the material of choice for most diesel engine blocks. Modern petrol engine cylinder blocks are cast using aliminium because the reduction in mass is desirable. The recent BMW straight-six engine gained a two-piece magnesium/aluminium cylinder block to reduce mass on the front wheels by nearly 14kg. This helps to promote a near 50:50 weight distribution.

The cylinder bores are either loose cast iron sleeves or the bare aluminium treated with a coating or chrome spots are introduced using a special process. Failing to do this would result in excessive wear, as aluminium is not wear-resistant.

 2. Cylinder Heads

For many years cylinder heads were made from cast iron and still is used for most diesel engines. However, in the 60’s aluminium took over, initially for it’s superior heat conductive properties, but these days also to reduce engine mass.

3. Pistons

Until the early 1920’s most engines were fitted with cast iron pistons, but these were later replaced by aluminium items. The latter offer a reduction in reciprocating mass as well as superior heat conducting properties. Most production pistons are cast from alloys having a high silicon content, but racing pistons are usually forged. Forging is a superior but also a more costly process, and a stronger alloy can be used.

 4. Connecting Rods

High strength steel is used for most ‘rods, although a special aluminium alloy was tried in the past but doesn’t appear to have been very successful. Modern high performance engines tend to use titanium alloy because of its superior strengths.

5. Crankshaft

Until the early 1930’s most cranks were forged from high strength steel, but Ford started the fashion for casting cranks from a special mix of cast steel alloy. This saved time and money, and the process is used extensively these days. High performance crankshafts are either forged from special alloys if a large quantity is needed, or machined from billet if only a few are required.

6. Sump

Cast aliminium is used on expensive engines, but on most mass-produced units, pressed mild steel is the most inexpensive choice.

7. Manifolds

Exhaust manifolds are usually iron castings, but intake manifolds are either cast iron or aliminium castings. Plastic intake manifolds are also becoming popular with vehicle manufacturers.


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