Kinugawa Turbos are not made in China. The turbos are made in Taiwan and use Kamak parts mainly. Kamak is a Taiwan OE supplier of parts to many aftermarket turbo suppliers/builders over the world. They are the #1 supplier for aftermarket turbos in Asia for Hyundai's. They even have a racing program. Kamak parts are available to USA based turbo builders and are in many of your name brand USA hybrid turbos. Also, about a year ago, Kamak grew big enough to start producing it's own 6 axis milling machine. They now make the billet (XT in Blouch speak) compressor wheels. For Subarus, Kinugawa is currently assembling Kamak CHRA's into Greddy copied housings (some from Kamak, some from other suppliers). Kinugawa used to just re-label Kamak turbos and sell them. I have had multiple conversations with both companies and companies in the USA. It probably helps that I have been to Taiwan and I know the people there can make quaility parts. Kamak uses the same equipment for balancing turbo CHRAs that the USA based producers use (the ones with proper CHRA balancers like FP, Blouch, etc). Kinugawa has a very good reputation in Asia (incuding Australia). The ebay turbos you are thinking of are cheap $300 units these days and yes, they are a scam. The are simply not balanced (this is what costs the most money on a turbo as a good balancer is quite a bit of $$$$).
I have internet tuned a Kamak TD06-SL2 20G (the older FP Green copy) turbo nearly 3 years ago. It made Green power and was able to max the stock MAF so it had to be dialed back a bit in the upper RPM. It is still holding up to this day.
I recently ordered a T67-25G based turbo with the following modifications:
- TD06-SL2 turbine wheel (balanced with the CHRA)
- 8cm^2 TD06 turbine housing
- 25G billet aluminum compressor wheel
- Greddy copied T67-25G 3inch, ported inlet (to fight surge) compressor housing (it is large)
- T67-25G oil and water cooled CHRA, balanced on Schenck balancer with wheels attached
I have even had converstions with Rob (owner of FP) on my facebook page about it. I may take it down to his shop (since it is only 30 miles from me) so he can even look it over and check the balancing. The turbo has no fancy porting, no coatings, etc. that you see on many of the USA marketed hybrid turbos (the only turbo recetly made for USA bound Subarus by Mitsubishi is the older WRX 13T, so we are talking about hybrid turbos). Still some USA made hybrid turbos are just put together with a pre-balanced CHRA. I can do all the porting/coating myself, so it makes a difference to me. Any hybrid turbo will never outlast an OE made turbo like many rotated mountable turbos from Garrett, Borg Warner, etc. It is a hybrid turbo and not engineered as well as a large company with 30 engineers on the project can do (read about the new BW EF series turbo bio; they are quite advanced in technology). If I was ready to go rotated, I would only purchase a BW or a Garret turbo. I even shyed away from the stock location 35Rs that are offered. If I am going to pay $2000 for a turbo, it is coming directly from a large company such as honeywell (Garrett) or Borg Warner that use 30+ engineers and many state of the art industry standard tests that meet or exceed OE standards. I only expect this turbo to last as long as my Blouch did, which was about 3 years and 40K miles of my abuse. I abuse my car quiet regulary. I do not expect any hybrid turbo to last as long as an OE turbo.
Anyway, the point I am trying to make here is that as long you make sure your CHRA is balanced and have done your research that the turbo is made from quality parts, buy it. Don't go posting on hear-say. That just makes you look uniformed and you are spreading FUD
. If you are too lazy to do the research, let your tuner decide.
If my new turbo spits its guts out right away, I will flame Kamak and Kinugawa like no other in the world and eat these words.