One of the greatest difficulties in the automotive engine rebuilding industry is finding the correct engine parts to accomplish a comprehensive rebuild. Although many aftermarket internal engine part manufacturers are available, over the last several years we have observed major development in offshore manufacturing. This presents specific problems for engine builders and automotive enthusiasts.
There is no question that a worldwide transfer of manufacturing has occurred. China is the main benefactor of the reduction in USA production. Even though this supplies distinct short-term financial relief for folks building their automotive engines, the permanent ramifications are diminished parts accessibility, quality declines and extended waiting periods to acquire bought components.
The tolerances of engine components manufactured overseas normally aren’t held to the same specifications as they are in the USA. Whether it is tooling wear from mass manufacturing, or the inability to complete finishing, a lot of the machined engine parts made in China are substandard and outside accepted tolerances. This pushes many local automotive machine shops to undertake the finish machining themselves to make sure that their reconditioned engines will perform as intended and tolerate many years of use.
Just lately, we had a a new imported engine block delivered to our auto garage that was made in China. There was casting sand in a few non-critical sections of the engine block. The piston cylinders were outside of specifications and there was a bit of rust on the crankshaft main caps. Though these conditions were quickly repaired, the fee to the client increased dramatically because the cylinder block needed to be bored and honed once more. Fortunately this customer didn’t pay for pistons beforehand, because the standard bore pistons couldn’t work in the engine block after it was bored oversize.
The challenge when acquiring engine blocks, and associated internal engine parts from overseas vendors, is they aren’t close by if a problem arises. Unquestionably we could have refused the engine block, although the fee to deliver it back to China would have been more costly then the repairs that were performed.
Being unable to contact a nearby or domestic business to support components used in rebuilt engines is a difficult problem for some specialized automotive machine shops. Many of these shops work hard to build extremely high quality engines. But when faced with a shrinking domestic manufacturing base, they are finding that producing quality work is becoming more difficult and more costly in the end for their valued customers. This is part of the reason why so many local machine shops are letting their customers know that by building their engines locally, and supporting domestic engine part manufactures when able, each customer is helping to preserve an industry that can be utilized by future generations.