Author Topic: 1970 DVC climate control parts, China syndrom  (Read 1451 times)

Offline Scot Minesinger

  • Posts: 6004
1970 DVC climate control parts, China syndrom
« on: October 22, 2016, 04:19:57 PM »
Today I drove my 1970 SDV with 37k miles on it, first day of cooler weather 50'F at night and 65'F during the day in VA.  The climate control is not keeping up and I notice that the air at my feet is blowing same temp as outside.  Quick check and the vacuum operated hot water valve I replaced three years ago at 35k miles is bad, ruptured actuator.  Are you kidding me?!, the original lasted 43 years, and the one on my other 1970 Caddy is 11 years old, working great.  This happens all the time, I know.

Ordered another today, and a spare so should have climate control good to go before the real cold arrives. 

My question: Is there any way we can prevent this or is it just an unavoidable aspect of the hobby?  Also feel free to chime in with other failed new replacement parts that lasted a very short time.

My attitude now is you are better off with an original part, contrary to conventional wisdom, of replacing it as a precautionary measure to avoid a failure.  This is not true of the timing chain and most rubber parts though (and even all rubber is by no means created all equal).
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

Offline savemy67

  • Posts: 1364
  • Name: Christopher Winter
Re: 1970 DVC climate control parts, China syndrom
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2016, 10:04:37 PM »
Hello Scot,

I like to have a choice, whether I am buying tools or car parts.  My 1995 Impala SS has four-wheel disc brakes.  Since the rear brakes do such a small percentage of the braking, I don't mind buying rotors made in China.  The front brakes are a different story.  I will pay the price for made in the USA front rotors.

If I had to cut a few pieces of 1/8 inch steel angle iron just one time, I might consider Harbor Freight's $9 angle grinder.  Since I am fairly sure that I will be cutting all kinds of steel for some time to come, I bought an old Dewalt and rebuilt it. 

Without getting too political, or writing a dissertation on economics and trade, I think the best direct action we can take is to boycott parts made in China.  This is difficult since many Americans, myself included, like to have a choice.  It is too bad that many times that choice is between junk, and an exorbitant price.

Eventually, I think we will see a return to "Made in America", as well as an improvement in the quality of Chinese made products (OK, I'll probably be dead).  Such is the way of the flow of trade and the demand for reasonably priced quality.

Christopher Winter
Christopher Winter
1967 Sedan DeVille hardtop

Offline 64\/54Cadillacking

  • Posts: 798
  • Name: C.Asaro
Re: 1970 DVC climate control parts, China syndrom
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2016, 06:34:18 AM »
You know, just last week I replaced the spark plugs in my 78 Lincoln because the old ones were badly fouled. Well guess what? I bought some new Autolite plugs to replace the bad Motorcraft ones, and the Autolite plugs are now made in China!!

Not all Autolite plugs are made in China now, but a select few are now and that was a shock to me.

You honestly can't blame China for bad Chinese made parts, blame the actual brand/manufacture for not only cheapening their product by offshoring their parts, but for also not thoroughly making sure that the parts they are making in China have good quality control..

I work for an big name auto parts store part time, and just about everything these days is made in China, India, Taiwan, Mexico, South Korea, and Vietnam.

For instance, starting in the early half of this year, all of our spark plug wires are now being made in Mexico, when for years they used to made in the USA. Even the economy line wires were still made here, not anymore. I rather trust Mexican made parts over Chinese, just because Mexico has been making parts for years, and it is a country that is better establish on the manufacturing side of things than China's slave labor work.

But check this out, BWD makes our wires, and some of our house brand sensors and electrical components. So the quality is still good.

BWD makes quality stuff, but I caution, not every part is made in the USA or Mexico anymore, but China and Taiwan.

Anchor motor mounts is another brand that is crap, almost every mount is made in Korea or India now and we always have high return rates on them, I guess China is becoming too expensive, cheapskates, >:( ???

On a strange positive note, the house brand brake pads we sell, the highest quality ones are made in India, but they are VERY good pads. I installed them on my 94 Fleetwood over a year ago, with Bosch Rotors,  and they still don't make any noise, and the car brakes great. They use like 4 or 5 layer of shims on back of the pads for long life quiet braking, and high quality ceramic braking material that last.

The problem with rotors is that the majority of all brands, even Napa rotors are made in China. You also have to really inspect the rotors for damage when you buy them at the parts stores, because the way they are handled in the store, is pretty bad. They get dropped, thrown around, and because the cardboard packaging is so thin, there isn't much protection when they are shipped to the stores, so they get banged around a lot and get torn up.

If you can, buy original OEM parts on Ebay for your Cads, I say buy em while you still can as the quality of older parts were better. Because the replacement parts of today aren't made to last 20-40 years like in the good ole days. It would cost way too much money for the manufactures to do so, and the materials used today aren't as heavy duty anymore. Wheel cylinders are one example, ever held an original stock Cadillac wheel cylinder and compared it to a new one? The newer one is much lighter in weight.

For suspension stuff, always go for Moog, they are still a good quality brand. The cheap chinese house brand stuff doesn't last in my experience dealing with a lot of customers.

We seem to think that just because longtime popular American parts brands like AC Delco, Autolite, Motorcraft, Airtex, Monroe, Raybestos etc...are still around, that they are made in the U.S. or still are of good quality. This is false. Some things are ok, and it honestly depends on the part numbers. If a certain part sells a lot, and is popular part number, usually the manufacture will put more effort into making sure the part is well built and longer lasting.

It's the luck of draw these days, and unfortunately it's only getting worse. Be prepared to see more parts being imported from India and even Indonesia in the coming years as China is becoming a more developed nation, with increasing labor cost. It's a disgrace!
1964 Sedan Deville (Own)
1987 Brougham D’Elegance (Sold)
1954 Cadillac Fleetwood 60 Special
1994 Fleetwood Bro (Sold)
1972 Sedan Deville (Sold)
1968 Coupe Deville (Sold)
1978 Lincoln Continental (Own)
1979 Lincoln Mark V Cartier (Own)

Offline Jeff Rose CLC #28373

  • Posts: 2324
  • CLC Number: 28373
  • Name: Jeff Rose
Re: 1970 DVC climate control parts, China syndrom
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2016, 08:32:26 AM »
It is sad but true. Last year we bought a small patio set at a big orange hardware store. It came in 2 boxes. The weights were marked on the box. 1 was 90 pounds and the other was 65. Made in China...... my point is that it was cheaper to make that set overseas and ship 155 pounds on a cargo ship half way around the world than it was to have made it here.
Disgusting.
As for the topic at hand, I know what you mean. I want to replace my water valve and install a water temp gauge. Neither job is hard but just taking the time to open the system, and no matter how well I drain it, it'S going to make a mess.
Jeff
Jeff Rosansky
CLC #28373
1970 Coupe DeVille (Big Red)
1955 Series 62 (Baby Blue)
Dad's new 1979 Coupe DeVille

Offline TJ Hopland

  • Posts: 10183
Re: 1970 DVC climate control parts, China syndrom
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2016, 09:44:11 AM »
China can made good quality stuff.   The issue is quality stuff is not in high demand.   Why?   That is the interesting question but in the end 'we' keep buying crap so 'they' keep making it. 

I do like having a cheap choice for some things, like someones example of a semi specialized tool.   It is nice to have the option of the 'right' but low quality tool for an occasional job.   What stinks today is 90% of the options for that tool are cheap.   There is no longer a middle price/quality option and in some cases there isn't a premium option anymore either.  That is where it gets spooky.   Jacks seems to be an area where this has happened.   My guess is its getting to be about the same for most products.   
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Re: 1970 DVC climate control parts, China syndrom
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2016, 11:06:45 AM »
This is a great subject about a problem that we seemingly caused ourselves and are looking for someone else to blame now that the results are obvious.  Sort of like blaming the drug dealer for our addiction.  They provided cheap (fill in the blank) and I bought it, now I can't find quality. 

When the name manufacturers first started outsourcing all we noticed was the low cost.  The on shore manufacturing plants could not keep up with the "slave labor" production costs so the on shore plants were shut down.  With no competition the off shore manufacturers could up their profits by slowly increasing their prices and simultaneously looking for production short cuts (read cheapening the product).

How do we fix this?  It is going to be painful but not impossible although there does not seem to be any short term fix.  Retailers that sell exclusively off-shore products  (I won't name any but you know who they are) can be avoided and Domestically manufactured products can be sought out.  I know, many of the things we need are not available as domestically produced, but if we buy enough of those that are, even though the cost is higher eventually the message will be heard.

Am I dreaming? Perhaps, perhaps not.

Greg Surfas
Cadillac Kid-Greg Surfas
Director Modified Chapter CLC
CLC #15364
66 Coupe deVille (now gone to the UK)
72 Eldo Cpe  (now cruising the sands in Quatar)
73 Coupe deVille
75 Coupe deElegance
76 Coupe deVille
79 Coupe de ville with "Paris" (pick up) option and 472 motor
514 inch motor now in '73-

Offline TJ Hopland

  • Posts: 10183
Re: 1970 DVC climate control parts, China syndrom
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2016, 12:32:12 PM »
I thing Greg did a nice job of summing up and writing down the problem.   Too bad the fix isn't as easy or quick as how we got here. 
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Offline cadillac ken

  • Posts: 701
  • Name: k caskey
Re: 1970 DVC climate control parts, China syndrom
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2016, 01:25:18 PM »
No such thing as "quality" Chinese parts--- or anything.  Manufacturers go to China, Mexico, Turkey, etc. to maximize profit and could not care less about quality. 

I have not found ANYTHING made in China that did not fail; many times before we could even deliver the car to the customer.  Agreed. Keep the OEM stuff.  Rebuilt it if you can.  We have begun chanting that to our customers across the board for anything and anything that needs replacing form Chrome replacement  parts to engine parts, to trim pieces.  I have taken to stating on my invoices that NO parts will be warranted simply because of the total lack of quality in everything we buy and install and the labor to replace junk parts that fail will be charged the hourly rate.

As a Restoration shop owner for over 25 years, I could go on and on... but I won't.

Just one most recent example (just last week) with a choice of "in tank" fuel pumps for a customer's 1985 Eldo, I chose a Bosch to stay away from any imported junk that will fail and require us to remove the fuel tank again to replace the offending junk part.
The Bosch pump shows up and, wait for it... made in Mexico.

Offline TJ Hopland

  • Posts: 10183
Re: 1970 DVC climate control parts, China syndrom
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2016, 02:13:40 PM »
Many Chinese manufacturers can and do make very high quality and precision parts.  Problem is even in China quality cost money so we just rarely see any of those products in North America because we can likely get that type of product somewhere else cheaper which could mean we make it ourselves.

Like Greg said someone somewhere got the idea of selling junk and we bought it and continue to buy it.  We can't blame China, all they are doing is showing up at the conventions and bidding on 'jobs'.   Some seller says we want 100,000 units at this price,  we want the best quality we can get for that price.   They say no problem we can make that price but it aint gonna last.   Seller says as long as I can get it for that price no problem.   

Its not their fault that we as consumers keep buying crap.    If we quit buying crap no one will ask them (or anyone else) to build it because it won't sell.   The fix is quit buying the stuff.   Problem is we are so deep in the crap its not going to be easy to dig our way out.     
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Offline Scot Minesinger

  • Posts: 6004
Re: 1970 DVC climate control parts, China syndrom
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2016, 08:34:31 PM »
Greg is right, we brought it on ourselves.  This happens in my job where my customer will hire an known competing engineer who will design a building for 1% less fee than me and spend 10% more to build the job due to inefficient design.

Ken, I had to go to that policy too, every part is so cheap I'm not providing free labor to install a part that failed anymore.  People know this and there remains a demand for my work.
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

Offline 55 cadi

  • Posts: 544
  • Near Dallas, TX
  • Name: J Oliver
Re: 1970 DVC climate control parts, China syndrom
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2016, 08:57:21 PM »
I agree to a point that we created the market, but to be fair, when your only choices is cheap junk and need the part what choice do you have? You have to buy the cheap part. Especially when the two or three part stores only carry the cheap, they kinda made the marked by what they purchase, and by not buying the better in case someone wants it.
I think most people don't care about what they put on, if works that's all they care about, we are in the small percent along with the other classic car enthusiasts.

It is kinda like the big box store vs. small shop owner, if more people bought from the small stores they would be able to stay in business, but since most buy for convieneance they go to big stores that have it all instead of going to two small stores.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2016, 08:59:27 PM by 55 cadi »
1955 Cadillac sedan series 62
1966 mustang convertible w/pony PAC, now in Sweden
2005 Cadillac deville

Offline chrisntam

  • Posts: 3472
  • Dallas, Texas
  • CLC Number: 29206
  • Name: Chris Jessen
Re: 1970 DVC climate control parts, China syndrom
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2016, 10:14:07 PM »
Guys, there is a political solution, but we can't include that in our conversation of poor quality products being made overseas and shipped to us.

I'll be vague due to these restrictions.....

If we only had a way to make it more advantageous for domestic manufacturers to make things here and make it more expensive to bring inferior goods into this country.

Hmmmmm......

 ::)

It's all about the money...

 ::)

I believe we should allow (some) political discussions here such as ethanol issues, domestic manufacturing, gas powered vs. electric vehicles, etc.  It does relate to our car topics.....

 ;)



1970 Deville Convertible 
Dallas, Texas

Offline 64\/54Cadillacking

  • Posts: 798
  • Name: C.Asaro
Re: 1970 DVC climate control parts, China syndrom
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2016, 06:18:36 AM »
I feel the common person that is uniformed (70% of walk in customers )that walks into a Napa, Advanced, O'Reilly or an Autozone is part of the problem why so many auto parts are so cheaply made. These people only want the cheapest stuff on the shelves because many of these customers are working class, blue collar DIY types, so they don't have the kind of money to fork out for more expensive stuff and demand that we carry more American made products. This isn't the 50's or 60's anymore, hardly anything on the shelves are made in the US besides for belts and hoses and a few random parts.. So the market for say an all American made part has dwindled.



 I still blame the brand/manufacture for Chinese offshored crap for strictly only caring about the bottom line, rather than making parts that last. I wish some of the more popular American name brand parts suppliers offered more of a variety of quality lines to give consumers and shops options to offer higher quality made parts that are made in the US, but this will never happen unless there is a demand for it.

Ever notice the prices for general goods keep rising, when everything we buy keeps being offshored? You'd think the opposite would happen, prices for certain items would decrease because the manufacturing cost to make the item, goes down. But companies only care about making huge profits, and that they do.

Craftsman tools is a perfect example. They used to for years, be the go to brand for us do it yourselfers because the tools were made here, they were great quality, and the no nonsense warranty exchange was unbeatable. go back in time just a few years ago, and everything they make now is made in China, yet prices  stayed the same and in some cases, they have have even gotten more expensive depending on the tools you buy. >:(

I will never buy another overpriced Crapsman tool that is now made in China, I don't care if they are still good, when I can go to Lowes or Homedepot and buy the same Chinese made tool for less money and possibly better quality. Craftsman is not worth it anymore. The company sold their soul to the devil like most major corporations. >:D :'(

We as consumers never see the benefits of that cheaper labor, even when it comes to buying auto parts. A Chinese made ball joint that cost $50, probably only cost $5-10 to make in China and even less in Indonesia or India. If you include packaging, and shipping add another $5-10. Overall, the profit and markup is huge!!!

If your starter or alternator dies in your classic Cad, I highly recommend you keep your original starter and alternator and have it rebuilt. Don't trust some of these reman units, because they will not last 10-30 years, maybe a good 5 years or possibly less at the most depending on what parts house you bought it from. The reason being is that most reman units still use worn out parts inside. Only what is damaged or worn out is replaced, so if the wiring looks ok, or the gears or whatever, it stays in the unit. This causes early failures on those parts, and I have seen the pile of return/warranty slips on them.

Rockauto has some smaller independent parts suppliers that actually make some good parts for reasonable prices that are possibly made in the US. So look into them for future purchases. United Motor Parts is one brand I can think of.

I just bought a set of United spark plug wires and they are made in the U.S. BTW they say Packard/Delphi on them which is a great look under the hood for our old Cads. 8)
« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 06:22:37 AM by 64CaddieLacky »
1964 Sedan Deville (Own)
1987 Brougham D’Elegance (Sold)
1954 Cadillac Fleetwood 60 Special
1994 Fleetwood Bro (Sold)
1972 Sedan Deville (Sold)
1968 Coupe Deville (Sold)
1978 Lincoln Continental (Own)
1979 Lincoln Mark V Cartier (Own)

Offline savemy67

  • Posts: 1364
  • Name: Christopher Winter
Re: 1970 DVC climate control parts, China syndrom
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2016, 10:06:41 PM »
Hello chrisntam,

You may want to get a copy of Michael Pettis' "The Great Rebalancing", Princeton University Press, 2013, and read it for a good perspective on the topic you "vaguely" broached.

Christopher Winter
Christopher Winter
1967 Sedan DeVille hardtop

Offline Scot Minesinger

  • Posts: 6004
Re: 1970 DVC climate control parts, China syndrome
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2016, 11:38:17 PM »
Guys, no politics please.  We hardly agree on these wonderful cars, except that we enjoy them.  If we discussed politics and other controversial topics, we might loose some standing with our friendships.  It does seem true that there are more typed complaints about price of parts and services on this forum than praise of quality, so we may have some way to go to save ourselves from the China Syndrome.  I for one would be willing to pay a significant premium, and have, for quality parts.   
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

Offline cadillac ken

  • Posts: 701
  • Name: k caskey
Re: 1970 DVC climate control parts, China syndrom
« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2016, 10:45:20 AM »
Scott:  that is what is so frustrating.  Almost to a  person, everyone I speak with about this admits they are fed up and would gladly pay for quality parts.  Can we get quality parts made here again?  Seems there is enough disgust... I can see a new expansion of "cottage" industries that can fulfill this need.

Now the only question is, would folks put their money where there mouth is?... should there become a viable, albeit, more expensive alternative to the junk. :-\

Offline Scot Minesinger

  • Posts: 6004
Re: 1970 DVC climate control parts, China syndrom
« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2016, 11:45:54 AM »
Ken,

Because I work at night after my day job, I can pick and choose people that drive their cars into my garage.  There is no way I will work with a person who is consumed with saving cost.  I work slow and carefully, then fully commission the repair work with numerous realistic test drives.  People will pay for quality in this hobby because it is more convenient and economical to than suffer break downs and otherwise.  Not everyone will though as is demonstrated sometimes even in this forum.  I have a road force tire balancer which was expensive.  My time to properly balance each tire even if it requires rotating rim with respect to tire is always appreciated and never objected to especially after a 75 mph drive.

I'm thinking of learning how to rebuild starters, alternators, power steering pumps, water pumps and the like to try and get better quality - the cottage industry you write about.  Cannot be too difficult.
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

Offline savemy67

  • Posts: 1364
  • Name: Christopher Winter
Re: 1970 DVC climate control parts, China syndrom
« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2016, 06:42:43 PM »
Hello all,

As Scot surmises, it is not too difficult to rebuild starters, power steering pumps, alternators, etc.  The rub comes in the supply of the components within the assemblies.  Where do the drive end frame bearings for the alternator come from?  How about the diodes?  How accurate is the sizing of the power steering pump shaft seal or bushing?  A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Improvements in the economics of manufacturing technology and processes should allow for a competitively priced component to be made in the U.S.  When these processes reach a critical mass, the country has the potential to adopt the German Mittelstand model, and quality parts at reasonable prices should become more readily available.  And, I suspect, the country can re-shore jobs.

Now if I can just find those spare parts for my Bridgeport....

Respectfully submitted,
Christopher Winter
Christopher Winter
1967 Sedan DeVille hardtop

Offline The Tassie Devil(le)

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 12395
  • CLC Number: 18992
  • Name: Bruce Reynolds
Re: 1970 DVC climate control parts, China syndrom
« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2016, 06:58:13 PM »
[quote author=Scot Minesinger link=topic=142973.msg348083#msg348083
I'm thinking of learning how to rebuild starters, alternators, power steering pumps, water pumps and the like to try and get better quality - the cottage industry you write about.  Cannot be too difficult.   [/quote]
I have the philosophy that if someone can do something, then there is no reason that I, with the correct information, cannot teach myself to do the same thing.

That is how I manage to do most of my own repairs, thereby saving me a lot of money, and improving my brain.   I used to think that brakes were specialised work, but when actually doing the work, it came second nature.

Being a Shipwright by trade, I had to venture into all sorts of trade areas that most trades wouldn't touch.   From carpentry to engineering, electrical to plumbing, rigging to moulding.

But, as said previously, obtaining the quality parts is now the problem.

Bruce. >:D
'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing (SH)
'02 VX Series II Holden Commodore SS Sedan
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Past Cars of significance - to me
1935 Ford 3 Window Coupe
1936 Ford 5 Window Coupe
1937 Chevrolet Sports Coupe
1955 Chevrolet Convertible
1959 Ford Fairlane Ranch Wagon
1960 Cadillac CDV
1972 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe

Offline Bentley

  • Posts: 254
  • Name: WBentley
Re: 1970 DVC climate control parts, China syndrom
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2016, 07:18:40 PM »
We have a small family business manufacturing products here in the USA. So this is an issue that we confront daily. But there is a movement towards buying USA-made products. Here is a site that promotes made-in-the-USA. It's called USA Love List.

http://www.usalovelist.com/
Wes Bentley
CLC # 30183

 

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