Mountain Equine - Courtney S. Diehl, DVM / Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Day 34- The Burned 2013 Ram 2500 Truck saga continues.

It’s been an illuminating 48 hours since I received the letter from Ram absolving themselves from any responsibility related to the alternator fire which shut my truck and my business down on November 2nd.  Now, I understand that some folks are sick and tired of hearing this long sad tale of woe and mistreatment by megacorporation Ram, aka Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and several have suggested that I tow the truck to another mechanic and pay to get it fixed and move on.

I could do that for sure.  Just pay the repair bill out of pocket, which as it stands right now would cost about $1200.00.  The mechanic could throw the faulty burned alternator, which has nothing whatsoever, in any way, shape or form, to do with Ram, in the trash, and we could all put this behind us.

Ram would absolutely love that.  Don’t you see that this is precisely what they’re hoping I’ll do. They want to tangle me up in red tape for so long that I’ll become weary and defeated and give up.

Except I’m not that kind of gal.  Ram don’t know me very well, do they?  Getting me to go away might just be impossible.  I’m the proverbial bitch who will not quit.  Rust never sleeps.   If I read on the news next week that a family of four burned to death in their Ram truck, and I did nothing to fight these bastards, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. 

I know in my gut that there is a faulty part at play which is Ram’s responsibility.  And I know that they don’t want to deal with it.  So I had some fun with phone calls and e mails over the weekend.  I first called good old Tony Morris at 586-274-8164  who sent me this nice-piss-off form letter from the Ram Special Investigations.  Strangely Tony didn’t answer his phone so I left him a nice message wondering how exactly he could determine the cause of a failed part from a few photos.

My next call was to State Farm Automobile Insurance on 12/5 and I had a lovely chat with my claims adjuster who reminded me that they aren’t going to cover the cost of a defective part.  I asked him if they were going to pursue anything with Ram, and they said no- after all, an investigation concluded that Ram was not at fault, so what more could they do?  Never mind the small fact that Ram PAID for the investigation and concluded that they were innocent, agreed with themselves, and let themselves off the hook.  Does this stick in anyone else’s craw? It sure sends my personal BS meter off the Richter scale.

So no help from State Farm.  I decided to call my friend Tony back and request a copy of the investigative report which concluded that Ram was innocent.  Now, in defense of Tony, it was 5:00 pm, so maybe he’d retired off to a nice sports bar to drink a Coors Light.  I decided to top off the message with a little tip for Tony that I planned to retrieve the faulty alternator from the dealers and ship it off to an engineering firm who could tell me exactly why it caught fire, then because I like to share things, pass along whatever information I could learn to Fox 31 who was scheduled to call me today at 11:30am for a phone interview about firey Ram trucks.  For good measure I also e mailed the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles telling him exactly what I thought of this deceitful behavior by Ram which was endangering people’s lives and livelihoods.  Then, because I’m me, I e mailed Erin Brockovich, yes, THAT Erin Brockovich, and shared the whole story with her.  Haven’t heard back from Erin yet, but it’s early in the week.

Tony called me at precisely 8:44am this morning, and alas, I was in the shower, so I missed his call.  But he left me a nice message informing me that Ram had decided to authorize my warranty after all and repair the truck at no expense to me, and that he’d contacted Steamboat Motors to instruct them to get right on it.

Because I’m now on a first name basis with Jerry, the service manager at Steamboat Motors, I decided to double check that they’d received the same information that I had from good old Tony and indeed, he’d already contacted them. But it was fascinating to me how we could both hear from the same guy, yet get very different pieces of information.

Here’s what Tony said to Jerry over at Steamboat Motors.  Ram would cover the cost of all repairs to my truck.  Ram would also cover the entire duration of time I’d been in a rental vehicle.  Interestingly, Jerry was also told by Tony that there was now a recall on these alternators, effective TODAY, and in order to cover the cost of all of this work and rental vehicles and such, they would just need one tiny little thing from us.

The bad alternator.

No alternator- no payee for fixee truckee.  Gosh, Tony neglected to mention any of this to me in his message, which I have saved for posterity.  Jerry’s advice was to give them the alternator and get the truck repaired, and since they were announcing a recall, which was what I wanted from them, I was okay with that.  Bad alternator is now gone into the depths of wherever Ram keeps their dirty little secrets.  I hear Jimmy Hoffa might be in there too.  I stopped by Steamboat Motors just to check on things and there was my truck with a shining new alternator in place.  I took a few pictures just in case.

But because I like to cover my ass, I kept my interview with Chris at Fox 31 at 11:30am and here’s what I learned.  There have been quite a few of us Ram owners recently who have had the same experience with alternators burning.  And apparently Ram can announce a dealer recall which is not quite, exactly, precisely the same thing as a national recall.  So people are still at risk and the problem isn’t solved.

But Fox 31 News is ON IT.  I have a live camera interview with them next week and their news crew are all coming to Steamboat for the day.  I suggested we do the interview, then they can see my truck and its pretty new alternator (see photo at top of page) and meet good old Jerry at Steamboat Motors, then we can all go skiing.

Burn baby burn, Ram Truck infirnOOO!

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SERVICES

COURTNEY S. DIEHL, DVM

MOBILE EQUINE VETERINARIAN

Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Since 2000, Dr. Diehl has provided mobile equine veterinary services in the Rocky Mountains.

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