Beware of fake parts

2016-05-24 06:00
 A 40mm difference in overall length will force the suspension to operate in a sub-optimal arc, causing accelerated wear. PHOTO: motorpress

A 40mm difference in overall length will force the suspension to operate in a sub-optimal arc, causing accelerated wear. PHOTO: motorpress

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Vehicle owners should be careful of counterfeit parts.

Bilstein South Africa, the local importer and distributor of Bilstein gas pressure shock absorbers, has warned motorists not to be misled by counterfeit versions of the brand’s Airmatic spring/damper, the fitment of which will severely compromise a vehicle’s stability and safety, according to a press release by Motorpress,

Damper assemblies with integrated height-adjustable air springs are fitted to a number of upmarket SUVs and sedans. These complex, sophisticated assemblies combine electronically-controlled hydraulic damping with air springing and can react instantly to road conditions, driver inputs, and speed.

Unfortunately, they are frequently copied or inadequately refurbished and sold at a price much lower than the original – often with the inference that their performance will be the same as or similar to that of the original.

These counterfeiters go to great lengths to pass their product off as a Bilstein but there are a number of key visual differences that can be used to verify the authenticity of the product. For starters, a fake “Airmatic” was 40 mm too long. Dimensional accuracy is critical and if the suspension is forced to work through an abnormal arc, it will cause not only incorrect geometry under certain conditions but also premature failure of rubber bushings and mountings and accelerated wear of other components such as constant velocity joints.

Key differences between real and counterfeit units include:

. On a Bilstein unit the remote valve cylinder is invisibly laser welded onto the damping tube, whereas on the fake item uneven “spot” welding is evident where it attaches using a similar interface.

. One of the most obvious differences between the real and the fake is how the yoke, which straddles the vehicle’s suspension arm, is attached to the damper tube. The Bilstein item has an open tube which is pressed onto the shock body and then welded both above and below. The fake uses a casting which is closed at the bottom, has a longer boss and is welded onto the shock body on the upper side only.

. Viewed from below the genuine part has a dimple in the centre of the end cap.

. The edge of the bellows on the Bilstein unit is extremely accurately and precisely aligned relative to the steel crimping ring. Extra crimping marks and a large and/or irregular overlap of the rubber are tell-tale signs that the bellows has been replaced, or that the entire unit is not Bilstein.

. The Bilstein unit has a satin black finish while the non-genuine item is gloss black.

. Bilstein’s trademark blue and yellow colours are prominent on the information stickers. Text includes the part number, and the word “Germany” – a reference to the country of manufacture. The non-genuine item described itself variously as “High Quality”, “New Shock Absorbers” [sic] and “New Product”.

Some of these differences are only apparent by removing and examining the unit. One of the most obvious giveaways is the area at the bottom of the damper, where the fork joins the tube. The fake has a longer boss which is clearly welded to the tube on the upper side.


Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.