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I have been in the market for a Promaster for about a year now. It's been a frustrating journey, as I have just gotten to the point of committing to buy as Ram stopped making the 2015 model.
The frustration may pay off in the end if the 2016 model fixes a handful of the early issues:
Brake squeal
Leaking Radiator
Funky gear ratio
Cup holder ridiculousness (probably the most important of all issues)
[Add other issues here]

There are a lot of well informed people on this forum. I would like to put together what people know or have heard about the 2016 PM into a single thread.

Thanks all for a great forum.

Harkmeister
 

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I have been in the market for a Promaster for about a year now. It's been a frustrating journey, as I have just gotten to the point of committing to buy as Ram stopped making the 2015 model.

The frustration may pay off in the end if the 2016 model fixes a handful of the early issues:

Brake squeal

Leaking Radiator

Funky gear ratio

Cup holder ridiculousness (probably the most important of all issues)

[Add other issues here]



There are a lot of well informed people on this forum. I would like to put together what people know or have heard about the 2016 PM into a single thread.



Thanks all for a great forum.



Harkmeister

I don't expect too many changes in 2016.

"Funky gear ratio" seems to be more personal preference as I think the transmission is great as is.

Cup holders, while a poor design choice is really no big deal after you own a Promaster for awhile. They work fine for me. Maybe there will be a slight change when we get the new facelift in 2017 or 2018.

Brake squeal, while annoying is due to the heavy duty brake pads FCA chose. I'm sure the engineers didn't expect them to squeal so much. They perform great. If you don't like the squeal you can just get different pads. Mine has 15000 miles and the squeal is not bad anymore.

Leaking radiator is most likely fixed with later 2015's. Mine doesn't leak and it's a 2014.


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Brake squeal is an ignorable problem. The radiator-leak situation is probably fixed. The transmission isn't changing - it's also not a big deal; just let it do whatever it wants to do. If you consider it to be a "problem", which it really isn't, it's ignorable. The only real issue with the cupholders is that if you order the double passenger seat, the person stuck in the middle has nowhere to put their legs.

Mine has been great ... don't make mountains out of molehills.
 

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Re: US 2016 Promaster

In my search I spoke with several dealer sales managers. I asked one if he'd heard anything about the 2016 PMs, specifically, will we get the euro-style facelift. He said he'd attended some sort of corporate (or maybe BusinessLink?) meeting. He said we were getting "the American Promaster" and he believed they were addressing the steering wheel position issue and alluded there may be a tilt wheel. So, according to that, no facelift but maybe a tilt wheel.
 

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Brake squeal is an ignorable problem. The radiator-leak situation is probably fixed. The transmission isn't changing - it's also not a big deal; just let it do whatever it wants to do. If you consider it to be a "problem", which it really isn't, it's ignorable. The only real issue with the cupholders is that if you order the double passenger seat, the person stuck in the middle has nowhere to put their legs.

Mine has been great ... don't make mountains out of molehills.
I respectfully disagree on transmission not being a big deal. It may not be a big deal to some, and ignorable to others, but to me it's a huge deal I won't ignore.

Why would I want to spend $40,000 on a van I'm likely going to drive for 10 years or more, plus at least another $20,000 to convert it for camping, on the basis that I can ignore any significant flaws?

And since I don't want a diesel, or its AMT, that rules out the PM for now. Again, we are all different and have different levels of expectation. I personally expect more than a 2X4 transmission with ratios that make little sense.
 

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I respectfully disagree on transmission not being a big deal. It may not be a big deal to some, and ignorable to others, but to me it's a huge deal I won't ignore.



Why would I want to spend $40,000 on a van I'm likely going to drive for 10 years or more, plus at least another $20,000 to convert it for camping, on the basis that I can ignore any significant flaws?



And since I don't want a diesel, or its AMT, that rules out the PM for now. Again, we are all different and have different levels of expectation. I personally expect more than a 2X4 transmission with ratios that make little sense.


Because it is not a "significant flaw". The transmission works great and the ratios are fine. I have pretty high expectations as well and evaluated all three cargo vans extensively.


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Because it is not a "significant flaw".
It is to me. And since I'm the one paying for my next van, it's the only one that will influence my purchase.


Sorry to be blunt, but it's true. I respect that you think ratios are fine for you. They are not for me. It's that simple -- we have different opinions, likes, and expectations. It's also why some people buy PM, others Transit, and others Sprinter, etc....

That obsolete transmission is on its way out for good reason. Otherwise Chrysler wouldn't be spending millions to replace it.

By the way, I'm not questioning your purchase. As long as it makes you happy that's all that counts.
 

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My opinion is It's fine on normal days,that is in low winds. When I hit the mountains or a windy day I simply manual it to 5th gear.
So use to it that I do not even have to think about it. No problems for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
he believed they were addressing the steering wheel position issue and alluded there may be a tilt wheel. So, according to that, no facelift but maybe a tilt wheel.
Thanks for that ha3Dy! That is the kind of information I was hoping people would have. I forgot about the lack of tilt wheel.

Has anyone else heard what the 2016's might be like.

Thanks again all for a great forum.
 

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I think the transmission is designed perfect for me. Love the fast take-off. Goes thru gears smooth and fast. The way I accelerate, there are no gaps in gearing. I just got 20mpg driving 7 hours to Atlanta Friday on the interstate (cruise off). Got 17.5 cruise ON coming back. I think the engineers milked all they can from the 3.6L and nailed the transmission gearing.
 

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Chance,
Im curious; why is the trans such a dealbreaker? It aggressively downshifts in steep hills to augment the cruise control, and it downshifts sometimes in high winds to maintain speed. Why is that a big deal?

With multigear modern transmissions (more than 4 speeds) downshifting a lot is something we are just going to have to get used to. Its the point of all those gears. Why have 9 speeds if the trans isnt going to use all if them constantly, hunting for the perfect gear? I guess, in theory, you want the thing constantly shifting to maximize the fuel.

But i suspect you have other reasons. Share?
 

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Chance,
Im curious; why is the trans such a dealbreaker? It aggressively downshifts in steep hills to augment the cruise control, and it downshifts sometimes in high winds to maintain speed. Why is that a big deal?

With multigear modern transmissions (more than 4 speeds) downshifting a lot is something we are just going to have to get used to. Its the point of all those gears. Why have 9 speeds if the trans isnt going to use all if them constantly, hunting for the perfect gear? I guess, in theory, you want the thing constantly shifting to maximize the fuel.

But i suspect you have other reasons. Share?
You've heard the "Devil is in the details"? That's what bugs me. Maybe it shouldn't but it does.

No mechanical engineer would design that transmission as presently designed except to make it cheaper by modifying a previous 4-speed. The result is a bunch of gearing compromises that I personally view as "flawed". Perhaps that's too strong a word, but the idea that management would force engineers to create a transmission with poor gearing to cut the cost a little irritates me. It should have never happened. The solution should have been to design an all-new 6-speed with proper gear spacing.

What you describe as "agreesively downshifting" can be explained by the fact that the gear spacing between 5th and 6th is 1.46:1. And that is HUGE by modern standards. My van's 4-speed has a 1.42:1 jump between 3rd and 4th, and those ratios date back about 30 years -- and again, it's a 4-speed.

A proper modern transmission starts with wider jumps at low end and makes them smaller as you go up in gears. As far as I know every vehicle works that way except for the Chrysler/PM 6-speed automatic. Just look at the PM manual transmission and you'll see the way it should be done.

So basically by having such a wide jump between 5th and 6th, the van has to hold 6th longer than optimum because if it downshifts sooner at higher RPMs and or lighter load the jump to 5th will be that much worse.

When my van downshifts from 4th to 3rd it's such a power interruption that it's not smooth at all. You call it "agressive downshift" and I call it unnecessary or undesirable. Fortunately my van with a V10 rarely downshifts at highway speeds unless I'm towing.

By the way, I don't think 9-speed is necessary unless power-to-weight becomes extremely low. New 6- to 8-speed automatics do a great job. In large part because upper gears are spaced with about half the jump as a PM automatic.
 

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Another change I'm hearing online about, can't confirm it's true as yet, but Chrysler and GM are both dropping their powertrain warranties on GAS engine vehicles, back to 60k on mileage. Still remain at 5yrs time.
Something to consider.....
 

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I see what you are driving at, and agree for the most part. Money/cost is a tricky thing in automotive. I realize that the OEM could produce a perfect van that does everything fantastically....and it would cost $80k and I wouldn't be able to own it. So I'm willing to forgive them cost cutting sometimes, and in truth I want them to cut cost as much as possible, even though I don't always like where they do it.

Mopar still builds that tranny in Kokomo I think, and that's where they will build the new 9 speed. All I know is that Ford and GM went in together on their new shared tranny because it costs 1 billion dollars to develop an all new trans. Billion with a B. Nuts. No wonder Sergio is looking for someone to partner with. He calls it "morally" wrong that OEMs have to do so much duplicated development.
 

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I see what you are driving at, and agree for the most part. Money/cost is a tricky thing in automotive. I realize that the OEM could produce a perfect van that does everything fantastically....and it would cost $80k and I wouldn't be able to own it. So I'm willing to forgive them cost cutting sometimes, and in truth I want them to cut cost as much as possible, even though I don't always like where they do it.

Mopar still builds that tranny in Kokomo I think, and that's where they will build the new 9 speed. All I know is that Ford and GM went in together on their new shared tranny because it costs 1 billion dollars to develop an all new trans. Billion with a B. Nuts. No wonder Sergio is looking for someone to partner with. He calls it "morally" wrong that OEMs have to do so much duplicated development.
Trust me, I get this. I've led cost-cutting projects (not in billions but multi-million) and know there is a difference between cutting costs by making equipment or processes more efficient versus cutting corners. And it's not a black and white distinction so lines get blurred.

In my opinion (and granted in absence of all facts) if they couldn't do it right themselves they should have purchased a new 6-speed. Isn't that what many companies that are not large enough to spend 1 billion do? Think about it, how many different RWD vehicles are now using a version of the ZF 8-speed in the RAM half-ton pickup? Many, from pickups to luxury automobiles.

The ZF FWD 9-speed is following same path. Cost is distributed by showing up in vehicles from Hondas to Chryslers. I'm not saying the 9-speed is the right transmission for the PM (although I'd bet it will eventually replace the present transmission), I'm just stating that for me the existing 6-speed doesn't cut it. And it's not about number of gears, because the Ford Transit's 6R80 is also 6 speeds and I have nothing against it.
 

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Best to speculate about 2017 MY. If there is a front end refresh, it may come then - then again maybe not - FCA screwed up on this one, imo. Who's to say that they will actually invest in continuing development of this awesome van? Pretty meager track record so far.

Also, there is a new FCA 4 cyl diesel that is 2.2 liter turbo, that can rev higher, and makes more slightly more torque than the 3.0. I wonder if the fuel consumption will be lighter? If so, then the diesel option may replace the 3.0. It is called Multijet II
http://allparnews.com/index.php/2015/05/brand-new-diesel-for-cherokee-28796

There is also a VM diesel at 2.4 liter that has even more torque peak at a low 1600rpm, similar to the existing 3.0. Information in the above link.

I suspect that one of these will be an option in the future ProMaster, or perhaps both?
 

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The 62TE's ratios are not well spaced ... Point granted. But it doesn't mean that it doesn't get the job done. Yes, the shift from 2nd to 3rd can be a bit funny (those are the lower gears that are too close together and the transmission has to do a double internal shift to get it done ... it has to shift the main 4-speed box from 1st to 2nd simultaneous with shifting the underdrive box from direct to underdrive). Yes, 6th is pretty tall in the interest of economy, and if there's a smidge too much headwind or uphill it has to do a downshift and it's a big downshift because of the big space between 5 and 6.

At most, this is a "driver irritant" and really only if you pay attention to the tachometer. If you drive like most people - "accelerator makes it speed up, brakes slow it down" - it's not really a bother; the shifts between 5 and 6 on the highway are reasonably unobtrusive. My main concern with the 62TE was the poor reputation that Chrysler minivan and other 4-speed automatic transmissions have had over the years. It appears that this has been addressed in later years.

As long as the 62TE holds together I can deal with this minor irritant. Would I rather have the 9HP ... Sure.

I've been in other vehicles with shift programming that was far, far more irritating.

Chevrolet Silverado 4 speed automatic with a trailer in tow. Cruise control ... uphill, slooooowing down ... Bang, downshift to just short of redline, rocket ahead through the cruise control setpoint, upshift, slooooowing down ... repeat until top of hill. The ProMaster doesn't do that. It will drop to the lower gear and pretty much stay there unless/until something (slope, etc) changes.

Ford Expedition 4 speed automatic with a trailer in tow. Would not hold overdrive with torque converter locked, would not lock torque converter in 3 without attempting a shift to 4 at which point it would not lock the torque converter. Had to drive all the way from Toronto to Florida and back with overdrive locked out to avoid hunting between 3 and 4 and torque-converter lockup. At least this way it stayed in 3 with the converter locked.

And, of course, this brings back memories of the last full-size Ram van that I was in before the ProMaster ... my buddy Al's mid-eighties old skool Ram van with the 225 Slant Six (leaning tower of power) and single-barrel carb with 3-speed automatic and no lockup converter. No air conditioning, either. True ... no gear hunting when it's only got 3 to choose from. But uphills ... ! ! !
 

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Yeah some things I don't like about the PM but the pros far out weigh the cons. Everything on mine is fine including my wife. I think that if one focuses on a few minor issues you would never own anything.
 
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