are there secret ways to find a hard-to-find car part?
July 3, 2014 8:33 AM   Subscribe

We need a center link for our 1994 G20 van. Our mechanic called around and couldn't find one, but said we might find one on the internet. No luck so far. Are there any secret places or techniques to find a part like this?
posted by lgyre to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
Have you contacted all the junkyards and pick-n-pulls in your area?
posted by Falwless at 8:49 AM on July 3, 2014

Response by poster: pretty sure that's what the mechanic did.
posted by lgyre at 9:08 AM on July 3, 2014

The GMParts Online site notes that the part is discontinued, but seems to have it in stock.

Also, this may seem stupid, but try the parts department of a nearby Chevy dealer. GM dealers seem to hang onto the damndest things - in the late '90s, I once found a convertible top motor for a '69 Cadillac at a Cadillac dealer, who sourced it from a nearby Buick dealer who had one in stock, god knows why. Some small mechanics don't like dealing with the Parts Window at the local dealerships, and vice versa, but it can be a great resource.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:24 AM on July 3, 2014

Call up a junkyard, ask them if they can search nationwide; a lot of junkyards have a network where they can look something up at each other's locations and can ship things around. When my G20 threw a U-joint, messing up the drive shaft, they got one from two states over, found by getting the local junkyard to get one from a distant junkyard.

Also, and it's far from optimal, there's a difference between asking a junkyard if they have a specific part and finding out they've got a junked G20 in their yard with the part you need still on it that you can remove yourself (or get the mechanic to do it). Most junkyards are filthy with G20s, because so many were made into high-end conversion vans, or got driven to hell by handymen. When I messed up the rear doors on my G20, I had my pick of 5 or 6 to find the nicest replacement doors. Now, that same G20 is out in that same junkyard, hopefully helping others with its Frankenstein parts too.

I'm kind of surprised your mechanic left it as 'called around and can't find one', though, mechanics are usually the best at this treasure hunt because 'found part' = 'paid for work'.
posted by AzraelBrown at 10:30 AM on July 3, 2014

Also, unlike the pitman arms or center links for other makes and models, this particular center link does not have bearings - it's a forged steel rod with holes drilled in it. It's safe to pull one from a junker.

As a matter of fact, I'd double check with the mechanic that it's actually the center link they're looking at - there aren't a lot of things that can go wrong with this part.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:40 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Do your own nationwide junkyard search at
posted by bricksNmortar at 12:49 PM on July 3, 2014

Rock Auto? They seem to have everything.
posted by at 7:34 PM on July 3, 2014

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