corner wrench: to rebuild or replace classic car parts?

The title represents an age-old debate among gear-heads and shade-tree mechanics alike. Some, wishing to keep as much on their classics as close to original as possible, shun the notion of installing a remanufactured part such as an alternator or starter. And a portion of this rebuild group also quietly (or not so quietly) relishes the feeling of self-sufficiency that comes with being able to repair something rather than replace it. The replacement side of the argument usually stands by their choices due to easier jobs with factory spec rebuild quality rather than home garage bench-work. And even for those with a seemingly bounty of spare time, the choice to swap out a unit pays off in time for more enjoyable diversions. But what’s more enjoyable than tinkering?

With certain components, rebuilding gives you the option of improving on factory performance. For example, alternators and generators are always power-rated to simply meet the electrical needs of the vehicles they’re installed in and nothing more. After a few years of adding on power-hungry sound systems, or maybe a better lighting system, these built-to-minimum units show their weakness. Most of these power-dynamos can easily accept better windings and internals to boost the amperage output, leaving the same exterior looks, but with much better performance.

Engines easily fall into the same category. You can buy a reman or new or tear down the existing unit for a machine shop overhaul and slip in a few improvements along the way such as better intake, exhaust, porting, remote oiling, etc.

When it comes to bench overhauling common items such as brake calipers, it’s critical to ensure that piston bores are within limits and free of pitting. You can’t get oversized piston kits to make up for excessive wear. That means knowing the specs and being able to measure them.

Some things are just not candidates for rebuilding. Steering boxes and rack and pinion assemblies are great examples. Yes for most popular rides you can easily find affordable seal kits but they seldom if ever work due to the fact that when these gears leak it’s usually related to worn surface areas and not seal failures. The metal feed lines on rack and pinion assemblies can be replaced but not with aftermarket or original equipment parts; they’re rarely offered. Instead simply remove the lines as intact as possible and take them to a hydraulic line shop to get duplicates made at a fraction of the cost of a complete rack assembly.

Rebuilding older carburetors is a worthwhile exercise but not just for saving money. Once you’ve mastered rebuilding these fuel units you’ll have a much easier time making adjustments and cleaning them down the road because of the knowledge you’ve gained from rebuilding them from the ground up.

MOTOR'S NEWS RELATED

Join Road & Track and Car and Driver on Our Annual Car of the Year Tests

Check out today's coolest new cars alongside editors at Performance Car of the Year, Lightning Lap, and 10Best Awards.

View more: Join Road & Track and Car and Driver on Our Annual Car of the Year Tests

Satisfying Subaru SUVs That People Love Driving and Owning

Satisfying Subaru SUVs that people love driving include the 2022 Crosstrek The 2022 Forester is another Satisfying Subaru SUV that people love Don’t overlook the 2022 Outback for a stress-free driving experience Subaru makes a reliable and safe sport utility vehicle, but that’s not all. These Satisfying Subaru SUVs ...

View more: Satisfying Subaru SUVs That People Love Driving and Owning

Holiday Rambler Eclipse RV Debuts With Theater Seats, Drop-Down Loft

It’s available with three different floor plans.

View more: Holiday Rambler Eclipse RV Debuts With Theater Seats, Drop-Down Loft

Genesis prices 2023 G80 electric car at $81,000, expands EVs to more states

Genesis on Thursday expanded the breadth and availability of its electric car lineup on its path to becoming a fully electric automaker by 2030. The luxury brand’s newest car, the 2023 Electrified Genesis G80, will cost $80,920 (including a $1,095 destination fee) when it goes on sale in September. The ...

View more: Genesis prices 2023 G80 electric car at $81,000, expands EVs to more states

This C5 Corvette Turned Off-Roader Could be Yours For Small Bucks

Photo: Caleb Hodshire/Facebook Fans of the Chevrolet Corvette and off-road vehicles now have a golden opportunity to combine their two passions for a small amount of money. A tuning enthusiast in Illinois, who specializes in Corvette conversions, is selling on Marketplace a fifth-generation (C5) 1999 Corvette built to venture ...

View more: This C5 Corvette Turned Off-Roader Could be Yours For Small Bucks

Audi heads to F1, 2025 Cadillac Celestiq, 2023 Electrified Genesis G80: Today's Car News

Audi confirmed it will enter F1 for the 2026 season. The automaker will team with a thus far unknown chassis partner to provide power units that will be built in Germany and run on synthetic fuel. Alfa Rome announced it will split with Sauber, and all points sign to Audi ...

View more: Audi heads to F1, 2025 Cadillac Celestiq, 2023 Electrified Genesis G80: Today's Car News

Genesis expands GV60, an electric SUV, availability to four more US states

Where is the Genesis GV60 available to buy Electrek’s Take Now might be your chance if you’ve been waiting to buy the Genesis GV60 EV SUV. The Korean luxury automaker announced Tuesday that its flagship electric SUV, the GV60, will be available in four more US states starting in ...

View more: Genesis expands GV60, an electric SUV, availability to four more US states

Our Long-Term 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing Is off to an Unforgettable Start

With our 668-hp, six-speed-manual sports sedan, the highs are high, and the lows are low.

View more: Our Long-Term 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing Is off to an Unforgettable Start

Dodge goes electric in style | Autoblog Podcast #744

Tested: Best Car Vacuums for 2022

China: Power to the people or to the carmakers?

Tesla premium connectivity through Starlink V2 confirmed

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning strapped to dyno despite challenges

1983 DeLorean DMC-12 with 5,397 miles for sale

Numbers of Koenigsegg CC850s increase to 70 due to high demand

Tech Deep Dive: What Makes the New Porsche GT3 RS the Most Extreme 911 Ever

4 Terrible 2022 Subcompact SUVs That Consumer Reports Predicts Owners Will Hate

Xiaomi in talks with BAIC to produce electric cars, says Bloomberg

Audi Has Decided to Enter Formula 1 in 2026 After Much Speculation

North Dakota Swing Ahead For WoO: What To Watch For

OTHER MOTO NEWS