View Full Version : PARTS, parts, Parts, parts, par..........ARRRRGGGH

02-16-2008, 04:14 PM
How do you keep up with all of the parts. Got to be thousands in a total restoration. I know that a pair of SU carbs has 92 and the front suspension has 364, not counting fastners.
So what do you do or what have you done to keep up with all the STUFF?
Is there a system out there? Some nifty way so that we don't have to spend twice as much time hunting then we do assembling stuff.
Your thoughts,ideas and experience really REALLY welcome.


02-16-2008, 04:53 PM

As a non-mechanic Triumph owner, I too am overwhelmed by
all the parts. I also must do my own work because of where
I live.

I find that using a "parts board" helps keep me organized.
When I remove a part, I place it on a white painted board
and label it. I try to keep the parts in their correct
orientation as well. I take hundreds of in-progress photos.

When I replace fasteners: I take them off my parts board,
one by one, and tag them with where they go and what size
they are. I put them in seperate bags and go to the
fastener store. New fasteners go into the individual plastic bag with the originals. I take photos of fasteners

I hope this concept helps.



Geo Hahn
02-16-2008, 05:35 PM
Ooh, I like the parts board.

I was fortunate that I could take over the guest bedroom for a year to keep everything sorted and clean.


Added bonus: no pesky visitors for the duration of the project.

Don Elliott
02-16-2008, 05:46 PM
My wife says there are 15,000 parts in a TR3A. How would she know, you ask. She says she counted them all. Under the bed, on the dining room table, behind the sofa, on and under the beds in the guest room, in the - - - - -. Well, you get the idea.

I did my restoration from 1987 to 1990, so she only had to put up with this for three years. Yes, she's still with me. How many parts boards can I fit in the pantry ?

02-16-2008, 06:20 PM
...How many parts boards can I fit in the pantry ?

If you get some of those plastic lazy susan things you can put a LOT...and they are easy to retrieve! /bcforum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif


02-16-2008, 06:30 PM
I now use clear plastic tubs with lids to store parts in, for both my new and used parts. I'm trying to separate them by chassis, brakes, engine, etc.

I find that if I have a project, like the fuel pumps, putting all of those parts into one container, makes it easier to clean off my workbench to do something else and not to lose anything when I do.

I'm also beginning to run out of room. Just one more reason why I need one of the "super" garages.

02-16-2008, 07:28 PM
I now use clear plastic tubs with lids to store parts in, for both my new and used parts. I'm trying to separate them by chassis, brakes, engine, etc.

I'm w/ Paul on the plastic tubs, except I use the kind my wife buys salad in;

Many different sizes, and they're free! I used to keep stuff in the cardboard boxes they came in, but too hard to find stuff...

02-16-2008, 07:46 PM
Same as me, Kevin. I just use the heavier ones for heavier parts.

02-16-2008, 08:05 PM
My approach is a little different, but only a little ... I buy large plastic crates at HD or Costco (the Costco ones are better made) and then pile things into them roughly according to pages in the Spare Parts Catalogue. Obviously that doesn't apply to large parts, like transmissions and cylinder heads, but anything small enough for a crate goes in a crate. If necessary I further subdivide along logical lines; eg "lamps" in one crate and the remainder of "electrical" in another.

Then many smaller items get grouped together in baggies inside the crates, like TR3 dash switches all go in one baggie. Here's part of my stash, on some neat shelves that I snagged when a previous employer closed their sonar business.

02-16-2008, 08:43 PM
Being an ultra-cheapskate I use old beer boxes from the local brew-thru.

Free and sturdy.

I just put a large white mailing label on the ends to identify the contents.

02-16-2008, 09:33 PM
I noticed the use of a parts board in the shop I am taking an auto body class in, never thought of it, great for bolts and small bits, or a small to medium project, but I would think a little large or cumbersome for a total resto or big project unless you have a lot of space and cardboard.

02-16-2008, 10:22 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:]Being an ultra-cheapskate I use old beer boxes from the local brew-thru. [/QUOTE]

I quit buying beer a long time ago or I'd probably be doing the same. Those were great boxes that the long necks came in. I can remember carrying in a lot of full ones and carrying out a lot of empties in my younger days.

02-16-2008, 10:30 PM
My two cents - make sure all the boxes are the same size. Makes them much easier to stack/organize.

I buy boxes from office depot... pretty expensive at $1/box, but they are all the same, I can stack them, etc.

02-17-2008, 05:34 AM
Starting point is to photograph everything before dismantling, as rebuilds always take longer than expected, and it's impossible to remember where everything goes.

A very cheap way of storing smaller parts is in sealable clear plastic lunch bags (Gladbags here). There are heaps in a box for $1.50 and you just describe the stored item on the bag with a black texta pen.

02-17-2008, 08:26 AM
As a suggestion, give your cardboard boxes a coat of shellac and they will last a lot longer

02-17-2008, 09:07 AM
Hey Frank !!

I'm still enjoying that horde of PF pretzel goldfish you
brought with you.

I'm sorry guys but I just have to belly laugh at all this
talk about the cheapest way to store expensive TR parts.
Cardboard box trash from retail stores? Shellac them for
longer use? You guys are pulling my leg since you know
I'm stupid about thing auto mechanical. Right??

On average, I pay $5.00 a pop for SAE Grade 8 bolts and
nuts. I store them in compartmented, water tight, plastic
boxes with hinged lids.

Proper, hinged or snap on lid plastic containers cost
nothing compared to the high cost of parts. Yes, I also
put parts inside zip lock bags to keep out the moisture.
Then I put them in a plastic container.

Just my $2 cents: but then I'm a rookie at this car stuff!

d /bcforum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/cool.gif

02-17-2008, 09:07 AM
I'm in the miscellaneous cardboard box mode right now, though I'd prefer clear plastic boxes of the same size if I could get them cheaply.

I use the sealable lunch bags too. For labels, I also found thats a great use for outdated business cards I have, add some notes and toss the card in the bag.


02-17-2008, 09:19 AM
Over here the termites love cardboard for breakfast

Don Elliott
02-17-2008, 10:52 AM
Frank - I agree that the shellac will make the cardboard boxes last longer, but the idea is to put the car back together ASAP. Otherwise, you will keep the parts and the boxes and the car will never get re-assembled. That's what we're doing ! Getting it back on the road for our pleasure. You can tell that shellac is not a priority with me.

Tim Tucker
02-17-2008, 12:47 PM
&gt;As a non-mechanic Triumph owner, I too am overwhelmed by
&gt;all the parts. I also must do my own work because of where
&gt;I live.

I hate to point out the obvious...but you are transforming into a MECHANIC...:)

02-17-2008, 03:23 PM
And I thought I was the only one who kept all the old clapped out parts that I changed out of my car; looks like the packrat gene is alive and well in this group!
Come to think of it I've got timing chains and gears and stuff for cars I haven't owned in 20 years in the garage.

02-17-2008, 09:21 PM
So, you have all the parts in boxes of one type or another. Maybe all over the place or even in one place. If you are doing a total off the frame restoration how do you keep up with what part is where? If you are going to re-furbish the tranny, for instance, how do you know where all the parts are, to do the job?

Tinkerman the Curious.

02-18-2008, 01:58 AM
i know this isnt going to help much, but all my stuff goes into the same boxes and not seperated....i normally can pull out a part and remeber where it went if i cant then i can always pull out the parts books or workshop manual. i keep stuff seperated by the major assembly it came from, for instance all my engine bolts are in one box etc etc. when you do this for a while youll probably do the same thing, you get good at visualizing where parts came from.

02-18-2008, 06:37 AM
Over here the termites love cardboard for breakfast

Here too. I lost HUNDREDS of dollars' worth of gaskets to those things. Didn't realize they'd "ingressed" 'til I went to the gasket box for a needed piece only to find they'd eaten the box AND a goodly number of the gaskets inside, leaving their spoor to ruin the inedible ones! I ~HATE~ those things. Now ALL stuff is stored in plastic containers. And WAR has been declared on any and all insects within my patch. Scorched earth philosophy engaged.

02-18-2008, 07:25 AM
I put something called termimesh in the floorslab, stopped the lil buggas in their tracks, looks something like flyscreenmesh

02-18-2008, 09:59 AM
For storing parts during the restoration I use the large clear storage boxes as pictured earlier. I have also found the new cat litter containers to be fantastic for storing the heavier items such as brake and suspension parts. They are sturdy, stackable and come with a carry handle.

02-20-2008, 12:30 PM
Doing a full restoration does take courage and patients, keeping all those pieces, fastners, washers, etc in a organized collection can be challenging. I used plastic containers from dairy products and zip lock bags to contain all the pieces of any one assembly and labeled the containers. As mentioned prior by other members a good photo collection is important, manuals do not always show you everything. I rebuild whatever unit I take off before removing another, that way things do not get mixed up or forgotten too quickly. That way I put into storage these newly rebuilt assemblies so that once the framework is redone and your ready to rebuild it back up, things are ready to go together. Taking on a 1950 Triumph Mayflower right now so I know what you are facing.
I am sure your finished car will be fantastic.



02-27-2008, 05:00 PM
I have reread this thread several times now. I thank all of you that tossed in your thoughts.
I have been using rubbermade tubs approx 14 x 22 x 8, 12 of them in fact, to put parts in. Mostly in plastic gallon and quart size plastic bags. Each tub is numbered and I use a spread sheet to keep up with it all using the Stanparts numbering system. I put out the question because even though I feel that I have a good system it still breaks down. Most probably operator error, heh.
Anyhow by re-reading the thread I think I have figured out the flaw in my system. Several of you mentioned keeping up with the parts by assembly ie: engine, front suspension. electrical and so forth. I feel that the major weakness in my system is that I have engine parts mixed in with elec stuff and so forth.
Some of you have already done that and my question is what description did you use. Did you use the Stanpart section title or did you base it on another system. Would like to know because I feel that I need to take the time and fix it cause it is giving me a fit.

Thanks to all of you, Tinkerman

02-27-2008, 05:08 PM
I put them in the same type tubs as you after they are removed and either cleaned or rebuilt. Extra new parts or electrical (rebuilt distributors, etc.) stay in the basement near the workbench and used parts stay in the garage.

I'm too lazy to be any more organized than that, but I guess that I do have them separated by category, as in suspension, brakes, etc., but that was more by accident than by design.

02-27-2008, 05:26 PM
Did you use the Stanpart section title or did you base it on another system.I use a mixture of the Stanpart section title and my own ad hoc system. For example "electrical" got too big, so I broke it down into "ignition", "lamps" and "other". The idea is just to know what box to look in, so use whatever makes sense to you.

02-27-2008, 05:30 PM
Thanks Paul, I'm going to bite the bullet and get it done this weekend. I feel that has been the missing link in my retrievals ystem.
First car that I ever did a frame off restoration on was a 1927 LaSalle BIG sedan. I spent more time looking for the parts I took off then I did re-assembling them. I have gradually gotten better at it but I get really frustrated when I can't find the pats that I know I have somewhere.
I really have to fix the blame on ME, hate it though, sigh.

Any how, on to a more organized system.

Regards, Tinkerman

02-27-2008, 09:01 PM
Aloha Tinkerman,

I'm sure that if you occasionally buy parts from either Moss Motors or Victoria British, you receive a catalog about every six months or so. Keep the old ones to cut up and stick in your boxes (type is your choice, but I like Randall's Coscto type). Mark up the catalog pages with what you have in the box as an inventory, a colored hi-liter is an easy method. The catalogs are generally grouped by systems or sub systems so you don't have to use to many pages per box. Another plus is that most of the parts are illustrated. I would also suggest you name and perhaps number the boxes with an outside label to make it easy to find something.

If you really want to keep an inventory of usable disassembled parts, you can make an spread sheet of what you have by box and what you need to maybe buy. The catalogs provide the parts with a commonly used descriptive name and you can add the part number to your spread sheet also. Keeping the inventory on your computer, solves a problem of bugs eating the paper in the box.

02-28-2008, 07:57 PM
Aloha Dave, thanks for the goood ideas. One of the things I like about the BCF are the ideas from so many folks. Prior to this I had thrown the catalogs away as new ones came in. Won't do that anymore.

Thanks, Tinkerman

02-28-2008, 08:05 PM
What line of work are you in?
(system sounds very good)

02-28-2008, 10:02 PM
Aloha Patrick,

I'm a sales engineer for a manufacturer's representative business selling HVAC equipment. Thanks, I just figured you might as well do something with all those catalogs.