If your car parts counterfeit spotting guide is several years old, chances are it’s no longer any good.
Earlier last week, bidding on auction site Yahoo Japan was fast and furious on what was thought to be a genuine Mugen Valve cover for B-series equipped Honda cars.
Here’s a screenshot of the Mugen VC listing here.
And the listing is linked here, with a copy linked here.
According to a King Motorsports counterfeit parts spotters guide for authentic Mugen valve covers published in 2015, this Mugen Valve cover for auction had all the markings of a genuine valve cover: all the boltholes were where they are supposed to be, the Japanese Kanji that spells out Mugen is detailed and well-defined, the baffles underneath are screwed into place, not riveted, and, the Valve Cover was painted the right color.
But according to JDM car expert and publisher Joey Lee, who goes by @StickyDilJoe on all the social media apps, King Motorsports’s blog post is already out-dated, counterfeiters are selling Mugen Valve covers that, even when looked at closely, look 100 percent real, and the winning bidder ended up buying a Mugen Valve cover that’s undoubtedly a fake.
Lee wrote up an extensive, updated counterfeit guide to spotting a Fake Mugen Valve Cover that is thankfully on the top spot of Google’s search results when usurping King Motorsports’s outdated one.
Click here to read Lee’s updated guide.
Lee also chronicled the problem on Twitter.
Thanks to Jay Powers for the detailed information: pic.twitter.com/cnCWehp2oT— Joey. (@stickydiljoe) March 24, 2023
What counterfeiters are doing is buying replica B-series, Mugen-style valve covers from sites like Aliexpress, Alibaba (and the like) from China, and they are carefully modifying them, probably keeping in mind counterfeiters guides, to look real.
It doesn’t take much math to realize how much ROI you get spending $100 and a couple of hours on a fake one to then resell it as a real one for $4,000+
Despite their best efforts, as far as Mugen is concerned, their valve covers are meticulously crafted aftermarket parts that are just as good, if not better, than OEM parts.
It would take a lot of time and effort, with today’s technology, to make a fake look 95% as good as a real one, time and effort these counterfeiters aren’t willing (or can’t) do.
You’ll have to have a keener eye than ever but as they say, the devil is in the details, and when you take the time to look for the mistakes outlined in his updated spotters guide blog post, it’ll be hard to miss.
Basically, the best way to spot fake Mugen Valve Covers is to concentrate in the inside.
That’s not to say the outer side is flawless on these fake ones, far from it.
Outside, there are several areas counterfeiters miss: one, the cam moons are bigger and more pronounced on the real one, whereas the fake VCs have shallower moons.
Grounding tabs that should be raw metal are painted on the fake ones.
Spark plug holes are much deeper on the real one, whereas the fake VCs have shallow holes.
The dots on the first Japanese Kanji of Mugen should be smashed down with little space between the dots, whereas they are raised and separate on the fake ones.
And that G in Mugen? It should be smooth cut with all the right curves to match the rest of the letters. The G on the fake one just looks…off.
Inside, it’s a little easier to spot a fake.
The lack of a certain casting tab is an easy way to spot a fake Mugen VC.
Furthermore, the baffles are evenly zinc-coated on the real one whereas it’s not, and unevenly coated on the fake one.
Lee’s blog post points out several areas where counterfeiters have modified the inside, but basically the fake ones have the tell-tale markings of someone whose ground down specific areas to make it look real, markings that are not on real ones.
With everything that Lee’s pointed out, if you’re shopping around for a real Mugen Valve cover, it’s now harder to miss these important details.
As Mugen valve covers become even rarer and prices increase, this’ll further incentivize counterfeiters to bring their fake-ry game to the next level and might come out with a copy that addresses all the points on King Motorsports AND Lee’s updated guide.
It’s always a case of caveat emptor where buyers have to do their homework and should, with a fine toothed comb, be able to suss out the fake from real.
But, for now, at least for Mugen Valve Covers, Lee’s guide should be good for a handful of years.
This does bring into question, how many rare parts being sold are actually fake? I mean, this is just one valve cover.
If anything, Lee’s guide should be a call to car enthusiasts, aftermarkets parts makers, and publications to put out fake parts spotters guides.
Blogs, Youtube/TikTok vids, whatever means necessary, get this crucial information out there ASAP!