The parts racket
Shopping for some new front wheel bearings for the 1983 300SD, I thought I would take a few moments to check prices from various sources. The results are mind boggling.
The SKF reference numbers for the inner/outer front bearings are LM48510/M12649.
Bearings are made by many manufacturers - some of the better known ones are SKF, Timken, Koyo, NTN, FAG and are frequently interchangeable if you can get the cross-reference list.
Here are the results for one pair (all SKF except Napa):
Dealer (per FastLane) $66.35
Napa $10.48 ('Powerglide' PGBPBR5/3)
********.com $ 8.76
AWBearings.com $ 7.03
Now, assuming AWBearings makes a 25% margin, their cost is $5.62, giving a dealer mark up of 1,080%.
Guess where I bought mine?