“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is…”

Recently, it was brought to our attention by a customer that he “found a VGT engine for sale in the USA, at about half the price we were charging”. This got our attention for a number of reasons. We are long term licensees for General Motors, and all of the licensees pretty much know each other, and what they are doing. So, what gives?

The answer is re-manufactured, or “Reman”, engines.

Re-manufactured engines are a step up from rebuilt engines. When engines are rebuilt during their overhaul, the parts used may be the same, replaced, or repaired. A re-manufactured engine, on the other hand, is an engine that is stripped down to its’ bare components, and built up to a “like new” condition, with parts and components replaced, modified, or even upgraded. In general, there is nothing wrong with purchasing a re-manufactured engine. Many reman companies perform excellent work, and it is possible to buy a reman engine that will give you many years of service, usually at a much cheaper cost.

However…

Re-manufactured is not the same thing as new…

On OEM new engines:

  • All parts and components on the engine are new. They have never been used.
  • Most manufacturers (including Marinediesel) have extensive testing and quality control procedures in place.
  • When buying a new engine, the full warranty is in effect.
  • Engines are ensured to meet quality and emissions regulations.
  • Engine manufacturers typically have robust dealer networks for spares and service.
  • Some components, like ECUs, are difficult to replicate, necessitating replacement with a different unit.
  • Though manufacturers may use the same engine blocks, many parts are customized by each manufacturer, some of which, like pistons or cylinder heads, are not easily modified or duplicated.

If a re-manufactured engines is sold as a new engine, then the practice is deceptive. Most reman companies are not doing the actual research and development work. Most re-manufactured engines have greatly reduced or highly limited warranties. Components on the engine could come from a variety of different sources that may, or may not, have been properly tested. Most vessels cannot be classed with re-manufactured engines, because the engines themselves cannot be classed.

So, the competing engine at half price? It was a re-manufactured engine. Though the engine may very well perform as the buyer expects, it also could cause problems in terms of life cycle, and depending on location, service (In this case, the buyer will be in for a rude awakening when the engine needs service). Additionally, though the customer claimed it was a “VGT” engine, the engine most certainly was very different in terms of performance. Though it may resemble the Marinediesel VGT, and share the vsame engine block, the engine itself was a completely different engine. So, yes, the engine was cheaper. But it was, certainly, not the same.

What is important to consider is the old cliche: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is…”