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AC/Delco vs Aftermarket parts: worth the price?

Oct 30, 2001
Glen Burnie, MD, USA
1986 Bright Red Coupe
As I search the various web sites looking for the mechanical parts I need to get my Vette roadworthy, I find essentially two different parts ranges - the original AC/Delco/GM replacement parts and a couple of aftermarket versions of the same.

Given the fact that my Vette will never be a show piece or a matching-numbers queen, but WILL be driven hard, is it worth spending sometimes 50% more for a GM part? Are they made that much better? Or are the aftermarket parts sometimes even better than the originals?

Specifically, I'm thinking about things like hub assembly/wheel bearings ($150 vs $240), water pump, stuff like that. Something like a hood strut I kind had no choice in - $9.95 for a "StrongArm" by Gabriel or $60 for a real GM one. Minor part, major price difference.


And if anyone is looking to get rid of some left-side C4 hubs and bearings, let me know :)

The best deal on wheel bearings for the C4 is from Pep boys. They used to be $99 each with a lifetime warranty. I hear that now they are getting something like $160 for them.

The $99 ones were made by Chicago Rawhide, which is a good manufacturer. I am not sure about the $160 one.

When it comes to wheel bearings I prefer USA, Japan or European made ones over any others. It seems the quality of the steel and fit are superior.
Just bear in mind the bottom line: "You get what you pay for." ;)

_ken :w
:L Yeah, you have to be aware of "quality" as well Keith, and we have enough examples already, at all levels, of money not being able to buy quality. :(

_ken ;)
Never install anything with a Made in Taiwan sticker on it!
Ken said:
:L Yeah, you have to be aware of "quality" as well Keith, and we have enough examples already, at all levels, of money not being able to buy quality. :(

_ken ;)

Yeah, great, but given that I don't have the know-how to make my OWN spare parts (the only way I can *guarantee* quality), where does the tradeoff curve peak? :)

I'll have to look at those Pep Boys wheel bearings. I'm willing to buy something slightly less than top-quality if it comes with a lifetime warrenty... I can do the labor myself on those (unlike, for example, the wheel bearings on my 96 Subaru Legacy Outback, which require about 250 steps and a hydraulic press to remove :( )
I guess I should have made it clear from the start that "reputation" is as important as anything else, if not more so. And those stories about mis-adventures with the DIY'er and a sub-standard product are there for everyone to see when a manufacturer is not standing behind what they sell to the public. :(

_ken :w
Well this is my opinion and I know what opinions are like so remember it's always up 2 you. Anyway If you are replacing something that comes off in minutes with few tools use whatever parts you find. If its a major job use the best parts you can afford and AC Delco OEM parts are very good. Look around yo can get good prices on OEM stuff just shop around. Good luck.
I have found that the fit is often better with OEM parts. The performance is spot on too..
No bag with different adapters for different applications.
Often times the OEM part costs the same or even less.
Franks correct. aftermarket uses cheaper seals and there tolerances are not as tight as oem:grinsanta
Well..... to throw another link into this chain, what about aftermarket parts that are supposedly "better" than original? For example, I'm installing a Centerforce Dual Friction clutch. I plan on bumping my car's HP by 40-50%, and figure the stock clutch won't be able to take it or the hard launches. I'm also looking at an Edelbrock water pump - it's one of those things that, like a clutch, I don't want to replace often because it's hard to get to. They "claim" that it lasts a lot longer than stock, and flows more coolant as well. Costs a bit more.

Anyone have opinions on lightened flywheels? There don't seem to be any for the older C4's - just the 6-speeds.

<never, Never, NEVER sit me down with a Corvette Central catalog and say "Honey, anything in here you want for Christmas?"> :grinsanta
My Two Cents

It depends on the item you're replacing whether or not you use after market. You mentioned the clutch in one of your posts. After pumping my 327 in my 62 to around 435 hp. I took the center out of my clutch like it was cut with a torch. I replaced the stock one with an 11" flywheel and a Centerforce clutch and after too many to count HARD launches and powershifts at 7000 rpm, it still gets a little loose in 4th. Modern technology is a wonderful thing, example, point ignition as opposed to electronic, the super coils of today, intakes, roller rockers, aluminum heads and so on. My opinion is you first have to decide what you want the car to do and make your decisions from there. If you're looking to shave time off the quarter mile clock, spare no expense but if you want a dependable daily or weekend with lots of snot, go with the reputations that have been built with time. Keep us posted on your progress and good luck.
Re: Re: Re: Flywheels for the DN 4+3...

Ken said:

_ken :confused

Sorry... what I meant to say was that since it was listed as a part for the 383, I got the idea they were using a special clutch/flywheel assembly for that engine in particular. Do the teeth and bolt pattern of that item match the stock one?
Sorry man, my thinking is muddled because I've been concentrating on "383" for mine. :eek:

_ken :w

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