Jim, I enjoyed your article on the Harbor Freight Telescoping Gantry. As you said this is a handy tool, and for me almost indispensable being that I live 25 miles from the closest town and my neighbors are few. I have modified my gantry by installing a 1,500-pound ATV winch that threads the lifting wire through a snatch block attached to the trolley and a stop that limits travel of the trolley; it will go to center in the direction of pull of the winch. To prevent the lift wire from chafing against the cab roof I used a power steering pump pulley as an idler. I attached a photo of the cab installation on my '54 pickup. You can see the advantage of the winch with my friend under the cab installing the cab mount bolts while I'm using a little shoulder pressure to move the cab sideways, and the winch to jog the cab up and down slightly. It was a great article about a great tool. I liked the article on your cherry picker modification too, and I plan to do that to my cherry picker so I can move my shop machinery easier.
Gino Venaglia
Stagecoach, Nevada

Hi Gino, I'm happy you enjoyed the articles. From the amount of attention both stories generated it sounds like you and I are far from being the only truckers out there who work alone most of the time. I enjoy seeing and reading about homebuilt problem solvers, and the tips and tricks folks come up with in their day-to-day repair and fabrication (sounds like a good source of future edit).

The winch addition is great, and I like the idea of the idler pulley rather than mounting the winch overhead.Thanks a bunch for dropping me a line, and if by chance you've got any other tips or tricks you might like to share I'd love to see/hear about 'em! (That goes for the rest of you folks, as well!)
Riz

Hi Riz, I just received my newest issue, and usually go straight for the eye candy. For some reason my eyes were diverted to the Driver's Seat column right off the bat. What you said about today's parts store chains was pure poetry. I have the same frustrations and often receive the same "blank stare" when their computer doesn't spit out the requested information in less than two or three mouse clicks. Right on for giving a shout-out to the local mom-and-pop auto parts stores. Without them there would be a lot less "garage time" and a whole lot more time spent trying to get into the garage. Thanks for your rant. The feeling is mutual.
Thanks,
Jim
Seattle, Washington

Hi Riz, You think us parts guys liked and understood your Driver's Seat column? Ain't it the truth. We share that opinion every day. We need new and enthusiastic young people in this industry but the "chains" do a terrible job training them for proper customer service. This photo represents many years of old cataloging from many manufacturers that no longer send out paper catalogs. They aren't for sale and they surely will not be disposed of. Great column!
Steve Tully
Hometown Auto Parts,
Liberty, Kentucky

Hi Riz, I enjoyed your comments about part stores help. Over the years we have restored a '30 Chevy, '31 Model A truck, '41 Packard, a few more, plus the one I'm working on now, a '49 Ford F-1. We had a local real parts store, locally owned NAPA by a couple of brothers in their early 40s. We live on an Island in Puget Sound, Vashon Island, Washington, so having an auto parts store was a real plus for restoration or even servicing some of my old restorations (yes, I still own them all).

Back to the Vashon Napa, these guys had the old reference books and the computer, the owners, Stu and Steve, knew you by name, and the car, truck, or boat you were working on. I went in one day needing a gas cap and set of plugs for the '49 Ford truck, Stu called back to his brother behind the counter, telling him to get me a XYZ stainless gas cap, and a set of XYZ plugs for the flathead. No computer, no reference book, and not a bunch of useless questions about the year, make, size of the engine, power steering, air conditioning, V-8, six- or four- cylinder. Now to talk about supporting your local parts store, these guys had to close the business-the store got hit by the economy, raised rent, and corporate fees-it was gone like that. A few of the local hardware stores took on selling oil and miscellaneous auto parts, with not nearly the same support like Stu and Steve. My point is that if one finds a locally owned, managed, knowledgeable parts store, where you are not wasting time educating the counter staff, support them even if they can't beat the national chain prices. By the way, they really helped me with setting up my V-8 60 in my Model A truck; now they are gone like a '60 Caddie.
Frank
Via email

Thanks, I could have filled five pages with the letters I've received regarding my parts store rant. Thankfully everyone could relate and agreed wholeheartedly. Though, I may have to start sending my wife out for parts when necessity requires a trip to a chain store.
Riz

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