a 58 year old ex-mechanic who still
tinkers with my own "fleet"
of four cars and two motorcycles.
I also do an occasional side job
for friends. I ALWAYS buy my parts
from RockAuto because in all the
eight or nine years I've been buying
from them, I've never had a problem...
Doug in New Jersey
Line – The European All Makes
is continually seeking out new parts
to better serve customers worldwide.
RockAuto is pleased to offer First
Line, an international supplier of
premium quality automotive components.
First Line has almost 30 years of
experience in the automotive aftermarket
and manufactures their parts to match
Original Equipment quality. The First
Line parts are designed in the UK
for European market vehicles including
many Japanese and Korean brand cars.
You will find First
Line under several categories of the
catalog: Brake/Wheel Hub, Transmission-Manual,
Cooling System, Suspension, Steering,
etc. Whether you need a 3-in-1 Clutch
kit for your Daewoo Kalos, a Ball
Joint for your Volkswagen Beetle,
or a Wheel Bearing for your Audi A6,
RockAuto has you covered.
for the Do-It-Yourselfer
From all of us at RockAuto we would
like to wish you Happy Holidays and
a Happy New Year. Thank you for being
our customer and letting us serve
as your auto parts supplier!
If you are still
in need of a gift for the do-it-yourselfer
in your life, a RockAuto gift certificate
will never go out of style. Everybody
needs something for his or her car
or truck! A RockAuto gift certificate
will let the recipient choose replacement
parts like shock absorbers or rotors;
restoration parts like a tail lamp
assembly or new carpet; or fun parts
like a trailer hitch or floor mats.
certificates are the perfect gift
for the car enthusiast in your life.
They are easy to buy and even easier
Purchase gift certificates with a
choice of currencies and amounts.
Have a paper certificate shipped to
you or directly to the recipient or
Need a Christmas gift in a hurry?
E-Gift delivery is immediate and free.
Simply select Email as the shipping
option and your friends and family
will conveniently receive the gift
in their Inbox.
a Gift Certificate today!
Forum of the Month
has been serving Chevrolet Beretta
and Corsica enthusiasts since 1996.
Although our online forum did not
arrive until 2001, some early email
lists, chat rooms, and our general
website preceded it. We have a diverse
and active membership dedicated to
preserving, restoring, and modifying
GM L-bodies. Beretta.net is an international
club with members hailing from the
US, Canada, Germany, Austria, Belgium,
and the Netherlands. The forum members
have cars ranging from pristine 30,000
original mile show cars, to modified
FWD drag race cars (capable of 12
to 13 seconds in a 1/4 mile), SCCA
Solo II and RallyCross prepared cars,
and daily drivers (some with 250,000-300,000+
While cars in general,
and the GM L-body in particular, have
brought us together, it is the members
who set us apart from many other forums.
Our members are enthusiastic, knowledgeable,
and most of all amiable and caring.
Many of our members will go out of
their way to help out another member
in need. A few have even crossed state
and country lines to assist in person.
Each year builds
toward our annual club gathering in
June called BerettaFest. This gathering
is where current and past members
with or without their L-body come
together to hang out and have some
fun. If you like to talk cars, and
make a few friends along the way,
come to BerettaFest, or at least check
us out at Beretta.net. We won't even
get mad at you for calling our cars
a Cavalier...just once!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mistakes & Blunders
I was working as the service manager
at a southern California Honda dealership,
a long time customer complained of
a rattling sound that seemed to be
coming from the dashboard or dash
vent area in his Honda Accord. We
went for a test drive and sure enough,
at around 50-65 mph, the noise made
itself known. Above or below that
speed, no noise at all.
Every time the car was in for service,
thinking something HAD to be loose,
techs would snug down everything possible
under the dash, the HVAC assembly,
vents, hoses, brackets, steering column,
and so on. But the noise was still
Eventually five technicians had worked
with it. Several of us brainstormed
and decided to simply insulate EVERYTHING
from the firewall on back using foam
tape between every single joint and
connection. We were convinced that
this was overkill but now NOTHING
could possibly be loose enough to
rattle. We went for a test drive.
The rattling noise was STILL there!!!
from the test drive, one of the techs
asked "Did we get it?”
I replied, “No, darnit!”
Then one of the guys in exasperation
firmly planted one of his boots on
the bumper and there it was, the elusive
rattle. I told him “Do that
he said. I asked him to slam his foot
on the bumper again. Sure enough,
that re-created the rattle.
The source? You know those cast aluminum
novelty license plate surrounds, the
ones with a sports team name or a
silly saying? The customer had one
for our local football team attached
by two 1/4” x 20 bolts with
nylock nuts. Turns out that ONE of
the screws was about 1/4th of a turn
from being fully snugged down. Apparently
the road speed aerodynamics or maybe
a slight tire imbalance created a
resonant frequency causing the bracket
to flutter with the rattling noise
transferring through the body structure
and exiting through the HVAC vents.
Next service, the customer said this
is now the quietest car he’s
ever driven. I should hope so!
Dan in California
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 email@example.com.
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
now ubiquitous MacPherson strut suspension
debuted in the late 1940's on a French
Ford car called the Vedette. Why did
this suspension design bear the name
A. Dr. Stanford MacPherson
originally designed this suspension
in the 1930s for the landing gear
on the British "Wellington"
B. Engineer Earle MacPherson designed
this suspension for Chevrolet in the
1930s, but GM did not use it. MacPherson
took his design with him when he moved
to Ford in the 1940s. He was Ford's
chief engineer for most of the 1950s.
C. British engineers working on the
Ford Vedette project thought the suspension
design resembled the ship's mast pictured
on the Scottish Clan MacPherson coat
Son's First Car
just bought my son a 24 year old Lincoln
Mark VII! Yes, I am a car nut that
views my children as little excuses
to buy more cars. Maybe I could have
waited until he started drivers education
classes in a few months. I may be
a bit off my rocker when it comes
to cars, but just below the madness,
there is still a fairly well thought
out parenting plan that I actually
learned from my parents. They bought
me a 1977 Dodge Monaco when I was
fifteen. They paid for the car but
from then on it was my responsibility.
That Dodge helped mold me into the
man I am today! Below are the benefits
of the Taylor family, car-intensive
Shopping for a good
used car is a valuable skill to have.
My son learned how to hunt for less
popular, less expensive but still
fun old car models often owned by
the original owners. Mustangs often
cost more than Lincolns of similar
age. Camaros usually cost more than
old Cadillacs. Luxury cars do sometimes
have more complex and expensive parts
to break. The Mark VII has an air
suspension, automatic climate control
and a long row of buttons on the dash.
Before we started to car shop, we
checked the RockAuto
Repair Index to confirm that for
essential systems, the 1990 Mark VII
and 1990 Ford Mustang 5.0 have similar
My son found out
why it is as important to study the
car’s owner as it is to inspect
the car or research its history online.
We met the widow that decided to finally
part with her husband’s Mark
VII. She handed us the pile of receipts
demonstrating how she had kept the
car maintained for the twelve years
following his death. We saw in her
eyes that she was happy to have found
a good home for a family car. Meeting
the owner can mean less worry about
used car shopping pitfalls like rolled-back
odometers, flood damage, and past
My son saw the inspection
checklist I brought along to ensure
we checked every system and section
of the car. He has heard many times
about the car infested with mice that
I once bought when I neglected to
bring a checklist and simply fell
in love at first sight.
My son will now learn
about the responsibilities of owning
a car that should help him better
manage his own family and business
finances in the future. He will start
by going through the car’s maintenance
records and writing a new maintenance
plan. Like any customer, he can create
account to use past part orders
to help him remember when he replaced
filters, hoses, belts and all the
other Lincoln parts he will need over
the years. Especially for a teenager,
the car's other expenses may be more
significant than the cost of parts.
If he wants to drive his car, then
he will need to spend his savings
or get a job and create a budget to
pay for gasoline, insurance, license
I look forward to
helping him learn how to maintain
and repair the car. Understanding
his car will make him a confident
owner rather than an anxious one.
Driving old cars will let him save
money he can use to pay for other
aspects of his life. If someday he
decides to buy a new car, then it
will be because he wants a new car,
not because he is afraid to drive
an old one.
A car brings responsibilities
but it also brings freedom. After
learning about the Lincoln, one of
his friends said, “What! A car!
Your parents didn’t even get
you a phone.” We actually did
give him a telephone that plugs into
a socket in the wall of his room,
but it is true he does not have one
of the mobile devices that I have
read equals freedom for today’s
kids. I hope my son can discover that
the freedom of driving a Lincoln Mark
VII down a country road with the windows
open on a warm summer night is different
than the freedom of communicating
with friends via a tiny smart phone
Perhaps most importantly,
my son learned how to frame a used
car purchase so it appears almost
logical to a skeptical parent or spouse.
The Lincoln Mark VII does not have
an awesome 5.0 “Mustang Motor.”
It has the same reliable, relatively
fuel efficient Ford 302 that has served
in numerous family vehicles. Simply
handing my son the keys to my wife’s
tiny, tired 1987 Mazda 323 is not
a good idea because our only son should
be protected by a Lincoln’s
sturdy mass. In fact the Lincoln has
safety features like an air bag and
anti-lock, disk brakes not found on
any of the other vehicles in our fleet!
The Mark VII even has a decent sized
trunk and can comfortably haul our
entire family if necessary. Just a
good, reliable, practical car purchased
from an 83-year-old woman. Mom, we
can’t help it that good used
cars sometimes come with frivolous
features like a moon roof!
|Jeff's 1976 Ford LTD
am the 2nd owner of this well cared
for 1976 Ford LTD, which my girlfriend
Sally, stumbled upon. Sally knew I
would love to own it because I had
owned a 1973 LTD many years ago. The
original owner of this LTD passed
away and her son was left to the task
of finding a good home for the car.
The LTD had sat in a dry garage for
eight years without even turning a
tire a full revolution. They were
brand new tires, which had developed
flat spots from sitting...with the
odometer still showing 49,000 miles!
After a little fuel was added to the
tank and a short test drive around
the block, I had to have it! The deal
was struck and I drove the car home.
It ran pretty rough, but it made it.
The garage at my
townhouse is not long enough to fit
such a large car, much less open a
door to get out of it! Sally graciously
offered her garage to store it. So
after making a short list of parts
the LTD immediately needed (distributor,
carburetor rebuild kit, and a heater
core) I checked out RockAuto for the
first time and have been hooked ever
since. I now buy parts for my three
other cars at RockAuto! I recruited
my friend Paul to remove a stubborn
frozen distributor, and rebuild the
carburetor. The LTD now has 59,000
miles on it and has been a blast from
the past for me and Sally to cruise
in! The tires did get round again,
just needed to put some miles on them.
Thanks to Sally for
finding the car and for the storage,
to my friend Paul for getting it running
smoothly, and to RockAuto for the
Jeff in Minnesota
you purchase parts from RockAuto?
If so, RockAuto would like to
feature you & your car or
truck in our monthly newsletter.
New, old, import, domestic,
daily driver, trailer queen,
classic, antique, we want to
see them all! Please e-mail
with your vehicle's history,
interesting details, your favorite
images, and what parts from
RockAuto you have used.
you organizing a car show or
other auto related event? From
goody bag stuffers to gift certificates...we
can help. We can even publicize
your event in our newsletter.
send us an email
with information about your
The now ubiquitous MacPherson
strut suspension debuted in
the late 1940's on a French
Ford car called the Vedette.
Why did this suspension design
bear the name "MacPherson?"
Stanford MacPherson originally
designed this suspension in
the 1930s for the landing gear
on the British "Wellington"
B. Engineer Earle MacPherson
designed this suspension for
Chevrolet in the 1930s, but
GM did not use it. MacPherson
took his design with him when
he moved to Ford in the 1940s.
He was Ford's chief engineer
for most of the 1950s.
engineers working on the Ford
Vedette project thought the
suspension design resembled
the ship's mast pictured on
the Scottish Clan MacPherson
coat of arms.
up to trivia question
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their products. All rights reserved.