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ebay buying guide

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  • ebay buying guide

    i get questions about ebay all the time. i got mad and wrote up how to buy. at least what i do. some of this is common sense and/or reiteration, however i think people need to read it over and over again.

    Well eBay is good and bad. The good thing is that they do have some fairly cheap things that are of good quality. Bad thing is that they offer some crappy stuff that may look like good stuff.

    Generally there are a couple things to do before buying performance parts off of eBay.

    First, check and see who's selling it. Usually individuals selling used stuff are good finds. This is usually cheap stuff that's quality, just slightly used. People in general are afraid of swindling people, so your average seller will most likely tell the truth on value and condition of a part. EBay shops with crazy fonts and colors are generally a sure sign that you're buying crap.

    Second, don't buy things that are too good to be true. If you find a t3/t4 for $200 brand new, most likely it's a factory reject and or a cheap knock off. It may look the same, but it defiantly isn't. These units do work, however have short life spans. If you want to roll the dice, cool, just don't complain when it blows up. Buying Garrett turbos at full retail sucks and you are going to pay a little more for the name, but you're also paying for customer service, available rebuild parts and tons of literature on what you have. You also need to remember that $200 for a turbos compressor going through your engine and causing $2000 worth of damage isn't a comparison to $550 on a brand new turbo.

    Third, don't buy things that have moving parts. That's really up to you, but it weeds out stuff that might break. EBay intercoolers are usually good buys for budget builds. While they don't have the cooling capacity or quality core, they typically are built well enough to last. While a Garrett high density counter part of the same size is about 10 times better, you can compensate for this by buying a little larger of a core.

    Fourth. Pipe is pipe. Any way you look at it, cheap pipe is a good thing. Just as long it is what they say it is.

    Fifth. If you're buying a kit of some sort, you are compromising something for a kit price. This is like most things. While the piping and turbo might be good, the clamps may suck ass or the couplers might be cut up radiator hose. Not saying all kits are like this, just make sure to check into it.

    Sixth. Make sure you check what shipping is. Shipping costs will offset any profit loss in base pricing.

    Seventh. I started noticing a couple years ago that eBay pricing isn't all that great. When eBay first came out, it was a great place to sell things you've been trying to get rid of. Because people like deals, they have always shopped eBay if they are looking for cheap stuff FIRST. This is important. Retailers know that you check pricing at your local place (which is usually high) then you try eBay second. While your lower price on eBay might be slightly lower, they are banking that you're going to buy because it's slightly lower. Pretty simple right? Well, their pricing might be lower but not the lowest. They essentially dupe you because you think eBay pricing is the lowest.

    Example: so I'm looking to buy a tig welder. I want to get a Lincoln invertec 205. Local place wants $3600 plus tax. Ouch! So I check eBay and find them for $2800 with free shipping (no tax either. Isn't the internet wonderful). Well that's a pretty good deal and it looks tempting, however they have a $100 handling fee and no warranty. I start looking around on the web and find that 90% of the online welding supply shops sell the same exact welder with a warranty and free shipping for $2600.

    Eighth. Once you find a part, do a good search on the description and see if you get and info on forums about how the product performed. This will tell you a lot and usually doesn't take more then about 10 minutes.

    Usually when I buy stuff myself, I've learned to shop for what I want, create a budget, and then skim down pricing to see what I actually have to pay. Buy good core components; turbo, wastegate, bov, injectors, etc. You don't need $30 couplers, you need silicone couplers. You don't have to pay $30 if you do a little research. You might find the same part for $8 with about an hour of searching. Just make sure you buy what your need.

    You also need to research on what you actually need. Do you really need stainless lines? Not really. They are nice, but not needed. This is an example of something that can be switched out later anyways. Spend the $30 now and get the project working, then spend the $150 later on the good stuff. Either that or save your money.

    When people talk to me about junkyard builds, I personally don't think about junkyard turbos. I think of new turbos with junkyard manifold, piping, intercooler, clamps and other parts that are essential to the project but don't need to be top of the line.

    Give it a Like! Alpha Tuning on Facebook

  • #2


    • #3
      i sticky-ied it [img]{SMILIES_PATH}/wink.gif[/img]
      [img width=600 height=150][/img]<br />99SL2 w/97SC2M Engine/Trans Swap, CAI, 2.25 Custom Exhaust


      • #4 ... rbo_drama/

        For those that haven't already read that, there's what you get for an ebay turbo.
        -Mike -MN <br />&#39;96 SC2 <br />Check out my website!<br />[img width=350 height=40][/img]


        • #5
          i love turbonetics
          "holy sh!t i just got beat by a saturn"


          • #6
            i love when people read stickies
            2016 Honda Fit
            2002 Saturn SC2 - RHD
            2002 GMC Sierra 2500HD Duramax


            • #7
              I read the sticky!

              good post
              [img width=461 height=118][/img]


              • #8
                Re: ebay buying guide

                BTW, I'm about to fix all the places where it it's messed up like this:

                and replace with ' so that it looks like this:

                *edit* done, much easier to read. [img]{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif[/img]
                '99 SC2 Project Car build thread


                • #9
                  Re: ebay buying guide

                  Well my ebay shopping is going to be alot better now!
                  2001 SC1 Daily driver. Possible DOHC swap down the road.<br />1994 SC2 Soon to be turbo.<br />1992 SL2 PARTS CAR!<br /><br />See my rides in process http&#58;//www&#46;cardomain&#46;com/ride/3371751


                  • #10
                    Re: ebay buying guide

                    I didn't notice this wasn't included in here, but I may as well add it.

                    EBAY ELECTRIC SUPER CHARGERS: They do not work. Use some common sense new-guys, do you really believe that slapping a Leaf-Blower motor onto your intake system is really going to give you any gains? Well it won't, and that is wishful thinking. Just to avoid an argument on this point, it is true that people in the past have taped a leaf-blower to their intake, and seen a negliable gain of .25whp or so. But those have been done without the motor being powered by the car. Truth is, with the pathetically low efficiency of an electric blower, the energy costs to power it, and the obstruction to the intake caused by one- There will be no gains. There will be a LOSS of power.

                    Don't believe me? Go Google electric S/C Dyno runs. In all of them, they find that there isn't a gain to be found. And IIRC, on one the unit actually overloads the test-vehicle's electrical system and starts a small fire.

                    Ask yourself. How mad-tyte JayyyDeeeeEmmmm effective does that look?

                    ( Sorry to everyone else. Got asked about one of these recently. )
                    Last edited by Donnie; 12-09-2010, 01:54 PM.

                    Ethanol and Boost: My Anti-Drugs.

                    2016 Chevrolet Colorado LT - HNNNNGG.
                    1999 Ford Dangah Rangah XLT - Junk haulin' junker-slut.
                    1998 Saturn SC2 - Garbage. Pure, unadulterated, unapologetic, garbage.
                    Gone: 2004 POSRT4 - 372/425 @ 20psi, "Super safe tune" --- 4xx/4xx @ 26psi, "BAMF Tune"
                    Next: 1990 Supra "LOLNOJZ" - LSx, 4L80E, Megasquirt, whole lot of Ethanol, whole lot of snail...


                    • #11
                      Re: ebay buying guide

                      Nice one. Same goes for POWER CHIPS.

                      I got a word about eBay turbo's though Now, yes there are some bad ones, and you should be careful. But mine has been going for over a year and double digit boost (15 psi) without any issues at all. Still no shaft play. A few people I PERSONALLY know run Chinese turbo's without issues as well. I'd still avoid the brand that was reviewed by differentracing.
                      2000 SL2 5 speed, boosted, meth injected, parted out...268whp &amp; 254wtq (stock pump maxed out)..


                      • #12
                        Re: ebay buying guide

                        Good call Yuri. Thought about adding it, but felt lazy at the time.

                        Lets ignore the homebrew qualities (hot glue gun, what looks like speaker wire, lack of IC socket, lack of wire strain relief, moderately-bad soldering job) for a moment. Note there are only 2 wires total, the ones that connect to a sensor on your car. Now lets look at the pins the connect to on the IC. (Note: IC = Integrated Circuit, aka chip) Notice only the 2 on the end are connected.

                        Now lets take a look at how the most basic IC works. At minimum, 4 things are required:
                        1. Positive power (Vcc)
                        2. Negative power or ground
                        3. Input
                        4. Output

                        Have you noticed that there's only 2 pins total connected on the chip? Ah-ha! Busted. That's right - the chip in this module is not even powered up! Almost all DIP IC's use pins on opposite diagonal corners for Vcc and Gnd. In this case, it is a 20 pin DIP IC, so pins 10 and 20 should be Gnd and Vcc, respectively. (and most IC's that don't follow this scheme would use pins opposite each other in the center) See this for reference:

                        Additionally, IC's don't like having 'noisy' power that would be typically found in a car. Anything legit would have a basic power supply or regulator to supply the IC with clean, stable power.

                        So what is actually happening in this example? The scam artist probably grabbed some random surplus chips (such as some common TTL 7400 series, which go for under $1) and probed various pins with a multi-tester in resistance mode. An unpowered IC will show resistance between certain pins. This is likely the case here, although there's no proof that the maker even bothered to check that the resistance is desirable for use as "traditional" IAT bypass.

                        I have an electronics background (Electronics Technology degree) and can safely say that whoever makes this chip does not. If they did, they would not have posted the tell-tale picture in the auction. Buyer beware!
                        (Stolen from another Site)

                        There are even worse examples to be found. The one that was crimped into the AFM harness of my Supra when I bought it, for example, had two wires that weren't even soldered to a chip. Upon opening the plastic case of the thing, I found them stuck into the corner with a dab of rubber cement. Beyond that, the "Module" was empty.
                        Last edited by Donnie; 12-09-2010, 01:55 PM.

                        Ethanol and Boost: My Anti-Drugs.

                        2016 Chevrolet Colorado LT - HNNNNGG.
                        1999 Ford Dangah Rangah XLT - Junk haulin' junker-slut.
                        1998 Saturn SC2 - Garbage. Pure, unadulterated, unapologetic, garbage.
                        Gone: 2004 POSRT4 - 372/425 @ 20psi, "Super safe tune" --- 4xx/4xx @ 26psi, "BAMF Tune"
                        Next: 1990 Supra "LOLNOJZ" - LSx, 4L80E, Megasquirt, whole lot of Ethanol, whole lot of snail...


                        • #13
                          Re: ebay buying guide

                          i've been screwed on fleabay a couple of times
                ;l=ac3636cf69&amp;id=1110 467390


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