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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Since a lot of us with the higher mileage vans may need to think about replacing spark plugs, I thought I would post this information as a "public service" hopefully to prevent anyone from installing sub-standard plugs after going through the effort to get to the 3 in the back. After inquiring at the dealer and getting the price of $10.83 a piece, I checked around at Amazon and Ebay and found a plethora of options, all cheaper. Having had a lot of luck ordering OEM parts from highly ranked sellers on ebay, I found a great deal on 6 OEM, DENSO plugs, model no. 3297 (OEM part. no 90080-91180), aka sk20R11.... total $18.59. (I know, if it's too goo to be true...) In any case, once I had the plugs in hand, I was immediately suspicious upon opening the package.

Although, there were 6, authentic looking TOYOTA boxes, the giant "made in China" label on the bag was unsettling. Ok, "I'll let that one slide. They were just being thrifty with packaging."

Once I had all six open and laying out on the work bench, it was a horror show of inconsistent construction. No two plugs looked the same. One even looked slightly used. After deciding that I needed to put my hands on some known good product for comparison, I then discovered that you can go to Advance Auto Parts online and order these things and more times than not, get a 25% discount. Six Denso plugs (model 3297) out the door with tax for $47.52. Nice little $23 savings over the dealer.

Once I had the real plugs in hand, the differences were striking. All 6 of the "retail" version plugs were identical. No visible variation in the dimensions of the anode/cathode. There were some very obvious comparisons that can be made, which I've detailed in the attached pics. I suspect what's happening here is that these may be "reconditioned" plugs, which allows them to often pass as real, but with zero quality control or performance guarantee. They may work, but not as well as they should. At the end of the day, I would be hesitant at this point to ever buy plugs through the mail again, unless you knew it was a confirmed good source.

Cheers!
 

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I can just see this rabbit hole in the future...


"I replaced my plugs (OEM) and now I have a misfire"


Everything is being a 'knockoff" nowadays. It is a MASSIVE market.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just to add to the list... Bought a "NEW OEM Denso 22204-22010" mass air flow sensor off of ebay and it came in a brand new Toyota box, correctly labeled, etc., but when I pulled the part out, it was painfully obvious that this was a re-conditioned part (see attached pics). Cracked case, lots of scuffs, etc. To be fair, I did try it and it worked exactly the same as my original (recently cleaned) part, but still, this is really turning up my suspicious meter for "grey" market parts.
 

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Thanks ,
pethelman!:)
Glad you took the time to show us the shenanigans... Just overwhelms me the extremes they go to create knock offs, no matter what it is... Been buying stuff off the Bay since it opened, and it's always been kinda shady on items you think are new OEM , the jungle was not so bad but it's getting worse for knock offs these days.... Sucks we have to get priced gouged purchasing from the dealer, but at least it's mostly genuine... Stick to legit sources for parts aftermarket or genuine and we can quit fueling the knock off biz.... I know we all love to save money, but trin to save a buck using shady places hurts us all in the end when you look at the big picture..... Should be our choice to use aftermarket parts and not parts represented as Genuine Manufacture paying a premium for them....
 

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Beware of knockoff Denso 3426 plugs
top-hkseller on ebay is selling fakes

Rockauto sells the "REAL" plugs

I wish I had seen this thread before my purchase
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Beware of knockoff Denso 3426 plugs
top-hkseller on ebay is selling fakes

Rockauto sells the "REAL" plugs

I wish I had seen this thread before my purchase
Yeah... that stinks. Initiate a return on the plugs and list reason as "not authentic." I've had to do this on three occasions now and in each case mentioned in the details that they were being, shall we say, less than honest by listing "refurbished" parts as new, and they basically couldn't send me a return label fast enough. I think they're eager to avoid negative feedback so they can just keep dumping parts onto a large percentage of unsuspecting customers. In each case, when the refund has been issued, I get an email with such-and-such + Chinese Characters... has issued you a refund. Arg!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Oh, and let's add one more part to the list. Knock sensors! There are no end of sellers on ebay with refurbished sensors, being pushed as new, and shipping in what looks like new packaging. I'm just going to go out on a limb here and say if you find a DENSO knock sensor for less than $20, your looking at a refurb. I got a couple, just on a lark, and they both had a shiny layer of black paint on them, including on the metal surface that is meant to couple to the engine. Were it not for this paint, I might have been fooled. These are piezo electric accelerometers/strain-gages, etc., so a clean and smooth metal-to-metal interface with the vehicle would be good practice (as was the case with my original sensors). In fact, the OEM original mating surface looked like it had some sort of anodized coating on it.

And whilst on the subject of being frustrated with knock off parts on ebay, I've had just the opposite experience with an online dealer that sells authentic new Toyota parts online. They also have real folks who are VERY responsive in helping you identify the parts you need. Prices are some of the best I've found. Highly recommend.

https://parts.lakelandtoyota.com/
 
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