Date registered: Feb 2009
Vehicle: '04 S430
Location: Murphy, TX
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Quoted: 27 Post(s)
We each have our path. Mine was learning by tearing into an old '69 Mustang Mach 1. It was in really rough shape when I got it and was"drivable" when I sold it. Seller never let me test drive it and I learned it had no brakes when I was just trying to move it forward a few feet. But to your point, I wanted a new bumper and the genuine part was proceed sky high, but the knock off was less than half the price. This was not a car that would win any prizes, so I had no issue putting knock off parts on that car.
Unlike you though, I've had good luck with American cars - especially with my '04 Cobra (Terminator). I knew I was going to keep it for a while so I started looking for parts that would be good, but practical in the long run. For example, getting AutoZone Gold brake pads - pay once and free pads for life after that. I think I've been through 5 sets. Did the same for the alternator (brick and mortar purchase with lifetime warranty). Engine has been solid and truly the soul of this car.
With the MB, I got to say the W220 from an outsider point of view is terrible. I didn't fully understand the struts issues and PSE pump and air suspension. I got a used PSE on eBay and put a heat sink into it, and it has been working alright. Based on price I did take a risk on a Chinesium strut and it has worked fine so far. Also brick and mortar alternator and brake pads with lifetime warranty. I had to use a mechanic a few times while I learned this car, but have slowly gaining the needed understanding to do most of my own work. MBs are well thought out designs and love how easy they are to work on. I do have to mention that I did swap the transmission mount last year with what I thought was the best available on Rock Auto, it was a dream at first but it not working as well as expected now - so I know some parts are not as good as others.
I think part of the issue is a perspective of those who are first time owners and those who just recently purchased these cars for a song. It's hard to explain, but the Cobra will get OE or better on parts that fail (exception on wear and tear items though). With the MB my thought process is what will reliably keep the car on the road. I'm not looking for the cheapest parts available, but will risk on used or Chinesium parts where it may make sense to do so.
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-16 T&C (whole family van)