NAPA Stores


jerepowers

New member
My alternator died on a trip through northern Minnesota. (For those who don't know, there are parts of northern Minnesota where a town can consist of a tavern and a church - period.) I began driving toward Fargo, N.D., in hopes of getting to a city where I could get parts. My 1984 Westy died and rolled to a stop in Detroit Lakes, a city of 7,500 people about an hour east of Fargo, on a Sunday evening.

The next morning I called the local NAPA auto parts store hoping against hope they could even get one. They had one in stock! It was a non-Bosch rebuilt unit for $84 and came with a three year warranty. They even helped me remove the pulley nut from the old alternator and put it on the new one. The new one had an English-sized (1/2-inch) nut where the charging wires attach and took a 5mm bolt on the back to replace a stud to which a plug was secured. Other than an expected overnight stop, the whole process took slighly over an hour from the time I began removing the old one to the time I was back on the road.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
NAPA is an enigma. The problem is there is NO consistency. They may have excellent and very fair priced parts, or they may be cheap aftermarket junk that doesn't fit. Unfortunately, they are neither VW experts, nor interested in the OE & OEM market niche. They buy open-market. Most counter men have little or no clue as to source, especially house brands. Some of their parts are excellent, factory reman while others are very poor unknown rebuilds. Their suppliers generally specify what fits where and that gets real dicy with VW's.

I've had mixed results myself with other makes. A set of pads for my truck lasted only 24K and failed so completely they took the rotor & hub with it -- several hundred dollars damage and their only 'warranty' was the pads. On the other hand, a full rack & pinion power-steering on a BMW worked like a charm, though not BMW OEM. You found a low-volume part in stock in a remote town; I just experienced an incident where they couldn't come up with generic US sized SS brake line stock in less than a week in a major metro area.

Your conditions determined your choice; I'm glad it worked out. For those able to check multiple vendors and/or wait for VW OEM, NAPA should be viewed with a critical eye with each purchase. Being a national chain, they will vary wildly depending on their supporting distributor, their store management, and the quality of employees. Also, know your prices; NAPA can be completely irrational or a bargain.
 

tgabbert

New member
jerepowers

like yourself, i am a great fan of napa. generally, i have found that in the boondocks, and wherelse do we camperheads like to be, they have a collection of the counties most interesting parts boys that are willing to help you when you are in a pinch. if you buy regularly from napa and buy the lifetime warranty productcts, they are exchangeble across the country. example: muffler. i have replaced this sucker five times in 250,000 miles. now i do travel a lot of muddy logging roads in the state of maine, so i dont blame the muffler, which is a walker, one of the best on the market. but napa gives me a new one every time. your alternator will be good across the country. and when you need another one, ask the counter man at napa about the brush set. its usually all the alternator needs, does not require removal of the alternator to replace, and costs only 20 bucks. i have 340,000 miles on my original alternator and have replaced the brush set three times, all from napa, in their parking lot. they even let you wash your hands there.
 

semiret

New member
I bought a pair of axle shafts (the only 2 they had) with rebuilt CV joints for my '78 Westy (cost $69.00 each) and they are working fine. As long as these are available, they seem a great alternative to buying new CV joints and rebuilding your axles yourself.

Steve
Salt Lake City
 

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