# FeaturedAutomotive For those who do their own automotive work

1. Sep 18, 2017

### Averagesupernova

For those of you who work on their own vehicles, what has been your experience recently with aftermarket replacement parts? To me it seems the quality has gone down the tubes in general. Some of my experiences go back quite a few years (like 20) with solid state ignition modules. They might last several hundred miles. Since then it has been carburetor parts (yes I am old) that will stand up to ethanol (E10) for about 3 days. Keep the ethanol out and it will run for years. Most recently it has been water pumps, fuel pumps for carbureted vehicles, and starter relays (Ford type, on the fender on the side.)
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I have a 2001 Dodge Ram 1500 that I just bought the third replacement water pump for. The original was replaced probably 50,000 miles ago due to what I suspected was a slow coolant leak. That replacement lasted probably 30,000 miles and the next one about 20,000 miles. It is now noisy like dry bearings, but is not yet leaking.
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The fuel pump issue has been at least 3 pumps that are the mechanical type that run off the camshaft on Fords. Not all are of the same type. Some, if not all of these, have not had ethanol in them. When pulled off of the engine the lever that runs the diaphragm is very very stiff and the pump will not hold. Putting slight air pressure on the output port will simply cause air to leak back out the input port. These pumps might last 6 months to a year.
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The starter relay issue has happened twice now on two different vehicles. I need to look closer to determine if the are identical but the symptoms are exactly the same. If you try turning the starter, when you release the ignition switch back to run, the starter keeps on turning. It is NOT an issue elsewhere on the vehicle(s) because disconnecting the wire at the relay that is fed from the ignition switch makes no change. The starter keeps turning. A quick bang on the relay might release it, but I have had to disconnect a battery before.
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Folks used to blame foreign made parts (not made in the USA) but I am not so sure. I think its everywhere.

2. Sep 18, 2017

### DS2C

Havent replaced anything really significant yet, I have an 06 Tundra and every peice other than the oil filter and new headlights came with the truck off the line. But I keep a log and perform all maintenance and upkeep myself so things get taken care of. Was considering aftermarket headers but in my research Ive found that the OEM ones are better than any aftermarket ones. So all the parts Ive come across thus far, for my truck at least, have been top notch.
Cant say the same for everything though. My roommates truck has had 4 recalls since 2015. Makes it hard to ever consider buying a nee vehicle.

3. Sep 18, 2017

### Tom.G

I haven't been doing as much maintenance as you have but have come to a similiar conclusion. It is getting rather difficult to get American made third-party parts. It seems many "American" suppliers are just importing parts with their own name on them... as in "Made for and exclusively distributed by <insert name>."

I recently had an idler arm replaced (too much work at my age) and ended up with more free play in the steering than there was before the replacement. In this case I suppose it was a good step since the grinding stopped when steering. Overall likely a safety improvement.

As for the carbs, IIRC all the seals/o-rings and the float valve need to be VIton instead of the lower-cost elastomers. Plastic floats could be a problem but I haven't run across that yet.

Let us know what you find.

4. Sep 18, 2017

### Averagesupernova

The carb trouble I had was accelerator pumps in Carter singles on 6 cylinder Fords. Vacuum on one side of the diaphragm to cause the diaphragm to return when you let up on the pedal. That is as long as the engine is running. A clever idea in that a leak on the diaphragm just causes gasoline to get sucked into the engine and burned instead of leaking outside. Also prevents flooding by pressing the pedal multiple times when the engine is not running or during startup with low vac. Until you learn that this is where the fuel is going when you have a bad one it causes a bit of head scratching to diagnose and fix.

5. Sep 18, 2017

### Tom.G

Definitely old school (the fun, easy-to-work-on ones!) If you are in a major metropolitan area, perhaps you can find a carb rebuilding outfit to help track down some decent parts or sell you some. Or worst case, have them do the work so they have to support a guarantee.

Overall, a bummer.

Edit: Just a side comment about the E10 fiasco:
Here in California, the politicians were insisting that E10 would not impair gas mileage. After they rammed the E10 requirement thru, several government agencies were crying crocodile tears. They couldn't get pure gasoline any more and the E10 stuff was breaking their budget, because of the decreased gas mileage.

Last edited: Sep 18, 2017
6. Sep 18, 2017

### Staff: Mentor

Not that I am that big a fan of ethanol, but it has been in the pumps for at least 20 years, at least where I am (WA state). I have four motorcycles, three of which are carbureted (just sold another that was also carbureted). I don't have any problems with ethanol eating up the soft parts, but most of the O-rings and such are Viton, which seems to stand up to ethanol. The two oldest bikes are from the 40s, and the newer ones are from '91 and '07. I've rebuilt the carbs on the three older bikes.

I do a lot of the work on these myself, including top-end overhaul as well as ordinary maintenance like oil and fluid changes.
That seems like short life for a simple pump. If the bearings are going out after only 20,000 miles, it could be due to an overtight fan belt.
I don't understand what you're saying here. The lever that operates the diaphragm is supposed to be stiff. Although I've never taken a mechanical fuel pump apart, I believe all they are inside is a diaphragm and a one-way "flapper" valve. When you say the pump doesn't hold, are you saying that the seals on the valve part are failing? Especially for pumps that have not run ethanol?
Sure sounds like a bad relay that is sticking and not returning to its "off" position.
It might be. I put brand new NGK plugs in my '46 Harley, and one of them was bad right out of the box. I've heard similar stories about coils and other parts that failed right out of the box.

7. Sep 19, 2017

### Ranger Mike

Having been wrenching since 1964 I can say one thing. You get what you pay for. Cheap remanufactured parts are not worth the expense. I have to tear down and replace a cheap part Again. Once is enough. I buy NAPA and stay away from web site cheap parts. I look for parts that have reviews by customers as these are best insight to the longevity. Yes, they are more expensive but in the scheme of things, they last.

In racing I NEVER assume the part is correct just because it is new. Been caught out by that snake once too many times. As a minimum we check dimensions for correctness. Use volt ohm meter on electrics and vacuum pump on the like. We don’t own a magnaflux but the local machine shop can check iron / steel for cracks. Cheap zyglo kit for aluminum.

Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
8. Sep 19, 2017

### tygerdawg

Personally, I gave up purchasing parts from auto parts stores that cater to weekend warriors. When I discovered that my "re-manufactured" alternator had been badly done in Malaysia, re-sold in the US, and failed a short time later, I concluded the quality I required to preserve my sanity, hard-earned money, and precious time is not there. I only purchase OEM parts from the dealer or equivalent now after one too many Purchase-Install-Fail-Repeat scenarios.

9. Sep 19, 2017

### Averagesupernova

Going to the dealer is not a cure all either. They will sell aftermarket parts too. Most people don't realize that remanufactured parts can be done by anyone anywhere and even have a legit Ford, GM, etc. approval. When it comes to remanufactured motors for instance, it is not the auto company itself that is doing it. Small shops get a contract and gather up old pieces and put them together.
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I almost forgot, also had an issue with a new starter for a Cummins diesel in an older Peterbilt semi tractor.

10. Sep 19, 2017

### Averagesupernova

Yes the lever is supposed to be stiff, but not as stiff as the pump in question. I would have to assume the seals on the valve(s) are not holding. As far as I know, a mechanical fuel pump has a check valve on the in port and out port with the diaphragm in between. When you try to put a couple of PSI of pressure on the output port and it simply leaks back through the pump, I would say one or both of the valves are not holding.

11. Sep 20, 2017

### Rx7man

On the fuel pump, any chance dirt has gotten in there? A little piece of rust will do it every time.

I rebuild everything myself if possible.. Alternators rarely need more than a new set of brushes, a set of bearings, or a rectifier/regulator... Same goes for starters.. the markup on these parts is huge!
Then you have tie rod ends and ball joints.. even name brands have been horrible. I've honestly given up on buying "quality" parts, because in most cases it's only a higher price tag with no added quality, and in all likelihood made on the same assembly line.. I get brake rotors for my 1 ton truck for $40 each, tie rod ends (with lifetime warranty) for$23, Ball joints are \$20-30 (lifetime warranty), and the seller backs up that warranty... As opposed to the "name brands" that want you to have the receipt when their brand name is stamped into the part.

12. Sep 21, 2017

### Averagesupernova

@Rx7man
There have been pumps on multiple vehicles with the same failure mode of the pump. Based on the quality of parts I have seen in general I am going with junk pumps.

13. Sep 21, 2017

### Rx7man

Can you cut one apart and see exactly what happened? That would be enlightening :)

14. Sep 21, 2017

### Averagesupernova

Based on the way the lever feels which is stiffer than it should be, I would say that the materials in the pump diaphragm will not stand up to gasoline. I have no reason to believe the valves would be any different. I have seen in the past where a certain type of material is exposed to a particular solvent that causes this. I suspect wherever these parts come from someone is cheating. There are few enough of these parts that move in any volume anymore so the manufacturer can move a whole boat load of them and by the time there is a significant number of problems they are long gone and cashed in.

15. Sep 21, 2017

### HowlerMonkey

Aftermarket suspension parts such as ball joints, tie rod ends, and inner tie rod ends (cars with rack) are for sale from tons of sources for most any car but most of them only last a short amount of time.

I actually replaced a fan belt that was 20 years old (genuine nissan) with a new gates fan belt and put the original one in the trunk.

Six months later, the 20 year old belt went back on.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do if I can't find genuine mazda water and oil o'ring water seal sets as I've got a J ported 13-b using 1976 tall port center housing and 1974 large port side housings that I want to put together.

16. Sep 22, 2017

### Ranger Mike

Granted, there are many many replacement parts on the market today. This is great. In the old days we were limited regarding this. Again, you get what you pay for. You can buy a cheap ball joint and stick it in the Ford Taurus with 110,000 mile on it without any regrets as the cars life is just about up. The head gasket will go before the ball joint.
You do have excellent replacement parts available.

Again, the Ford example above..the stock ball joint has no grease zerk.
The NAPA replacement has the zerk. Better design and looks to be beefier as well. Its a big old world out there and you gotta love the options.

17. Sep 23, 2017

### HowlerMonkey

Example of a ball joint that got loose in 1000 miles.

18. Oct 31, 2017

### Greg Bernhardt

I just replaced my front ball joints after 14 years and 135k miles.

19. Nov 1, 2017

### Rx7man

I have that same engine sitting in pieces!.. Not J ported (yet) though I might go peripheral on it someday for some fun.. I have a very streetported 12A as well. AFAIK the old 13B's used the same seal set as the newer 12A's, which are available from Mazda last I checked, or www.mazdatrix.com.

I miss this car.. 93 FD with full bridge port.. about 500hp and change at the wheels