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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently purchased from Amazon a Belt Tensioner that normally cost $324 from the dealer, but got a no name brand from Amazon for $25 shipped. When I got it, I noticed it looks very similar to the Mopar OEM tensioner (# 5184617AD), but a few things were scratched off like the Chrysler symbol and Canada. What are the chances this is an original OEM and not a bad replica? Anyone had experience with these kind of parts?

Font Circle Parallel Engineering Machine

$25 Tensioner from Amazon
Gas Nickel Automotive wheel system Cylinder Metal
 

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One of the things to look for is the country of origin if available. I normally buy from a jobber. Dealership prices are at best insane. But here's something to think about. My ex brother inlaw was a life long car salesman. When I complained to him once about the high cost of over the counter parts he said the balance of a dealerships work is warranty related and my purchase was a drop in the bucket. So take that for what it's worth. Amazon has very low quality control standards so buyer beware. You may not get the product you ordered but a cheap Chinese knock off. You get a better warranty from a jobber. Not saying you can't get a good deal on brand name products online.
 

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Casting on the letters is too clear to be a typical Chinese forgery. Usually they come closer to looking like braille than letters. The stamped cover is also not likely to be on a knock-off. Maybe they sold you one that was returned to them? No clue why they'd bother scratching out the Mopar symbol and country.

Could it be a forgery? Yeah, but I've never seen one cast so cleanly.
 

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It might really be a rebuilt OE with cheaper guts. I'd probably use it for that price.
 

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Whenever I've seen cast numbers etc. ground off, a better (smoother, more uniform) job was done. Heaven only knows what that part's story is.

Did your original tensioner "go bouncy" or did the pulley bearing fail?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Whenever I've seen cast numbers etc. ground off, a better (smoother, more uniform) job was done. Heaven only knows what that part's story is.

Did your original tensioner "go bouncy" or did the pulley bearing fail?
No, I’m just starting to change a bunch of parts in that area. Something is squeeking at startup. The Harmonic Balancer looks very wobbly, and the Serp belt is old and recommended to change. I purchased a Mopar belt, idler pulley, a Dorman Harmonic Balancer, and this $25 tensioner. Was having second thoughts about the Dorman Harmonic Balancer after seeing reviews on Amazon. This tensioner looks like OEM so was curious if anyone had experience with parts like this.
 

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I have used aftermarket tensioners that were pretty cheap for customers and not had issues with them. Think the cheapest was about $35. It didn't have any markings on it that I can remember. Almost certain it was MasterPro brand from RockAuto.

I have used Dorman balancers on other engines, but not a 3.6 yet. I don't recall having any issues with them.
 
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You got very lucky-that is an OEM part. The reason the Canada and pentastar are crossed out is the OEM supplier is selling the OEM part into the aftermarket and don’t want to run the part on a second line but they cannot use the OEM markings. They will probably get stopped down doing this if Stellantis/FCA finds out. Don’t ask how I know this but believe me, it has happened before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You got very lucky-that is an OEM part. The reason the Canada and pentastar are crossed out is the OEM supplier is selling the OEM part into the aftermarket and don’t want to run the part on a second line but they cannot use the OEM markings. They will probably get stopped down doing this if Stellantis/FCA finds out. Don’t ask how I know this but believe me, it has happened before.
what do you mean they don’t want to run the part on a second line?
In case if anyone wants to buy, here is the product description on Amazon

White Font Auto part Circle Machine
 

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what do you mean they don’t want to run the part on a second line?
In case if anyone wants to buy, here is the product description on Amazon

View attachment 64635
Without getting into real production specifics, OEM’s like FCA, Ford etc. typically pay for a portion or all of tooling costs associated with many parts with the OEM parts manufacturers like Bosch or Denso etc. This allows them to control how that part is supplied and distributed to the service market. Some OEM car makers never let that supplier sell that part into the aftermarket and keep it locked at the dealer level. Others will let the parts maker sell it into the aftermarket but it has to be run by n another line with possibly other tooling or at the least it cannot be marked with the same markings as the part supplied to a dealer, but it is the same part. A part like yours is the OEM part but the manufacturer specific markings have been “removed” to comply with whatever agreement the parts manufacturer and parts maker agreed to.
 

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Just a comment about cheap Chinese products. I worked with a retired global salesman for a major parts supplier to the automotive industry. His company would lose contracts to Chinese manufacturers who could under price because of cheap labor and low quality standards. The consequence of all those lost sales is that China moved from a third world economy to a global competitor.
 

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I wouldn't expect any ultra-cheap parts to match their online picture exactly. But your tensioner could be a score! The next guy who orders one might get the same thing, or a stock-pull from Oreilly or AutoBone, or a totally generic mystery part.

I would agree that your tensioner body almost certainly came from the OE mold. It would be one **** of a fake to have that level of detail in diecast metal. It could also be from a run of genuine parts that failed to meet one or more quality checks, whether critcal or superficial, or maybe the supplier just ran too many and didn't want to store them.

I find it odd that "Canada" got scratched out. I've gotten parts for my Ford products from Fel-Pro and Denso (and probably others) that have obviously had the Ford oval and part numbers ground or milled away. Much more effectively than on your tensioner. Seems weird to me to obliterate the country of origin, though. This would be a red flag coming through customs, to say the least.
 

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Just a comment about cheap Chinese products. I worked with a retired global salesman for a major parts supplier to the automotive industry. His company would lose contracts to Chinese manufacturers who could under price because of cheap labor and low quality standards. The consequence of all those lost sales is that China moved from a third world economy to a global competitor.
This actually came up in a conversation I had with a friend the other day, regarding the apparent counterfeiting of another OEM's ignition parts. But whether it's a certain type of comical-looking (and very fragile) spark plug or an oil filter adapter that isn't quite as oil- or coolant-resistant as it should be, sometimes the OEM design/quality/durability bar is set so low, it's quite conceivable that a China counterfeit could be at least as good as it's OE cousin, if not better.
I'd never seek out a counterfeit, but when a "high-failure rate" part, especially with a long track record, fails on one of my vehicles, I feel I owe it to the OEM to buy aftermarket replacement parts, and with a few exceptions, I generally do. An exception would be if an obvious good-faith effort has been made by the OE to improve the part (e.g. 4.6L intake changed from plastic to aluminum plus fit and finish of aftermarket ones is questionable). Another would be if the part is buried so deep in the car it's just not worth the risk of the aftermarket part being worse than the OE (e.g. 3.6L oil filter adapter).

Thank God Dorman came out with the aluminum oil filter adapter for the 3.6L before mine failed Now here's a part to which Chrysler has made no obvious, meaningful improvement (it's allegedly been updated, but it's still plastic) AND is buried too deep to risk a quick failure of a (plastic) aftermarket version.
 

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I saw a video where a customer had purchased "OEM" parts for their vehicle from Rock Auto. The vehicle was European, I remember that, but not the specific make. The part failed and the car manufacturer wouldn't stand behind it, because Rock Auto was not an authorized vendor of their parts! So anymore it's really hard to know exactly what you're buying, and who makes it, unless you buy the part from the dealer. And only someone who's last name is Absolutelymadeofmoney can afford to do THAT on a regular basis!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
installed a Mopar Idler pulley, the $25 tensioner, and a Mopar Serpetine belt today, so far so good. Didn’t have an impact gun with me so the Harmonic Balancer couldn’t come off.

I did order another one for a friend who was looking to do a serpetine belt replacement. Looked exactly the same as mine, with the Canada and Chrysler logo scratched off. He has about 160k miles on his van.
 

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You got very lucky-that is an OEM part. The reason the Canada and pentastar are crossed out is the OEM supplier is selling the OEM part into the aftermarket and don’t want to run the part on a second line but they cannot use the OEM markings. They will probably get stopped down doing this if Stellantis/FCA finds out. Don’t ask how I know this but believe me, it has happened before.
I was just going to say the same thing. I rebuilt a 2005 Mini Cooper s from stem to stern and many of the aftermarket parts were from OEM suppliers and at a MUCH lower cost than the dealer, [BMW don't you know]

robj
 

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I ran into the same OEM part issue with my wifes Toyota. The lift struts for the hatch went bye bye. Went to the dealership and the dealership said, $200.00 dollars each please. I said I didn't want to buy the company just some of their parts. He apologized and acknowledged the price was crazy stupid, but watcha gonna do. I went to the after market parts supplier I use and purchased Monroe struts for $29.99 ea. Made in China of course but warranty was the same as OEM from the dealership.
 
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