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Are there any good service centers around that can perform warranty work (ie brake squeal) besides dealerships. Since we travel all over the USA can be flexible in location. Would really prefer a smaller shop where can watch work being done as opposed to the big dealers who demand we work on their schedule and where keys are turned over to some methed up moron who drives it into an out of sight bay where knows what is done to the vehicle.
 

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Dodge warranty. Dodge shops.

Since you travel all over the USA, why not find a top notch dealership, and have your work done there?
 

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Please list every "top notch dealership" you're aware of "Service" wise.

So far, based on Ram Truck dealership sales dept experiences, I can not recommend any as "top notch".
 

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Please do your own research and decide for yourself which are top notch or which are adequate.. I am not up to making a list for you.

What does Ram truck dealership sales dept. have to do with their service dept.?

If I believed there were no dealerships in the country capable of changing out brake pads on a Promaster, I would sell mine and buy something else.

I have no doubt there are dealerships with shops having less than stellar ability,. That being said, I don't believe they are all method up morons.
 

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I think it's safe to say there are many dealers with poor shops just as there are many good independent shops that are not excellent and vica versa.

The real question is can people recommend good shops (from their past service history) that are Promaster friendly and qualified?

Personally, I always search out a local independent service shop if I can't do something myself if only because their prices are usually substantially lower than the dealers.

So far I've had good warrantee service from the dealer I bought my Promaster from but while sitting in the waiting room, on occasion, waiting for something to be done under warenttee, I've overheard the service manager come in and tell some poor slob who didn't know any better it was going to cost them a fortune to have some simple thing done that any independent shop would do for half the price. New brakes, change oil, tires, exhaust, etc. come to mind especially. The dealer is a good place to go for some types if service, for sure, but there are far better alternatives out there as well if you spend a little time looking!
 

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Carl Burger Ram in San Diego is "top notch" in service and terrible in sales. But, out of the 30 plus dealers I reached out to during my buying process all were poor.
 

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OK, you're "not up to" naming even a single "top notch dealership" - I can appreciate that.

Please do your own research and decide for yourself which are top notch or which are adequate.. I am not up to making a list for you.
That being said, I don't believe they are all method up morons.
I certainly "don't believe they are all method up morons" either, but wonder if 1 "out of the 30 plus dealers" in anybody's research is representative?
 

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I think it's safe to say there are many dealers with poor shops just as there are many good independent shops that are not excellent and vica versa.

The real question is can people recommend good shops (from their past service history) that are Promaster friendly and qualified?

Personally, I always search out a local independent service shop if I can't do something myself if only because their prices are usually substantially lower than the dealers.

So far I've had good warrantee service from the dealer I bought my Promaster from but while sitting in the waiting room, on occasion, waiting for something to be done under warenttee, I've overheard the service manager come in and tell some poor slob who didn't know any better it was going to cost them a fortune to have some simple thing done that any independent shop would do for half the price. New brakes, change oil, tires, exhaust, etc. come to mind especially. The dealer is a good place to go for some types if service, for sure, but there are far better alternatives out there as well if you spend a little time looking!
I agree. I do the same thing. On most things, they are WAY too pricey. Once my 100,000 bumper to bumper is done, I doubt my van's shadow will pass across their lot. I am all about the independent shops.

My only point was that they are the ONLY place to go for warranty work unless you want to pay out of pocket, and possibly take the risk of voiding your warrranty. The original poster was asking about getting warranty service at independent shops.
 

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I agree. I do the same thing. On most things, they are WAY too pricey. Once my 100,000 bumper to bumper is done, I doubt my van's shadow will pass across their lot. I am all about the independent shops.

My only point was that they are the ONLY place to go for warranty work unless you want to pay out of pocket, and possibly take the risk of voiding your warrranty. The original poster was asking about getting warranty service at independent shops.
Oops, I missed that! It never even occurred to me anyone would think they could get warrantee work done at an independent shop!
 

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I have heard that some smaller manufacturers (Telsa, in particular) might do this if they have no actual presence in a particular state but I would highly doubt that FCA would considering their size and dealer network in the USA, good or bad!

I suppose you could call them up and ask?
 

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OK, you're "not up to" naming even a single "top notch dealership" - I can appreciate that.



I certainly "don't believe they are all method up morons" either, but wonder if 1 "out of the 30 plus dealers" in anybody's research is representative?
Jumper,

I think that is probably a rather pessimistic estimate. I don't know what personal experiences you have had as far as receiving poor service. I know it takes very few bad experiences to pretty much sour you on a manufacturer in general.

The advantage of going to a manufacturer, is that they have specific training to service the vehicles they build. With that being said, I think it is a fair assumption that the training has not kept pace with the need, as far as this totally new vehicle goes. I would think a 2+ year window is enough time to have more techs trained to deal with the Promaster. Also, if a dealership has techs that are not able to deal with brakes, exhaust, tires, etc., then I would suggest that they have problems WAY beyond the Promaster. But it is what it is. Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease. There are relatively few Promaster owners as compared to other models. Maybe more should complain to FCA when they run into inadequate service.

With my profession I work very closely with new car dealers, used car dealers, and many independent shops. I have seen the good, the bad & the ugly from all three entities. There was one recent incident where someone drove their vehicle to the new car dealership, was provided a bill for around $1,200, then told to come get the vehicle with a tow truck, as it would no longer run after they were finished with it.

These kinds of events are why some people sometimes refer to dealerships as stealerships. Personally, I don't like that term because it lumps them all into a category that is sometimes undeserved. True, they are definitely the upper tier when it comes to price structure, although I have seen some independents that rival them. I see dealer shops as having there place among us, even with vehicles that are out of warranty.

The thing about most independent shops, is that they generally do not specialize in one make. They service almost anything that comes through the door. Therefore, they have to have a LOT more knowledge than your typical dealership mechanic. But, there is no way they can have dealer level skills on MOST of the cars they service. However, I have seen some pretty brilliant independent shop mechanics in my day, and they are very knowledgeable about many makes and models. They seem to be like bulldogs that are just not willing to let go of a bone. If they get something that that is over their head, they are willing to go to the n'th degree to research it and figure it out. That is why they have become such a good mechanic. They might spend an inordinate amount of time on a car, that some would condemn as not good "business" practice. But to them, they are investing in their education. And, the next time they encounter the same problem, it is easy money. But even with all of that being the case, I can guarantee you that even the brilliant independents have uttered these words: "'Send it to the dealer."

When that point is reached, two things are pretty much assured. With a few notable exceptions like the one I mentioned, they are going to fix the car, and it is going to cost a lot of money. It is not a pleasant thought, but neither is the thought of your car being towed from one shop to another without any resolution. At some point, spending the money is the viable option.

So, my point is that they have their place. It's just business. All the car manufacturers are not building cars in order to provide a good community service, to fulfill the publics transportation needs in the most economical manner possible. Their goal is to extract every possible dollar they can out of your pocket. They have to walk a fine line between alienating their customer base or not.

Incidentally, there are many many people out there who are not as cheap as us. (I include myself in that statement, I am cheap) There are people who only want their vehicle serviced at the dealership. They are willing to pay the money, and they will take it no where else. So the dealership has it's place. However, when one runs in to a dealer shop who is completely inadequate, the impact is about 100 times worse than when one encounters the same kind of inadequacy at an independent, and rightfully so. If we were speaking in medical terms, it would be like the difference in a general practitioner and a heart surgeon. The MD sends you to the heart surgeon because your condition is beyond his/her scope, and the sucker leaves a sponge inside of you. Totally unacceptable.

Paying the money is painful. Paying the money and having the proverbial sponge left inside you infuriating.

I have no doubt that there are adequate dealer shops out there that can take care of the Promaster. One was mentioned on this thread. Everyone has to do their own due diligence and decide where to take their baby.

-t
 

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Yes, we were looking to see if there were any "factory authorized" shops besides Dealers - many other industries do this.
Yea you are right. A lot of electronic warranty repair is farmed out like that.

New car dealers are kind if a different animal. They have been dancing with the independents for many years. They want you to come to them. The argument could be made that a substantial part of their engineering practice throughout the years has been devoted to making it difficult for independents to work on their stuff. (I am not stating that as fact, because I am not stupid. Just saying it has been alleged.)

It is a fact however that much of their diagnostic and repair tools and procedures are proprietary. If it were not for an act of Congress, we would all be even more pigeonholed. Congress passed the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act. In a nutshell, it requires the manufacturers to provide Independent shops with the same information they provide their dealerships. Then the independents can use aftermarket or dealer purchased tools, programmers, etc. to service vehicles.
 

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Incidentally, I wouldn't be surprised to see FCA farm out something to an independent in some rare circumstances. Such as having a repair to a van that is LONG way from one of their facilities, AND they were responsible for footing the tow bill. However, that would obviously all be done through them. I would be more than surprised to find they had any facility preauthorized to provide warranty work.

-t
 

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Well said Taylor, and consistent with my 50 years of vehicle ownership. I do much of my own service to avoid both the above. However I have found exceptional independent and dealer shops and use them because they are better than I am on complex work and fair. I am cheap. I hope to find one for the PM and my first impression of my selling dealer was the shop was good and the Tech I visited with (inside the shop) was knowledgeable and claimed to have full training in the gas PM. I did not get to interrogate- oops I mean converse with their PM diesel trained tech. Time will tell and I believe we should be forthcoming about good service, keep it positive and share the joy.
 

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Dealerships

I live in Houston and there are several Ram dealers. I looked for a large fleet dealer. When I took my Promaster diesel in for service, I specifically asked if they had a trained service tech on the diesel. They confirmed that they did and had the special computer that is necessary for diagnosing the diesel pollution control system. I think the problem is that no dealer will state that they are not equipped to service the Promaster. At this point in the early stages of this model, it is important to be sure that you find a qualified service department. That is only going to occur with large fleet dealers until the training catches up. I would not trust anyone who is not specifically trained with the proper equipment to tinker with the diesel.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I live in Houston and there are several Ram dealers. I looked for a large fleet dealer. When I took my Promaster diesel in for service, I specifically asked if they had a trained service tech on the diesel. They confirmed that they did and had the special computer that is necessary for diagnosing the diesel pollution control system. I think the problem is that no dealer will state that they are not equipped to service the Promaster. At this point in the early stages of this model, it is important to be sure that you find a qualified service department. That is only going to occur with large fleet dealers until the training catches up. I would not trust anyone who is not specifically trained with the proper equipment to tinker with the diesel.
good point about a big fleet dealer - with Sprinters, can go to Freightliner so don't have to deal with the general public BS. Which was the big fleet dealer in Houston ?
 

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Well said Taylor, and consistent with my 50 years of vehicle ownership. I do much of my own service to avoid both the above. However I have found exceptional independent and dealer shops and use them because they are better than I am on complex work and fair. I am cheap. I hope to find one for the PM and my first impression of my selling dealer was the shop was good and the Tech I visited with (inside the shop) was knowledgeable and claimed to have full training in the gas PM. I did not get to interrogate- oops I mean converse with their PM diesel trained tech. Time will tell and I believe we should be forthcoming about good service, keep it positive and share the joy.
That describes exactly how i operate too. I am hoping by the time my warranty runs out there will be independents out there who are able to pick up the torch. It would likely be a good gig for somebody. In the past, I have sought out mechanics who specialized on certain vehicles. For example, when I had my TDI diesel, I found a guy in Austin, TX who specialized in the ALH TDI engine. It was all he worked on. I made a special trip up there, a 3 hour drive in order for him to change out the timing belt, and I went ahead and had him put in a new cam and lifters, since I was going to be past due for them before my next timing belt service.

He was a young guy, and I am pretty sure he was hung over. But watching him work on that engine was like watching an artist at work. Man he was fast. I knew it was done right. Plus, he was so familiar with that engine and because he worked so fast, his price was quite a bit below quotes I had received from other shops.

He had people driving from mIles around to have their ALH engines worked on, and he was busy all the time. I hope they keep selling the fool out of the Promaster. The more of them out there, the more incentive there is for people to learn how to work on them.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
unlike some of you, we are not afraid to name names when we get jacked around. several more dealers not to be counted on:
dishman dodge - spokane - we were hung up on 3 times
casper wy - no knowledge of tech bulletins, just wants to make appt for mid november

the verdict is in - FCA, Ram, Promaster can not be recommended for commercial businesses or ever RV'ers who are on the go and depend on their vehicles - the service is not there.

It's clear FCA and their Ram Dealers don't give a **** about servicing their business customers. Guess they make too much money off other moron consumers who do and pay whatever they say. We will avoid dealers now at all costs.

Couple that with the awful interior framing that is making any conversion attempt time wasting and expensive and we are past buyer remorse - just how to cut the losses of time and money. Next vehicles will be Transits or Sprinters.

Too bad we don't do business in the US Northeast or we would take up @KOV generous offer to fix the brakes but will try to find a small shop and just pay them to do it. We bought the cheaper van and now we are getting what we paid for.
 
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