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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 08-30-2012, 08:58 AM   #1
tonyguns
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Aftermarket Vs. OEM

So... again I'll preface by saying I am very knowledgeable on which is better when it comes to my Hondas, and I can say without a shred of doubt that OEM Honda parts are the only way to go for reliability.

Now that the little 330ci is eating my wallet these days, and there are quite a few parts that are known to fail, my big question is:

Are the aftermarket replacement parts more reliable and better to use? I am finding very little with respect to this other than the metal impeller water pump debate. I'd rather purchase a higher quality part if it's made by someone else that will outlast the OEM item, but since I am new to the 3-series game, I need a little help. I know which sites to browse thanks to this forum, but would love to hear about the quality.

Thanks!
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:14 AM   #2
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This would depend on the aftermarket product. It's hard to be so general with a broad spectrum of possibilities.

This is a choice you'll have to face with every part you buy for your car. Some choices will be more obvious than others and most of the time they will already be discussed in this forum.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:24 AM   #3
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It really, really depends. Overall, you can assure that OEM will fit, be reliable, and of high quality. Some aftermarket E46 parts are superior to OEM, but it also depends on what you definition of superior is.

Reliability? Yes, you can get Polyurethane FCABs, but you'll be sacrificing ride comfort. To me, I do not find this desirable.
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:21 AM   #4
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I'll start with the cooling system first: for example, the hoses, the expansion tank, and water pump. And I'll toss in the fuel pump for good measure...

These parts specifically are of my most immediate concern.
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:26 AM   #5
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When it comes to the cooling system, OEM is essential. Do not go aftermarket, except for a select few things.

Expansion tank should be OE or OEM, ET cap should be OE or OEM, hoses should be OE or OEM, and radiator should be OE or OEM.

Aftermarket things that are fine to use:
- Aluminum water pump pulley (highly recommended)
- Water pumps: Graf, Stewart, Febi
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:35 AM   #6
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Just do your research when you buy an aftermarket part. A lot of aftermarket parts are good, and there are also some notable aftermarket brands that have a horrible track record and also some that have a really good one.
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:59 AM   #7
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+1 on OEM cooling components. As one example, the hoses are shaped in a specific way and have quick-fitting plastic connectors on each end, with rubber O-rings integrated on the inside. The plastic connectors are oriented in a specific way to line up with the keyed inlets and outlets of the thermostat, radiator, etc. Removal and install is literally "a snap"!

As specific as the hose design is, I wouldn't want to compromise proper fitment by using another brand of hose. That is just my preference. I'm sure others have had success with aftermarket hoses.

The Stewart-vs-OEM water pump debate will go on forever. Some people here perceive it to be more durable simply because the impeller is metal and the pump looks/feels prettier. Unfortunately there is no real statistical data on this forum to justify the $100 price difference. It's really a matter of personal preference. Stick with OEM and change it at regular intervals.
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Old 08-30-2012, 01:45 PM   #8
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sounds good on the cooling system components and makes good sense... was hoping though that someone improved upon the expansion tank design...

Since there are a lot of concerns with the fuel pump, is there a more reliable and longer lasting alternative?
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
The Stewart-vs-OEM water pump debate will go on forever. Some people here perceive it to be more durable simply because the impeller is metal and the pump looks/feels prettier. Unfortunately there is no real statistical data on this forum to justify the $100 price difference. It's really a matter of personal preference. Stick with OEM and change it at regular intervals.
I'll disagree with that ... I installed a Stewart water pump, not because it looks prettier (really?), rather, it comes with a lifetime warranty. I'm ok to pay a little more with a reasonable assurance it's not going to fail. And if it does, I'm not out paying for another pump.
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Old 08-31-2012, 04:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sansho View Post
I'll disagree with that ... I installed a Stewart water pump, not because it looks prettier (really?), rather, it comes with a lifetime warranty. I'm ok to pay a little more with a reasonable assurance it's not going to fail. And if it does, I'm not out paying for another pump.
you would have to pay for 3 oem wp before the stewart would pay off. and if the stewart pumps goes out, they rebuild it after it's inspected/approved as being under warranty.

so there are some drawbacks...
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Old 08-31-2012, 06:19 AM   #11
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Never get anything electronic that's aftermarket--for instance...do not get an AM thermostat...get the wahler (OE). Don't try any AM sensor of any sort.

Our ET is fine if you take care of the system--mine lasted 9 years.

Behr radiator is fine--make sure you get the right one for your auto or manual.

I doubt you could find AM hoses for the cooling system, but if you can...don't get them! lol
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Old 08-31-2012, 07:31 AM   #12
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Never get anything electronic that's aftermarket--for instance...do not get an AM thermostat...get the wahler (OE). Don't try any AM sensor of any sort.

Our ET is fine if you take care of the system--mine lasted 9 years.

Behr radiator is fine--make sure you get the right one for your auto or manual.

I doubt you could find AM hoses for the cooling system, but if you can...don't get them! lol

I think I'll go with OE cooling system parts, sounds like quality of fitment is the driving factor, and the water pump, if OE should last me 7 years or so. This car won't be a track day car, but I'm also not going to nancy it around town either, but it also may be driven on trips to New York and Texas(around 700 mile trips for me) so I definitely don't need to be stranded. The fuel pump seems to be my one remaining question on which brand is better than the OE fuel pump.
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Old 08-31-2012, 07:33 AM   #13
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I installed a Stewart water pump, not because it looks prettier (really?)
What I was trying to say was, some people report the pump looks to be built better and looks more solid, whatever that means. Kudos - I guess you don't fall into that category, but I get the impression it matters to others.
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