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Junkyard crawling today...

Kern Dog

Well-Known Member
Nov 14, 2014
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Granite Bay CA
I'm in a place that I never thought I'd be.
For years, I've had classic cars as projects and fun cars. I'd go to the self service junkyards to look for parts for repairs or upgrades. In the 90s, I'd hit all the local spots to keep my Darts and Dusters going.
Some time in the late 90s, early 2000s, the supplies of those cars really dropped off. I used to LOVE going to the yards on a weekend day, making the rounds and hoping to find the parts I wanted. It got to where each time out was met with failure and disappointment. Nowadays, even here in California, the classics are really a rarity to find. Many times, the only cars that turned up there were stripped out before they met the yard or so beat up, there wasn't anything of value on them.
In 2002, I bought my first new vehicle, a Dodge Ram 1500 with the 4.7.


It was "one of ten at this price" listed at $14,995. 4.7, auto trans, manual windows and seats, rubber floor mat but it was new and fit my needs just fine.
Since then, I had a 2006 Dodge 1500 4wd and now this 2007.



I never even thought about how long I'd keep this 2007 but I recently hit a milestone...


I love this truck. It handles well, has adequate power, is easy to work on and still looks pretty good.
Here is the part where I explain the first sentence of this whole topic.
I never thought I'd be in a spot where my daily driver is old enough to see in junkyards.
I have considered a newer truck but they just don't impress me. They seem too fancy, too busy and they lack some of the things that I really like.
No CD players? No column shift lever? No knobs for the heater and radio controls? NO full bench seat option?
I don't like how "thick" newer trucks look. Most of the styling just doesn't work for me.
Here I am though...I thought I'd start going to the junkyards to stock up on stuff that may be hard to find someday. Dash switches, lenses, body panels and other stuff.
I'm planning a transformation to an SRT 10 sort of style....
I have had these 22" wheels for 10+ years.


Next is to add the SRT 10 body cladding to look like this:


I was out today to find a spare rear bumper and hood scoop. I want to scuff and paint them along with the SRT 10 cladding, then put in all of the parts in one shot.

I was at 6 different junkyards today....the self serve yards that cater to cars usually 10 or more years old.
I saw maybe 22-25 2002-2008 trucks and not a single one had a decent rear bumper. How can that be? Several were missing from the trucks, maybe those were nice enough that someone already beat me to it.
I can't believe how beat up and abused some of these trucks were. My truck could use a good deep cleaning but it is complete. Most of these trucks looked like they were stolen and thrashed.
I do have a couple more yards to check tomorrow, maybe I'll have better luck then.
As far as (lack of) features on new trucks that I can't stand... I cannot find a single pickup that DOESN'T have 4 freaking doors and DOES have a bed long enough to be used as a "pickup" without having to grab a trailer. And even 2wd ones the besides are too high to reach over, I have to climb in to get anything out, no manual trans,
And the automatic computer controls go too far,,,,
Some I've gotten into at work
I can't pull out of park without putting the damn seat belt on.... I had one that I had to put the seat belt on to move 15' from where the driver got out to where it had to be positioned on a lift;
Others that jam on the E brake and put themselves in park when I open the door to spot myself on a lift... I can't wait til I get my 85 d150 done.... I prefer the wing windows, cowl vents, wiper switch on the dash, dimmer on the floor...
And so on.
On the 2007, there was a feature to defeat the seat belt chime. I do wear mine but not when I'm out back in the yard or just tooling around at low speeds. I don't need any nanny state BS telling me when to click the belt.
On my 12 I was able to get the ding ding ding to stop but every time I come to a stop the dash plastered "DRIVER SEAT BELT UNFASTENED" I'm my face. Yeah I KNOW. I don't need that constant reminder. I don't know if I hate the nanny State thing bothers me more (and the cops' fundraiser "details" they love to run) or the feeling my head is getting sawed off at my neck, worse.
I actually came home and put a hole in my wall with my fist the last time I got a seat belt ticket ... First time in my life I've snapped like that. Not speeding, not driving erratic, didn't disobey any traffic control devices, just wasn't wearing the belt... $168 fine and a mark on my license that guarantees I will have to retake the driving test the next time I renew.... Ridiculous.
But yeah more back on topic I miss the Saturdays going junkyard to junkyard looking around, seeing vehicles that seemingly didn't belong in the junkyard, pulling parts, both needed"now" and plenty of spares as well.... Now a days I pull more stuff off at the junkyard for my vehicles that in past years I deemed not worth the effort.
With the diminished quality of new and/or reman parts in today's parts stores I find I get the same life expectancy out of used original parts as I do out of current new parts.
I am waiting for it to dry out so I don't have to swim in the local junkyard and I have a list of stuff to get from their selection of 01-03 Durangos for my new to me 03, as it's a "cheap model" sxt vs my fully loaded 01 SLT. I want to "upgrade" some of the features on the 03.
I bought the 03 I did because even though it's a stripper model it's very clean and rust free, I looked at several rust buckets before I decided on this one. My 01 has over 300k on it and my wife still loves it, trans is out right now and needed something like it that could carry 2 car seats....... I'm waiting for whichever happens first/ either I get my "back pay" from work, for their delay in implementing the raise they agreed to or my tax return to get the parts for the 01s trans.
In that case I can rebuild the existing trans from the 01 for the same money or less than what a 46re currently goes for in the junkyard. And know I won't have to have a redo.
Day two.
Six salvage yards yesterday, 3 today and today was a much better day.
I got to the last yard yesterday and even though they close at 5:00, they don't let anyone in the yard within 30 minutes of closing. I was there at 4:28 and the man was as strict as a prison warden. I drove about an our and a half just to be turned away. Son of a beeeech.
This morning I was back at that yard.
They have an online inventory that isn't always 100% accurate. One thing that helps is that they list the date the vehicle is set in the yard. The closer the date is to today, the better chance that it is still in the yard.

This was on the list:


I wanted the hood scoop. My truck has one but I wanted a spare to paint and swap when I do the rest of the SRT stuff.


I walked up on this:


They had another black truck, but...


The trucks there had trashed bumpers and wrong year taillights.
Ah well, on to the NEXT yard...
Yard #2 was smaller and off the beaten path but had ONE truck that had some great parts left.
I got this bumper...



Only one tiny ding in a place that will get hidden by the corner of the right rear SRT cladding piece.



This bumper is otherwise straight. I'll sand blast and prime the chrome. It will get painted and cleared to match the body.
I also got this tailgate...



There is the two sided tape residue from the SLT emblem. I'll clean that off. I'm not sure if I'll add my own SRT emblem.


The back side was coated with that spray in bedliner stuff.


It is still in great shape. I'll prime and paint this and swap it in and save the original for a spare. The original has a few dings...


I was able to score a few other tidbits...
An overhead console housing.


A couple of lenses.


Drivers side switch panel.


Tilt steering adjustment knob.


....And one taillight.

R2 122.JPG
I haven't went yard hopping in years, the closest self serve yards to me are about an hour away. When I was in the Air Force and down south I went quite a bit.