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When Are Parts Just Parts?

Posted March 22, 2016 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: maintenance Parts restoration

Spring came early to Vermont this year, and with 60-degree temps in the forecast, I opted to wake Pandora, the name I've taken to calling my oft-troublesome 2000 BMW R1100R, from her winter slumber. Thanks to the use of a smart charger, the battery was up to the task, but the lumpy idle reminded me I should have been more careful about draining the fuel in the tank last fall. With a fuel-filter change and throttle body synch already on my "to-do" list, I wasn't particularly concerned, and once warm, it idled well enough with the enrichener (the fuel-injection equivalent of a choke) turned off.

But then I rolled on a little bit of throttle, and the squeal from the front of the engine reminded me of the alternator belt's questionable age. Sure, I could simply tension the belt and hope for the best; after all, the ride from my driveway to the Hemmings offices is a mere six miles or so. Breaking a belt, however, would leave me stranded, requiring me to borrow a trailer or swap the part out at the side of the road, neither an ideal choice when a bit of preventative maintenance would avoid the issue entirely.

What do do you prefer? OEM? Premium? Generic?

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Re: When Are Parts Just Parts?

03/23/2016 1:20 PM

That depends on the value of what I'm working on.

Porsche 911, OEM parts when ever possible... but it doesn't always work that way for a number of reasons.... most of which is availability.

Any other, like my car 2007 Buick Lucerne or my girlfriends Doge Truck or Chrysler... What available at NAPA or O'Reilly's mid range ot the higher end parts.

Another problem what I have not going with OEM, is fit. Last year replace the brakes in both my cars, and not going with OEM, the break wear sensor didn't fit. So, This time around, I'm going with out the wear sensor. Not a big deal, I just the brake wear regularly.

With that being said, more then likely, I have to change the shock absorbers in my Buick this summer.... and I feel there may be issues if I don't get OEM parts, which is a magnetic electronically controlled suspension.

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