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Can Counterfeit Parts Destroy an Engine? Absolutely! Read How Counterfeit Parts Destroyed a 50L Cummins Engine

Cummins Perth workshop supervisor Gary Mollart (left) and service technician Ryan Elliott.

The high risk involved in using counterfeit parts in a high horsepower diesel engine has hit home at a mining operation in Western Australia.

Article courtesy: Australian Mining

A Cummins K50 – a long-established 50L V16 renowned for its reliability and durability – failed at only 6000 hours powering an excavator when it would have been expected to clock up to 16,000 hours after midlife maintenance at 8000 hours.Cummins Perth workshop supervisor Gary Mollart and service technician Ryan Elliott were involved in the teardown and analysis of the 1800 horsepower (hp) engine. The teardown and testing were done within Cummins with no third-party testing involved.

“There was total destruction inside one cylinder,” Elliott said. “The technicians at site had to pull the engine out and send it to Perth when they realised they couldn’t fix it in situ.”
When the engine was disassembled, the reason for the destruction was glaring: counterfeit parts, including the cylinder liners, had been used by a third party repairer to rebuild the K50.

Metal debris everywhere

“When the rocker cover was removed there was metal debris everywhere – pieces of valve spring, bent push rods, a broken crosshead, and there was fuel, oil and coolant floating around,” Elliott said.

Some of the counterfeit parts that resulted in destruction of the 50L engine.

“Some debris had fallen into the cylinder, hit the injector and snapped off the bolts inside the rocker box. The injector had come out and cracked the rocker cover.

“We could see straight away that counterfeit parts were used. We’ve pulled heaps of K50 engines apart so we know when something looks dodgy.

“The head gaskets looked cheap. When we went to undo the head bolts we found the bolts were not actually held in by the thread, they were held in by seal around the bolt.

“The head gaskets were red rather than the green, black or orange head gaskets that Cummins uses. The liners also had a laser-etched, dodgy-looking Cummins ‘C’ on them.”

Elliott said that most liners had cavitation, as did the insert in the block.

“The liners weren’t far from pitting all the way through, so the engine was on the verge of hydraulic-lock and throwing a rod out of the block,” he said.

Some of the counterfeit parts that resulted in destruction of the 50L engine.

False economy

For Mollart, the lesson is obvious.

“The customer is now aware of the downfall of using an unauthorised Cummins repairer to cut costs,” he said. “At the end of the day you get what you pay for… if you want to pay for quality then you get quality, if you want to cut corners to save a few grand you get exactly what happened to this customer.”

Kyle Miller, Cummins’ aftermarket business development manager for mining in the Asia Pacific region, is involved in Cummins’ crackdown on counterfeit activity in Australia.

“The real challenge is when third-party repairers import parts from outside Cummins’ channels. Some importers think they’re getting genuine Cummins parts and are telling customers the parts are genuine…but they’re not genuine, they’re counterfeit,” Miller said.“Our reputation is obviously at stake because the end-user customer perceives they are buying genuine product.”

Miller said that counterfeiters have become so sophisticated that their parts often look like the original, even down to their labelling, packaging, barcodes and QR codes.

“The magnitude of the problem in Australia is requiring Cummins to take a tough stance against counterfeiters,” he said. “And we’ll be announcing measures soon that will help protect our customers from counterfeit parts.

“Cummins High Horsepower Genuine parts sourced from the extensive network of Cummins branches in Australia and New Zealand are the only parts approved and warranted by Cummins.”