Yesterday I did something I never thought I'd ever do... return the lowest mileage truck in my fleet. In 2008 we bought what we thought was going to be our dream landscape truck. We picked it up and for about a month things went great it had good power, never was fast mind you but everything was pretty much what we expected with the exception of the radiator fan running more than you'd expect. Well things continued and then we started getting what I thought was belt noise from the fan. I took it up to our dealer (who really has tried their best through this ordeal) and they said it must be a bad belt tensioner... they replaced it no big deal and also the fan belt. Month later squeaks come back. Well months of this continue and the noise is just unbearable especially in the summer when it's above 85. Ford at my dealer's request sends a "specialist" out to look at the truck one time and when I tried to come up and meet with him/her they pitched a fit and told my dealer to tell me he wouldn't/did want to meet with me. He "looked" the truck over and tells them "everything is within spec" so I start calling the ford conflict resolution number at this point, I know I have a lemon and I'd heard of people getting replacement truck why not me, they'll have none of it. I'm pretty much told that the truck is designed to run hot and the fact that it's tearing though a fan belt every 8,000 miles and the fact that I used a fan clutch assembly every 15000 miles was no big deal.
I am in the fortunate position to have 2 retired Ford higher ups that I work for and they were kind enough to make some phone calls on my behalf but even with this NO help from ford. All and all in the brief time (Aug 2008) we've had this truck it spent over 4 months in the shop in just 61000 miles that we were able to put on it. With a monthly lease payment of over 1000$ and month that's eaisly $4000 I spent to have it sitting at my dealer, then considering I had to trailer with my road tractor several times there (90mile round trip) and other times had to have an employee or wife follow me up I likely spent another $2000 dollars in time and fuel getting it to the mechanic. And I had to spend all this in the worst 4 years of business we'd ever seen.
Ford after my months of calling did give me an extended warranty for the truck throughout the term of my lease and only did that because I started listing off the some 25 ford vehicles we've had in our fleet over the years. I had the option at the end of my lease to buy the truck (my original plan all along) but opted to return it to ford commercial credit, they really wanted me to pay the remainder and I could "sell it" for a profit, I refused because I told them in good conscience I couldn't do that to someone and I hoped they wouldn't either but I don't have much faith in that because the truck they sold me was already known by them to be a utter disaster and yet they kept them rolling off the line.
I'm still pretty upset about loosing so much $ and time over something that I really think if Ford cared about their customers they wouldn't have let happen in the first place or even if it was a mistake they would have done the honorable thing and made it right, but they didn't. In our line of work there are companies of integrity and good moral character I feel I'm one of those. If for some reason I made an honest mistake on a project and some part of it failed I would and have came back and corrected it, and at little to no cost to my client. Ford clearly illustrated to me that no matter how good of a customer we've been in the past and no matter how valid my argument or that of my dealer they were looking out for one thing: their own bottom line. Of course I guess the choice I have it to avoid the Ford brand for my fleet which with my last two purchases of super lawn trucks I'm off to a great start but it really does sadden me because I really really wanted to be a loyal brand owner, my family has a long history with ford (been in business here since the 30s and have had fords all along the way) and I have a great respect ford the ford family and the companies history but after the last 2 trucks I've just really been burnt (had a first gen 6.0
Well rant over, just want you guys to know my trials and tribulations.