Jeff Ford
July 12, 2011

Assortment of Allen wrenches--again, metric and standard. Some Fords use Allen heads for the door pulls and the window cranks. Some humans used them just to make you have a bad day at the yard--well, not really, but when its 90-plus degrees outside and 130 in the old hulk, it sure seems that way.

The Bag

"The bag" holds all the tools that you think you might need. Mostly "the bag" is the place for specialty stuff like flashlights, cordless drills, utility knives, the BFH (for when things go really pear shaped), and other "needful things."

Our typical load out is as follows:

  • - Extra standard wrench set
  • - Utility knife
  • - BFH (Big Freaking Hammer)
  • - Eastwood sheetmetal nibblers
  • - Pencil
  • - Mechanic's pliers
  • - Large locking pliers
  • - Mini flashlight
  • - Extendable magnet
  • - Wasp spray (small can)
  • - Waterless hand cleaner (small bottle)
  • - Two small hand towels (one for your sweat one for your hands)
  • Bugs Bug Me

    Bug spray With West Nile virus and whatnot floating around these days and junkyards a breeding ground for mosquitoes, it's a good idea to use a sports spray to repel the little vermin. Ticks too can be a huge problem in some areas. So make sure you prepare and then check yourself when you get home.

    Flying-insect killer While we're friends with nature and enjoy a walk in the park like anyone else, wasps are, well they're like the Joker to our Batman, Lex Luthor to our Superman, axis to our allies--OK, you get the idea. We're not saying that you should wipe out every colony in the yard; just kill the little buggers that are trying to make you leave.

    Emergency!

    Have a basic first aid kit. Nothing fancy, just some antiseptic, bandages, and Neosporin will do. Anything more injurious than that and you're bound for the hospital. Ours is a bit of overkill and bought at a surplus store, but it literally has everything you'd need for injuries.

    Speaking of basic first aid, are you allergic to wasps or bees? If so, it might be a stellar idea to have a bee-sting kit handy in the toolbox. We wouldn't want to see you swell up like a Graf zeppelin.

    Yard Etiquette

    There is such a thing as yard etiquette and below are the things that you should and should not do. Most of it's common sense; some of it is stuff we've learned over the course of the last few years. In any case, it's all good to know.

    Always talk to the owner before taking off on your expedition. The owner will want to know what you're after. Be specific. Oddly enough, there may be cars in the yard that he doesn't want parts pulled off of. If he says, "there's a red Galaxie two-door down there on the fence line, don't touch it," he means it. It's OK to look, but paws off. And don't think that he'll never know. He will. Also, talking to him will clue him into what you want to get. He may have new fodder out there and can direct you right to it.

    Never break things to get to what you want. We've seen this more times than we care to mention. It's infuriating to get to a car and see that some yahoo has broken the dash panel to get at the A/C control or has bent a glovebox to gain better access to the dashpad nuts.

    If someone is working on a car, ask before you start poking around on it. Believe it or not, there are squatter's rights on a car. You might get a "Sure, it's OK," or you might not, but always ask. This is particularly true on well-optioned older cars.

    Haggling can be good and it can be dangerous. It's best to ask what the price for your part will be before you go out. It's not like Mr. Junk hasn't seen that part before. If the part is more than you're willing to pay, tell him you don't think you want it. He may come off the price.

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