Nobody likes to get a part that is defective. Yet, since the early days of replacement parts, manufacturers, suppliers and customers have had to deal with the problem of defective parts. After 38 years in the reproduction parts business, we have seen our fair share of poorly made products. Our job is to filter out the bad items so our customers don't get inferior quality parts.
One of the earliest problems in the old car hobby was rubber that was made in Argentina. Back in the early 1980's we started selling rubber made by Steele Rubber Products here in the USA. Their quality has always been one of the best in the restoration hobby. Rubber made in Argentina (marked "Industria Argentina") was made of inferior compounds. Rubber products from Argentina, at that time, would break down while sitting on a shelf waiting to be installed!
One rubber part that stands out was a gas filler neck grommet from Argentina. A customer tried to return it to us because it had a crack in it even though it was new in the package. We noted that the marking on the grommet was not from Steele Rubber, so the customer did not purchase the grommet from us. Yes, the price was cheaper than the USA made item, but the lesson is that you usually get what you pay for.
Recently there has been a fit problem reported with 1954 passenger parking light housings. Two different manufacturers have made them and both have issues with fit. When we discover this type of issue, we will no longer offer that item for sale. We notify the suppliers and return the defective parts. It is always our policy to refund our customer for parts that have manufacturing defects. However, with over 20,000 items that we sell, it is impossible to know everything that may be a problem. We rely on feedback from our customers to know if there is a problem with a particular part.
Not all defective items are made overseas. Some problem items are made here in the USA There was a USA supplier that made king pin sets for us for many years. The last time we ordered from this supplier, the shims that came in the set were about ¬Ω" too large in inside and outside diameter and would not fit in the spindle. We contacted the supplier to tell them that the shims would not work
and were told that this was going to be the size that they offered in their kits from now on. We changed suppliers
Another more recent problem was with a NOS Delco distributor cap. This was brand new, still in the original box, a New Old Stock Delco OEM part. I was trying to start our newly restored 1931 tow truck. For three weeks we could not get the engine to fire up. We tried everything to get it to run - even took the camshaft out which required removing the rocker arms, pushrods & lifters. We rebuilt the Electrolock - twice! Tried 4 different coils and 4 different carburetors; replaced the new manifold gaskets. All of this and NOTHING changed! Finally it was suggested that we replace the NOS distributor cap and rotor - it fired right up!! All this to tell you that EVEN NOS Delco parts can be defective. Later we tested the distributor cap with an ohm meter and found the center coil socket was shorted directly to one of the spark plug sockets in the cap. The rotor was fine.
Defective parts in our business is not an everyday thing, but when it happens, be assured that we will handle the problem promptly to get your restoration back on track.