03-15-2015, 03:55 PM
#1
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I have spent my entire weekend working in the garage because of this sort of thing, and I'm rather tired of it.

Normally, when I buy auto parts, I'll shop on eBay and get a quality part at a reasonable price.  Every now and again, I have to go to the parts store and buy what they have in stock at the time.  The two parts I've gotten especially burned on, and a big reason I'm filthy and sore at the moment, were sway bar links for my wife's Saturn, and ball joints for my Pontiac.

When the sway bar links go bad, the car clunks and rattles constantly.  The "lifetime warranty" store brand replacements I bought from a chain store (the only ones they had) go bad without fail every six months, and when you bring them back, they dutifully give you another pair.  The new pair go bad just like their predecessors.  Eventually, I figured out that my time was worth something, so I bought a pair of Moog replacements.

In the process of replacing the front subframe on my Pontiac, I replaced the ball joints, figuring I was going to save myself some hassle down the road.  The store brand replacements started clunking after three months, and I imagine they were also the root cause of the creaking I heard shortly after I installed them.  I suspected the stabilizer bar bushings at first.  We're getting to the point where many things are so cheaply and/or badly made, that they can't perform their primary functions at all.  They perform their secondary function (paper weight), reasonably well.

The sway bar links aren't too hard.  The ball joints are an unbelievable pain.  The parts store HQ will be getting an angry letter from me once I recover.  I will be getting at least a refund.  Now I am going to collapse on the couch.

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 03-15-2015, 04:25 PM
#2
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A few things I dislike doing...plumbing and working on today's autos. 

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 03-15-2015, 04:33 PM
#3
  • evnpar
  • Emeritus
  • Portland, Oregon
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Since I don't have a mechanical bone in my body, I don't have the slightest idea what you were talking about. However, at my age I can identify with "filthy, sore, and collapsing on the couch." Take care.

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 03-16-2015, 05:37 AM
#4
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(03-15-2015, 04:33 PM)evnpar Wrote: Since I don't have a mechanical bone in my body, I don't have the slightest idea what you were talking about. However, at my age I can identify with "filthy, sore, and collapsing on the couch." Take care.

+1 Biggrin

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 03-16-2015, 07:33 AM
#5
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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I feel you pain Brian.  Up until about 8 years ago, I use to do all my own auto maintenance and repair.  The discount parts stores are a great place to buy soft items like wiper blades, oil, etc., but most of the hard parts like you have been working with are junk.

We only have one car now, my wife's Honda Element and all maintenance and repairs are done at the local Honda Dealer.  Cost a little more that way but they use genuine factory parts which come with a guarantee and if it breaks, "they" get to replace it again for free.

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 03-16-2015, 02:51 PM
#6
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I don't mind doing the repairs - once.  Redoing them is what irritates me.  I got spoiled by my last 3 Pontiacs.  I didn't have to do much more than change the oil.

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 03-16-2015, 03:56 PM
#7
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I hear you on the cheap replacements.  I made that mistake a few years back with the sway bar end links on my buick.  with how bad the roads and pot holes are in SE PA, it literally ate up the left end link.  when I took the car in for its annual inspection a few months back, the left end link was entirely gone: no bolts or nothing left.  I ended up picking up a pair of heavy duty moog end links that I hope will last for a while...

that said though, if the car is a GM, I'll only buy ac delco parts or quality parts from one of their competitors that are known to work very well with the make/model car I have.

I use http://rockauto.com to buy parts if I can afford to wait a few days for the part to come in.  amazon also isn't a bad place to look around.

tomorrow, weather permitting, I'll be working on my buick's rough idling issue.  hopefully pulling off the IAC and cleaning it will smooth it out.  I also need to replace the pcv valve.  I'm also ecstatic to pull the dash sooner than later so I can remove the gauge cluster and have all of the stepper motors replaced since GM used a very large batch of bad stepper motors in a lot of their vehicles gauge clusters...sigh.

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 03-16-2015, 05:34 PM
#8
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Be careful with AC Delco parts. Sometimes they're OEM, and sometimes they're not. I think the bankruptcy screwed all that up. I want to say that the Professional line is non-OEM. That's the nice thing about eBay auctions - you can usually see a box or part label that says General Motors right on it. Good luck on the idle and gauge issue.

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 03-19-2015, 04:13 PM
#9
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(03-16-2015, 05:34 PM)Shannon Wrote: Be careful with AC Delco parts.  Sometimes they're OEM, and sometimes they're not.  I think the bankruptcy screwed all that up.  I want to say that the Professional line is non-OEM.  That's the nice thing about eBay auctions - you can usually see a box or part label that says General Motors right on it.  Good luck on the idle and gauge issue.

this is always a great find for a gasket...the iac valve is supposed to have an o-ring, not a gasket..to me, it looks like the o-ring went missing somewhere and someone used RTV silicone to try to seal it up.. the odd thing is, I pulled the iac valve about 2 years ago to clean it and do not remember the o-ring missing. I assume somewhere that I had it serviced maybe was messing with it or something...hmn

[Image: slggXPv.jpg]

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 03-19-2015, 04:36 PM
#10
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Well, at least you may have found the cause of your idling issue. Rolleyes

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 03-19-2015, 04:39 PM
#11
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(03-19-2015, 04:36 PM)Shannon Wrote: Well, at least you may have found the cause of your idling issue. Rolleyes

hopefully.  I'm going to order a new iac valve tonight...$30 on amazon, shipped to my door.

rock auto is like $36 plus shipping...

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 03-19-2015, 05:14 PM
#12
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I am most likely dating myself but I go back to a 1965 Dodge Coronet.  Ex CA. cop car.  383CI, 335 HP.  PCV valve, distributor w/dual points.  Timing at 10 % TDC.  4 Barrel Carter carb.  Torqueflight transmission.  Dual GlassPack exhaust.  Easy to work...did all maintenance myself.  Today I have a 2014 Maxima and can hardly recognize anything under the hood.  I guess it is progress but I miss the good old days.  With EPA and all sorts of rules and regs, I reckon the "good old days" are gone. Undecided

Ed

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 03-20-2015, 02:15 PM
#13
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I don't mind the technology so much (though it does make a car far more expensive).  The thing that annoys me is that my usual parts choices are cheap parts that will break in three months, or expensive parts with a lifetime warranty that will still break in three months.  I don't have to pay for a replacement, but I still have to de-install and re-install. Angry    Maybe I'm misremembering, but the thing I miss about the "good old days" was that I could still buy something that wasn't total junk for a reasonable price.

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 03-22-2015, 08:10 AM
#14
  • Gabe
  • Senior Member
  • Arizona
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I've worked at a few dealerships and a few independant repair shops. The thing I noticed the most was the quality of the dealer parts. They just feel better, look better (higher quality) and fit better. I personally do not buy dealer parts for everything, but if its a pain to replace, I will buy dealer parts. There is nothing I hated more than redoing a job under warranty because the part failed. I even worked at a parts store that has a repair shop and I remember our service manager ordering dealer parts instead of using the parts store parts.  You can also find out what brand a manufacturer uses and usually order that part online for less than the dealership price.

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 03-22-2015, 09:44 AM
#15
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That's why I like eBay. There's always someone trying to get rid of an NOS OEM part at a reasonable price. If you need the part now, it's not always possible though.

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 03-22-2015, 10:36 AM
#16
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Don't feel bad.  My DD is a 20 year old BMW.  Unless absolutely necessary I do all the work on every car I have owned. Other cars I've owned, the older it got the cheaper it got to fix. Not with this one! Parts have stayed the same if not gotten higher in price and nothing is ever in stock.  Local parts stores take 1 to 2 days to get what I need and if I order on line obviously it's longer. 

I tried to save $$ and purchased an aftermarket door lock regulator off Ebay which was a PITA to install. All proud of myself that my keyless entry was working again which is a blessing when you have your hands full with a wound up 2 year old and it's raining or snowing.  Figures less than 3 months goes by and it's already crapping out on me. You get what you pay for! 

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 03-22-2015, 08:41 PM
#17
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(03-22-2015, 08:10 AM)Gabe Wrote: I've worked at a few dealerships and a few independant repair shops. The thing I noticed the most was the quality of the dealer parts. They just feel better, look better (higher quality) and fit better. I personally do not buy dealer parts for everything, but if its a pain to replace, I will buy dealer parts. There is nothing I hated more than redoing a job under warranty because the part failed. I even worked at a parts store that has a repair shop and I remember our service manager ordering dealer parts instead of using the parts store parts.  You can also find out what brand a manufacturer uses and usually order that part online for less than the dealership price.

this is why I like to register on forums that speak about the vehicles I own.  if something breaks or is in need or replacing due to normal wear and tear, I can go check on what has and hasn't worked in the past for my exact make and model vehicle.  saves me the $$$ and the hassle of trying to guess if something will work good and if so, if it'll last.

for example, my old ford thunderbird turbo coupe was a picky girl....so much so that people basically knew what did and didn't work good for the car.  motorcraft plug wires, a specific type of autolite spark plugs, etc.

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 04-08-2015, 12:06 AM
#18
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If a part is aftermarket and has a good reputation I'll buy it. I'll use Brembo factory replacement parts or the occasional high performance name brand part (that DC sports coated header is cheaper that my factory manifold that cracked?) Aside from that, alternators, starters, gaskets, and everything between I'll go with factory parts. I may find and buy from the original manufacture for the brand (exedy makes clutches for many companies for instance). 

I've worked on luxury vehicles for a decade (Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover, and now Mercedes). I've seen aftermarket rubbish thrown in and far too often soon fail, not fit properly, or not even work out of the box. It's becoming much more common as well, the majority of aftermarket alternators that were not made or remanufactured by the original manufacture that I've installed in the last five years usually fail within 5k miles. Ten years ago nearly any alternator you bought over the counter that had some kind of warranty would last some reasonable amount of time. 

The Internet is hard to pick through for good information if you're not a professional in the field, but a really good technician is a much better source for information but they come with a price tag up front that can save you money in the long run not wasted on buying the wrong parts or paying for unnecessary labor. There is a lot misinformation online in the car world and it's beyond disturbing.

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 04-08-2015, 04:29 PM
#19
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That's why I married a woman whose brother is a mechanic (she makes soap, too - but that's a more recent development).  I still end up doing most of the work myself, but it's nice to be able to ask for advice if I need it.  Most times, the advice is "hit it harder" or "use a bigger hammer", but sometimes it's "don't buy that part, it's junk." Smile

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