Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December. Truck repairs and things to know

This will not be a typical post from me.  It is still an event we were involved with, but not voluntarily. In November, we started having troubles with the truck starting.  Instead of taking it in to get looked at, with just kept working with it until we finally burnt out the starter.  Not the best way to handle things, but there it was.  Once that happened, we had it towed.  When we had our last breakdown in Idaho, we took it to a Napa repair shop.  This time, we did what we normally do, and took it to a Ford dealer.  I always think the repairs might be more expensive, but you are dealing with mechanics that have been trained by the manufacturer of the car.

The problem manifested itself like this.  The truck always starts when cold.  No problem.  If it is warmed up and you restart it soon like if you stop at a store, it starts also.  However, if it gets warmed up, and you turn it off for a period like 45 minutes to and hour, It will turn over but just run rough and stop.  Think of an old car with a manual choke and you don't engage the choke when you first start it.  So, we would keep pushing on it with the starter until it finally caught correctly and ran.   Of course, the starter can't take that.

I called AAA and they sent out a tow.  The guy asked me what the problem was.  I told him what I just said and said that the starter was burnt out.  I knew this because there was the smell of a burnt starter and it no longer turned over.  So, apparently he didn't listen and got a heavy tool and banged on the starter a couple of times like you would if the starter was just seized.  Nothing happened and I was peeved he hadn't listened to me.

We got the truck to Fuller Ford in Chula Vista. As the check in guy wrote up the order I told him the story.  He didn't seem like he was really listening but assured me they'd get to the bottom of it.  They gave me a courtesy ride home and Laurie took a Uber home from work.  The next day, they said they had the starter replaced and the truck ran well.  We took a Uber down to get the truck. The guy I had been dealing with is named Jon.  He told us the starter was to be $850.00 but he had discounted it so it would be a bit less.  Then we asked him if the truck had started okay after it was warmed up, and I repeated the story of the symptoms we had experienced before the starter went out.  He then asked the guy who had brought the truck around if he had had any problems starting the truck.  The guy said yes he had.  So, I told the story again, Jon said they'd find out and he said, "Let's get you a car to drive" and walked us over to the rental department.  We filled out the paper work with no discussion of cost or anything.  We assumed they weren't charging.  If they were, we would have had a chance to see if we liked their prices or if we thought we could get a better deal somewhere else. Right?

We got a call from Jon and the valve related to the Idaho issue was not functioning properly.  This would end up being a replacement of that valve and the High Pressure oil pump as well.  Basically a bunch of the work from Idaho.  Jon worked things out with Napa as it was under warranty.  Because it was nearly Thanksgiving and they had to get parts, things drug on.  During a phone call, he said we would be just paying for the starter and the rental.  We said what? the rental?  He said he would see if he could get Napa to pick that up, too.

After three weeks, they were finally done and Laurie was at work so I went to get the truck.  Napa covered everything except two days of rental, $70.00, and the starter.  It ended up being over a thousand dollars.  I still don't know how that math works out.  So I picked up the truck and went home. Later that night I did what I always do, I drove to the hospital and got there early for her shift's end.  Yes, I sat for about an hour before she got off.  When she was ready, I tried to start the truck, and it was just as it was before.  It took 10 tries to get it to kick over right and run.  I have rarely been that angry. 

The next day was Friday and I took it back.  Now, Jon finally listened to me as I described step by step the issue.  It was as if he had never been told any of this though that was just not true.  I got the rental back and we all understood I would not be paying for it.  

No call Friday.
No call Monday

We stopped in to a different dealer in town and asked for advice.  We were told to take the issue directly to the service manager.

We drove down there Tuesday to what was up.  The mechanic had left for a doctor's appointment and we were told Jon would call us when he got back  We talked to the Service Manager and (Josh) said he'd become personally involved and get us on the road.

No call Tuesday
No call Wednesday
No call Thursday.
Understand I made several calls throughout this process and never got more than an answering machine.

We drove down Friday.  The story was that they ended up calling the Ford Company itself, were told several things to check.  Everything looked good.  Apparently, this is a very unusual problem.  They think we have a set of bad injectors.  Usually, when an injector goes bad, it just stops working.  Ours seem to work most of the time, but the only way to find out is to have them replaced and see if it fixes the problem.  We are leaving for a different site on Friday, and we need our truck.  We returned the car, and took our truck.  We'll get it fixed in our next town.

Overall, a very bad experience.  Because they didn't want to listen to me, because it ran over Thanksgiving, and because of basic subpar service, it took literally, 30 days and the problem is still the problem.

Fuller Ford in Chula Vista, California will never see me again.

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