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Discussion Starter #1
Who is the OEM supplier for the master cylinder on my 05 Stratus? Took the Strat to a local shop and the owner doesn't want to use anything but a dealer supplied MC. Says he doesn't trust anything else he can get - Raybestes, Cardone, Napa. I can specify any master cylinder I want but he won't guarantee it! Is everything else junk or is he just trying to squeeze more profit outta me? The MSRP on the OEM master cylinder is $280, which is what he's charging, I can get it for $193 plus shipping online - and what does he pay? $280 is at least 2 1/2 times anything else. This is why I do all the work I can on my vehicles - I just don't want to bleed a four wheel ABS system!
 

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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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Are the other, cheaper master cylinders new or remanufactured? Bear in mind that some remans are basically junkyard pulls that are cleaned up and with some known-issue components replaced. They're not necessarirly tested or thoroughly examined either, and the price one pays at the parts counter often reflects the level of work done on the part.

It's possible that he's been burned on labor for warranty-replacing too many not-OEM parts, and for the cost difference it's not worthwhile to him.
 

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KOG
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And it's also very likely that his markup is higher on the OEM stuff. I'll probably buy OEM timing belt and water pump when I do that stuff on my lifetime powertrain warranty 09 just because I don't want any hassle if I ever have to file a claim, use only MOPAR branded 7176 for the same reason. But in the case of brake pads, rotors, etc. some aftermarket items are notably superior to OEM. Not necessarily cheaper though.
 

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actually the shop will ususlly make more margine on aftermarket stuff because they can use there suggested list and the shop gets a hefty discount where as with the oem they will usually get anywhere from 10-20% off the oem price depending on there relationship with the dealership, probably in the past the aftermarket master cyls have failed and the aftermarket parts will not have any labour coverage for him so he goes backwords on the warrenty replacement part, unfortunetly even big after market companys like Moog and Raybestes etc that were known for quality have gone to offshore production and the parts are CRAP I know this I am in the business, a good rule of thumb here if it is made in China its crap, look for parts made in North America or Germany, etc and usually these will be close to Oem, you could buy the part yourself and supply it to the dealer but you will assume the warrenty on it with who you bought it from
 

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It makes sense, because while Chinese companies can make world class products, the reason American companies build there is usually to save money, and if their #1 goal is to save money, the parts WILL be crap.

Also, of course, most Americans have no idea how to deal with Chinese companies, and despite best intentions will get ripped off big-time with substitutions and such. (Among other tips I've heard and read, Chinese companies don't care about current contracts, they care about whether they can make more from you in the future; and you'd better have your own people on-site to constantly test materials coming in and going out.)

Apple was very late to Chinese production, but that's where all their stuff is made now, and they're consistently #1 in quality ratings (side note, they are bringing Mac Pro production to the US - but it's still subcontracted to Foxconn!) ... but in general "made in China" means someone decided cost was their primary concern, not what you want to see for brakes.

If you do buy Mopar, avoid the Value Line.
 

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Dr. Z said:
It makes sense, because while Chinese companies can make world class products, the reason American companies build there is usually to save money, and if their #1 goal is to save money, the parts WILL be crap.

Also, of course, most Americans have no idea how to deal with Chinese companies, and despite best intentions will get ripped off big-time with substitutions and such. (Among other tips I've heard and read, Chinese companies don't care about current contracts, they care about whether they can make more from you in the future; and you'd better have your own people on-site to constantly test materials coming in and going out.)

Apple was very late to Chinese production, but that's where all their stuff is made now, and they're consistently #1 in quality ratings (side note, they are bringing Mac Pro production to the US - but it's still subcontracted to Foxconn!) ... but in general "made in China" means someone decided cost was their primary concern, not what you want to see for brakes.

If you do buy Mopar, avoid the Value Line.
I have found that you need to make sure that production product matches the prototype product in ALL specs. Their basic overall quality has improved greatly though if you demand that they step up.
 

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KOG
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They'll make any quality you demand, price will vary. If you want cheap, that's what you get. And they're bad about letting quality drop after the first batch is approved and they think they can get by with no one looking.
 

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My experience with brake parts has been mixed.

I have used NAPA rotors (shop) and Everwear rotors (Advance - did it myself) and both warped by 15-20K miles. This was on the front brakes of my Ram. The last set I had done at Firestone and so far with over 20K on them no warpage. I suspect the NAPA and Everwear rotors were made in China.

The rears were last serviced at the dealer (rotors and Value Line Pads) at 90K and they started chirping 2,000 miles ago at 180K. So much for Value Line pads not lasting. Maybe I was lucky. ** shrug **

Back when I had my Acclaims (1990 & 1992) I learned real quick not to use cheap pads on the front. I was using NAPA's low grade pads - didn't know they had gone to three types - low grade, mid-grade and premium. Those low grade pads barely lasted 30K. Once I went to the mid-grade pads the service life was acceptable (60K+ miles). The inexpensive rotors for the Acclaims never had a problem warping - the cost on those as about $20 each.

Our old '00 T&C Ltd AWD seemed to eat brakes. I was going through a set every 25K (or so it seemed). The last set was put on by Firestone and had better than 40K when I traded it in. Don't remember what they used, but it was better than the previous pads.

As to the MC - despite the higher price I'd still go with the OEM. As mentioned, the aftermarket parts are often rebuilt units and reliability can be hit or miss.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'm still wondering who makes the brakes! I'm dating myself, but back in the day seems like most brakes were made by Bendix or Wagner? The Missus picked up the Stratapuss today and payed the almost $500 bill. :excited: Yippee
So who makes decent brake parts? Seems like most lines will have their cheap remans and a premium or professional higher priced one, but most are made in China. Who knows where the OEM parts are made!? Heck, US tank engines (and other things military) are made in China.
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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Actually, $500 is about average for a brake job if the rotors have to be replaced. About half that if just replacing the pads and turning the rotors.

I've received dealer ads specifically for my Ram - $139 per axle - add $50 if the rotors need to be turned. At Firestone it was $400 with new rotors.

As to where the pads are made - I used Wagner's the last time I did them myself and I believe they were "Made in the USA", but I'm not entirely sure. I won't use NAPA. One independent shop used NAPA pads on my '93 Aerostar we had at the time. A few months later I hear an odd sound from the rear brakes. Took it back to have him check it out. As he is pulling the drum off the pad material drops to the floor! On the other side the pad material was complete gone! Must have been a bad manufacturing defect where the pad material was not adhered to the hardware properly. Nevertheless, I am still hesitant to use NAPA brake pads.
 

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KOG
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If you're looking for high quality pads and shoes, Performance Friction Carbon Metallic are certainly good, have a lifetime warranty and they've been my choice for a number of years. O'Reilly now carries them in my area. Not cheap, but good. PF supplies half or more of F1 teams so they do know what they're doing.
 

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well, having worked in engineering for an OEM brake supplier I would guess the Stratus brakes are TRW. Between them and BOsch they had most of the market. There are others like Brembo, Rasini, Fed-Mogal and Aekebono (bought Bosch braking in NA).

OEM parts are by far the best you can get. NO doubt. We went thru extensive testing. Brake rotor thickness variation and runout (warp) were measured in microns (tiny). Aftermarket parts do not go thru that level of manufacturing testing. This is why I always turn my OE-factory rotors if I can. Of course you need someone that knows what they are doing.

All OEM brakes (at least til 2009/10ish) are/were cast by one foundry in the US regardless of the supplier. A few were cast in Mexico. The Mexican foundry actually made a better part due to the older style foundry process that did not have hard casting spots in the rotors. That hard spot, depending on driving, doesn't wear as fast and creates a bump in the rotor. This is often mistaked for a warped rotor. The key thing in keeping rotors from actually warping is to make sure the hub and wheel surfaces are good and clean and to equally (as best as possible) torque the lug nuts. Excessive heat can warp them but it is not as common as you think. Mostly due to improperly installed or junk rotors.

Haveing said all that I"ve had decent luck with Raybestos and Napa (10 years ago or so) even though the Raybestos were china made. I do not think you can find any aftermarket non chinesse rotors. Even the dealers don't stock OE rotors but they will order them. For an 03 Chrysler van they're about $100. By the way 01-07 Chrysler vans have TRW brakes. LX had Bosch (now Akebono) and high end SRT8's had Brembo (made in Mexico)

Hope this helps.
 

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It's unfortunate, I've found new-in-box discount rotors that were already at or even slightly below the minimum thickness tolerance... I'm to the point that I bring calipers with me when I go shopping for rotors sometimes.
 

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Wow those would be crap/junk rotors.

Min disc thinkness..

ONly a leagal requirement in [SIZE=10pt]Massachusetts. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=10pt]Main idea is that if the brake linings are completely gone that the rotor isn't so thin that the caliper piston doesn't get pushed out of the casting and then loose the brake fluid for a system failure. Its not for rotor strength. [/SIZE]
 

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You should buy the master cylinder you want in the car and take it to the shop and have it installed. If he insists on sourcing the part himself so he can mark it up, find you another shop.
 

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KOG
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Thickness is also for heat capacity. Too thin and they heat up more due to less mass. But you hit the main point, not letting piston pop out of caliper when pads wear down to backing plate.
 

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Mass is important but so is your driving habits. Make a rapid stop and hold the pedal on hard after stopping (especially when cold water has hit the rotor) and you can warp the disc or end up with hard spots on it. The more metal in the wiped area, the more resistance to that type on a problem.
 

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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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KOG said:
But you hit the main point, not letting piston pop out of caliper when pads wear down to backing plate.
Is that really a problem? When I bought my cheap Nissan pickup the previous owner had let it get to backing-plate-on-rotor, and half of the inside half of the rotor was worn away, as was a good portion of the backing plate. The piston did not pop free and didn't seem to be in danger of doing so...
 

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I have never seen a piston pop out, but I have seen where they extended enough to put a groove into the side of the bore and not want to retract properly.
 

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KOG
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I've seen them far enough out to lose the seal (not one of my vehicles). And when a caliper piston loses the seal the braking is gone RIGHT NOW.
 
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