Fake Out: Spotting Counterfeit Speed Parts

Story by Matt Cramer, Photography as Credited

 

Copycat products have been a fact of life in the performance parts industry for decades. And for a long time, makers of these knockoffs ranged from above-board to sleazy yet legal. There was an ethical line in the sand that even the shady manufacturers just didn’t cross: pretending the fake parts were the genuine articles, taking advantage of a brand’s reputation for quality to sell a cheaply made clone.

But in the past 10 years, we’ve seen far more crooks willing to cross the line and build actual counterfeit performance parts instead of mere imitations.

Ever wondered just who is making these knockoffs? So did we, so we tried to get some information straight from the source: the counterfeiters themselves. They were surprisingly willing to open up about their operations, sometimes going so far as to provide pictures of the factory floor. It may have helped that they thought we were running a crooked speed shop and looking to place an order that never came. Our undercover investigation turned up a couple of surprises.

 

In Plain Sight

Could you spot the fake? The fuel pressure regulator on the right is a counterfeit; the genuine Aeromotive piece is the one on the left.

Could you spot the fake? The fuel pressure regulator on the right is a counterfeit; the genuine Aeromotive piece is the one on the left.

First, those blatantly illegal businesses aren’t nearly as underground as you’d expect. Finding what seem to be the real addresses of half a dozen knockoff speed part companies took us less than half an hour. These aren’t two-bit operations with a dude casting fake blow-off valves on his kitchen table, either. Many counterfeiters we’ve researched claim to employ anywhere from 50 to several hundred people; some list more than a thousand employees.

Most ersatz speed parts come out of China, but not all. We’ve run across operations based in Turkey and England as well. Some ripoffs of American companies’ parts are even being manufactured in the United States.

If these counterfeiters feel guilt for what they do, it doesn’t exactly come across in their company mission statements. One Chinese manufacturer of phony GReddy turbos touts its “core competitiveness from Integrity, Quality and Focuses.” Another stresses its “‘first quality, honesty pays’ business principle.” And at the same time, it boasts that its copies would fool anyone.

A few years back, one American company confronted parts forgers with some business principles of its own. When folks from Omix-ADA, a gigantic producer of Jeep parts and accessories based just outside Atlanta, attended the 2015 SEMA Show, they found several offshore companies openly exhibiting fake Omix-ADA parts, complete with the logos.

“Combating counterfeit product and helping members protect their intellectual property rights is a high priority for SEMA,” says Della Domingo, the group’s public relations director. That includes “working with government and industry to have strong laws and active enforcement, both in the U.S. and with our trading partners,” she adds.

Omix-ADA didn’t take immediate action, though. Instead it prepared for the following year’s trade show, working with SEMA Show organizers as well as the court system and U.S. Marshals Service. When the copycats showed up again in 2016, feds seized their displays and products in accordance with a civil complaint that claimed patent and trademark infringement.

Nearly a year after the raid, SEMA issued a follow-up release: “A U.S. District Court ruled that several off-shore companies violated patents and trademarks owned by Omix-Ada/Rugged Ridge, and had participated in the manufacture of counterfeit products.”

How does Henk Van Dongen, Omix-ADA’s marketing director, make sense of such brazen fakery? “On one hand, it is their way of showing off their manufacturing capabilities–even to the level of copying our logo,” he says. “From their cultural perspective, this is a way of showing pride in their work and capabilities. Not that this makes it any better.”

 

Copying the Full Range

Sometimes counterfeiters make parts that don't really exist. Brembo doesn't offer caliper covers. Some quick surfing will uncover websites offering many products from questionable sources.

Sometimes counterfeiters make parts that don't really exist. Brembo doesn't offer caliper covers. Some quick surfing will uncover websites offering many products from questionable sources.

Rarely do counterfeiters settle for knocking off just one or two parts: Many sell several hundred different fraudulent products. Some specialize in one particular area, such as fake mufflers. Others diversify, offering everything from air filters and steering wheels to electronics and gauges.

Not satisfied with plagiarizing real parts, a few of these businesses offer counterfeit versions of parts that never existed. Two examples: HKS-branded fuel magnets and Brembo-branded brake caliper covers. Neither company has ever made such products.

Counterfeiters weren’t especially willing to open up to us about how exactly they got the designs for these products, but we found a few clues. Some advertise that if they don’t offer what you want, you can send them a sample of a product and have them duplicate it. The exact verbiage we found on one site: “Develop all parts free if you can supply us the drawing or samples.”

Others advertise that they do castings for original manufacturers. Draw your own conclusions there.

Corky Bell, longtime maker of aftermarket turbo kits, recalls an explanation he received from one Chinese fabrication firm. After Corky placed an order with the shop to produce his turbo manifold design, similar ones started turning up on eBay. The shop’s owner claimed that his brother had stolen the plans and set up his own firm.

 

Getting Fake Parts to Market

Once a company has made a fake part, the next step is getting it to market. The internet has made it easy to sell products directly to consumers around the world, especially through larger resale venues such as eBay and Amazon Marketplace. Some quick Google work reveals wholesale opportunities, too.

We managed to get price lists from several counterfeiting operations. One was peddling fake Flowmaster mufflers for $8 to $12 each at a wholesale level. Phony HKS blowoff valves cost importers $20 to $30 each, while the real deal retails for around $250.

We also found fake MSD ignition parts selling for pennies on the dollar. One firm was offering the brand’s Blaster ignition coils for as little as $4 each. MSRP for the genuine article? About $50.

 

Fighting Fakes

Omix-ADA used the justice system to solve its problem, but companies have protected their intellectual property using a variety of strategies–from the sneaky to the straightforward.

When Corky Bell picked a Chinese company to manufacture his castings, he devised a way to foil would-be copycats: by including deliberate errors in his design. He purposely specced holes that were too small, figuring he could re-drill them once he had the completed parts in hand. He also left off a required brace. When the knockoffs showed up, they didn’t fit properly and lacked the durability of the genuine product.

One electronics company told us it put misleading markings–ones that were downright silly–on its circuit boards to prevent anyone else from figuring out how to correctly use them.

After seeing a round of fake 6AL ignition boxes on the market, MSD introduced an updated version. To keep the counterfeiters busy, the MSD team also completely redesigned the housing.

Sometimes simply educating customers is the answer. Detroit Speed, builder of quality speed parts for domestics, recently sent out an email comparing its Camaro and Nova lower control arms to an available fake. “While the pricing is significantly lower than true Detroit Speed control arms, so is the quality and design,” the release states. “Customers report that once installed, clearance issues with the brake rotor arise.”

GReddy’s own website includes a pictorial comparing its blow-off valve to a fake. The Counterfeit Report (thecounterfeitreport.com) also explains how to tell real products from phonies, covering everything from Ping golf clubs and Yeti tumblers to MSD ignition boxes and OE BMW parts.

The company representatives we talked to generally consider it a waste of time and money to try to sue a knockoff operation in China–unless it literally crosses the wrong line. Once it sends employees over the U.S. border to promote bogus parts, a forger’s crimes fall under American jurisdiction. That’s how Omix-ADA was able to move in against the counterfeiters at the SEMA Show.

U.S.-based companies that import–or, rarely, manufacture–counterfeit parts are easier targets. American laws leave these outfits vulnerable to both civil and criminal charges, and ripped-off companies that want to press charges can get help from SEMA, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the federal government. U.S.-based internet service providers can also be taken to task for facilitating the sale of counterfeit goods, and they usually prefer to get out of the way before anybody has to bring lawyers into the dispute.

Two last tricks to keep from being duped: Stick to authorized resellers, and remember that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

 

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Comments
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wannacruise
wannacruise New Reader
5/2/19 11:02 a.m.

I'm really glad you wrote this article about counterfeit parts.  It's a topic that needs to be addressed more.  I'm beginning to believe that about 25% of the parts I buy ( i have more than one collector car)  are counterfeit.  I judge that from the number of returns I do or just suffering  with poor fitting or poor performing parts.  I don't know if that is because of poor quality control or counterfeiting but I sure wish it could be improved.  My first choice in parts is from American made.   Then my second option is from well established specialty suppliers but that does not always solve the issue.   Anyway, keep up the good work.   Dave.  

Professor_Brap
Professor_Brap Dork
5/2/19 11:12 a.m.

As someone who is in the aftermarket/performance parts industry is crazy how many counterfeit parts are out there. We get a TON of returns of people returning fake parts. 

Patrick
Patrick MegaDork
5/2/19 11:35 a.m.

I have the regulator on the right on my car, minus the aeromotive name.  I figured it was only a matter of time before they started etching the name on them.  FYI the boost reference port does nothing.  And i pressure tested the eff out of my lines because it was set at 155psi from china factory, and i had to run it almost out of adjustment to get 60psi at the rail.  

Good article.  I would never buy a name stamped piece from china.  

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
5/2/19 11:35 a.m.

We've had a couple of parts knocked off but never sold as counterfeits - luckily. This could be because we don't use many Chinese suppliers and because our parts aren't available though major channels like eBay, Amazon or Summit. It's probably only a matter of time, though.

If you ever want to make sure you're getting a real FM part, get it from FM or from a reseller that we suggest. If the price is way too good to be true, it's not.

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ Dork
5/2/19 11:54 a.m.

And then there are “real fakes”.  I learned about that from Roberto Saviano’s work about the mafia controlled mom and pop shops in Italy.  A company with a solid name and reputation will approach a shop to build a number (say 1000) of a particular thing.  The shop’s owner complies but instead builds 1000 extra that they sell on the black market.  Built in the same shop by the same hands that built the “real one”.  In these cases not even an expert can spot the difference.  I’d never thought about that before.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
5/2/19 11:59 a.m.

In reply to A 401 CJ :

Hell Bizzarinni made more whole cars after AMC bailed on the AMX/3!

https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2013/08/30/one-of-six-amx3-comes-up-for-sale/

freetors
freetors Reader
5/2/19 12:05 p.m.

This is happening with bicycle parts too. On my current build I have actually knowingly bought knockoff parts from China for it. These are mainly carbon fiber components like handlebars, forks, etc. Some of the parts I've bought have legitimate trademark violations with their branding like copying the names of other companies, or slightly altering brand names. I guess I'm part of the problem now that I'm buying this stuff, but from the consumer perspective, these parts offer an amazing price/performance ratio. The set of carbon handlebars I bought for roughly $30 would be about equivalent to a $200 pair of bars.

stevewaclo
stevewaclo None
5/2/19 12:08 p.m.

Hello all,

 I believe there is a strong parallel between counterfeit parts and the drug trade.

As long as there are buyers willing to purchase such products, there will be shady operators ready and willing to meet the demand.

As consumers we should all pledge to support legitimate businesses and resist the urge to go to the dark side for knock-offs.

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
5/2/19 12:16 p.m.

For the AMC challenge car, I bought a no name fuel pressure regulator. Just like the one in the article. When it was delivered it had Aeromotive stamped on it. It wasn't the greatest as far as adjustability and quality go. I tried not to purchase knock-offs whenever possible and still do to this day.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
5/2/19 12:41 p.m.
freetors said:

This is happening with bicycle parts too. On my current build I have actually knowingly bought knockoff parts from China for it. These are mainly carbon fiber components like handlebars, forks, etc. Some of the parts I've bought have legitimate trademark violations with their branding like copying the names of other companies, or slightly altering brand names. I guess I'm part of the problem now that I'm buying this stuff, but from the consumer perspective, these parts offer an amazing price/performance ratio. The set of carbon handlebars I bought for roughly $30 would be about equivalent to a $200 pair of bars.

That's a short term strategy. The knockoffs don't have any testing or development behind them. If the companies doing that work can't support themselves, they go away and R&D for your parts dries up. Give the price disparity, I suspect that the knockoffs you bought also have some serious shortcuts in the manufacturing process, such as the substitution of a different type of fiber or fewer layers. Something to think about.

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo SuperDork
5/2/19 12:49 p.m.

I can tell you the Chinabay "3T" handlebars on my mountain bike were scary.  Swapped them out for a set of genuine Eastons and they are much much better.  I do still run Chinabay carbon bottle cages but thats a really good risk to reward ratio.  Real parts are cheaper than cosmetic surgery.  The face you save may be your own. 

snailmont5oh
snailmont5oh Dork
5/2/19 12:57 p.m.

Sometimes, a knockoff is something that another company copied and manufactured from existing parts or stolen drawings. Other times, as noted above, a knockoff is made by simply over-producing an item that one was contracted to build.  It may have started with organized crime in Italy, but the Far-East manufacturers do this as a normal operating practice.  I know that companies do what they can to maximize profits, but if you send your manufacturing offshore because of the allure of cheap labor, you asked for it.  Especially if you didn't lower your price to reflect the savings, which you didn't do.  Pretty much every product that shifted their manufacturing to China has felt the sting of this, from Vise Grip to Sharpie to Brembo. Is it wrong? Sure.  But, if corporate leadership cared for the long-term health of the economy they operate in more than a short-term blip in profits or stock price, this wouldn't be an issue, because American manufacturing would still be done in America.  Not to be all "soapbox" about this, but if the farmers in this country managed their land like the investment firms and others in control of the money in this country run the economy, they would be without a livelihood in six years, and the country would starve.

[/rant]

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
5/2/19 3:55 p.m.
snailmont5oh said:

Sometimes, a knockoff is something that another company copied and manufactured from existing parts or stolen drawings. Other times, as noted above, a knockoff is made by simply over-producing an item that one was contracted to build.  It may have started with organized crime in Italy, but the Far-East manufacturers do this as a normal operating practice.  I know that companies do what they can to maximize profits, but if you send your manufacturing offshore because of the allure of cheap labor, you asked for it.  Especially if you didn't lower your price to reflect the savings, which you didn't do.  Pretty much every product that shifted their manufacturing to China has felt the sting of this, from Vise Grip to Sharpie to Brembo. Is it wrong? Sure.  But, if corporate leadership cared for the long-term health of the economy they operate in more than a short-term blip in profits or stock price, this wouldn't be an issue, because American manufacturing would still be done in America.  Not to be all "soapbox" about this, but if the farmers in this country managed their land like the investment firms and others in control of the money in this country run the economy, they would be without a livelihood in six years, and the country would starve.

[/rant]

This is correct, and it's not limited to ebay-type stuff. For instance, MAN B&W produces big diesel engines for supertankers and other big ships. Because China is a major producer of big ships that use these engines, MAN licenses companies in China to build and/or assemble their engines. These companies build X number of the licensed MAN engines for the market that buys them, but then they (or a related company) also build an exact copy (probably using all the same specs and materials) of that engine and sells it as a "Changxi" diesel or something, at a lower price. The lower price isn't because the engine is necessarily any different, but only because they don't have to pay the MAN licensing fees. Most of these "Changxi" engines go to domestic shippers buying cheaper ships overall who don't want to pay for MAN engines. So as noted above, a lot of this "knockoff" stuff is actually made in the same factory as the "real" stuff to the same specs (though a lot of it isn't).  And obviously the Germans know this is happening, yet MAN still continues to sign new licensing contracts - because the money they make using cheap Chinese labor still offsets any competition losses they might experience from the Chinese-badged copied diesels. Most of this stuff is known, and companies just consider it the "cost of doing business" in any cheap labor market with lax patent/trademark enforcement. 

Same goes for all kinds of other products. The radiator in my e30 rally car is from China and is an exact copy of a Mishimoto radiator (minus the Mishimoto stamp) made in the "Koyostar" factory (which actually makes a lot of OEM components for major car companies as well). I've matched them up side by side and seen cutaways and the Koyostar is every bit as good as the Mishimoto from what I can tell (and has worked flawlessly for 9 years in a stage rally car). The only difference I could find was the Koyostar rad uses a cheap-feeling drain plug vs. the nicer one on the Mishimoto. I read some business report years ago that stated the factory actually made REAL Mishimotos as well (which Mishimoto then sold as "made in Japan"). IDK the veracity of that, but companies definitely do that. Oh, and the Koyostar was 1/3rd the price of the Mishimoto. 

Then again, just to play devil's advocate - every country does this. If you think that nothing made in the USA or Germany or Japan is a copy of something originally made someplace else, you're fooling yourself. And there are plenty of reputable aftermarket car companies out there that sell parts that are almost exact copies of parts their competitors make, just with different paint colors or brand etching. I remember about 15 years ago some Nissan afficianados figured out at least 2-3 parts STILLEN (Steve Millen's company) was selling for Nissans that were definitely copies of products by smaller companies who had them on the market previously. Those smaller companies may not have had patents on them, so it was probably technically legal, but still just as much of a "knockoff." I'll have to find the old forum discussions that talked about it. The guys who did the engineering comparisons used some nifty methods to make their determinations. 

_
_ Reader
5/2/19 4:46 p.m.

You mean my $$150 with free shipping t3 turbo isn’t a legit Freddy turbo?

ShawnG
ShawnG PowerDork
5/2/19 5:42 p.m.

In reply to irish44j :

Honda and Lifan did exactly the same thing but Honda acted all surprised when the knockoff engines started hitting the market.

_
_ Reader
5/2/19 5:46 p.m.

In reply to ShawnG :

Same with the HF predator 212cc. It’s so identical, just made out of cheaper plastic. 

freetors
freetors Reader
5/2/19 5:51 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

You are correct and that's a risk I'm willing to take. I will say that the finish question quality isn't up to par with what I'd expect from a name brand but it still looks pretty good from a few feet away. I do think it's a viable short term strategy since I'll be able to get on the road faster at half the price. I can always upgrade in the future. And I've still bought name brand stuff for all the moving components, including my Chris King headset because what custom bike is complete without one?

AnthonyGS
AnthonyGS HalfDork
5/2/19 6:02 p.m.

I can shed some light on Chinese engineering practices....

I used to work in automotive engineering (energy industry now) and worked in the cost savings department.  My boss loved to send parts to China to be built, because he could book a huge "savings."  He and accounting were best buds. 

So we pick a part and send it to China complete with the engineering drawings.  It's a pretty complicated machined casting and they cost a lot.  Chinese company makes ridiculously low bid.  They then send a sample.  Oh what a sample.  The drawing has the part size, dimesions, materials bore sizes, etc.  The drawing also specified, part no, MFG NUMBER (ID) and a DATE code.  These are machined or stamped in a certain spot with specific font and dimensions.  So the sample part arrives from China.  Guess who's MFG NUMBER and DATE code are on the part?  That's right it's an exact copy of the US made part complete with the now wrong MFG NUMBER (ID) and DATE.  It's also made of inferior material and the dimensional tolerances are quite a bit worse.  Guess who gets on the phone pronto to tell the Chinese company they got the job.....

After redesigning things that never should've been approved by management and seeing what is happening to engineering in the business, it wasn't for me.  It was also too slow paced for me.

Be careful who you buy from and what you buy. 

 

 

grover
grover HalfDork
5/2/19 6:55 p.m.
snailmont5oh said:

Sometimes, a knockoff is something that another company copied and manufactured from existing parts or stolen drawings. Other times, as noted above, a knockoff is made by simply over-producing an item that one was contracted to build.  It may have started with organized crime in Italy, but the Far-East manufacturers do this as a normal operating practice.  I know that companies do what they can to maximize profits, but if you send your manufacturing offshore because of the allure of cheap labor, you asked for it.  Especially if you didn't lower your price to reflect the savings, which you didn't do.  Pretty much every product that shifted their manufacturing to China has felt the sting of this, from Vise Grip to Sharpie to Brembo. Is it wrong? Sure.  But, if corporate leadership cared for the long-term health of the economy they operate in more than a short-term blip in profits or stock price, this wouldn't be an issue, because American manufacturing would still be done in America.  Not to be all "soapbox" about this, but if the farmers in this country managed their land like the investment firms and others in control of the money in this country run the economy, they would be without a livelihood in six years, and the country would starve.

[/rant]

Let’s not lump all financial companies together- mine has been around for 174 years, refused tarp money and grew our surplus by 11 billion in the last 10 years. 

_
_ Reader
5/2/19 6:58 p.m.

I think the Bosch 044 fuel pumps are the biggest con. You can actually make power using a China reproduction. Pay half the price. And still get tech support from Bosch for it! 

RevRico
RevRico PowerDork
5/2/19 7:10 p.m.

I don't really understand the big deal unless EVERY single part I've ever gotten has been a knockoff. Seriously, no matter the vehicles, all replacements parts I get from FLAPS, ebay, rock auto, even the dealer, wherever seem like E36 M3ty imitations of the part I'm replacing. 

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia HalfDork
5/2/19 7:36 p.m.

China is so big that 5 companies can be making a knockoff of the same part , 

And  some will be using a knockoff as the start point to make tooling , 

So now you are at 3rd or,4th generation.

But this has been going on for decades ,  we were making some parts in the late 80s and  they were quickly copied by our rival.

I just worry about parts that can kill you , ball joints , suspension parts ,  etc  and then they copy the box too !

TopNoodles
TopNoodles New Reader
5/2/19 7:51 p.m.
RevRico said:

I don't really understand the big deal unless EVERY single part I've ever gotten has been a knockoff. Seriously, no matter the vehicles, all replacements parts I get from FLAPS, ebay, rock auto, even the dealer, wherever seem like E36 M3ty imitations of the part I'm replacing. 

I've seen the same parts in a warehouse get boxed 3 or 4 times under different brand names. I can only imagine the same is happening behind the scenes with a lot of other products. When I got a new windshield on the Miata, I called every glass shop I could find and nobody had an OEM part. Best lead was triple the cost with no real confirmation of brand. The "We do it right and only use OEM parts" shop swore up and down that their Chinese glass was the same quality as OEM, but it still had a non-OEM tint stripe that I didn't want. I finally caved and just went with one of the low bidders, and they ended up giving me the same brand of glass that the "OEM" shop offered, for about half the cost.

jmc14
jmc14 Reader
5/2/19 9:32 p.m.

I have been dealing with counterfeits of products that I invent and market for 25 years.  I just found out 2 days ago that exact copies of my children's coin banks (Big Belly Banks)  from China and Russia are being sold in the US.  I've had counterfeits that use my picture, my packaging.  I wouldn't be able to tell them from the ones we manufacture in the USA.

I'm a very small business.  I spend the money to develop something that is unique.  I protect them with copyrights and patents.  All of this costs me a significant amount of money.  Then I spend a TON of money enforcing my intellectual property.  I always win but, the offending company simply closes up and opens up under a new name. 

I've sold at major trade shows.  At times I have found a company from China selling my full line of products at the same show. Their prices are often less than what I can buy the raw materials for. 

Counterfeit products harm all types of businesses.  My daughter is a successful author.  She has had her books counterfeited by the Chinese. 

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt PowerDork
5/3/19 7:40 a.m.
A 401 CJ said:

And then there are “real fakes”.  I learned about that from Roberto Saviano’s work about the mafia controlled mom and pop shops in Italy.  A company with a solid name and reputation will approach a shop to build a number (say 1000) of a particular thing.  The shop’s owner complies but instead builds 1000 extra that they sell on the black market.  Built in the same shop by the same hands that built the “real one”.  In these cases not even an expert can spot the difference.  I’d never thought about that before.

Yes - "back-doored" parts are a very real category of fakes, and it's definitely not just the Mafia into it. It's a matter of finding a trustworthy supply chain. They also have a more legitimate cousin that was not discussed in the article, the white-label product. This is when Company A is already building a particular product, and Company B contracts with them to build a copy of this product with Company B's branding, but doesn't have an exclusive deal. Then Companies C and D make similar contracts with Company A, and the result is that there's now four identical products on the market with different badges - all made by Company A. Sometimes Company A's name is known to the general public, sometimes it isn't. Accufab throttle bodies are one such example; you'll see them under a lot of different names.

A few times it can turn into a real soap opera, where Companies E and F think Company B is the original manufacturer and buys further white-label products from B instead of A, Companies X and Y start building lookalike products and selling them through Company Z, etc. That's what's happened with the "Mercury Marine" coils.

wannacruise
wannacruise New Reader
5/3/19 9:59 a.m.

Here's the end problem as I see it.  How can the average hobbyist who enjoys collector cars know wether or not he is getting a knock off until he has it in hand and even then maybe can't tell.  If I buy from a car specific, specialty supply co that list the part I need in catalog or on the net,  they may be sourcing that part from anywhere.  I can I protect myself?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
5/3/19 10:10 a.m.

Buy from reputable suppliers instead of the cheapest option on a third-party site like Amazon or Ebay. Don't even think about Alibaba frown Best option of all is to buy from the company whose name is on the part - you're not going to get counterfeit Autometer gauges from Autometer. 

If you're looking for collector car parts like trim parts, etc, deal with established specialists like Year One, Rovers North, etc. People who have been around, who answer the phone and who want a long-term relationship with their customers. Sure, you'll pay a bit more but you'll get better parts and better support and keep the industry alive.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
5/3/19 10:37 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Buy from reputable suppliers instead of the cheapest option on a third-party site like Amazon or Ebay. Don't even think about Alibaba frown Best option of all is to buy from the company whose name is on the part - you're not going to get counterfeit Autometer gauges from Autometer. 

If you're looking for collector car parts like trim parts, etc, deal with established specialists like Year One, Rovers North, etc. People who have been around, who answer the phone and who want a long-term relationship with their customers. Sure, you'll pay a bit more but you'll get better parts and better support and keep the industry alive.

Ding ding ding! Winner winner chicken dinner. 

When I had Miata's, parts came from the Mazda dealer, Flyin' Miata, or 949. 

With my BMWs, it was Blunttech or GutenParts or my local dealer. Or with the current BMW, my Indy guy only uses OEM parts, but doesn't charge BMW labor rates. 

 

People complain about the lack of mom and pop businesses as they shop at Lowe's and Walmart and wonder why it's happening. 

snailmont5oh
snailmont5oh Dork
5/3/19 11:35 a.m.
grover said:
snailmont5oh said:

Sometimes, a knockoff is something that another company copied and manufactured from existing parts or stolen drawings. Other times, as noted above, a knockoff is made by simply over-producing an item that one was contracted to build.  It may have started with organized crime in Italy, but the Far-East manufacturers do this as a normal operating practice.  I know that companies do what they can to maximize profits, but if you send your manufacturing offshore because of the allure of cheap labor, you asked for it.  Especially if you didn't lower your price to reflect the savings, which you didn't do.  Pretty much every product that shifted their manufacturing to China has felt the sting of this, from Vise Grip to Sharpie to Brembo. Is it wrong? Sure.  But, if corporate leadership cared for the long-term health of the economy they operate in more than a short-term blip in profits or stock price, this wouldn't be an issue, because American manufacturing would still be done in America.  Not to be all "soapbox" about this, but if the farmers in this country managed their land like the investment firms and others in control of the money in this country run the economy, they would be without a livelihood in six years, and the country would starve.

[/rant]

Let’s not lump all financial companies together- mine has been around for 174 years, refused tarp money and grew our surplus by 11 billion in the last 10 years. 

Quick question: Is your firm more likely to invest in a large company when you find out about impending layoffs?  The company I work for has laid workers off several times over the years, and every time we do, our stock jumps. Our last contract saw us getting a raise that almost kept up with inflation, while adding a couple thousand dollars a year to our out-of-pocket healthcare costs, all while the corporate officers received record salaries and bonuses (most 10-20 million dollars). When the contract got approved, you guessed it, stock went up. If your firm doesn't take advantage of situations like that, I applaud you. I also don't understand how you're so successful, since it seems that every investment firm in the country plays the same game. I firmly believe that, if a person wants a bigger piece of pie, they should endeavor to make a bigger pie. Most large investors insist on having a larger slice, while also insisting that the pie be kept small (for efficiency's sake).  

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
5/3/19 1:07 p.m.
z31maniac said:

People complain about the lack of mom and pop businesses as they shop at Lowe's and Walmart and wonder why it's happening. 

I've noticed how many people these days go directly online to find the cheapest price for something that has to be shipped from somewhere, when they probably could go down the street and get it right now from the mom and pop store.

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
5/3/19 1:30 p.m.
stuart in mn said:

I've noticed how many people these days go directly online to find the cheapest price for something that has to be shipped from somewhere, when they probably could go down the street and get it right now from the mom and pop store.

I don't need most things right now. If I can save a half hour trip, I'll totally pay the same price for something online vs in a store.

RevRico
RevRico PowerDork
5/3/19 1:34 p.m.

In reply to stuart in mn :

What mom and pop stores? Unless you're into antiques or veganism, you won't find any around here. They all died off a generation ago when we got 4 Wal-Mart's within 15 miles of highway and the owners kids realized they couldn't compete. Even the family run commercial plumbing supplier I stopped at yesterday is getting ready to fold up because they can't compete with the 2 Lowe's and home depot in town. 

Sure there are some "independently run" ace hardware left, but their prices are twice the box stores and 3 times online. They also have some of the most ducked up parking lots I've ever had the misfortune of driving through.

ShawnG
ShawnG PowerDork
5/3/19 1:58 p.m.

Amazon.ca is messed up.

Most of the time, stuff is cheaper at my local store than on Amazon.

 

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
5/3/19 2:40 p.m.

I was at the big gun show in Tulsa.  Two of the ~2K vendors had a box of maybe a gross of butterfly knives for ten bucks each.  Decent quality for a cheap one.  The box the knives came in was a blurry print job that said "Benchmade."  A Benchmade Balisong that looks darn near identical is a $4-500 knife.  Turns out the Chinese are making Benchmade clones of many, if not all of their line.  Ebay is full of them being sold as the real thing.  Sometimes the only way to tell, according to teh interwebz, is by the stain on the wood.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
5/3/19 2:45 p.m.

I suspect the steel may not quite be the same.

logdog
logdog UltraDork
5/3/19 3:04 p.m.

I have suspicions my May issue of GRM might be counterfeit.   The inside just doesn't seem quite right.... laugh

Spoolpigeon
Spoolpigeon PowerDork
5/3/19 3:18 p.m.

Just picked up a set of big brakes for the Wu-Tang Clan Financial sponsored Ford Probe. I hope they’re not fakes. 

 

wannacruise
wannacruise New Reader
5/6/19 7:37 a.m.

Dealing with the “Right” company isn’t necessarily the right answer.  But yes if you can find the “RIGHT” company that goes a long way.   But what I referred to in my last post was, as an ex,  I buy parts for an older Corvette,  even some of the Corvette specialty houses are selling questionable stuff.  Where do you think they are sourcing their products from? Who knows?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
5/6/19 8:18 a.m.

They know. Ask them.

Patrick
Patrick MegaDork
5/6/19 8:34 a.m.

When Jeg’s is selling “speedmaster” ebay brand parts, it’s all over.  Nothing is sacred.  

te72
te72 Reader
5/6/19 9:18 p.m.

For what it's worth, all the legit parts I've bought for my oiling and fuel systems (A.R.E. / Aviad, Aeromotive, Earls, etc) all seem to be REALLY nice parts. I rest assured that I won't have any quality issues with any of those parts, which is good, since failures of those systems tend to end in tears...

 

Now, the less critical parts such as my intercooler and piping setup, and exhaust piping? I have no idea where any of it (save the HKS catback) came from. I do know that it welds nicely and it quite difficult for me to hacksaw through...

 

I wish there were more quality sources for electrical components though, that is likely the aspect of my build that has given me the most headaches over the past few years. Found some relays at work (Caterpillar dealership) that were made in Japan, of all places. Didn't realize they still made parts like that in Japan! I was pretty excited, to say the least. You'll pay for that quality though, I think they were something like $13 each for a sealed 30A relay.

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