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Can a "Do It Yourselfer" really know what its worth.....



I find that guys like me, on the DIY sites, never seem to think anything is rare or as valuable as stated on Craigslist or EBay. It might be guys like me are not the ones to ask. I can fabricate, paint, tweak, locate or trade whatever I need when it comes to the 48-53 dodge trucks…I got friends too. So maybe it just seems easier for me, which somehow translates to cheaper? Maybe less valuable? I have to look at a recent event that made me think about my attitude.

Why pay a mechanic 500 bucks when you can do it for 20? This just happened to me. I fixed Mom's 2004 Grand Marque for 12 bucks. The Light Control Module had failed.....the dealership wanted 650 bucks (replace the LCM), the other shop (2nd opinion) wanted 560 bucks. I was like "What??? Let me look at it" I did the research on the internet, found the common problem disscussed on a forum, and fixed it with improvements recommended by the thread starter. A failed relay needed replacing; 12 bucks in parts....took me maybe an hour. It’s not original, but using wires to relocate the relay that has problems, outside the module, makes it easy to replace when it fails again. The price of a new Light Control Module ranged from 100 to 400 dollars.....the relay was 3 bucks (wires, etc made up the rest of the cost). Of course this was Mom, but I got to thinking.....why don't I see what I did as valuable? Did I just want to prove those wrench heads are overpriced???? If it wasn't Mom, would I have charged 90 bucks for the time and 12 bucks for the parts? I don’t know, I did take a free lunch and the satisfaction of knowing I saved my Mom from the wolves. Or did I? The shop was charging for the part and the labor. It seems my default is to undercharge based on some moral dilemma I created in my head based on the fact I personally can do things cheaper for myself. I paint cars on the side, but do it cheaper because my overhead is lower etc….but how is that my fault? Again, I think it’s a Do It Yourself mentality that’s skewed my interpretation of value.

Looking at Craigslist, I see 48-53 trucks that are clearly over priced….uh….that I think are overpriced. And the crooks on EBay that have NO idea how to price a damn vintage fender….err…I FEEL are uninformed of a reasonable price for classic steel. It’s there that I wonder if I should take a closer look at how I’m applying said worth to the stock pile of parts I sometimes give away or sell cheap to fellow vintage truck owners to help them out. Not that I want to change my practices (I know you’re reading this Mike aka Trampsteer, lol) but maybe bring myself into the 21st century and give the guys who are charging possibly the “right” price for these trucks and the parts a break from my attitude, and maybe give myself a bigger pat on the back when I make a what I consider a good deal.

Okay….so maybe this is where it really started. It’s been a few months since I fixed Mom’s car, when she calls me and says she received a notice in the mail. Ford sent her a letter stating that her year car has been having troubles with the LCM. They would like to extend the warranty to have the problem fixed. If it has already been fixed by a non dealer, etc… to provide the bill to Ford and they will reimburse the money…….damn. Ford owes Mom 12 bucks and a lunch, lol.


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You're a part hoarder. Don't try to sugar coat it.


Here is the something I would ask you to put into your formula. It's not just a sale you make every time you do what you do with these trucks. Its a relationship built. The creation of trust that wasn't there before. The spark that inspires countless others. An infectious passion that keeps people going. The saving of heritage and history. Dealers and eBay wolves don't have any of that.


Oh, and our price for the springs is firm right?


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As always, it's buyer be aware which has been shortened to 'buyer beware'. I am very conservative on things I buy today. My wife wanted a new sofa that was in a 'going out off business' "sale". I chopped his 'sale price' and got another $200. 00 off.

Car part prices I pay according to urgency which I try to avoid by buying three to six months ahead of my need. That way I work hard to get my price and I no longer have that "I can't walk away" fear.

To forum members I price 'fair' usually 60% of VPW and negotiate from there. I fully agree with the relationship factor especially on the forum. I gave a four speed sync tyranny

to a member. When he picked it up, he handed me a crisp $50 bill for "steam cleaning" it.

So for me, patience in buying makes this hobby afordable.

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Generally speaking, imho, those sellers are simply trying to milk as much as they possibly can get on those parts.  Their attitude seems to be......I have it and you want (or need) it, then you have to pay my price.  


So, if you have time to wait, you can just keep watching eBay and other places for more reasonably priced parts.  

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I like you Tim, and I must say that I couldn't be happier that you've finally decided to give me that delivery van of yours and ship it all the way to Australia for me!


It is true what you say about seller's on Ebay. I was only saying to my mate Keith on the weekend that it's funny to see people advertise stuff on Ebay saying they have no idea what the part came off but they put some over-inflated price on it anyway. Although, sometimes it works in reverse as I picked up a good set of DODGE hood badges for Keith last week from a fella on Ebay for $20.


I won't use the local dealer's for my wife's GM vehicle as they are rip-off merchants. I have my own mechanic work on wifey's car as I know that I can trust him. Her car is actually out of warranty now so I see no reason to visit the GM dealer's again.


You and I have much in common when it comes to helping others out with truck parts. It has been sometime now since I have charged anyone for anything from my spare parts stash, and whenever I have asked someone for money for an item it has not been much. In saying that though, I do try to recover the production costs of the stainless steel springs which I have made. It makes me happy (as I'm sure it does yourself) helping others out with parts that I know might just be the piece that they need to finish a job. I may actually have one of those friends who I have helped out with parts bidding for me at auction on another 5 trucks in a couple of weekend's time - fingers crossed!!!


Keep up the good work my friend!

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