checking mileage on junk yard vans

checking mileage on junk yard vans

Postby Rod's Trucks [OP] » November 19th 2020, 4:41am

Curiosity has caused me to ask:
Has anybody tried to power up the instrument panel in a P' n' P' van??
I have asked at a couple of the P' n' P's around here, but they will not give me that mileage information. I would assume they have in their records but are just too lazy to give it out.
I sometimes wonder how many miles are on some of the ones that look to be pretty much intact, and have considered trying a small 12V battery ( 12v Power tool battery) .
If somebody has tried it and it failed for some reason, please let me know.
For example; if I have the choice of two vans with the same ratio rear end assembly, which might be the better choice with regard to mileage. I know that depends a LOT on the service it has seen, and the maintenance ( if any), but it is a starting point. One looking for a used transmission or motor, might find a very low mileage wreck, and expect it to be in better condition than one that may look clean, but have over 200K on it...of course, it could also be a recent rebuild... :blah:
I may be :confused:
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Re: checking mileage on junk yard vans

Postby markmitch » November 19th 2020, 6:01am

I once took a cordless sawzall battery with me to open a hatch but never tried to turn the key to see the gauges. They have a sign No batteries inside yard but if you ask them if you can bring one to open the hatch to buy parts they may let you as they did me.
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Re: checking mileage on junk yard vans

Postby Rod's Trucks [OP] » November 19th 2020, 7:08am

Good to know... I have never seen that sign, but then I was not looking for it either.
I have never tried to take a 12v drill battery in, so maybe they would turn me away with that.
Some seem to allow some drills and cutting stiff (ie; sawzall) but others forbid ANY power tools.
I hear impact what I think are impact wrenches regularly, at one yard.
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Re: checking mileage on junk yard vans

Postby AstroOafAdventurer » November 19th 2020, 2:03pm

I rarely see keys with the vehicle, out of 7 I looked at yesterday only 1 did and it was cabled around the column.
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Re: checking mileage on junk yard vans

Postby M_a_t_t » November 19th 2020, 4:48pm

If you put power on the harness wire though will it come on without the key, or does it need the computer to turn it on?

I was going to leave the computer out of my van (carb'd v8), but the gauges wouldn't turn on without plugging the computer in. I didn't investigate any further.
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Re: checking mileage on junk yard vans

Postby AstroOafAdventurer » November 19th 2020, 5:00pm

Is the mileage stored in the odometer or computer on these?
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Re: checking mileage on junk yard vans

Postby stent » November 19th 2020, 5:57pm

this is a great topic !
here in denver we can bring cordless tools into the JY's - if anyone has suggestions on how to activate a van without the key to find out let me know and i'll try next time i go to the JY.
maybe putting 12v to a specific spot on the underhood fuse box or tapping a wire in the steering column??????
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Re: checking mileage on junk yard vans

Postby M_a_t_t » November 19th 2020, 7:06pm

I'd assume odometer because in other digital odometer vehicles that get the cluster swapped the mileage is off. Not sure though.
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Re: checking mileage on junk yard vans

Postby AstroWill » November 19th 2020, 7:07pm

It really depends on the local regulations and the discretion of the yard. Some will allow certain tools, others won't. Sometimes it's because of liability, other times it's because they want to charge you to remove those parts.
Lots of yards keep track of the mileage and will have it in their files or even written on the vehicle.
The mileage is stored in the cluster. Should be able to get the display to light up using a small 9volt battery, or an 8cell AA battery holder ;)

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Re: checking mileage on junk yard vans

Postby stent » November 19th 2020, 7:51pm

AstroWill wrote:The mileage is stored in the cluster. Should be able to get the display to light up using a small 9volt battery, or an 8cell AA battery holder ;)

thanks for the info AstroWill

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Re: checking mileage on junk yard vans

Postby AstroWill » November 19th 2020, 8:01pm

Mmmmm Sigourney Weaver
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Re: checking mileage on junk yard vans

Postby Leeann_93 » November 19th 2020, 11:30pm

The pick-n-pulls here write the mileage and year on a window in paint marker.
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Re: checking mileage on junk yard vans

Postby sixsix » November 20th 2020, 1:18am

AstroWill wrote:Mmmmm Sigourney Weaver


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Interesting Pick n' Pull - LOL
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Re: checking mileage on junk yard vans

Postby stent » December 5th 2020, 6:35am

AstroWill wrote:The mileage is stored in the cluster. Should be able to get the display to light up using a small 9volt battery, or an 8cell AA battery holder ;)


i'm planning to go to the JY this weekend to take some more stuff off of a '99 astro that i took the intake manifold off of last week.
while i'm there i'll take out the instrument cluster & see if i can turn it on with a battery - if i can make it work & i have enough time i'll flop out the dash & cut off the harness connector with some wire attached & try to make a test cable that i can take on JY trips.
here's scans of the connector from my '99 service manual.
any suggestions on what pins to tap into with a battery ????????????????
INSP1 1.jpeg

INSP2.jpeg

INSP3.jpeg

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Last edited by stent on December 5th 2020, 5:44pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: checking mileage on junk yard vans

Postby Rod's Trucks [OP] » December 5th 2020, 7:39am

To answer that question, I would have to pour over a wiring diagram for a while.
It may require more than one connection if the harness has been molested.
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Re: checking mileage on junk yard vans

Postby dcsleeper » December 5th 2020, 9:39am

most vans at the jy will be intact.
I'd suggest a power tool 12v battery and plug it in the cigarette lighter.
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Re: checking mileage on junk yard vans

Postby stent » December 5th 2020, 5:29pm

i won't have a key to the vehicle so i was planning to take the instrument cluster out of the dash, unplugging it from the harness & touching test probes connected to a battery directly to the individual connector pins on the back of the cluster. looking at the scans above my best guess so far is to try "B17" (ignition on) for the hot lead & "B13" for the ground.
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