Friday, January 27, 2012

Dodge Trucks....the Good, Bad, and Ugly



usbackroads products--Dodge Ram Trucks....the bad and ugly

I have owned four pickups trucks in the last forty years.  Obviously, I keep them a long time.  I have driven and used virtually every pick-up truck made while working as a professional Forester over those last 40 years.  Pick-up trucks for me have always been a tool to get the job done.  They have to take me out into the woods and back again.  Well, I take that back my first little red Datsun pick-up was a kick in the pants.  I enjoyed driving that vehicle from 1973 until I finally sold it in 1988.  I do regret selling that little pick-up.

In August of 2011, I went to Kellog, Idaho and purchased a 2011 one-ton Dodge Ram Diesel truck.  So this is a review of this truck.  Today's section is on the bad and ugly.  I do like the truck.  However, there are some "features" that drive me totally nuts,  So we will cover those in this posting.

We will start with the downright ugly the US Government spent billions and billions of dollars to bailout Chrysler.  According to the new owners of Chrysler the only viable part of the company was the Ram truck division. 

Well, your tax dollars and mine went to pay an Italian company so they could own the company.  The truck plants in the US were closed and my truck was made in Mexico.  In my view the problem is the CAFE standards.  The Dodge Ram division would be a fine viable company by itself.  But, the CAFE standards make it impossible for them to exists independently.  For those with auto industry background is my take correct on this??

So let us move from the ugly to the merely bad.  The truck comes with a security and alarm system from hell.  American auto's are designed in Detroit where everybody is out to steal your vehicle!  Out in the rural west, the major concern I have is locking the keys IN THE VEHICLE in the middle of somewhere.

Early on the alarm system seemed to go off every day.  It seems opening the truck with a key after closing with the FOB would set up the alarm!  The dealer recommended opening in the same manner as closing it!  What??

The truck has the habit of once or twice just locking itself.  Now in the middle of somewhere that is a concern.  Since I have gotten in the habit of leaving the keys in the truck while working, this can be an issue.  So now I always leave the window down just in case the truck will pitch a fit.

FOB's??  What ever happened to a simple key?  The FOB's are the keys designed in hell.  Bulky, easy to fall out of your pocket.  Impossible to hide a second key on the vehicle.  I learned that if you ORDER a truck you can order with standard keys rather than the FOB.  That would be my choice.  I wonder if you can get rid of that security and alarm system??  If I had known that I would have ordered a truck just for the key and security setup to be gone.

The next issue was more serious and did cost us a lot more money.  On the 4X4 model the rear of the truck is WAY to high.  Yeah, I know it looks cool and sells more trucks, but most 5th wheels will not fit since there is not enough room between the bottom of the 5th wheel and the top of the bed rails.  So we ended up with a larger 5th wheel simply because it was the only one we could raise the axle and get the combination to fit.  The rear end of the truck sits 58 inches high in the 4X4 model.  Get out your tape measure and see how high this truck rides!



The Dodge Ram truck is really made for towing so this oversight is criminal.  So check this out before getting a truck.  I should have ordered a flat-bed and then bought a custom box that would fit current 5th wheel models out there.  Dodge, of course, could offer an RV package for the bed already set-up for towing and make plenty of money.  However, I suspect there is a reason they are now owned by a foreign company through the good graces of the US government.

Another issue is the the downshifting is electronic and on the stalk next to the steering wheel.  When driving mountain roads downshifting is awkward.  It is easy to find the shift column and much more difficult to find the button on the stalk when you eyes are on the road.  They should have just left the the downshift controls on the shift column.  Bad design.

On previous models Ram offered the fold-flat rear floor.  That option is no longer available.  They really should have an option for removable rear seats.  Lots of working trucks would be better outfitted with the rear seats removed and used for tool and equipment storage.

Other minor issues.  The touch screen radio in several modes requires you to burrow in the the menu's.  Well, you think a cell phone is distracting wait till you try this radio!   Pull over to the side of the road to operate the radio!!

Well, that covers most of the bad and ugly.  I do like the truck, so next posting we will move onto the good.  And there are some good and great features to the truck.

6 comments:

Chris and Caron said...

Ya Shoulda bought a 2011 Tundra. The perfect truck.

Vladimir Steblina said...

My friend that I hunt with has a Tundra. It is a nice truck.

He drools over my Dodge. He likes the towing capacity and the mileage.

They are both good trucks. I would, however, at this point in my life buy the Dodge hands down. Towing capacity, diesel, and of course that exhaust brake.

Now if it was 1982. And I needed to tow my tent trailer...the Tundra would get real serious consideration.

Stay tuned for part 2. I do like the Ram Truck truck.

Dante Mallet said...

Well, it's good that you didn't just focus on the downsides of the Dodge truck. You balanced it out with the good points so that would-be buyers would know the pros and cons of buying that. As for the truck, I like the exterior and how smoothly it drives.

Kach said...

Yeah, that tendency of the doors to lock themselves has been going on for a while it seems! When I first got my truck, we pulled into Wanapum State Park late in the evening, set up, and I got lazy and took the truck to go register (and also use the headlights to see what the heck I was doing). I left the truck running (30 second job) and returned to find my doors lock. Of course being Vantage, the wind was blowing about 50 MPH. I actually laid in the truck bed to get out of the wind while waiting an hour for a locksmith from Ellensburg!

Love your blog!

Vladimir Steblina said...

Great news....I am going to post a new blog entry in the future....but Dodge fixed it!!!

It was the main controller board. I had 40 miles left on the warranty, when I went to the Dodge dealer in Wickenburg this winter. He opened a warranty claim with Dodge...and it was finally fixed over FOUR more tries by Tucson Dodge.

Hope your truck is still under warranty.

Vladimir Steblina said...

Great news....I am going to post a new blog entry in the future....but Dodge fixed it!!!

It was the main controller board. I had 40 miles left on the warranty, when I went to the Dodge dealer in Wickenburg this winter. He opened a warranty claim with Dodge...and it was finally fixed over FOUR more tries by Tucson Dodge.

Hope your truck is still under warranty.