Re: V6 Experts.....164 V6 24v Engine Consumables Supply to End?
I have to admit I'm torn on this "genuine vs. pattern" parts debate. It's absolutely true that Alfa don't make timing belts (or tensioners, or any of a great number of items).
On the other hand, I have a metallurgist mate who worked for many years in the quality control department of a major suspension component manufacturer. Mass producing (say) balljoints on automated machinery leads to slight variations in fit, surface finish, material properties etc. These vary from batch to batch and (to a lesser extent) within a batch.
They used to inspect the parts randomly and the difference between an "acceptable" part and a "reject" was down to a carefully drawn-up set of criteria. The way it used to work was that the near-perfect parts were sent off as original equipment to the major manufacturer. The ones that were not QUITE to the specification but well within mutually agreed tolerances were put in the major manufacturer's branded boxes and sold as "genuine" original spares. The parts that were outside those tolerances, but within another (internally agreed) set of limits went into the suspension component manufacturer's own branded boxes as non-genuine spares from a reputable manufacturer - the sort you'd buy in a good quality motor factor. The tier below that were SOMETIMES sold, unbranded, to some "no-name" aftermarket component supplier. Finally, components falling below even that standard were scrapped.
Unfortunately, that was 10 years ago now and I don't know if anything has changed but I can see the sense in the system. Also, I don't know how all the current trend for outsourcing to the Far East has affected this process but I guess the same principles will always apply.
Another bit of this jigsaw is that I deal with a couple of major manufacturers and even thought I don't own any of their products, they tend to believe (quite genuinely, I think), that genuine spares are really better.
...but then again, I've got a 164 with close to 250k on it and I've frequently used non-genuine spares. Sometimes, they don't last as well as genuine ones (CV joint boots are a good example). Other times, they've lasted fine (I tend not to run cam belts until they die, for obvious reasons!) and I've replaced these "pattern" components at the specified intervals with no problems.