wae Reader
4/11/14 11:08 p.m.

Every single time I've taken something apart thinking that it's just OBVIOUS where this part goes and what these bolts are for I find Future Bill sitting around calling Past Bill all sorts of names and not having any idea what THIS part is for. I'm in the process of dismantling an old Goldwing to part into another Goldwing and to part out the remainder, so keeping track of what everything is will be very important.

To that end, I went to my local office supply store and for $7.29 bought a box of 100 white coin envelopes and a box of 1000 Avery marking tags 1 3/4 x 1 3/32 for $25.99. Every part I pull off gets a string tag attached to it with a note that will tell Future Bill what vehicle it came off of and what the heck it is. The large bolts go into an old plastic compartmentalized bead organizer with a note, and the smaller bolts get sealed up into a coin envelope with a description written on the front.

Each electrical component that I remove also results in a tag being left on the wiring harness with a description of what used to be plugged in there.

Time will tell if this actually works (check in with Future Bill in about 8 months), but overall it's a relatively accessible, pretty cheap, and easy way to bring some order and organization to the dismantling process.

EastCoastMojo Mod Squad
4/12/14 3:37 a.m.

Smart idea! I've used blue painters tape for similar tagging purposes during disassembly, but your solution sounds cleaner.

Toyman01 UltimaDork
4/12/14 7:40 a.m.

I use zip lock bags, quart size plastic paint cups, a sharpie and a camera. Lots of pictures and bolt grouping are bagged and set on a table under the part they were holding. Parts that will fit in a paint cup go in one with the bolts that hold them. If it's something that's going to be apart for a while, I'll clear a shelf in the shop for storage or dedicate a plastic tote to the project.

Edit: Wiring harnesses, I have always tagged with painters tape. I like the idea of the tie on tags better. They should be more durable and easier to read. Thanks.

wae Reader
4/12/14 8:05 a.m.

I've used the heck out of blue painter's tape in the past and it seems like it either rips off, falls off, becomes illegible, and/or leaves a residue because it's been on for three years before I get back to it.

I've also been making judicious use of my digital camera. For each thing I've taken apart so far, there's a picture of the part still attached, then a picture of the bike with the part removed, and then as many pictures of the part itself as is necessary. Those things that have more than one type of bolt or that have hidden fasteners or clips get more pictures showing what tool was used where to remove.

Knurled PowerDork
4/12/14 1:45 p.m.

The digital camera is invaluable at work for long term projects, even for simple things. Like the GN I de-engined last month, for instance: The original oil pressure switch was removed and its connector ziptied to something, and the aftermarket gauge's wiring was routed a certain way.

If I didn't take that picture, I know that Future Me would be going nuts trying to find the missing oil pressure switch and tee, because every other GN in the world with an aftermarket gauge KEPT the switch and just teed in the new sender.

Bolts get bagged by subassembly or by procedure AND LABELED. These are the bolts from the front dress. These are the bolts from underneath - bellhousing, crossover pipe, flexplate, motor mounts. Huge giant time saver.

Ditchdigger UltraDork
4/12/14 3:44 p.m.

A digital camera, zip lock bags and sharpest are critical. Especially for us at work where we will blow a car completely apart and it will be up to 6 months until it comes back from paint and body and we can start reassembling. It is even worse on concours cars where every nut and bolt has to be in the correct spot.

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA Dork
4/13/14 11:36 a.m.

8 oz plastic drinking cups, masking tape, and a Sharpie have served me for 17 engines.

tpwalsh Reader
4/14/14 10:57 a.m.

Yep, ziplocks, lots of ziplock bags. Preferably with a label on them. If it's going to be off the car for more than 20 minutes, it goes in a bag, that's labeled and taped to the assembly it's off of. I keep boxes of snack, sandwich and quart handy in the garage.

wae Reader
4/14/14 2:17 p.m.

I've had a heck of a time with zip-top bags tearing, clumping together, and generally being difficult to manage. I do like being able to attach the bag directly to the part, though. I'm hoping that by giving each part a name on a tag and then putting the bolts/nuts/bits in an envelope or in a compartment container with a note with the exact same name on it, I'll be in better shape to re-constitute things later.

Pictures, pictures, and more pictures are definitely going to be helpful, though. I make it a point to upload and label every single picture right away so I don't have to guess at what I was trying to show.

tuna55 PowerDork
4/14/14 2:26 p.m.

My method is to tear everything apart, throw it in a big pile, and let the pile season for about five years.

Yeah, so I recently bought a lot of bolts.

Brett_Murphy UberDork
4/15/14 10:08 p.m.

The plastic tackle boxes with adjustable size compartments are useful for all kinds of organization. My wife uses them for hair bands, I use them for metric fasteners.

Add masking tape to the front with where the nuts and bolts went (alternator, radiator, whatever). If you get really creative, you can put the tape over the compartment and put a more descriptive label on there (radiator, driver, bottom) and you're golden later on.

They come in different sizes, too.

rocksteadyracer New Reader
4/24/14 1:08 p.m.

yeah ziplock bags, with a couple drops of oil/PB blaster for the rusty ones to

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