« diesel madness | Main | non-asbestos »

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.



I like that you place superb content out that is articulate and good-written.

Gday. I noticed your site title, ": Dorman = do not buy!" {does well on some search engines. When composing your site title, do you believe it's best to write it for Search engine optimization or for your viewers? This is one thing I've been battling with due to the fact I want great search rankings but at the same time I want the best quality for my visitors.Perhaps you could post on this.

Site and posts are for the viewers. Search engine hits spawn multiple spam comments. The number of google-bot url's I ban from this site grows quickly.

@Vernon Wybenga... It's "well written"

Most modern power [steering] systems use ATF fluid now. My wife's dodge caravan's power [steering] pump went out and I flushed the system and replaced the pump with a remanufactured one and used mopar ATF+4 fluid which was what was used at the factory, I assume. I fully bled the system and it worked great for about a week then started grinding. I bled the system again and it still had a grind. I then flushed the system again and bled it and it worked fine for about a week then started to grind again, by this time I was fed up. I was recommended by a friend who was a manager at NAPA to try Royal Purple ATF fluid as that is what they had a lot of clients use for power [steering] problems. It was pricey though at $15 a quart (I think I overpaid though). I bought 3 quarts and flushed the system again, but this time with the Royal Purple. I bled the [steering] system and It was noticeably different from the Mopar ATF+4 fluid. The power [steering] felt like a brand new vehicles' and took hardly any time to bleed the air out (a couple of turns of the wheel). It has since been a little over 6 months since the change out and not even a whine from the power [steering] system and it still feels great. I have been completely amazed by the Royal Purple as I thought all fluids were the same, now I want to use Royal Purple for all the fluids in the vehicle, its just the price that keeps me from doing it right now, but it was a cheap fix for the power [steering] problem at $45.

Make sure you check the screen in the reservoir. It is often clogged. Replacing the plastic reservoir is usually the best cure for that. Also I have found that if you slightly overfill the power steering reservoir on the Caravans they do fine on regular Dexron ATF. The fluid is thin and the suction from the system creates a vortex in the reservior which introduces air into the system. Or you could use the Mopar power steering fluid specified. It's still most likely less expensive than Royal Purple.