Now that it’s safely traded in to a dealer, I can relate the sad story of my last truck without fear of killing my chances of getting rid of it. The transaction took place over a month ago, and I’d been itching to relate the experience. Then I got busy with other stuff, but here’s the tale now.

As my readers know, upon our arrival in NB we bought a 2006 Dodge Ram with 40,000 kms on the clock and plenty of warranty left. Having the warranty was good, as it turned out to be quite a lemon.

I know, a lot of that anti-Chrysler set out there is thinking, “Well duh, of course it was.” But really, even for a Dodge, this truck was unusually problematic.

Within a month or two of the truck’s purchase, I  became a regular visitor to the dealership because of various problems it had. We sank countless dollars into it, despite the warranty having covered a lot of major repairs.  Here’s a sampling of the fun:

  • Whistling door seal. This was corrected under warranty by adjusting the door latch. No more whistling, but then the door didn’t really lineup properly with bodywork.
  • Bouncy front end. Diagnosed as a leaky shock, corrected under warranty.
  • Shuddering/pulsing under braking from high speed, e.g. braking for a highway off-ramp. I thought it was a problem reported by Chrysler under Technical Service Bulletin 02-001-07, but the dealer checked this and diagnosed it as warped rotors (2 or three visits later, after paying for unnecessary wheel balancing). This had to be paid out of our own pockets, of course. $750+
  • Parking brake pedal not releasing properly. It took a couple of visits to get this one sorted out. Replacing the pedal mechanism didn’t fix it. Cable slack was OK. It was eventually diagnosed as a dirty shoe mechanism in one parking brake drum. The dealer cleaned it under warranty and it worked OK for a while.
  • The transfer case stopped shifting into 4×4. This was in the dead of winter after an ice storm, of course. It took three or four visits to fix this one. The dealer thought it was the front axle disconnect servo (there’s a TSB about it) but it was the actual transfer case gone bad. After a few weeks of waiting for parts, the transfer case was replaced under warranty.

At about this point, the warranty runs out.

  • Multifunction switch malfunction. I’d signal left, the lights flashed right. (Yikes!) This was corrected under warranty grace period.
  • The tailgate stopped closing properly. The latches were adjusted under warranty grace period.
  • The transfer case stopped working AGAIN, as well as washer fluid pump. It took a few visits and another unnecessary front axle disconnect replacement, but it turned out to be the Totally Integrated Power Module, a computer that’s integrated with the fuse box. This cost another $750++ out of my pocket. This fixed the washer pump motor, but not the transfer case. A transfer case servo motor ordered, which finally had the truck shifting into 4×4 again. Thankfully this part was covered under the powertrain warranty. (Naturally, during this time, I managed to get the 2WD truck stuck in the snow a few times, and once I managed to spin it right around on a busy street because I forgot my front wheels weren’t pulling when I accelerated out of a parking lot. This pissed me off to no end.)
  • The parking brake went back to its old non-releasing ways. The dealer estimated another $700++ to replace rear rotors, pads and shoes to fix the issue.
  • The front shock on the other side sprung a leak and the truck started handling like a yak in heat again.
  • The truck started shuddering when I braked for off-ramps again. I assumed it was the rotors warped again, but by this time I’d given up on spending any more money on the truck.
  • Engine began to need a couple of seconds of cranking before starting.

Of course, none of the above expenses listed are counting “regular maintenance items” like brake pads, oil changes, fluid changes, etc, which after a year and a half of owning the truck tallied up to over $1000.

Anyway, we finally decided that this was quite enough punishment to endure from a vehicle we’d purchased with the intent of owning for a long time. When the same things started going wrong a second time after initial repairs, that was it.

I’ll relate the story of how I replaced the lemon in a subsequent post.