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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All- My 2018 3500 had begun to make a bad-belt like whining noise above 30 mph so it went into the local dealership for a look- they dropped the pan and found it to be "full of metal" and are now conducting a rebuild. So far as I can determine from the limited info they have provided a bearing failed in an intermediate gear cluster, and they are replacing the bearings, clutch packs, torque converter, and a host of other items. They expect to have the van another week or so as parts trickle in, and are kindly loaning me a pickup in the interim.

I have been pleased with the dealerships handling of the problem, but fear that this may be an endemic failure and not a fluke. They a re extending the warranty period for their rebuild and have agreed to do an oil and filter on the rebuild after a thousand miles or so in order to remove any swarf not cleaned during the overhaul. I would have preferred a new unit but the repair fell below the 70% cutoff point.

This van has 21 K on it and I purchased it new. It is used in my home repair business and is generally carrying about 900-1000 pounds of tools and stock, and is driven gingerly in an attempt to return SOME fuel economy. It has done some towing of lightweight single axle enclosed trailer that may have been as heavy as 4000 pounds- in theory well within the van's design capabilities.

Other failures to date have been both mirror heating elements failing (mirrors replaced), both headlights unsealed and full of moisture (headlights replaced), and the instrument cluster spontaneously cracked (being replaced with transmission repair). Not catastrophic, but disappointing.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Mine is still up on the lift- when they pulled the transmission they propped up the engine with a lift rod so they can't move the van off the lift until they reinstall the transmission.

Now they are telling me that the gasket kit needed to reassemble the thing has been backordered and they do not expect to see it until the 26th, a full 5 weeks after they began the repair. This is both terrible for me (I keep popping back to the dealership to remove more needed tools and stock from my truck- which is a pain in the ass as it is on a lift and we have to find a ladder each time) and for the dealer as they have a lift and work station out of service.

Evidently the 70% cost rebuild/replace calculation does not include factoring in the opportunity cost to the owner or dealership. I suspect if they had replaced the transmission I would have been underway two weeks ago. At this point I would have PAID the extra 30% just to speed things along.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I should note they took the van in on August 15... Don't they build these things every day? I can get parts for my 1965 BMW motorcycle faster.
 

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..pro3500 posted his transmission went 594,000 miles after his rebuild. I think the whole industry suffers a bit with spare parts since just in time inventory management became a thing.
 

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Mine blew up 20,000 miles after the rebuild. Warranty had expired at that time. I bought a brand new factory tranny and had a indi shop swap it out for $700 in one day. No more dealer service no more problems. Cost me about $3,000 total.
 

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Mine blew up 20,000 miles after the rebuild. Warranty had expired at that time. I bought a brand new factory tranny and had a indi shop swap it out for $700 in one day. No more dealer service no more problems. Cost me about $3,000 total.
A new factory transmission for $2300? That's a no-brainer.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wow- if a factory new unit can be had for $2300 it really makes me wonder about the value of rebuilding the broken units.... it is costing FCA a lot in terms of reputation and good will to rebuild mine, and this failure (while likely coincidental and not endemic of the vehicle and line) is giving me a very strong case of buyers remorse.

Especially given that for the past month I have been back to driving my 15 year old T1N sprinter and my fuel bill is down over $200.
 

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I do work in the auto industry but I don't remember my discount being a whole lot, maybe a few hundred dollars. They are fairly cheap for a complete new, not remanufactured unit.
 

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Dealer wanted $5500...Indi did it for $3000. Said they see promaster tranny's all the time. After rebuild they never see em again...got 250000 miles out of mine. Lot of highway miles and one tranny flush before 1st tranny pooped out.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
My dealership explained yesterday that they have had nothing but problems with Promaster parts- that they are only allowed to order from a single warehouse and that they cannot source parts from other dealerships, so if a part isn't in the warehouse they have to wait until it is manufactured and shipped, leading to long delays for just about everything. It wasn't clear if this was the case across the entire FCA line but it was plainly a point of great frustration to them as well as to their customers. They asked me to please complain directly to corporate.

How messed up is your system that you have to request your customers bitch to the higher-ups about your lack of parts avability? This is reason enough make me have serious concerns about Promaster ownership.
 

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Call FCA/Ram customer service and keep us posted. It's been my experience that FCA is really messed up, and most of the dealers too. I am a little surprised that parts are still that hard for a dealer to get there hands on.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Called customer service.... they were very polite and the service representative I spoke with promised to "advance my issue" to his superior and that I could expect to hear back from them within 24 hours.

That was 4 days ago, so I'm not holding my breath. The mysteriously absent pump gasket, part number 68014103AA, is supposed to arrive tomorrow to my dealer, so it seems moot at this point.

This gasket set is easily available online, and even in a Mopar container- If I had known it would be such a hassle I would have bought it and handed it over to my service tech- it's a sub $10 part. Worse yet, I can find this gasket on the aftermarket in stock in my hometown, but not in a Mopar sleeve so I wouldn't expect the dealer to chance using it.
 

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I have a promaster city, but I want to upgrade to a full size pm. After reading this about the pm and transit what is a reliable vehicle to own? Nissan or Gmc?

Mike
 

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All brands have issues.
Pound for pound, Toyota probably has the best track record for reliability. But they don't make a work van.
I don't know the numbers, but if I had to guess, I'd say the % of promaster owners that get a lemon is very small. Most of the issues are minor, quirky things. Vans seem to be the most prone to quirks. I'll bet there's even promasters out there that have never had an issue.
Even Toyota pops out problem-prone lemons now and then.
I almost laughed out loud when you said GM and Nissan.
 

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Well I dont know a great deal about work vans, I have had trucks only, until the pmc I like the PM, and you are right they all have issues.

Mike
 

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I'm in a similar boat. I've had a few vans in the past, but the new ones with euro-style bodies, fwd etc are a new animal to me. They have some new issues, new advantages and a lot of the the good ol' quirks that vans have always been known for. At least that's what I'm getting from my research.
I freaked a little when I started seeing threads about major leaks, bad transmission, etc. I've been driving tundras since 2011 and I've been spoiled rotten by the bulletproof drivetrain and just the overall attention to detail in the engineering. Not fancy, just smart and no corners cut.
But then I got to thinking..... You hear a lot of complaints on the boards about the Toyotas too. Granted, it's mostly people being princesses and complaining about cosmetic stuff and creature comforts, but you also hear about the mechanical failures and then the year long dealer nightmares that follow.
I realized it's no different with these vans. If you read this board, you will find a lot of complaints and issues, but that's I small portion of ALL the people who own them.
I'm slowly talking myself into not holding these vans to the standard I hold my truck. It will keep me from making the switch. I have to hold it to the standard of other vans. The PM is a pretty nice platform, as far as vans go.
 

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There's 2 regular USPS delivery guys that show up at work. Both have promasters.
One guy hates his. Says it's ok for a work vehicle but he would never buy one for personal use.
The other guy loves his. Said it drives like a car and never had an issue other than he doesn't like backing down a steep loading dock bay in the snow. Which, no vehicle does well at, especially with bald street tires.
Point is, you can ask 10 people and get 10 different answers.
Aaaaaand,.... I just realized I'm more trying to talk myself into this more than anyone else.
Ha!
 
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