What to look for in reconditioned truck parts

Choosing the right spare part is a critical step in truck maintenance. However, in the crowded commercial vehicle aftermarket, this choice can be confusing, especially when choosing remanufactured and reconditioned components. And the wrong choice carries the risk of part failure and damage that more than negates the savings made when choosing the most cost-effective option. The stakes are even higher when the parts are decisive for the safe operation of a vehicle – such as the compressor of an air brake system, brake calipers and brake shoes as well as the steering gear. This edition of the Bendix Tech Tips series will help you make the right decision by providing guidance on what to ask suppliers when replacing these parts and by teaching the differences between remanufacturing and rebuilding.

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Reman vs. reconstruction

It is important to understand the difference between remanufacturing and rebuilding. A remanufacturer always replaces or repairs the components of a core to bring the part to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) specifications. In addition, processors always replace certain components – so-called wear parts – with new versions. Real remanufacturers will never use consumables like seals, washers, and O-rings again.

“In comparison, when a rebuilder breaks down the core of a product for reuse, he doesn’t necessarily replace the components in that product with new ones or bring the product back to its OEM specifications,” said Richard Nagel, director of marketing and sales at Bendix Customer Solutions – Aftermarket and air supply. “Converters can simply clean or repaint components. And even if they do replace them, rebuilders may not have full access to OEM-quality parts – so you’re rolling the dice. “

Manufactured Again certification can help you find a real remanufacturer. The certification program started in 2017 is supervised by MERA – The Association for Sustainable Manufacturing. The criteria are based on the internationally recognized quality management standards ISO 9001 and IATF 16949, one of the most widely used international quality standards in the automotive industry. In order to receive Manufactured Again certification, remanufacturers must provide external evidence of conformity with recognized quality standards. Nagel pointed out that Bendix was in the first class of 14 leading remanufacturers originally admitted to participation.

A look inside the air compressor

Be sure to ask about these consumable parts when considering a remanufactured air compressor, advised Nagel.
The pistons, connecting rods, and crankshafts are stressed and the head and valves of the compressor experience carbon buildup. They remain points of failure if they are not replaced as part of the remanufacturing process – which underlines the importance of knowing whether the remanufacturer has replaced these parts with OEM components.

Also consider whether the piston of your remanufactured compressor has been re-honed and matched with a new piston to match the bore.

Nagel explains, “Over time, the bore will wear and tear, and it will no longer share its exact original fit with the piston. Re-honing a piston during remanufacturing will re-establish that fit, which is critical to ensuring that the piston allows just the right amount of oil to pass through during operation. It takes a small amount to lubricate the compressor, but too much and you risk polluting the air supply – which can lead to a major headache. “

High quality air disc brakes

Air disc brakes are becoming increasingly popular in more and more used commercial vehicles. Refurbished brake calipers are particularly useful as a replacement option for second and third owners of these trucks.

According to Mark Holley, Bendix Director of Marketing and Customer Solutions – Wheel-End, fleets and owner-operators who want to save costs while maintaining the safety and performance benefits of air disc brakes should ask themselves these four questions when purchasing reconditioned brake calipers:

How long is the guarantee? “That says a lot about the supplier’s confidence in their parts,” said Holley.
Which caliper components are being replaced with new OEM parts? “Again, all hardware such as caps, sleeves, bushings and adjustment bearings should be replaced – not just cleaned and reinstalled,” he noted. “Working with an OEM supplier also ensures that you are getting the most up-to-date versions of these components that may have been improved since they were originally released.”

How are caliper cores cleaned? Holley said, “Many rebuilders bake calipers at high temperatures to remove grease and debris, but Bendix has found that this can change the material properties of a caliper. We have a cleaning process that maintains the integrity of the brake caliper. “

Does your reman process include a preload? “This process, patented by Bendix, gives life back to the brake caliper,” he said. “Without them, we have seen outdated brake calipers with up to two thirds less service life due to fatigue.”

Drum brake shoe best practices

“The road is a terrible place to wonder if these replacement drum brake shoes were really being overhauled, or if they were just re-lined and repainted,” said Holley. “In this case, real remanufacturing means correcting the deformations caused by changes in force and temperature during the previous life of the shoe.”

Embossing is a process in which a press gives a shoe its originally designed geometry. Use reman shoes that have been re-minted. Otherwise it may happen that the shoe does not make full contact on the anchor pins or in the roller pockets on the S-cam. An unembossed Reman shoe can also lead to problems when reinserting the drum. And even if it is relined with new friction, an unembossed shoe may not provide full drum contact, which can lead to unpredictable braking performance and uneven wear.

Also make sure that the new chuck is certified to comply with the reduced braking distance, emphasized Holley.

The regulation has been on the books for years but there are still non-compliant versions that may not perform as required, ”he said. “Your drivers may be used to a certain braking distance and will likely experience something different if the friction is not RSD compliant.”

The reman standard for steering gears

As with other components, remanufactured steering gears are brought back to OEM standards through a 100 percent inspection of all hard parts along with the replacement of key parts that would normally wear out.

“In this case, this includes production approvals, hydraulic seals, steel recirculating balls, cover retaining rings and ball guides, and slotted valves as needed,” said TJ Thomas, Bendix Director of Marketing and Customer Solutions – Controls. “Each of these must be replaced with parts that are identical to those of a brand new product.”

Also, be sure to ask your remanufactured supplier how they test their products. OEM manufacturers such as Bendix regularly subject their remanufactured parts to the same content tests as their new part. They use the same equipment and strive to the same high standards to ensure tolerance, performance and reliability.

“Delivering quality along with reduced replacement costs is the goal of real remanufacturing – it helps fleets and owners manage their bottom line while extending vehicle life and lowering total cost of ownership,” said Nagel. “Asking the right questions along the way helps trucks and truck drivers stay on the road and roll safely.”


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