The good stuff is just plain better

The good stuff is just plain better

Posted by Steve on 5th Oct 2023

So, you've heard people say it....the Chinese stuff is just as good, and does the same thing, for less money. 

You know deep down it isn't true, but they do a really good job of knocking stuff off, so it isn't always obvious. We've got a long string of customers who brought in cars with Chinese knock offs that didn't perform. Today, we're going to talk particularly about fuel system fittings, and how things that are supposedly the same spec, or superficially appear similar, aren't the same where it counts.

In the pic, there are two fittings. Both are -6AN 90* fittings for braided hose. The black one is Fragola USA and the red and blue is a random Chinese junk company that came in with a customer's project. 

First off, it's obvious that the bend is much shallower on the Chinese fitting (Remember, both are 90* fittings). Neverminding that a tighter bend/smaller dimension is always better when you're trying to fit a fuel system under your car, or into your engine compartment, the reason is important as well. The Chinese fitting is made of thinner material so it won't take as tight a bend without kinking. Note also the support at the nut and the socket on the Fragola fitting. The Fragola is going to resist being bent, or damage from overtightening much better than the Chinese fitting.

One of the biggest problems we see with knockoff fittings, is that after a couple of tightenings, the flares lose their shape, going oval. AN Fittings seal on the flare/cone, not the threads, and once they oval, they leak, no matter how tight you get them.

The closer your look, the worse it gets:

There are a couple things to note here (other than my grubby fingers).

See how the bore in the Chinese fitting isn't concentric to the fitting? It's crap, and was drilled instead of turned. EVEN WORSE, notice how much smaller the ID of the Chinese fitting is? These are both called -6AN, but the Fragola is the correct diameter, and it will *flow more* as well. These two fittings will not perform equally.

Then there are the things you can't see. The anodize on the Chinese fitting is noticeably thinner, and while we haven't sent them out for testing, it is obvious from the feel, that the Chinese fitting is a flimsier grade of aluminum. You get what you pay for.

There is definitely a difference in quality, in fit, finish, and performance in these two fittings which are identical in paper. We've seen it over and over again. The savings aren't worth the poorer performance, or the near certainty of having to redo it later. Maybe you'll get stranded on the way home, or you'll get pulled out of the lanes on the final because your car was leaking on the track. Or worse: Because you had a fire, or you *did* get to race, but the Chinese fitting put liquid under your tires and you went into the wall. Its not a risk worth taking.

There's an old saying in hot-rodding. "Nobody's got the money to do it right, but they do have the money to do it twice." Don't be that guy. Do it right the first time. You get what you pay for.

As always, buy Made In USA whenever you can.