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Signs of "remanufactured" parts

I got some aftermarket cv joints for many times lower than original replacements ( names upon request to protect the innocent, ok?)

One thing I noticed is a long machine stamped label/code on the side of the outer race. The races have a black color, while the original is closer to dull silver. My original ball bearings look almost perfect. I started wondering what are the signs of remanufactured - instead of absolutely new - parts like CV joints? I think it would be impossible to resurface races with pitting, but who knows?

The axle is OK so I didn’t get one, but from browsing I suspect the axles are prepped and painted.

UPDATE: this post got marked as “off topic” - not sure how it is off-topic on a repair and maintenance board, I’d be glad to hear why.

I has never occurred to me that remanufactured parts would not be clearly marked as remanufactured. China is exporting both new and remanufactured CVs these days for very low prices, but they are so marked. I bought some new Chinese CVs at Thanksgiving as an experiment. they don’t look nearly so well made as the original German-made CVs, but for less than 1/4 the price, I did not expect them to… Time will tell how long they hold up.

It should be noted that reman parts are as good or as bad as the remanufacturer in question. While reman halfshafts are generally iffy, there are reman engines built by performance shops that exceed the quality of new.

I remember a certain aircraft engine maker (Lycoming?) had a reputation for cracking caes new, but not reman. They ultimately tracked it down to a casting defect…the reman engines escsped because, by the time an engine was ready to rebuild, the susceptible cases had ready cracked!

The fact that the new one looked a lot different than the factory part probably means it was not remanufactured.

Just an FYI, races can be re-manufactured by grinding away the pits while keeping the same shape and using a slightly larger bearing. I think that is how some CV joints are being re-manufactured at such a low cost. Re-grind the tri-pot joint a few thou over and use slightly larger balls. Like a crankshaft re-grind with 0.010 undersize bearings.

I’ve never seen a remanufactured assembly that was not labeled as such. I did discover, however, once many years ago discover a remanufactured (labeled as such) distributor on a car that had been purchased brand new and the owner was allegedly unaware that other than scheduled maintenance had ever been done. I emphasize the word “allegedly”.

I also agree that remanufactured parts are as good as original, with an occasional exception. Like everything else, there is some junk out there. Any good tech will check the new part out before installing it. If something doesn’t look right, it won’t get installed.

I also want to emphasize that there is a difference between “remanufactured” and “repaired”, and often even “rebuilt”. “Remanufactured” is a more true-to-original process than “rebuilt” is sometimes used to describe. Both should be perfectly good.

The feds actually have formal definitions of the three for DOD product. “Remanufactured” means brought exactly back to original specifications in all respects. “rebuilt” means that something is not exactly per original, for example a hole may be machined larger and a slightly oversized bearing installed. “Repair” means that some step has been taken t o make the part functional again, but nothing beyond that was performed. Weld-plugging and reboring a hole is considered a “repair” because even though the dimensions may be per new, the metal structure around the hole has been altered (Google “heat affected zone” if you’d like clarity). That can be meaningful if the part has to hold a tank tread on.

darn interesting comments! likes all around!

Remanufactered means the components are brought to a condition that is an improvement over the original design. Rebuilt means that the components are brought to a condition of the orginal design.

For example, when GM vehicles were having morning sickness problems with the rack and pinion assemblies because the spool valve O-rings wore grooves in the aluminum bore, you had a choice on which replacement rack to install.

On the rebuilt unit, they just bored out the hole enough to remove the grooves and installed larger O-rings. But eventually the O-rings would wear grooves in the bore again.

On the remanufactered unit, the hole was bored out. But instead of installing larger O-rings, they installed a stainless sleeve in the bore. Now the original sized O-rings could be installed and the stainless steel sleeve prevented grooves from being worn in the bore.

Another example. Chrysler vehicles that had caliper assemblies with plastic pistons. A rebuilt caliper came with a plastic piston. A remanufactured caliper came with an aluminum piston.


Not according to the DOD. Remanufactured does NOT mean that the components are brought to a condition that is an improvement over the original, only that they fully meet original specs in all aspects. The DOD considers a part modified from the field to fix a problem to be a “repair”.

Rebuilt means that it may not exactly meet original specs, but is just as good functionally. For example, a hole worn eccentric may be drilled larger and a larger shaft used. It no longer meets the OEM drawings, but it’s just as good.

I believe the definitions in question may be pat of DOD-480… It’s been a long time. But DOD-480 provides configuration control such that an OEM shaft made today can be shipped to a tank in the field and fit and function properly. Noncompliant parts can always be remanufactured if the part allows, such as an oversize shaft being returned to spec, but a repaired part requires evaluation and approval by the Defense Contract Administrator Services and possibly DOD engineers before being accepted. If you ask a DCAS rep to sign off on a repaired part, you’d damn well better have a damn good reason, and you’d damn well better be able to prove to him that it can never happen again. Yes, I was the engineer that interfaced directly with the DCAS rep. I did that for many years, and oversaw engineers that did that when I moved up to management.

The case you referenced sounds like it was a remanufacture to a design revision that was a solution to a problem. A part CAN be remanufactured to a later revision and reidentified. In industry, whenever a design change went into the Review Board for approval review, one of our requirements was for all parts in inventory and I process be identified. We would, as a part of the disposition of the ECO, determine whether it was necessary to do anything with the in process and inventoried parts. The term we used was “rework”, which is the same as remanufacture. The parts would be pulled, replaced with the new revision parts, and sent to be reworked to the new requirements.

Yes, I was a member of the “board” who had to approve the disposition of the WIP and the inventoried parts. I did it for about 20 years. To be accurate, I was the Chairman of the review boards. I was in manufacturing for 23 years total.

“Chrysler vehicles that had caliper assemblies with plastic pistons.”

Is it any wonder millions of people (like me) abandoned American brands for Japanese?
Plastic brake pistons?!?
There’s a lot of heat right there, not to mention how critical that part is, safety wise.

You’re comparing apples to cue balls.

The automotive parts industry doesn’t operate like the DOD. If it did, we would be paying ten times as much for parts.


The definitions in your article are consistent with the definitions I provided.
By the way, I oversaw and was involved in the design and manufacture of product for the automotive industry too. I know exactly how they differ.

Oh, I also oversaw NASA5300.4 programs, ISO9001 programs, and GMP (FDA) programs. I even did a gap analysis comparing ISO9001 the GMP. Yes, they’re totally different. The latter is highly focused on tracability. NASA5300.4 is focused on not only tracability, but redundancy and analysis of every aspect, including chemical and physical analysis reports for everything produced AND duplicate systems built alongside the deliverable hardware to troubleshoot here on Earth any problem that might happen in space. It’s so tight that if you mill a microwave circuit out of a specific ingot of aluminum, a chem & phys must be done from the same ingot AND the duplicate part must be also milled from the same ingot.

By the way, in a real sense I LITERALLY “wrote the book” on these systems. I developed and wrote the manuals, control processes, compliance procedures, and protocols for companies for all of these systems. The “book(s)” (manual, processes, and procedures) that the companies relied on to ensure that they remained in compliance were the ones I wrote.

One thing about non-OEM half shafts (possibly newer OEM too) that has confused some DIY’ers is if they try to service them, they find they can no longer remove the CV joints. Snap ring pliers won’t do it. I don’t think there is any method to service them in fact. This type can only be removed by cutting them off the axel. There may be some reliability improvement with the non-serviceable kind, but if you plan to service – rather than replace – the half shafts when they wear out, that’s something to inquire about before making a purchase.

That black color you mention is probably Nitriding; a process to case harden the metal surface and fight corrosion.

Some remanufacturing facilities do regrind the races and use oversized balls to account for wear on the bearing surfaces.

I don’t know if the outfit is still around but there used to be a facility in OK City that was similar in appearance and methodogy as a fast lube facility. The only difference was that this place did nothing but CV joints. In one door, soon out the other.

They would reman the axles on the spot and carried a large assortment of boots, clamps, and various oversize CV balls along with a machine to grind any wear dimples out of the races.
There were questions about how long a ground non-nitrided surface might hold up but they seemed to stay swamped with work.

@circuitsmith, not only Chrysler used “plastic” pistons. Plastic caliper pistons are made from a high temperature phenolic. It doesn’t melt, it turns to crispy ash when it is very hot. It is used to insulate the brake fluid from the braking heat. Many more companies than Chrysler have used phenolic caliper pistons. I don’t agree with them, stainless steel is almost as good an insulator but obviously more expensive but more reliable.

@Same,wow-great work.Anything you put in the sky better be bonfida and that duplication of systems for trouble shooting has certainly saved some souls in the past,great work-Kevin

Thanks. It was a living.
But I’ve learned that there’s no system in the world that will ever produce a single part that’s any better than the senior manager wants to produce. Technology cannot overcome lack of willingness.

I noticed this question was marked “off topic” - I’d like to know what is off-topic about it, if possible. privately is fine too - however that might work.