Classic mistake when working on a car.

Man, of all the basic, dumb advice I’ve ever given, one of the most repeated has to be “Compare the parts”.

As in when you’re buying a replacement for a busted part, take the busted part in to the parts store.

I’ve told people  hundred times to always check and make sure the parts look identical, otherwise something is wrong.

Well yesterday I bought a fuel pump for my bug, and didn’t notice until I was all the way in there, fuel pump off, engine crankcase exposed, that the pump would not work on my car.

There are two little pipes coming out of a fuel pump, an inlet, and an outlet. Basically it’s a pump’s job to get gas from the tank to the carburetor, so it’s got two little nipples for connecting hose to.

Well, my old fuel pump only had one. The other had busted off. I can’t imagine how painful it would be to have a nipple blown off. Well, it happened to my pump so off she went. The pump wold have to be replaced. In a hurry I went parts store hopping, being laughed out of Pep Boys for asking for it, “No we do not have that oddly specific part for your 42 year old vehicle”, sent from my local Lincoln Heights store, over to the Cesar Chavez and State St. store. I was told they had the part.

I was tired. I’d been to Pep Boys, and one Auto Zone already, on trip # 3, I asked for the pump, and the clerk produced one that looked exactly like my old one, or so I thought.

This rebuilt one I had just purchased, had the top of it off by about 25 degrees. Rotated. So the hose coming out of it interfered with everything in sight.  I couldn’t get it in there properly. I had a defective part.

So I yanked it again, and this time compared it to my old one. It was plain as day, it would never work, the tops were at just enough of a different angle to make it a miserable defective part. I had bought a bad part. At least I knew I wasn’t crazy. Usually when a part doesn’t want to go in properly, it’s my fault. I usually come across new information and solve the problem on my own. This time it was actually the part.

Of course, this fuel pump was the last cheap one in East LA. I could buy a nice expensive one at a VW Specialty shop that will remain nameless, but I’m looking to sell this thing, so I’m bargain shopping. I might even just buy one online, and hope for the best, Amazon Prime might help there. They’ll take a return, unless I get gasoline on it, which is likely because it’s a fuel pump.

This time, when my replacement comes, you bet I’ll inspect every last millimeter of the damned thing. 

By the way, I’m still in shock from Auto Zone taking my return even though i’d tested it running gas through it. Those guys never allow straight refund returns 🙂  Got lucky there.


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