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Reposted: “Not Quite That Easy …” [originally posted on January 20, 2011]

… to find the correct/fitting replacement parts for a car that old. After we had taken the Camaro and the new [actually rebuilt] steering gearbox to our local mechanic yesterday, he called us today and wanted to know who had sold us this part as kit didn’t fit. It was one for a Camaro with power steering, and ours doesn’t have one. I told him that it was the local cars parts store [Napa Auto Parts] and that they had never asked me about power steering or not. That had never been mentioned. What they had wanted to know only was how many turns the steering wheel had. And that was 4 and 3 quarters. And thus – as none of us had thought about power steering – we had ordered the wrong part. To hand the wrong part back was no problem at all, but to find the correct one did indeed prove a difficult task. Nothing was to be found in Napa’s catalogues. All the gearboxes there were for cars with power steering.  The guys there were very helpful, though, and with a lot of telephone calls tghey found a company in Kansas City that had a rebuilt one. But that would have been nearly $ 350, and also it would have taken 7 days to deliver. But Larry, our local mechanic, had the Camaro still sitting on his lift and really wanted to get it down without having to put everything back again, and then later to have to take the old stuff out again.

So I went on a wild goose chase and pounded the streets driving to the car parts stores close by. But none of them was able to sell me the correct gearbox. It was a store in Kenedy then that gave me the right hint for a company on the internet. And there I found the part. I printed out the picture and after two more trips to our local mechanic to ask him what he thought about that part and to compare it with the original I finally ordered it. And this part was new, which was only $ 5 more than the rebuilt one. And so that Larry could start working on it as soon as possible again, I ordered it with overnight delivery, for $ 45.50. Thus it’ll be quite close to the price of that part from Kansas City, but it’s new, not rebuilt, and it’s overnight delivery. I’m anxious to see if it really arrives tomorrow. That, of course, depends on whether the seller gets it out of his warehouse today still.

What I hadn’t mentioned in this blog here before is the fact that the Camaro needs a new steering gearboy more than urgently. The old gearnbox had that much play that it was really dangerous. The car followed every dent in the road better than the steering wheel and when the brakes were applied it pull to the left nearly uncontrollably: absolutely dangerous, especially in slippery road conditions. The gearbox really needed to be raplaced. Now it remains to be seen if Larry can adjust the brakes properly, which – considering the age of the brakes and the fact that he doesn’t have a roller type dynamometer – I doubt.

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