RockAuto November Newsletter :: Early Edition

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Another Happy Customer!

I have been able to find anything I need for any vehicle I have worked on. Prices are great! Usually saving me 50% if not more, compared to local and national auto parts stores!

Mario in Illinois

Upcoming Events
11 14th Annual TX3S Gathering
San Antonio, TX Email
12 Carolina Collector Auto Fest
Raleigh, NC Email
12 Fall Pumpkin Run
Augusta, GA Email
12 Heroes & Hot Rods
Bastrop, TX Email
12 Back to the 50s Car Show
Orange Park, FL Email
12 8th Annual JITV
Shamong, NJ Email
19 Christmas for Kids Car & Truck Show
Charlotte, NC Email
19 Ancient City Auto Club 32nd Annual Auto Show
Saint Augustine, FL Email
19 1st Annual Jaguar Concourse d'Elegance
Fort Myers, FL Email
19 Rock 'N Rides Classic Car Show
Rockledge, FL Email
19 Superior Quality Car & Truck Show
Shallotte, NC Email
20 The 25th Ponies Under the Palms
Bradenton, FL Email
20 GM Owners Day
Bassendean WA, Australia Email

20% Off K Source Towing Mirrors At

Have you been looking for an affordable and easy-to-install mirror to improve rear visibility while towing? K Source towing mirrors are a great way to reduce blind spots and improve safety. And, for the rest of 2016, K Source and RockAuto have partnered to offer a 20% savings on these towing mirrors. (Discounted prices are shown in the RockAuto catalog.)

Original Equipment (OE) Towing Mirrors
If your original towing mirrors are broken or in bad shape, K Source makes replacement towing mirrors that fit, function and look like the originals. Find original equipment style replacement towing mirrors under Outside Mirror in the "Body" category for your vehicle.

Original Equipment (OE) Towing Mirrors

Outside Mirror Extenders
K Source builds outside mirror extenders that slip over and snap onto your existing outside mirrors to offer a seamless, professional appearance. Outside mirror extenders are available for select Ford, Dodge, GM and Toyota trucks and SUVs. Find Outside Mirror Extenders under the "Accessories" category for your vehicle.

Outside Mirror Extenders

Universal Fit Towing Mirror
Strap-on towing mirrors by K Source are a great option for people who do not tow every day. They are easy to put on and take off, strapping to the outside mirror housings of most vehicles. Find universal fit towing mirrors under Outside Mirror in the "Body" category of the "Tools & Universal Parts" tab.

Universal Fit Towing Mirror

Forum of the Month

The Landy Registry

The Landy Registry is your classic Land Rover club on the Internet! Here you will find answers to your technical questions and chat with other owners of classic Land Rovers. Find a wealth of information on all of the Series, Ninety, One Ten, 127, and Defender models.

Join today to ask a question in the forums, add your Land Rover to the registry, or find other owners near you.

If you are the administrator or member of a forum and you would like to see your website featured in an upcoming newsletter and receive a discount code to share with your members, contact

Repair Mistakes & Blunders


My buddy owned a mint, low mileage BMW E36 M3 that developed a mysterious problem. It would not stay in 2nd or 4th gear. The shifter would just pop out like the transmission was broken. Having gained experience from working on two of my own E36 M3s, I decided to give my friend a hand in figuring out the problem. My first inclination was that the shift mechanism and linkages were worn. $60 worth of parts later, there was no change. Many E36 M3 manual transmissions suffer from worn shift detents which can affect shift quality and cause the shift lever to lean towards 5th gear. So we decided to replace them, which requires removing the transmission. My buddy ordered all the parts and gathered the proper tools. We spent an entire day meticulously changing all the detents in the transmission, replaced the clutch (which really did not need replacing), and buttoned it all back up. We got the car on the ground, took it for a test drive, and the problem still existed!

After a bit of sulking and soul searching, I remembered when I installed a short shift kit on my own car how hard it was to get the rubber sealing boot to sit correctly on the shift lever. Before I had the chance to tell my buddy to check the sealing boot on the car, he was on his way to purchase (4 hours away) a low mileage transmission to swap in. When he got back with the transmission, and an empty wallet, we checked out the rubber boot, and sure enough, it was too high on the shift lever. When the shifter was in 2nd or 4th, the rubber was stretched so much that it would pull the shifter back to neutral like a giant rubber band. It was a fix that cost nothing. At least we have a spare transmission lying around now!

Jay in New York

Tell us about your most infamous auto repair blunder or unconventional fix. Use your woe to help others avoid similar mistakes or share off-the-wall solutions that worked (at least for a while!). Please email your story to Include your mailing address and if you would like a RockAuto T-Shirt (please let us know your shirt size) or Hat if we publish your story. See the T-Shirts and Hats under Tools & Universal Parts in the catalog. The story will be credited using only your first name and your vague geographic location (state, province, country, continent, etc.) so you can remain semi-anonymous!

Automotive Trivia

Automotive Trivia

A thermostat rated at 160 degrees F (71 deg. C) just begins to open at 160 degrees and is not fully open until the engine coolant heats up another 15 or 20 degrees (8-11 deg. C) beyond the thermostat's temperature rating.

True or False?

Answer below

Finding Clean Metal Under the Hood


In the past, I often touched a probe to the negative terminal on the battery when using my 12V test light or multi-meter to verify that the alternator, starter, a relay or some other part was getting power. Using the negative battery terminal was easier than finding clean metal under the hood that could act as the ground contact.

But, what happens if the parts are all OK, and it is a bad ground causing the problems that led me to be under the hood in the first place? I may not find that bad ground if I touch my test light probe to the negative battery terminal. To prove this, I made the worst possible ground connection by completely disconnecting the negative battery cable on my '86 Mustang. I turned the ignition key on, and of course, there was complete silence. No relays clicked, no dash lights and the fuel pump did not whir.

Enough current flowed through my test light to illuminate the bulb
Enough current flowed through my test light to illuminate the bulb

I then put one test light probe on the negative terminal of the battery and the other test light probe on the ignition starter relay. The test light glowed brightly! If I did not know the negative battery terminal was completely disconnected from the car's wiring, then I might have been tempted to start replacing parts. That ignition starter relay is getting power, so it must be bad...

However, the test light also lit up when I touched the alternator's metal body, intake manifold, radiator and a screw head on the fender. Yikes, everything metal under the hood and even the hood itself now had a positive charge! Call the electrician!

When I disconnected the negative battery terminal but left the positive battery terminal hooked up, I made a lot of light bulbs in the dash and other circuits connected to the ignition key desperate for a ground connection. My little test light became the best and only connection to the negative battery terminal/ground. Enough current flowed through my test light to illuminate the bulb. My multi-meter also showed 12+ volts between the negative battery terminal and anything metal.

Check both the positive and ground (negative) connection at the physical location of the part being tested. Corrosion, grime and vibrations can weaken ground connections over time. A weak ground can shorten the life of old parts and damage new parts. The throttle position sensor on my wife's '93 Ford Tempo recently started acting up and triggered a "voltage out of range" trouble code after only about 30,000 miles. I installed a new throttle position sensor and also ran a new piece of wire from a good engine ground directly to the sensor's mounting point. I removed and cleaned every engine ground bolt/connector I could find on my family's '92 Dodge B250 van during the recent installation of a new alternator and voltage regulator (part of the ECM computer on this engine).

Even new vehicles may have a weak ground if paint, plastic or some other insulator gets in the way or a part is simply loose. Help prevent a misdiagnosis by using the test light or multi-meter (sold under the "Tools & Universal Parts" tab) to check for a ground connection at the part's mounting point rather than way back in the circuit at the battery's negative terminal.

Tom Taylor,

To read more of Tom's articles, click this link and choose from story titles on the Newsletter Archives page.

Conrad's Factory Five GTM

Conrad's Factory Five GTM

I started working on my GTM (Generation 2) from Factory Five Racing when it was delivered in November 2010. Since I was a novice at building cars, and was told that this is the hardest kit to build, it took me approximately five years to complete. I have had no official training in car mechanics, nor had I even taken an "Auto Shop" class. I had tinkered around with cars for years, and then one day I decided to build this car when I saw an ad for it in a magazine. I knew I would have to learn quite a bit, especially when I had never put an engine in a car or even hooked up a transmission.

The GTM is designed to use a C5 Corvette as a donor car to obtain parts such as suspension, fuel tanks, radiator, brakes, mirrors, door handles, etc. I put a new LS3 engine in it that required some work to turn the intake around since it is a mid-engine car. The transaxle was custom made for the GTM and the LS engine. The exhaust itself took several hours to weld due to the complex curves. I did everything on the car except the welding and body work. The paint is Guard's Red, with a metallic black on top that sparkles in the sun.

When I drive the car, many people will stop and ask "What is it?" and it is fun to have them guess because it is likely they have not seen one of these on the road! Most are excited to hear the story behind the build and in many cases take pictures of it.

I used several parts (cooling, fuel, and belt drive system parts along with assorted sensors and mounts) from RockAuto to complete the build. All I had to do was look up what part I would need and order it. I like the way RockAuto's catalog allows me to drill down to the actual part I need, starting with the manufacturer, year, model, etc. RockAuto was very easy to work with and I was surprised how fast the parts arrived.

Conrad in Wisconsin

Share Your Hard Work

Do you purchase parts from RockAuto? If so, RockAuto would like to give you the opportunity to have your car or truck possibly featured in one (or occasionally more) of our publications such as the monthly newsletter, collector magnets or RockAuto social media. New, old, import, domestic, daily driver, trailer queen, classic, antique, we want to see them all! Please email with your vehicle's history, interesting details, your favorite images (tips for taking pictures of your car) and what parts from RockAuto you have used.

Let RockAuto Help

Let RockAuto Help

Are you organizing a car show or other auto related event? From goody bag stuffers to gift certificates...RockAuto can help. We can even publicize your event in our newsletter.

Just send an email to with information about your show.

Automotive Trivia Answer

Automotive Trivia

A thermostat rated at 160 degrees F (71 deg. C) just begins to open at 160 and is not fully open until the engine coolant heats up another 15 or 20 degrees (8-11 deg. C) beyond the thermostat's temperature rating.

True or False?

Answer: True

Back up to trivia question