March 2014 - AKMI Corporation

Monthly Archives: March 2014

Noticing Exhaust Manifold Problems

When was the last time that you checked your exhaust manifold? Was it when you last had an exhaust leak?

Exhaust manifolds are the ‘leading role’ of your engines exhaust system, yet when there is an exhaust leak they are not the first thing to be checked. The exhaust system itself has many parts, some are very complex. The manifold is simple in design and function. They connect to the cylinder head and funnel hot exhaust fumes into one simple exhaust pipe. An exhaust leak can be due to a blown exhaust gasket, which is a relatively inexpensive fix, if caught soon enough. Leaks can also come from cracks in the manifold itself.

In either instance an exhaust leak left untreated can be harmful to the operator, because hot exhaust fumes escape through these leaks and find their way into the cabin of the vehicle slowly poisoning the driver and any passengers. Small exposure to exhaust fumes won’t necessarily kill you, but can make you sick. If you were to smell something unusual or experience hot air in the cabin when your heater is not on, you should have your exhaust manifold and system checked immediately.

A crack in the exhaust manifold is caused by one of 2 reasons. The first one being the heat cycles the manifold experiences. Over a significant period of time these cycles take their toll on the manifold and it just gets to a point where it can’t take the heat anymore. The material starts to weaken and crack in certain spots.

Cracks can be spot welded depending on the severity of the crack. Some may be able to be done yourself, while others should be taken in to be professionally done. Welding of cracks though are only temporary fixes.

The other possibility is the brackets or “hangers” that are holding the weight of the exhaust system itself, break down. When these brackets fail, then the weight of the exhaust systems becomes supported by the exhaust manifold (which they are not meant to support).

Besides leaking, cracks in the manifold can allow outside air in, which in turn can cause the engine to stall or die. If the crack isn’t fixed in a timely fashion, you can also cause major damage to the engine, such as blown head gaskets and overheated heads.

Here are some early detection signs of an exhaust manifold going bad:

Visible Cracking – which we have discussed already

Excess/Unusual noise – this is caused by pressure forcing air out of the crack in the manifold. Noises may be heard easier upon a cold start of the engine.

Exhaust Odors – we have discussed the danger of exhaust fumes. If odors are noticed, please have exhaust system inspected as soon as possible.

Loss of Performance – Back pressure is not as prevalent and engine loses some of the power as air leaks from either cracks in manifold or the gasket.

For such a simple design and function, exhaust manifolds are critical pieces to a smooth running engine.

Aftermarket Parts being Counterfeited?

Does your company offer heavy duty trucks parts? Are you an OEM supplier of parts or an aftermarket parts supplier? Recently an article was published on Truckinginfo.com:Are Your Aftermarket Truck Parts the Real Deal? The article goes on to mention how there is big business in ‘Counterfeit Aftermarket Parts’ and what the consequences could be.

You may be thinking, isn’t aftermarket the same as counterfeit? Look at these definitions:

Counterfeit: To imitate something. Counterfeit products are fake replicas of the real item with the intention of selling as the real thing.

There are 3 main definitions for Aftermarket – Merchandise, Automotive and Finance. The heavy duty truck parts industry would fall under the automotive definition.

Aftermarket (Automotive): Secondary market of the Automotive Industry and is concerned with the manufacturing, remanufacturing, distribution, retailing & installation of all vehicle parts/accessories, after the sale of the automobile/truck by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to the consumer.
The parts/accessories for sale may or may not be manufactured by the OEM.

The aftermarket parts industry is vital to the trucking industry for the supply of quality heavy duty truck parts and accessories at affordable prices. Many companies have spent lots of money and worked hard to build a reputation or “Brand Name” for their Aftermarket Replacement Parts.

The article goes on to mention some of the dangers or consequences of ending up with counterfeit parts and the parties who would be found legally responsible if anything serious were to happen.

Shop owners really need to be cautious, since their companies are the ones who are doing the install and deal with the end user. Not all shops have the time or resources to investigate parts and depend/trust the suppliers to have done the necessary quality inspections.

Wholesale/Distribution companies also need to be aware if a company (other than a known customer) is trying to sell “their” products. This could be the first signs of their product being counterfeited and sold in the market.

Here are some tips to try to avoid counterfeit aftermarket heavy duty truck parts:

Pricing

Shop owners, beware of parts being offered “On Sale” or their regular prices are significantly lower (25% or more) from companies that you do not know. Make sure you research the company and learn what you can about them. Always request samples before committing to a larger order. If a new company says they are offering same brand you purchase, but at lower price, contact your supplier.

Suppliers

Wholesale/Distribution companies, if you happen to use trading companies for certain parts be aware of the packaging from each shipment, if weight of product changes from each shipment, if the color of material/product seems to be different.

Trading companies pull from multiple sources depending on who has best price or availability at that time. A lot of counterfeit products could be traced to product being switched before leaving the country of origin to the supplier who ordered the product.

Bottom line, whether you are a Shop Owner or Wholesale/Distribution company, show caution when approached by a company offering heavy duty truck parts

The cheapest option for parts is not always the best and may end up costing you more money down the road.

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