Just Another Scam

Blog Post
One overarching thought for this blog post, and one that I’m always faced with is the concept of fairness. We teach the concept to children so that they will share toys and food and not pound each other to dust. Outside of that, there’s nothing that links the concept to the real world. The concept of treating others as you would have them treat you is a high and lofty goal for the clouds that is rarely present down here in the mud and the blood and the beer.

Planned Failure

2014 Raptor out of the shop today.

Planned failure has become a part of many modern automobile manufacturers design parameters. It makes money primarily for dealerships because they make most of their money in service and parts.

Is there a brand of automobile that doesn’t do this? Possibly Honda and Toyota and their luxury brands, Acura and Lexus (respectively).

I paid cash for the Raptor. I was serious about keeping it…forever or until I died, whichever came first, maintaining it as I do by replacing every part that even looked as if it might be worn.

Let me tell you MORE about my 2014 Ford Raptor, which just spent SEVEN DAYS at the dealership for the repair of a motor and an actuator that controls airflow in the cabin of the vehicle. Ford lists the repair as a six hour job in their book.

Part #  AL8Z19E616F   Motor Asy  &  Part # DL3Z19A618A  Duct Air

Before I move forward with the rant, I need to point out that I bought an extended factory warranty on the vehicle, so this is not about the repair costing me anything beyond the original outlay for ‘insurance’ at point of sale. The dealership’s rental department called me every day that my rig was in the shop, asking me if I wanted to rent a vehicle from them…not a loaner. I explained that I have several vehicles, over and over, and no, I did not need a rental.

The Raptor (a souped up Ford F-150 pick up) is Ford’s entry in the truck market for people who want a pick-up that drives like a Ferrari with premium off-road/rough road suspension. I bought the fourth year model of the Raptor because (a) I thought they had time to work the bugs out; (b) future models would not have a steel I-beam frame – they’d be aluminum unibody; (c) future models would have a 6 cyl engine with a supercharger, not the 6.2L V-8 that my rig has.
The Easter Egg
I have 35,000 miles on my four year old Raptor and it looks and smells like new. Even the tires look new. There I was, driving it from there to here and I noticed a sound accompanied by vibration when I turned up the A/C.

The service associate was as cynical as I was. I asked, “If this is such a common problem, why didn’t Ford fix it?”

He replied, “If Ford was interested in fixing things, why hasn’t it fixed the transmissions in the Ford Focus that implode at 75,000 miles?”

(see above) I pointed out that Honda and Toyota never to seem to have these problems, and used my Honda Accord as an example. He said, “See that guy over there? That’s the service manager. He drives an Accord. What does that tell you?”

Future Plans

The Raptor is living on my driveway on borrowed time. Eventually, and I am not sure when, I’ll sell it to a private party and then I’ll replace it with a Toyota Tundra pick up with a large V-8 engine and steel I-beam construction. The Trump Administration is trying to roll-back mileage mandatory on vehicles made and sold in the US and to allow smaller diesels into the market. (Imagine a Toyota HiLux making its way into the American market – almost a guaranteed 500K miles) That may bring about positive changes in manufacture, but I don’t trust Ford, Chevrolet or Chrysler not to screw me. This planned failure event underscored my concerns.

Some say that it’s not ‘fair’ for me to buy a Japanese truck. I say that it’s not fair to plan failures that cost thousands in labor in my American truck.

28 thoughts on “Just Another Scam

  1. Do not buy a Tundra. Toyota makes durable cars but they can't quite get the truck right.

  2. I have a 2007 Silverado with over 150K on the odometer. Its appearance is a bit banged up, but then I don't baby it. The power train, anchored by the small block V-8, is in excellent condition, the only problem I've had being the U-joints which had to be replaced at about 90K. Normal maintenance. My brother, on the other hand, bought himself an F-150 about a year ago. It has a rather tiny turbo-charged V-6 that seems to have enough power and he's happy with it. Right now. I can't help but feel that it won't last though.

  3. I'd be annoyed too. Saying that, my basic (fleet) '08 150 has 250k and hasn't needed much in the way of maintenance until this year — ball joints.

    Of course these had to be replaced because of Fordian built in obsolesence…

  4. Everything is a scam, LL.
    In concert with people being poorly educated and taught to be dependent, comes the scam-wave. Like Rand (Ayn) said, it is about connections, leverage, not what you can do, or know. I am currently dealing with a rental car toll scam- but it is the same with the medical industry, taxes, everything- basically the sole purpose of the gov is to strip mine the deluded few like me who still work, and distribute their loot to whoever might ensure their continued banditry , along with enabling their private sector allies to gnaw away at the bankrupt remains like a coyote with a bone.
    Once the purpose of life is gone, and the sanctity of life gone, what is left of a human being is, as they so eloquently put it, a "consumer unit".

  5. Wait until you need the spark plugs changed.

    My mechanic said he never do that again after changing out the one's on my 2005 F150.

    Took him 3 days to do it.

  6. Which is why I bought the Ford. And I like the Ford. I just don't like the idea that things are breaking at 35K miles that should not break. My 2007 Toyota FJ has had less trouble and I've had it in almost every impossible spot in the Western US. I've broken things on it, but that's hard trail damage where I know precisely why the part broke.

  7. Turbo charging means that it will break. I don't doubt the power, but turbos are tricky beasts. I've had them before and they run like a raped ape. BUT keep the warranty up and sell the truck before it expires.

  8. Why do they engineer these difficulties? Ok, I know, it was a rhetorical question. At least you don't need to change the plugs as often as we used to.

  9. Yeah, my check engine light just came on in my 2008 Chevy 1/2 ton pickup with 47,000 miles on it. Hell, it's brand new … LOL. (Pre-Government Motors Truck).

  10. When the oil pan went on my 1996 F250, they had to remove the entire engine & radiator to put in a new one.

    My 2000 Dually Silverdo use to eat the front tires ever 2000 miles and when the antenna got broke they said the entire dash board and wiper system would have to be removed to replace it.

    My next truck is a 1970s era Branco that I can fix most of it myself!

  11. See, this is why I have fantasies about a Chevy C-10 barn find that can be maintained with a crescent wrench and a screw driver.

    That said, I paid cash for my then new 2001 Silverado, Extended cab, 2WD. The 5.3L V-8 is a modernized 327CID small block fed by Chevy Vortec.

    It still runs like a champ. Have not had to touch the A/C. Now at 157K miles (Yeah, last year I drove less than 5K miles). Have only had two issues–

    1) The rear axle seals went out while under warranty. Clue was that the parking brake would not hold.

    2) Sending unit/fuel pump (in fuel tank) went out after warranty. My mechanic showed me the options (IIRC) for parts–$400 for standard and $409 for 'heavy duty'. We locked eyes with the same question–so what do you get for $9 more? Never did find out, but it is still working.

  12. The control module for the tranny went out a year ago on the Black Beast. The fix was cheap, but the service tech mentioned to me that it was a good thing my truck wasn't two years older. He said the company doesn't support the electronics beyond about ten years, and at that point your truck is a brick once an important electronic control dies. Eyes opened. I guess they figure you'll buy another truck at that point. Who knows if Toyota follows this plan. I'm sure the salesmen will claim to know nothing about this sort of thing if asked.

  13. I have heard the same thing. You buy another truck or go to a junk yard and try and find the part. So far, Toyota has parts for my FJ, even though they no longer make the vehicle.

  14. In light of past experience with Chevys (which is part of why I bought this Ford), i'd be concerned.

  15. Wow, that's insanity.

    Yes, a 70's Bronco with everything generally intact would be a good choice. Or an old Jeep. You don't have to use Jeep parts. Any parts that you can make fit will do. My son-in-law is building me up a 46 Jeep for use on the property. He started with a shell and I don't see much Jeep going into it, but it will be a fun run-about. Not pretty, but wicked.

  16. Everyone who reads this blog has fantasies of the perfect barn find…but it sounds as if you've done ok with the Silverado.

  17. As to manufacturers owning up to problems, Toyota is no different than the rest. I bought a used 2003 4runner based on research that said they were good vehicles. Worked great for about a week then I had problems with starting and running cold. It was as rough as a corn cob. Further research gleaned the fact that there is a problem with the original head gaskets and particularly the one on the left side of the engine. They leak coolant when cold or cooling down. On the Internet boards there were too many instances but Toyota would never acknowledge a problem even though the did change the design of the head gaskets. I put $3G into the vehicle to replace both sides and it has run great since.

    As to planned obsolescence, I still remember an article from the early 70's when Dodge/Chrysler/Plymouth was experimenting with the Wankel engine. They built some test articles and ran them in under simulated road conditions. The test articles were built using materials similar to a regular reciprocating engine. After a simulated 100,000 miles they tore a test article down and found that it had minimal wear. The article stated that there was a design goal to try to get it where the engines would have to be overhauled at about 50,000 miles.

    Just my 2 cents.

  18. I guess it is some people with an excel spreadsheet that figured out the concept of planned failures. Especially when it comes to cars. I rather have a car with a solid reputation and paying a bit more when purchasing than knowing I have to live with uncertainty and high operating costs buying another brand. I guess the car manufacturers need to look into their business model and figure out a strategy that combine happy customers and best value. Happy customers normally returns and also recommend to other what to buy.

    The concept with planned failure is all over bbc.com/future/story/20160612-heres-the-truth-about-the-planned-obsolescence-of-tech

  19. My years retailing cars and trucks taught me some lessons. My personal preference only, not suggesting what anyone else should do. All a vehicle does, for me, is haul my fat ass around. Don't care what anyone else thinks of me and my magnetic personality will get me laid (fond hope, that). The newest model year I've owned in the past 20 years was a 1996 Lincoln Towncar. The two Towncars before were done at 250-270,000 miles.

  20. These are EXPENSIVE vehicles, John. It's not a $250K S Class Mercedes, but with a few things I've done to it, I'm into it close to $70K. A new model would be a few thousand dollars more.

  21. I hate to break down. I really hate to break down in the desert in summer. Part of buying a new vehicle for me is so that I understand it's history and I know that the maintenance was done.

    Buying a used car for me means that I essentially scoop out the guts and replace them. That still doesn't mean that it's "like new", but I have more faith that it will perform.

    I've been accused of 'over building' my FJ, but the philosophy behind a rugged expedition vehicle is that it will bring me home. I recently replaced the rack and pinion because the steering became a little sloppy. I regularly replace tie rod ends because they are designed to fail before more expensive parts do. It's almost an obsession with me. I don't care the model year, so long as everything under the hood and inside the frame is perfect.

  22. You ever read Eric Peters libertarian car blog? He goes nuts over this stuff- swears the beast cars were built in the mid 90's to mid 2000s, before they got completely wrapped up in electronic gewgaws.

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