Fake Parts Break Hearts
Photo from stickydiljoe:
As many of you may of have read already from stickydiljoe (SERIOUSLY...FAKE ASR SUBFRAME BRACES?...) yes... there are many fake ASR subframe braces out there. And not only are they not as ascetically pleasing as the real deal ASR brace; but, they simply do not fit and are made with inferior materials as we are about to explain.
ASR has always prided itself with high quality suspension components, beginning with the original ASR subframe brace. However, with any innovative and new idea always comes the people that want to copy what you have just created, especially in the aftermarket automotive industry. This does not always mean that the next guy making a copy of what you made will use the same quality material or manufacturing practices as you have, most of the time its just to make a quick buck.
ASR has had the unfortunate luck to have this happen to the subframe brace. Many people contact us stating that they have purchased an ASR subframe brace and it does not fit their vehicle, or that they have purchased hardware from us and it does not line up to the mounting points on their vehicle.
Well let us tell you that it does not stop there...
There are certain reasons why the fake braces are significantly cheaper than the real deal ASR Subframe Brace and it doesn't stop at poor fitment...
As shown in this photo the angled cut on the subframe spacer is there by design not by chance. Little do people know that their control arms are not perfectly perpendicular to the length of their vehicle and this is due to the angle associated with the vehicles original OEM subframe. This angle needs to be accounted for when mounting a straight piece of aluminum to the subframe of the vehicle which is where the angled cut comes into play. Well lets just say the copycats skipped over that one... Without this angled cut not only is the subframe brace less likely to line up with the mounting holes to the OEM subframe, but it is actually adding additional stress to your subframe. Simply speaking your trying to mount a flat level object to a pointed or curved object which is nearly impossible without the use of force.
Now lets talk about aluminum. ASR uses nothing but the best materials when it comes to manufacturing its parts. We us 6061-T6 grade aluminum for mostly all of our products including the subframe brace. Until recently we had no clue what these fake subframe braces were made from just the fact that they weighed differently from our brace and the machining quality was poor. Well thanks to James Gonzalez (a recent addition to the ASR team and a Mechanical Engineering Student at CSUN) California State University Northridge College of Engineering and Computer Science we now know that there is a significant difference in the material properties associated with the FAKE and REAL ASR subframe braces!
Here is the report we got back from them! :D
It is important to know the type of material that is being used on an operable vehicle. Using the cheaper alternative, while at first, may seem like the more practical choice, may not be safe to use. There have been reports about fake ASR sub frame braces used on cars that have proven to be near fracture point. Tests are conducted to test one of the fake subframe braces and compare the results with the 6061-T6 grade Aluminum which is the material used to make the real ASR brace.
ASR is a company that has creates automotive vehicle parts for Hondas and Acura application, planning to expand their vehicle applications in the future. There have been reports regarding the use of a cheaper form of their subframe braces so to speak. Customers have complained about weak, bending braces under the company name. One of the said braces has been confiscated and ready for testing against their own product.
In order to test the material, our group will be conducting identical experiments to the materials subjected to conditions that the brace will experience during normal use. The test that we be conducted will be; the Tensile Test, and the Charpy Impact Test, in addition to a surface hardness comparison (Rockwell B).
Hardness Test (Procedure and Data):
- Using the materials we made for the other tests, we measured the hardness in Rockwell B
- We compared the results of the test.
Hardness of the (ASR) Al-6061 samples
Hardness of the “fake brace” sample
Charpy Impact Testing (Procedure):
- We labeled each sample to differentiate the temperature exposure.
- We took measurements of the sample to know what the initial measurements would be to compare with the final.
- The samples were placed in a hot water sample, cold water sample, room temperature water sample, dry ice and acetone sample, and a dry ice and antifreeze sample.
- We set up the Impact tester to reduce the time the samples were exposed to room temperature.
- We started with the room temperature sample and started the test. We read the measurement and inspected the sample’s shear lip.
- After ten minutes of temperature exposure, we quickly placed the other samples, one at a time, on the tester to test the impact without too much exposure to the environment.
- We repeated step 5 for the remaining samples.
Tensile Testing (Procedure):
- We prepared the computer with the program ready to record data.
- We set the load range for the tester for testing aluminum.
- We measured the dimensions of the samples to obtain a pressure value and find the stress as a result.
- We placed the sample in the clamps of the test and allowed the machine to pull on the sample until fracture.
- This test was repeated for the remaining samples.
Our group was initially surprised by the results shown in the data table above. We were able to attribute the high hardness of the fake brace to larger grain boundaries. Keeping this in mind, we could understand where the grain boundaries affected the sample’s properties during the other tests. During impact testing, the aluminum samples were consistent in data whereas the fake brace proved our theory correct. The impact energy was way lower, about half or less the amount of the Aluminum-6061. The tables shown below contain the recorded results.
We compared the samples further and noticed low shear lip percentage. While inspecting the shear lip, we did notice the fake sample contained a noticeable jagged surface on the sample’s impact location. Our group also compared the change in width, for the different temperature exposures, with both braces. The aluminum sample experience a greater lateral expansion compared to the fake sample, about 233% the difference in width. This data proved the amount of shear that the aluminum sample was able to experience was a much higher capacity than the fake. Impact and shearing like this test is quite a regular phenomenon on automobiles, making the aluminum ASR brace the more useful and safer material to use. The following data tables illustrate this.
While impact is a large concern for the brace, it still will experience high amounts of tension. The tensile test allowed for us to gather results in these circumstances. After transferring the results to a graph, we were able to recognize certain values and properties for each sample. The “fake brace” sample showed a yield strength of about 26000 lb/in2, about 2/3 the amount of the ASR aluminum samples. Both samples had similar ultimate yield strength of about 45000 lb/in2; however, the aluminum sample experienced a greater % elongation compared to the “fake brace” sample. The ASR aluminum sample had undergone a total elongation of about 9.48% and the fake sample had undergone a total elongation of 5.36%. While having a high ultimate tensile strength is valued, the fact the aluminum is more ductile allows for an engineer to not fear rapid catastrophic failure to the part in tension. This allows for more elastic deformation before plastic deformation takes hold and the part ultimately fails.
The experiment may contain error in the sample data. During the hardness test, the fake aluminum sample recorded a hardness considerably lower than the others data points. The samples we created from the brace were made into impact testing samples and were slightly thinner than the normal ones. The error could also be from lack of space on the material, or a location on the brace that was not tempered or hardened as effectively as other parts. During the impact testing, our samples could potentially be more exposed to room temperature than we had intended and could have skewed our results, but it was not noticeable enough to be present on our graph. During the tensile testing, one of our fake brace samples had slipped through the clamps and we averaged for two samples rather than three.
After 3 weeks of testing and analysis, we were able to identify that the fake brace was definitely not Aluminum-6061, or at least not the tempered version used in the ASR braces. Having this in mind, we observed that the fake brace is significantly weaker compared to the real brace. This in turn hurts ASR as a company because there are others out in the market selling a subframe brace that is inferior to the real ASR product using the ASR name.