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2000 Toyota Camry LE 5S-FE engine; A140E transmission
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
If this is the wrong Forum for this I apologize and the Mods can please move it. I have noticed that Rock Auto seems to be the source of choice for people here working on their Toyotas and I agree, they are a great source but I want to advise everyone to at least look around and be open to other sources.

I failed the state "inspection" here where I live today for control arms and Pep Boys, the shop that did the inspection told me they would do me a huge favor and only take $680 for the job and I told them to shove it and I hope they died from the pain and blood loss. I then went out to my car, took a scraper out of the tool box in the trunk and scrapped the rejection sticker off the windshield and left the pieces in the parking lot as I drove off.

When I got home I started looking around for parts and my first stop was Rock Auto and their prices were good until they started adding taxes and shipping. As an option I looked at 1AAuto and hit paydirt. They have a special right now for a "kit" purchase that includes driver and passenger side control arms, 2 ball joints ( if I have to do the job I figure go all the way and do it right), and free shipping to arrive at my house on this Wednesday for $25.00 less that what Rock Auto could do for me. I hurt my arm trying to get my credit card out of my wallet as fast as I could :)

The way I have it figured the parts will get to me sometime on Wednesday; probably afternoon, On Thursday I spend a couple of hours putting them on, then take my car to get it re-inspected, go out for a nice dinner, live happily ever after, and save $25.00 in the process. Life is good!

BTW, for anyone who might now know state "inspection" is a scam and a racket in every state that does it. The states could care less about people's cars, their safety, or their lives they just want money any way they can get it. Repair shops pay millions in bribes and kickbacks to crooked politicians to keep the state "inspection" scams going and the best way to shut them down is to walk which is exactly what I did.
 

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08 Toyota Camry 2AZ-FE R9K Tuned
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Wisconsin State Inspection: Is the Engine Light ON? No. Have all On-Board Emissions Tests completed? Yes. Here is your sticker.

RockAuto is great, the only downside is that not all of their items are in one big warehouse but rather multiple warehouses so they add the shipping costs per warehouse. The parts are still cheap and if not cheap the parts are legit so the chances of getting fake parts is lessened. I have little issue with paying multiple shipping costs, you just have to know what you are looking for.
 

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^+1 to what he said. On Rockauto, for the parts you really care about the brand, put those in your cart first. Then go looking for the other parts needed, and try to choose the ones that ship from the same warehouse to keep shipping costs down. Sometimes that can't be done if one is choosy about the brand on several things.

I often cross shop on Amazon and eBay, but on those two, you've gotta be really wary of the counterfeiters. If I have any doubt, I don't buy there.
 

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08 Toyota Camry 2AZ-FE R9K Tuned
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^+1 to what he said. On Rockauto, for the parts you really care about the brand, put those in your cart first. Then go looking for the other parts needed, and try to choose the ones that ship from the same warehouse to keep shipping costs down. Sometimes that can't be done if one is choosy about the brand on several things.

I often cross shop on Amazon and eBay, but on those two, you've gotta be really wary of the counterfeiters. If I have any doubt, I don't buy there.
I think the pros of having multiple warehouses is that shipping can be faster and that parts are less likely to be out of stock since they come from Warehouse B instead of Warehouse B to A or Manufacturer A to Warehouse B or Manufacture A to Warehouse B to Warehouse A. There's a lot to it and I am no shipping logistics expert.
 

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Yep. Although I've seen some weirdness... Last week I was helping a buddy select CV axles for his 2006 'Rolla with a manual trans. The right and the left came from different warehouses, even though they were the same brand. Very strange, if you ask me.
 

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RA is a good supplier because you don't have to worry (yet, knock on wood) about the aforementioned counterfeiting. Official sources only, prices are good but shipping can be a bear for larger parts. Usually still comes in cheaper than the competition for the same, quality part you're looking for. I can't prove this (it may just be all in my head) but I noticed if you order a lot off RA, the shipping system seems to "override" the multiple warehouses and give you great shipping sometimes. By "a lot" I mean thousands per year in regular orders, not occasional orders. Case in point: For a while I started seeing shipping of $18-35 on large parts orders (well over $1k in parts for 7-10 cars, with large items like truck radiators and heavy items like suspension components).

1AAuto was the first online supplier I ever bought things from. They have great videos, their customer service is excellent, but the parts are like Harbor Freight. Sure, they'll rarely be selling the same high-quality or OE brands you should use, but then their price is in line with what other suppliers would charge. Otherwise, it's Chinese crap, that's how they keep the prices low. Their parts were good enough for my first car (bought their store-brand struts for my '99 Cavalier, they shipped me Chinese Leacree struts), but I don't put stuff like that on cars anymore if I can help it (7K away from changing all four struts on beatercam, just waiting for a KYB rebate, then will buy from RA).

You get what you pay for, although even that's not true anymore with all the reboxers. Case in point: I'm doing front wheel bearings on an '07 GX470. I don't want to take off the knuckles, so I opted for aftermarket, already-pressed-in bearing-and-hub assemblies (bolts are captive between the hub flange and bearing face, need a 17mm crowfoot or box wrench to do it, but no press required). Bought Beck/Arnley - reboxed, made-in-China (reasonable price, much lower than OE). OK fine, I'll still install. Did not notice until I tried to install that the bolts they have on them are 5mm longer than stock, so they bottom out in the blind holes on the knuckle, and the bearing flange does not sit flush against the knuckle face. Fail. Went to NAPA on a Sunday, the only assembly they sell/can get is Dorman...which was the EXACT SAME ASSEMBLY WITH THE EXACT SAME BOLTS. My next aftermarket choice would be WJB, but their part is mysteriously out of stock everywhere, even eBay (indicator that they weren't making enough money and discontinued it). So went with my third choice: Durago. Only because the bolts didn't seem to be the same (hopefully shorter as per their pic). If that doesn't work, then I have to do it properly (remove knuckle and press in a Koyo or NSK, along with some random hub and new seals) or buy assemblies made with Japanese bearings and OE bolts from Blue Pit Bearings (which is what the offroad guys suggest on the appropriate forums).
 

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1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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About state inspections, I have heard from various folks, in other states, complain about the "scam" (the one in Illinois was so corrupt that it was shut down after only a few years), but in my experience growing up in New York State, and talking with friends who became mechanics who work in the shops there, the NYS state inspection system is run pretty well, in certifying a shop is trustworthy and avoiding untrue repairs. I'm sure there are all points on that compass, but I never saw so many "junk" cars on the roads until I moved to Michigan (with no annual state inspection), with broken tail lights, burnt out head lights, wheels covered in red rust because the pads were long gone, and broken springs - those things are more rare in New York, in my experience.

One interesting side note on the state inspections, at least in NY, the neighborhood gas stations, especially the quaint old ones in town built 50+ years ago, are all still in business, and as working service stations, partially due to the annual inspection.

In other states, those are all gone / torn down and replaced by junk food/cigarette stores.

So, my take is that state inspections, if done right, can be good for the community. But, sadly apparently that is rare.
 

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...already-pressed-in bearing-and-hub assemblies (bolts are captive between the hub flange and bearing face, need a 17mm crowfoot or box wrench to do it, but no press required). Bought Beck/Arnley...
Urgh... That's the same part/assy and brand my buddy bought for his Corolla. Hope they're not junk. BA is a real crap-shoot. Being a reboxer, sometimes ya get good quality, sometimes it's junk.
 

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Yep. Although I've seen some weirdness... Last week I was helping a buddy select CV axles for his 2006 'Rolla with a manual trans. The right and the left came from different warehouses, even though they were the same brand. Very strange, if you ask me.
A bit strange but looking at how broad
About state inspections, I have heard from various folks, in other states, complain about the "scam" (the one in Illinois was so corrupt that it was shut down after only a few years), but in my experience growing up in New York State, and talking with friends who became mechanics who work in the shops there, the NYS state inspection system is run pretty well, in certifying a shop is trustworthy and avoiding untrue repairs. I'm sure there are all points on that compass, but I never saw so many "junk" cars on the roads until I moved to Michigan (with no annual state inspection), with broken tail lights, burnt out head lights, wheels covered in red rust because the pads were long gone, and broken springs - those things are more rare in New York, in my experience.

One interesting side note on the state inspections, at least in NY, the neighborhood gas stations, especially the quaint old ones in town built 50+ years ago, are all still in business, and as working service stations, partially due to the annual inspection.

In other states, those are all gone / torn down and replaced by junk food/cigarette stores.

So, my take is that state inspections, if done right, can be good for the community. But, sadly apparently that is rare.
I believe in some instances, there should be some state inspections as some vehicles on the road should really not be driven. The game, of course, is how trustworthy the inspectors are and how stringent the inspections are.
  • Brake pad thickness
  • Brake rotor thickness
  • Smog
  • Exterior lighting
  • Frame worthiness
The list can go on and on and on at which there will probably just be a point where having an older vehicle is not feasible. Hence sort of the need to "conform" to having newer vehicles in certain countries.
 

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BTW, for anyone who might now know state "inspection" is a scam and a racket in every state that does it. The states could care less about people's cars, their safety, or their lives they just want money any way they can get it. Repair shops pay millions in bribes and kickbacks to crooked politicians to keep the state "inspection" scams going and the best way to shut them down is to walk which is exactly what I did.
Amen to that. Lived in states both with and without it, saw no difference in number of "broken down vehicles on the side of the road" or "hooptys blowing through stop signs because the brakes don't work" or whatever else people claim inspection prevents.
 

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If this is the wrong Forum for this I apologize and the Mods can please move it. I have noticed that Rock Auto seems to be the source of choice for people here working on their Toyotas and I agree, they are a great source but I want to advise everyone to at least look around and be open to other sources.

I failed the state "inspection" here where I live today for control arms and Pep Boys, the shop that did the inspection told me they would do me a huge favor and only take $680 for the job and I told them to shove it and I hope they died from the pain and blood loss. I then went out to my car, took a scraper out of the tool box in the trunk and scrapped the rejection sticker off the windshield and left the pieces in the parking lot as I drove off.

When I got home I started looking around for parts and my first stop was Rock Auto and their prices were good until they started adding taxes and shipping. As an option I looked at 1AAuto and hit paydirt. They have a special right now for a "kit" purchase that includes driver and passenger side control arms, 2 ball joints ( if I have to do the job I figure go all the way and do it right), and free shipping to arrive at my house on this Wednesday for $25.00 less that what Rock Auto could do for me. I hurt my arm trying to get my credit card out of my wallet as fast as I could :)

The way I have it figured the parts will get to me sometime on Wednesday; probably afternoon, On Thursday I spend a couple of hours putting them on, then take my car to get it re-inspected, go out for a nice dinner, live happily ever after, and save $25.00 in the process. Life is good!

BTW, for anyone who might now know state "inspection" is a scam and a racket in every state that does it. The states could care less about people's cars, their safety, or their lives they just want money any way they can get it. Repair shops pay millions in bribes and kickbacks to crooked politicians to keep the state "inspection" scams going and the best way to shut them down is to walk which is exactly what I did.
I'm ashamed but not surprised after working for the Pimp Boys as a tech for several years. What truly makes the industry crooked and corrupt is the flat rate labor and commission system. This drives ppl to be dishonest just to make a living while managers and corporate pockets the big $$$. It's nasty but i digress. Best investment you can make is some tools, a service manual, a bottle of good liquor and some time in the garage.
Regarding your parts choice, ball joints very rarely fail on the camry. I'd just do the control arm with new bushings and keep running the original ball joint. My 93 has the originals still in it at 322k miles. But that's all up to you. Rock, Amazon, many sites out there have good deals. I've spent thousands with the rock, both for my cars and side jobs. Had nearly zero issues with them.
 
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