The Hidden Cost of Chinese eBay Parts | WheelHouse


(gun shots) – So, you want to turbo your car, huh? But you’re a little short on funds? Relatable. Is a cheap turbo worth your money? (upbeat music) (engine revs) It’s WheelHouse time baby. Ooh wee. Sure, we’ve all heard horror stories of cheap turbos blowing up or
lasting a hundred miles. But as of late, there have been more and more success stories. Stories of people having no issues at all. Aside from figuring out what to buy with all that extra cash they’ve saved. (triumphant horn) A big thick boy thank
you to NOS Energy Drink, for partnering with Donut, and this show. Not only do they help out
WheelHouse, but they specifically asked to sponsor this week’s
Hot Take segment as well. I mean have you seen the
guys like BoostedBoiz. They’re making piles of power and putting miles per hour on
some pretty cheap stuff. (car engine revving) Their running 9s. – [Spectator] That’s it, that’s it. (crowd cheering) – Yes! (loud engine) Nine eight in 147, woo hoo! (piano music) – So let’s review what
a turbo actually does. They have a pretty tough job. Their environment is
really, really, really hot. Being bolted on to your exhaust and all. When bearing tolerances are out of spec, it can cause premature wear,
which can lead to oil pushing past the seals and turning into blue smoke coming out
the back of your car. Anything from poor casting processes, to the temperatures
molten metal is poured at, to the specific blend of
metal being poured can cause imperfections in important
parts of the compressor wheel. Don’t they check all that stuff? Well, with the advent of the internet came a wave of manufacturing
facilities all over the world. Email and computer-aided design, CAD, allowed companies to communicate and share designs with ease. That meant great things for
companies in places with expensive labor, like America. Boom! Get things made in places
with cheap labor, right? Wrong, kind of. There are all sorts of growing pains, with all the countless
fledgling factories. Even factories that make good
turbos can have mistakes. If there’s no one inspecting
your turbo before it ships to your door, then you’re
at the mercy of Lady Luck. And let me tell ya, she can
be kinda mean sometimes. But luckily for these factories, many of the companies
asking them to make parts, provided them with knowledge and cash. In a relatively short time, the ability of these overseas manufacturing
plants skyrocketed. But that doesn’t mean that all the factories themselves,
stepped their game up. Is it a complete gamble? In short, yes. But we can try to swing
the results in our favor. (bouncy music) First, buying the cheapest of the cheap is never a good idea. The cheapest new turbo on eBay hovers around a hundred bucks. That’s ridiculous. Too cheap, don’t buy it. Second, read the reviews. This goes for pretty much
everything you buy online, but especially with car parts. Look on the forums. Even forums that aren’t for your car. There are gonna be a lot
of opinions and people throwing their two cents
around like grenades. There’s one thing I
know about the internet, it’s that people like other
people knowing their opinions. But if you can find people with
actual hands-on experience, you’ll find the useful information. Third, look for information
about the company you’re going to be buying from. Have they been around for very long? Do they make any overall quality
or quality control claims? And most importantly is there a guarantee or a return policy if
your turbo does blow up? Beyond checking reviews and
snooping on the company, there isn’t much you can do
to insure that the cheap turbo you might buy will be a good one. It’s still gonna be a bit of a gamble When you’re talking a quarter of a price of a brand name turbo. So now it’s time to look
inwards, to find out if you really are about
that cheap turbo life. You need to think about the what if. What if it does fail? Do you gamble on another or
do you shell out the money for a name brand turbo after all? Some folks’ philosophy
is that since you can buy four or five cheap turbos for
the price of one good one, they’ll just keep replacing
them, if and when they fail. They probably will. That brings up another question. Who’s doing the work? If you’re paying someone
to install your turbo, the money you spend on
labor will quickly add up and make your cheap turbo
a little less cheap. Another big question is,
how hard is it gonna be? Are we talking a top mount
super easy accessible turbo? If so great. But on some cars, replacing
a turbo or turbos can be a total nightmare or at
least a really long dream where you have a
perpetually bloody knuckles. Check out HiLow and
you’ll see what I mean. – [Eddie] Good now? – No, Eddie, not good. What the (beep) you think dude? (high energy music) Did NOS Energy Drink partner
with Up to Speed first? Yes. Did they then move on to Bumper to Bumper? Yes. But did they save the
best Donut show for last? Hmm, as someone who is
completely impartial, someone who has no skin in the game, someone who is 100% unbiased. Yes. Yes they did. WheelHouse number one, baby. (can popping) (loud drinking) (satisfied sigh) NOS Energy Drink, baby, drink it. (laughing) (high energy music) If you are a bit of a mad scientist, there are a couple of other things you can do to potentially improve the odds of cheap turbo success. There have been many accounts
of people dismantling their brand new turbos
before installing them, cleaning them out a little bit and putting them back together. Another thing some people have
done is rebuilding the turbo with new higher quality
bearing, seals, and rings, right out of the box. This only works if you can find rebuild parts for your cheap turbo. But if you can definitely do that. All of that stuff, replacing, cleaning, and rebuilding the turbo takes time. How much time do you have
to spend on this stuff? And again, what will you
drive in the mean time? If your project car isn’t your daily, then your probably in okay shape. But if you’re playing
doctor on your daily, uh, you’re kinda rolling the dice. Another thing you can do is to make sure you install it properly. Give it the best possible chance. I’m talking about making sure
your oil and coolant lines are properly routed for the
best lubrication and cooling. Even if it means a little extra work. If your oil return line is all kinked up, even the most expensive turbo
in the world is gonna fail. (loud engine noises) (piano music) So here’s the deal. Whether or not a cheap ass
turbo is a viable option for your car isn’t really a simple answer. A lot of it comes down to you. Are you the kind of person
that loves to tinker? Are you a bit of a risk taker? (tires screech) If you do your research, read
reviews, and accept all the potential outcomes you
might even be able to make your gamble a little less risky. Otherwise, you should definitely save up and get the good stuff. Through my job, I’ve been
super fortunate to meet people from the automotive aftermarket. I’m talking people from
Vortex, Feal Suspension, Magnussen, a ton of people,
and they’re the ones that put the blood, sweat, and tears into making the aftermarket so great. So what I think the right thing to do is, instead of being impulsive
and buying the cheap part from some nameless factory,
is to reward the people that put the work in and support
small businesses really. Because you might
unintentionally be taking, literal labor away from someone that you might know, you know. It’s just the right thing to do. Planters NUTmobile is at the office. – So we like to say that we
always drive the smoothest peanut butter when we’re on
the salty streets of America. (laughs) – Huh, you’re serious? – [Woman] Yes. – Jeez. – [Woman] So they got to roll up and everybody was looking at them like, “Oh my gosh, wow they’re really–” – This thing’s nuts! – Be nice, see you next time.