Mercedes-Benz Forum - View Single Post - To "used" or "not to used" that is the question and Chinesium issue
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 04-14-2019, 02:02 AM
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Vehicle: 1998 MB E300TD, 1997 MB E320
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As Tusabes said, its all in QA. Lots of manufacturers have moved their productions into China, and they have multiple layers of QA during productions, post production, and pre delivery. That's how they are able to weed out the chinese factories who like to play fast and loose with material composition and/or loose tolerance.

However, as it often happens, the chinese are very good at IP theft, and it's not uncommon for the same factory to run a third or fourth shift producing the same exact parts as the original parts on the original factory line/assembly line, only this time using the leftover reject materials that didn't meet the QA. Hell, they might even take the QA rejects and turn around and sell it anyway, but under a different name.

Then in this case, the nature of the game becomes "How much is my time worth?" German cars being germans cars, some jobs that used to be piss easy on other manufacturers are suddenly 3-4 hours long...sometimes more. Motor mounts on a W220, for instance, are a 2-3 hour job. More if you're unfamiliar and doing it on the floor. This same job on a Altima, or Camry, or hell a F150 is a cake. Often I can do those in 30 minutes flat, that's including pulling the car in my stall, time taken to pull my tools, and tooling about.

So then, chinese MM on W220 don't make much sense. Do you really like torturing yourself every year, or every 10-20k to change the MM because it collapsed again?

But lets say....the antenna shark fin broke. URO sells that piece for what, $20? Our glorious mothership wants over $100 for what amounts to be a fancy molded plastic. And it takes all of 30 seconds to replace it. Maybe a whole two minutes if you're being distracted by your dog or something. At this point, even if the shark fin breaks every year, it's worth buying chinese because it's not a critical component, it doesn't rob you of your time, and even if you have to replace it every year, it'll take you 5 years before you break even if you had bought the OEM piece to begin with.

So in cases like this, you have to juggle between OEM, OE brand and chinese, calculate your time worth, the time taken to break even between chinese and OEM, and see where it lies. Problem with Mercedes, and other german cars in general, is that there are far too few aftermarket companies who produce parts that exceed OE quality. I am a few clicks away from finding couple companies who can and do produce hardened camshafts, lifters, lifter rods, additional oiling tubes for all those Chevy Vortec engines with AFM. Likewise, I can find dozens who sell parts to disable AFM permanently. Same story with Dodge and valve lifters, rockers and valve retainers for 3.7, 4.7 and 5.7 engines. This is not the case with MB, BMW, or others (Porsche is an exception, but that is a long story and I won't go into it). So very few aftermarket companies who actually design and sell parts that are beefed up compared to original....and we're back to the whole OEM vs OE vs aftermarket vs chinese argument.

Then we come to brakes. As a shop owner, and as a mechanic, I find it very difficult to justify saving a couple dollars on critical components. Sure, I can do it, save a couple dollars....but what if my family members took the car because whatever reasons, and then they crashed? Would that be my fault because I cheaped out on the lines? Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't, but that thought will be on the back of my head. That's why I pushed so strongly in other thread, but like I said, it's ultimately your prerogative.

It's not like we can buy stainless steel brake lines for our cars.

--1998 MB E300TD 291k
--1997 MB E36 Frankenstein'd AMG 199k
--2011 Suzuki DL650 58k
--1997 MB E320 161k. SOLD...loved that stupid car.
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