The following post comes to us courtesy of Mugen aficionado Jerimiah Styles!
In this installment of Fakespotting I discuss the discontinued Mugen Formula Head Cover for B Series VTEC DOHC engines found in the Integra, Civic, CRX and others.
Mugen Formula Head Cover: 12310-XF0-K1S0
These aluminum engine head covers are manufactured individually using sand casts in the same way as covers for Mugen Formula engines. The genuine cover comes with a new gasket kit, shortened studs for the center four bolts of the cover, a fresh new tube of Hondabond, brand new washers, and printed Japanese instructions.
The Mugen letters are stretched across the length of the bottom two bolt holes (the 'N' begins at the hole) and the high quality of the aluminum is as gorgeous as a Rolex watch!
Next we have the fake head cover. The first obvious difference between the two is the Mugen lettering, it's not quite as stretched out (less "italic" or slanted) -- a different font if you will. The finish on the lettering is polished, as opposed to the brushed look of the authentic Mugen cover. Below is the fake:
The quickest way to spot a fake: Compare where the start of the letter N in MUGEN lines up to the bolt hole above it:
A closer look at the kanji is another sign; smooth, well-defined edges and the fine craftsmanship of genuine Mugen products is evident here. I count a total of eight bumps at the bottom of the genuine Mugen kanji.
The fake cover's kanji is far more angular and less defined. I counted seven bumps, not the eight of the genuine one. A closer look shows a polished finish which is more susceptible to oxidation and discoloration as opposed to the superior quality of the Mugen piece.
A look underneath the authentic cover looks like something you would expect to see on an F1 race car. The baffles are screwed in place and the product is clean enough to eat off of.
Underneath the replica it's an entirely different story. The baffle is riveted on, and the center piece is a different color, not the bronze color of the real one. Notice the included printed yellow WARNING insert? It instructs the unlucky owner to wash the inside of the cover before installing because METAL SHARDS MAY BE PRESENT-- potentially causing damage to your VTEC engine!
The packaging really needs no explanation. Here's the genuine box:
And the box for the fake:
On the side of the box, you'll see various color options. Replica valve covers were available in multiple colors, not something Mugen offered.
A very rare look at the installation instructions from the genuine packaging. (Front)
Why does it matter?
Replica parts made with inferior materials could potentially warp, resulting in an improper seal to the head and causing oil leakage. The possibility of metal shavings being inside of the fake cover is another very dangerous hazard to your engine-- one that could ultimately lead to some very expensive damage down the road.
Knowing what you're looking for when purchasing a Mugen Formula Head Cover is important. These are now discontinued and can no longer be purchased new from an authorized dealer such as King Motorsports. Finding them with the original packaging is becoming harder and harder. It's not uncommon for these head covers to fetch a premium, and there are sharks out there trying to sell fakes for those prices. Know what you're looking for and you can save yourself from a potential scam.