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Do I know too much, or are they getting dumber?

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I stopped at an Autozone tonight. I needed an oil filter and paint for my 331 stroker. They didn't have a reference guide over by the filters, and I didn't know which models would fit, so of course I asked.

And of course, they needed to know make model year. It's always mighty confusing for these poor parts people to explain that it's a 331 stroker going in a '67 Cougar. They don't have an entry for that. So as usual, I just tell them the model year for the part that matters here: I said '89 Mustang V8 5.0 HO'. That's not hard, right?

But apparently that was confusing. Blank looks. "What engine? What car?"

"It's a Ford V8. '89."

More confused looks.

"A Windsor?"

The elderly lady working, and 20something kid standing there both chorused, "What's a Windsor?"

I could not help myself. I was absolutely stupefied. How can you work in a parts store, and not know what a Windsor is? I suspect if I'd said "LS" or "Small Block Chevy" they'd have been just as lost. It was like walking into a McDonalds and asking for a cheeseburger, and having them ask what I was talking about. I didn't know what to say!

I just took a step back, and said, "No worries. It's okay, guys. I'll get this someplace else." I was chuckling to myself as I left. I hope I did not come across as a jerk. I certainly didn't act mean, and I did thank them as I left. I almost went back into the store to explain, but then I thought, "If they don't know what a Ford V8 is, I don't have enough time to explain what a Windsor is." They only know how to type what you say into a window on the screen, and have no desire to understand what they are selling, or why they sell it, I guess.

Is the information I carry around in my head about these cars (and many others!) that esoteric?
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All this parts talk is bring back bad memories of trying to get a thermostat for my Cleveland.
No stores I went to even acknowledge the Cleveland.
The Bengals fans are the same way. They don’t acknowlege Cleveland either…
 

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Discussion Starter · #62 ·
I don't remember how long the motorcraft FL 1 filter has been around..I think before an A was added to it, but for any old ford guy not to know that filter fits just about everything and anything unless there is a small space issue would surprise me. Nowadays I run Wix filters...I don't know the number off the top of my head, but I know to cross-reference it to an FL1 and then it gives me 3 choices...naturally, I pick the most expensive one, just because, it must be the best one, right? lol...I wonder if an oil filter for an 89 mustang windsor is smaller..I bet it is...Why would you not just say a 302 67 mercury cougar...the 331 comment doesn't matter does it?..of course they will ask what transmission is in it and do you have the production date :)
I see both sides of the argument. I actually worked at an O'Reillys when I first left active duty and was in school, my GI Bill was more than I made full-time as a night manager and that's the OLD GI Bill. I guess that could only hire ASE mechanics and hot rod builders, but imagine the increase in salaries and guess who's going to pay for that when they buy their parts!

But also, why try and confuse them? Why even say it's a 331 stroker, that has nothing to do with it!?! That has nothing to do w/ the filter.... it's still a 302 block! And w/ hot rods? Forget about it! I wouldn't go in asking for a cap n' rotor for an HEI in SBF Windor... I'd go in and ask for the part using the GM model as a reference and then say, "It's for an HEI in my Mustang."

You can't expect them to know all the OEM parts for ALL manufacturers for ALL models, can you?!? PLUS hot rod applications? If they knew that they probably wouldn't be working at a parts store! Pull your own part #s if you're going to build something even remotely out of the norm IMO (hell, I pull my own on my DDs/late models too).

Maybe by time those kids are YOUR age they'll have the same knowledge-base, jus' sayin'
I agree! That's why I never mention anything exotic at a parts store. I just say something like "It's an 89 Mustang 5.0 HO" which they can usually look up easily enough. But more typically, I go in with the information (and part number) I need. This was just something I needed in the moment, because I forgot to order one along with a lot of other Summit parts. 331? Forget that. Even a lot of genuinely knowledgeable parts people might not know what that was, unless they happen to be Ford enthusiasts.
 

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1968 Ford Mustang Coupe | 302 | E-Style
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I literally go to the auto parts store for oil, filters, hoses and car wash supplies hahaha. I am pretty young myself and I agree, asking questions in there is brutal. I was in O'Reilly's recently looking for an in-line fuel filter for a 5.5mm hose (for my Honda CB360) and he guy goes, "what car and engine? 5.5mm? That's WAY smaller than 1/4", I don't have anything" - needless to say, I walked around and found a 1/4" in-line fuel filter.
 

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I may have told this self depreciating story before, can't member. Back in 2006 I had recently bought a 2004 Escalade I didn't care to buy from my brother-in-law, or even like at first. I went to my around the corner outstanding O'Reilly for an oil filter. The gal asked the usual year, make, and model. Then asked 2 or 4 wheel drive, uh... don't know. Which sub model, LXT EXT... uh, don't know, but I'll go look. As I get to the door she asks, do you know what color it is? BAM! Touche!
 

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Unfortunately companies have created these flow chart templates. For people to do jobs that need limited amount of training and knowledge to do. It happens in all types of jobs. Helps the bottom line. For little things I'd rather go to Walmart or a store where I can pick the product myself. Then have to deal with the employees. My local Carquest has become the same way. And they use to be have way decent.
 

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The auto parts store is the worst place to get oil and filters. Much cheaper at Walmart and they carry Motorcraft as well as other OEM filters like Toyota, etc.
 

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1965 2+2 Vintage Burgundy A-code C4
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I honestly think I could sell bagged ice to an eskimo....
I just figure you’d be like, “No,you want the Levi button flys in a 36/34 with the titanium reverse rotation fly, these are the brass buttoned ones with the watch pocket on the other side”.
 

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Napa, as several people mentioned, seems to be better and has good stock on most SBF parts. I order a lot of stuff online, because of local stock issues and just easier than the explanation of what i need. Rockauto is pretty fast on standard delivery for me here in NC. If I have to go local, i look online first and check inventory and get a part number. Just easier. When I had an LS Swapped Jeep JK, that was always fun trying to get anything for it. For fittings and small parts, my local Oriellys is pretty good at letting me go in the back and find what i need. Makes it easier on everyone. Not uncommon to have to hit 2 different parts stores to get my parts list.
 

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Max,Umm,....NO. The FE was used until 1979. There were Ford built U-Haul trucks that had them, 390s. LSG
Umm, NO. 1976.






 

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Just be careful at Walmart. I use K&N oil filters on my Tacoma. Last time I went someone had put a $ 5 Fram in the K&N box & I'm guessing left with the $ 15 K&N in the Fram box
I'm noticed that happening at Walmart too when I've gone to buy filters. I noticed they're starting to seal the boxes.
 

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Just be careful at Walmart. I use K&N oil filters on my Tacoma. Last time I went someone had put a $ 5 Fram in the K&N box & I'm guessing left with the $ 15 K&N in the Fram box
Or buy two filters, a Fram and K&N, and then bring back the Fram filter in the K&N box for a refund.
 

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I've been selling auto parts for 38 years and had a fun one yesterday. A customer drove this to the store
Wheel Tire Car Land vehicle Vehicle


A 1921 Ford. He wanted motor mounts for a different vintage 4 cylinder motor swap ( I think he said a B motor ) .I asked him a couple questions and found some mounts in the store in a couple minutes. It would have been hilarious to see what the 18 year old new hires we have would have done.
 

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Your first problem is it’s Autozone.
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The next good thing you can do is not go to an Autozone. ;) Napa’s or Oreilly’s tend to have guys that know their way around a car.
I feel blessed to have a competent AutoZone, Napa, O'Reilly and Advance all within 4 blocks of each other roughly 6 miles from my house. We also now have a "performance speed shop" and you can buy CAM2 leaded fuel from the Sunoco right beside it all in our little town of Circleville.

It's not quite nirvana...but it has some very good qualities and just a half hour drive away from Car & Driver's proving grounds course through the Hocking Hills.
 
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I went to Autozone and the guy said he didn’t have the fusible link for my 86 F150, pulled up diagrams and we searched for it. He said try the Ford place, they wouldn’t have it but might have a lead for me. Went to Ford place and they pulled schematics up and said, “Here’s what you need”. I was surprised and asked if they had it. They said, “Oh no, that’s obsolete, but you can get one at NAPA”. Went to NAPA and BINGO! Guess it just depends on who you get.
 
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