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Is That a Holset or Chinese Turbo?

Posted by Rodney McCabe on

A couple of people have been quick to respond to some turbo posts stating that the Holset turbos pictured in the posts were “fake Chinese turbos.” There is a lot of ignorance and misinformation out there surrounding the topic so in this blog I hope to arm the objective reader with the means to identify a Holset and shed light on Chinese manufacturing of Holset products.

Is it a Holset?

A great way to start the discussion of whether a turbo is a genuine Holset is to review the Holset Counterfeit Prevention guide. Here are key indicators of a counterfeit turbo as outlined in their document

  • No serial number on the name plate

  • Compressor nut style and strut shape

  • No washers on the screws, machining on housing, and flat transition on the wastegate rod

  • Type of hose clamp and presence of a hole on the wastegate

  • Oil seal plate retaining ring

  • Compressor housing retaining ring

  • Turbine housing screws

Not mentioned in the guide but are also indicators are:

  • No identification plate at all or reuse of the same serial number
  • Lack of branding on the compressor and turbine housings. Cummins has cracked down on illegitimate manufacturers branding their turbos with the Holset trademark. A lot of knock off turbos may have a model such as HX35 but that is not an indicator that it is a genuine Holset
  • Packaging is also an indicator. Turbos come in a branded box with Holset taping. Turbos come in a bag also with Holset taping.

The photos we have on our site are very intentional to show the branding and compliance with the counterfeit guide. They should provide evidence that they are legitimate in every way.

Is it a Chinese turbo?

According to the Holset history article, at the time of this writing, Holset has six manufacturing plants located around the world including the USA, Brazil, the United Kingdom, China, and India. That means that not only is at a domestic turbo but it’s a Brazilian turbo, UK turbo, China turbo and Indian turbo. Going back to the counterfeit prevention guide we looked at above, the sample identification plate even references their Chinese manufacturing plant in the example of a legit turbo. I don’t know why people are so fixated on the fact that a product made in China must be fake but the bottom line is that Cummins has plants around the globe and several of those facilities manufactures Holset turbos. The Wuxi factory in China was opened in 1998 and is listed on the Cummins Holset Partner Zone as a manufacturer.


Before wrapping things up I want to discuss distribution. I saw a comment somewhere that the only place to buy a Holset turbo is from a Cummins dealer. That is not true! Most manufacturers move their products through jobbers, distributors, or suppliers in addition to branded retail locations. Cummins is no different. A quick search for a Holset distributor on the Cummins site yields 41 in China. Those 41 distributors may in turn deal with trading partners package multivendor shipments.

Generally, the volume of the product moving through the retailer dictates the retailers point of entry into the supply chain. Why would a major manufacturer spend the time to sell directly to a small ecommerce business if they are moving truck loads of product to jobbers/distributors? They wouldn’t. That is why trading partners and suppliers are the gateway for product acquisition for lower volume dealers. That does not mean that the product is not genuine.

In addition to Holset most of the accessories we sell for those turbos are from a company called DCEC. Per “Dongfeng Cummins Engine Co., Ltd., is located in Xiangyang City, Hubei Province High-tech Industrial Development Zone, is 50% owned by Dongfeng Motor Co., Ltd. and 50% the United States Cummins, the diesel engine manufacturing as the main business of the company.” We see the DCEC product line as having the same quality as Cummins but only sell their accessories currently.

Okay so the time has come, are our turbos Holset or Chinese? Yes!


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