The "Made In China" Syndrome

A few weeks ago I installed a new coolant overflow tank and cap since the original parts were definitely showing their age. I also felt that a freshly rebuilt engine, along with a detailed firewall, justified a few new complementary parts.

So I installed the new tank and cap, as well as the necessary hoses.

Well, as I was looking under the hood today, I noticed that the overflow nipple had failed, even though there was no pressure applied to the cap or hose. My guess is that "strain" caused by the hose—as it angles down to drain excess coolant—caused the part to fail.

In hindsight, I guess I could've routed the hoses a bit differently to avoid undue stress on the part, but the original cap did not fail even after 40 years.

Fortunately, I still had the old coolant tank and cap, so I decided to clean it to see if I could reuse it.

Four decades of heat from the coolant and engine, plus dirt and radiator fluid turned the once clean and clear cap into a drab shade of brown. In an attempt to clean it, a soaked it overnight in a 50/50 mix of bleach and water, but that did little to bring it back to life.

So the next best solution was to paint it white. I know, not the ideal solution but frankly, I do not feel motivated to spend additional money on a Made In China piece that will last only a few weeks. What's the point in that?

So I purchased a can of Krylon Fusion white paint for plastic and gave it a few coats.

I will allow the paint to cure for a couple of days before I reinstall the cap on the tank, and hopefully, it will look better than the yellow/brown finish.

 And here are the original and aftermarket caps side-by-side. The repro part looks fine, and it would've worked fine if the materials they used were up to par.

And that's the kind of problems we experience with parts that are not made in the U.S. Production and quality standards are not even close to those we have here, and at the end of the day, all the vendors accomplish by carrying sub-par parts and accessories is upset their customers.

Given the alternative, I much rather pay a higher but fair price for a component that was made in this country and to our standards, instead of wasting time and money on junk that only looks right.

Makes you shudder when you wonder what other sub-standard parts are being used when you take your vehicle to a shop to have the brakes done, for example.

I always hear talk about the U.S. being a "throwaway" society, and when you buy anything made in China—or other third world countries, for that matter—we throw our money away for sure, in more ways than one.

End of rant!

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C3 Corvette Coolant Overflow Tank
C3 Corvette Coolant Overflow Tank Cap