" /> : March 2012 Archives

« December 2011 | Main | May 2012 »

March 22, 2012

Dorman = do not buy!

There is an aftermarket parts company called Dorman. Sometimes they have parts no one else has... not even the dealer. They have been around a long time.

Last year I was working on my friend's 1999 Camry, and I replaced many things. Dorman was the only aftermarket manufacturer at the time who I found sold both the oil pump seal and o-ring gasket in a kit, so I bought it. It's just rubber seals right? No big deal. Who can screw that up? Everything seemed fine.

Fast forward a few months. I put a Dorman upper control arm on my friend's Civic because it was very inexpensive (her choice) compared to the others available.... like 1/4 the cost. I should have known better, but it's just metal and rubber, right? Who can screw that up?

Well, that control arm makes a very disturbing knock noise over minor bumps. I think the interference fit between the arm and the included bushings is not so great, since that's where it seems the noise is coming from.

So... back to the Camry. Here it is just over a year later and the Camry has a terrible oil leak. By terrible I mean a quart an hour while the car is running. ONE QUART EVERY HOUR!!!!

After some investigation I have found it to be.... you guessed it.... the very same oil pump seal and gasket I replaced 13 months ago. Both are leaking. I had also replaced the crankshaft front oil seal and camshaft oil seal with Fel-Pro parts, and they were fine, but the Dorman parts only lasted 13 months... possibly less, as the leak was only brought to my attention when I was about to change the oil ("oh yeah- we meant to tell you we've been adding oil")

13 Months! They should last at least 7 years. The original parts lasted 11 years... and even then it was just the gasket leaking a little, and the seal not at all.

I've run into other parts manufacturers whose electrical parts seem to fail in 13 months. BWD is one example. Neihoff is another.

So I guess if it lasts a year, that's good enough.!?!

I spent 2 hours cleaning coked up oil off of timing belt cogs.... not to mention the time to replace the oil soaked timing belt (also only 13 months old)... and the amount of down time for the car. Now I'm waiting for the dust cover gaskets to arrive via USPS. The oil leak deteriorated the adhesive and compromised the gaskets.


March 8, 2012

diesel madness

Lewis starting the cold engine (with no power to the glow plugs)

Me talking and playing (also no glow plug power, but Lew had already warmed it up)