Continental Serpentine Belts - OE vs OEM vs parts store

JHZR2

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I needed a new 6pk2120 serpentine belt for my 91 350SD. I had bought two from Autohaus AZ. One MB part and one Continental Contitech. Turns out autohaus had the wrong part number for the OE MB belt, which references over to a 6pk2100 (which is used on the 5 cyl diesel, vs my 6cyl diesel - seems silly).

Of course I only had the MB belt with me, and the local autozone was closer than going home. Thinking that it was the same belt, I went to get one. I figured since I have two of the same car, I could use two and have a spare.

The Mexican made Continental OE is vastly different than the MB Continental (made in Romania), or the Continental Contitech belt. The ribbed rubber looks and feels different, and the top is finished completely differently.

While Im sure that the Autozone one would work for 60k miles, I returned it. I never installed it. Part of this was due to my tensioner woes, but in the end I can get the German made prt that looks like the MB part for half the price of the Autozone part.

No real excuse why Autozone couldn’t have gotten the proper Contitech version. If the online places can sell the German part for $24, no reason why AZ can’t get that and sell it for $41 and make a profit.

MB part on left, German Contitech in middle, Autozone Mexican Continental OE on right.

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Note the crosshatch on the left German contitech vs the smooth right Autozone belt.
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Here’s the MB Continmental belt, made in Romania, vs the Contitech made in Germany:
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Here are the two Continental branded belt ribbed sides. The Mexican one in the foreground was darker black, The German one more of a brown tone in the background. The rib shape is slightly different. I have read before that this is a difference in euro made vs domestic belts. Particularly v-belts.

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JHZR2

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It’s Autozone-ever since they quit carrying the GY Gatorback belts, I won’t buy any junk belt they sell. RA & eBay for me.
Agree. I returned it. Less on learned.

I thought there was a chance at a quality part. And in their defense, I don’t know that it isn’t a reasonably quality part. But it’s not the German Contitech belt.
 
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On the other hand, BMW and VW have plants in Mexico, so it makes sense the suppliers will have plants closeby. The Mexican Conti belt was probably ok. The BMW E30 M20 timing belts by Conti have been made in Mexico for several years.
 
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So these are all continental parts correct - so why is it the parts stores fault continental wants to make some good and some bad parts? Sounds like your complaint should be with continental.

I personally am not a fan of anything continental makes, but I will spare everyone the lengthy stories.

+1 for Bando belts - all I use anymore.
 

JHZR2

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On the other hand, BMW and VW have plants in Mexico, so it makes sense the suppliers will have plants closeby. The Mexican Conti belt was probably ok. The BMW E30 M20 timing belts by Conti have been made in Mexico for several years.
I would suspect that my MB is far from the only car that takes a 6PK2120 belt.

So the presence of a factory someplace or else really doesn’t much matter.

The Continental belts for BMW look like my MB belt, with the crosshatch BTW, FWIW.

What I’m not really a fan about of is making a claim that it is an OE line, fitting my vehicle, and then being vastly different than what the OE/OEM part is.
Makes a difference? Maybe so, maybe not. But it is different.

So these are all continental parts correct - so why is it the parts stores fault continental wants to make some good and some bad parts? Sounds like your complaint should be with continental.

I personally am not a fan of anything continental makes, but I will spare everyone the lengthy stories.

+1 for Bando belts - all I use anymore.

I don’t know that it is a Continental issue. When Walmart demands that companies reduce prices and pull pennies out of what they sell, is that the product manufacturer’s fault? What if AZ did the same thing?

I can’t say if they did or didn’t. I just know that their “OE” product line is not the same as OE or the European made OEM line.

As for Bando, I bought one for my 1993 MB 300SD. It’s made in Indonesia. It doesn’t have a great quality feel. If anything, the Continental MB belts with the crosshatch tips are the best finished and nicest quality belts that I’ve seen.

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I used a Mexican Conti OE Tech belt, and it seemed like a high quality belt, and there was nothing wrong with it. However, it did have more of a crosshatch than the one you got at the zone :unsure:

It's funny that OE was made in Romania while the aftermarket came from Germany :sneaky:

The Continental OE Technology series is their replacement for the Elite/Gatorback cogged belts. Made in the same factories/countries as their predecessors, mostly US and Mexico.
 

JHZR2

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I used a Mexican Conti OE Tech belt, and it seemed like a high quality belt, and there was nothing wrong with it. However, it did have more of a crosshatch than the one you got at the zone :unsure:

It's funny that OE was made in Romania while the aftermarket came from Germany :sneaky:

The Continental OE Technology series is their replacement for the Elite/Gatorback cogged belts. Made in the same factories/countries as their predecessors, mostly US and Mexico.

interesting.

I don’t know that the crosshatch matters…or that perhaps the smooth back belts are even “better” in some way. It’s just not OE.

I too thought the COO for the MB belt vs the other one was interesting.

I liked those gatorback belts. Bummer they don’t offer those anymore.
 
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I don’t know that it is a Continental issue. When Walmart demands that companies reduce prices and pull pennies out of what they sell, is that the product manufacturer’s fault?
Its absolutely the manufacturers problem if they want to preserve their premium brand name. I work in manufacturing - and I know lots of manufacturers who will not do business with walmart even when asked because there not interested in high volume/ low margin / low quality. There are also lots of manufacturers that have 2 brands, a premium brand with their name on it, and a second brand with a lesser or someone else's name on it so you know what your buying, thats often where the house brands or jobber parts come from. People like to think because they get spit out of the same factory there the same quality, but most often they are not.

I will let someone smarter on belts comment on the cross hatch, etc - but my gut tells me you can't judge a belt by how the back feels. All my Bando belts have been made in USA or Japan, so perhaps the Indonesia one is lesser, I don't know.
 

JHZR2

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Its absolutely the manufacturers problem if they want to preserve their premium brand name. I work in manufacturing - and I know lots of manufacturers who will not do business with walmart even when asked because there not interested in high volume/ low margin / low quality. There are also lots of manufacturers that have 2 brands, a premium brand with their name on it, and a second brand with a lesser or someone else's name on it so you know what your buying, thats often where the house brands or jobber parts come from. People like to think because they get spit out of the same factory there the same quality, but most often they are not.

I will let someone smarter on belts comment on the cross hatch, etc - but my gut tells me you can't judge a belt by how the back feels. All my Bando belts have been made in USA or Japan, so perhaps the Indonesia one is lesser, I don't know.
Good points. Often the “lesser” quality item gets Astor’s brand or something. That’s what surprised me about trying to push “OE” labeling on something that obviously isn’t.

As for Bando and the belt I got, which I think came from Rock Auto IIRC:

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interesting.

I don’t know that the crosshatch matters…or that perhaps the smooth back belts are even “better” in some way. It’s just not OE.

I too thought the COO for the MB belt vs the other one was interesting.

I liked those gatorback belts. Bummer they don’t offer those anymore.

I don't think the crosshatch matters, either
 
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Instead of brand- I go for county of manufacture- no mexican belt factory has seen -35C and their belt promptly blew up, the cheapest canadian tire belt made in canada (replaced said mex belt) is still humming along.
 
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On the other hand, BMW and VW have plants in Mexico, so it makes sense the suppliers will have plants closeby. The Mexican Conti belt was probably ok. The BMW E30 M20 timing belts by Conti have been made in Mexico for several years.
As well as ...Audi, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Kia, Mazda, Nissan, and Toyota.

 
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interesting.

I don’t know that the crosshatch matters…or that perhaps the smooth back belts are even “better” in some way. It’s just not OE.

I too thought the COO for the MB belt vs the other one was interesting.

I liked those gatorback belts. Bummer they don’t offer those anymore.
The crosshatch definitely matters on some BMWs anyway. The slick back belts will squeak when cold or rainy.
 
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