In today's automotive high performance market for Japanese vehicles, there are many companies that are basically wannabe JDM and motorsport companies. Often times they sport Japanese or JDM or motorsport sounding names, but in actuality they are either knock off companies or companies that manufacture products in China with poor quality control. The fact of the matter is that no decent company with a lesson in business ethics would attempt to be anything else other than what they actually are. A decent company would call themselves “Joe's Cooling Products” or “Bob's Performance Products”, but with all of the hype and fascination around JDM and motorsport culture, we have names like “Mitsumoto Racing” and “C2 Racing” respectively. These are purely examples of course, but Mitsumoto sure sound Japanese and C2 sure looks like the D2 cell phone provider in Europe that used to sponsor F1 and was seen plastered all over the walls at F1 races on TV don't they?
Now if these companies are willing to market themselves as what they clearly are not, what does that tell you about their business ethics in general? Ever go out with a chick that told you she didn't have a boyfriend, but she did? Sure it might have fun while it lasted, but it sucks when her boyfriend comes and clocks you in the nose. It's the same exact thing with these wannabe JDM and motorsport companies. When your made in China thermostat blows up and you loose a $10,000+ engine or a piston shaft breaks on your made in China coilover and your whole car goes off the road, you're just shit out of luck. With these companies fronting like they offer high quality products, the shitty part is that you may not even have known that you got jacked. I personally have spoken to people who have had these wannabe companies' parts fail. They had no idea they were just poor quality products because the companies were either so well marketed or because they had the word “racing” or “motorsport” in their name. These victims were just innocent consumers who were fooled and misled.
After only TWO heat cycles (warm up, cool down, warm up, cool down), this brand M thermostat failed. Not only did it fail, but the wax chamber actually BLEW UP. They guy lost a head gasket on a very expensive engine. In my 20+ years of playing with cars I have NEVER seen a thermostat blow up, but then again in my 20+ years of playing with cars I've never used Made in China parts either. I've never had this problem with an American Stant, a JDM Billion, or any of the works tuning brand (Nismo, Ralliart, etc.) thermostat. Right next to it is a brand new Brand M unit. My guess is the lack of 3D modeling or even a simple 2D drawing caused the machining to be too thin at the base of the brass valve. Or it might have been the $100/month migrant factory worker that machined that brass section too thin. Little did you know that worker was picking rice two weeks ago and is now running a lathe (probably not CNC either).
I didn't know this guy personally, but I found this with a quick google search. I had so much confidence that I would find an image like this that I wrote the above text first and then googled it. My guess here is poor heat treating, poor material quality, or once again the $100/month migrant factory worker finish grinding your piston shaft with a cigarette hanging out the side of his mouth in flip flops.
Not all made in China parts are complete shit. There are large performance parts companies that own factories throughout asia, but that's the difference in itself. By owning the factory, the company can implement it's own quality control and manufacturing standards. An example of this would be Sony, Panasonic, etc. Companies like Mitsumoto Racing or C2 Racing are getting their products from independently owned factories in China where they have very little control over manufacturing methods and quality control inspections are limited to visual approval. I imagine it's very unlikely that these wannabe JDM and motorsport companies actually own material science labs to inspect grain patterns, material hardness and porosity of metals.
It's kind of sickening how the words “racing”, “motorsport”, “engineering”, “JDM”, and Japanese sounding names are just thrown around these days. The next time you are in the market for a product, it would be wise to do a little more research OFF the forums. On the forums all you'll see is unscientific bullshit results and opinions from other FFFs, SPEs and bullshit forum gurus. What do they know about metallurgy, manufacturing methods, and quality control? All they can tell you is “I bolted it in and it looks great. My water temps are totally stable [according to the stock guage]” or “It made 10hp at the wheels.” What they don't tell you is the knocking or rattling noises that the car now makes or how they had to bend 3 brackets to make it fit. And they sure as hell cannot tell what's going to happen in 5000 miles. I know it's hard to get accurate information with all the bullshit flying around on the forums these days, but accurate information is out there. You just have to dig deeper and ask the right people.
At the very least, call the manufacturer in question up and just ask them straight up, “Are your products made in China?” If they say yes then ask them, “Do you own your own factory and what province is it in?” Sure it's very likely they will lie to you answering either question, but it would be fun to hear the idiots fumble wouldn't it? And if they fumble the answer, that should be easy enough for you to know NOT to buy their products.
For more made in China terror check these links out: