Some good info posted on this thread. I hadn't realized that OEM and OE can be of different qualities. I always assumed that they were one in the same but without the Manufacturers backing and symbol. I wish there were a list of approved OEM parts that had same standards as OE.
I've noted on several recent dealership purchases that MB is indeed doing a form of cost cutting but I'm not sure you can call it cheapening.
For example when purchasing my EPDM exhaust hangers from the dealer they told me that they replaced two types of hangers with a single type. One of the original hangers had a metal insert that helped maintain it's shape the replacement is just a rubber hanger with EPDM Center. So rather than having two specialized hangers, they now only have one. The interesting thing is that you can find the original hangers on Partsshop, which is what I will end up using and returning the Dealer Parts.
I've also noted that Nuts/Bolts no longer have Cadmium plating, they have a blueish spray on protectant which doesn't look as nice and I'd imagine doesn't last as long either.
02 C32 AMG
84 190E 2.3 5 Spd