When Life Gives You Lemons

August 2019 Feature Trevor Mason

This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue.

Everybody has bad luck with their vehicle from time to time. Even us! My brothers and I like to joke that we did something in a past life to anger the God of Vehicles, because we all seem to have the worst luck with random stuff deciding to break. Thankfully, I’ve never had anything as severe as having to deal with an actual lemon.

Since everybody loves a good horror story, we thought it would be fun to share a few stories we found online about people’s experiences with trucks that just [would not] work right. And because we’re equal-opportunity, each of the Big Three is represented here. No playing favorites here!

Note: these entries have been lightly edited for grammar and clarity.


My 6.7 Diesel NIGHTMARE

User johnnyballgame at www.ford-trucks.com

“I purchased my F-350 Lariat loaded with every option available and have been following this site since I purchased the vehicle. I have taken it into the dealer on four different occasions for my transmission shifting like a high school kid learning how to drive a stick shift. The dealer claims to have fixed it each time with a re-flash, and every time I drive it away it has never been resolved. Additionally, when I put it in 4-wheel drive it sounds like someone hits the differential with a sledge hammer, but this is not to be outdone by the loud knocking noise that occurs under my feet every time I turn left. Oh and BTW, they told me the new diesel was going to get anywhere from 17-22 MPG and it actually gets 11. OMG I almost forgot about the check engine light that they can't make go away but they tell me it's just a programming issue and not to worry about it. Man, it's getting hard to keep up with all this stuff. Ford has agreed to buy my vehicle back but I have to purchase another Ford or Lincoln of equal or greater value as part of the terms. The kicker is they are charging me $6K for "usage" for the past seven months, even though 1 month of that "usage" the truck was sitting in the dealer shop. My dealer is the worst place I have ever conducted business and essentially could care less that my $60K purchase has been a nightmare. Words can't describe the amount of time and frustration I have had on this purchase. Good luck to all you out there with these tranny issues. Ford and their dealers are just going to continue to deny it because they can't fix it.”


2012 Duramax Lemon

User tpinck at www.dieselplace.com

“To lay a little ground work, we pull a 14,000-pound gross weight fifth wheel and live in it full time. We travel coast to coast primarily between Mount Pleasant, S.C., and Pleasanton, Calif., to visit daughters and grandchildren. So failure is a bit disturbing on the road. 

We are having Low Coolant Alarms that no one has been able to fix and being stuck in campgrounds for many days. Here is a list of the times with the date, condition, and repair attempt mileage:

-01/22/15 Low coolant alarm 61825
-Replaced Head Gaskets and Head Bolts
-03/10/15 repairs completed. 7 week turn around 61874
-04/02/15 Complete loss of brakes and steering 65361
Frayed serpentine belt and the power steering pump was missing two bolts and 
spacer. This occurred just after dropping the camper at the campground and driving to my daughter’s house on a two-lane road with deep storm ditches on both sides. I thank GOD that we were not towing. There had been no work done after the head gasket change.
-11/04/15 Low coolant alarm 77986
-11/12/15 Low coolant alarm 78286
-02/03/16 Check engine light on 84519
-EGT Sensor #4 Shorted
-Internal open on EGT circuit
-Multi-point inspection coolant leakage: Rad leaking and surge tank split leaking
-03/10/16 Low coolant alarm 85879
-Reserve coolant reservoir empty 
-Filled reserve coolant reservoir; pressure test reveals no leaks.
-03/31/16 Low Coolant Alarm
Back to the same dealership for another attempt. Called me this afternoon to keep it overnight, having trouble finding the problem. Is this a common failure with this year and model?”


BIG Lemon!!

User Corners at www.ramforumz.com

“Going to apologize if this is a long post. I bought a 2012 Ram Outdoorsman on December 9th. First day I had it, the front end was pulling to the right. Service manager said, "Oh, it's normal for Dodge trucks for the first 1,000 miles and after that the suspension system will be broken in and it won't do that anymore.” Yeah, like I just got off the turnip truck. So to please them I drove it 1,256 miles. They said they would check it to ensure it was okay. Four hours later they said they checked the alignment - it was fine. But when I asked for the read-out paperwork they said, "We don't keep stuff like that." So I took it to a well-known auto place, which cost me $54.95 to have the front end lined up.
Then I drove the truck 81 mph after a Ford truck cut me off. The reset button to put it back to zero would not work. Had it in three times for that. Then the Sirius radio system would just stop playing. Then the phone system became messed up. Dropped calls, couldn't make any calls, etc. I was told no mechanic could figure it out.

Three times, as I was merging into traffic the truck just automatically slowed down. Put the gas pedal to the floor but nothing. Engine was running but again, no power. The fourth time I was driving on our by-pass, dark night, raining, doing 58 mph. Had an 18-wheel truck right on my bumper and three cars behind him. Same thing: I lost all power (engine still running - gas pedal to the floor) and I hear Jake brakes from the truck, horn blaring; as I was waiting for the crash this lemon went to full power. That did it. Took it back to the dealer and told them they would buy it back NOW. The GM agreed. This was a Black Ram truck. 
The new one I just got three weeks ago is the same truck in cherry red. They made a dealer trade. It had six miles on it but somebody drove it 87 mph. Again, I could not re-set the speed back to zero. Then the same exact problems as I outlined above except no stalling until four days ago. 
No mechanic could figure out the Garmin system nor could they even find the serial number of this unit. I had to show them how to get it. They had it four hours and then finally told me their computer they had hooked up to the Garmin system was broken and couldn't get a new part. This was about a week and a half ago. Finally got their computer working. Hooked it up and told me there was no new software to download so they had to order a new unit. I get a call today telling me to bring the truck in so they could get the Garmin ID number (again). Asked them where my new unit was. Service manager said the mechanic forgot to get the ID number and they would order it tomorrow. 
Has anybody had any of these %*^() problems with this type of truck?”

Woof, those are some real doozies. If you’ve had your own unfortunate run-in with a lemon, let us know over on our Facebook page!





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