An Open Letter to Ford Motor Company
Dear Ford Motor Company,
I am writing this letter with the hope that you will understand our situation and take action to make it right.
First off, I should cover our hopes and expectations for buying this vehicle…a 2016 F-150 3.5 EcoBoost with HD Payload package. My wife and I have been wanting to live in an Airstream and travel the country to explore everything that America has to offer for years now. We are both web professionals. She is a freelance designer and I am the co-founder of a tech company that helps nonprofits with online fundraising. We want to continue what we do on the road, as well as create inspirational content for other people that want to pursue the same dream. We are in the final stages of selling our house and were planning on hitting the road at the end of July.
One of the first steps in following this dream was to pick up a used Airstream in 2014, but we did not have the proper vehicle to tow it. We spent a lot of time looking at early 2000’s F-250s with 7.3 diesel motors, unfortunately, we live in the northeast and it’s very difficult to find a non-rusted one for a reasonable price. It took us a while to realize this, but we eventually accepted buying a brand new, and reliable, vehicle for our journey, but that vehicle had to meet specific criteria…and we realized that could be met with a certain configuration of F-150…and that is what we chose to pursue even though it was the more expensive route.
I think at this point it’s important to go over why we went with this decision, as it was not easy. There are many manufacturers creating great pickups these days…this makes choosing very difficult. Many of these manufacturers charge a lot less for a lot more than Ford does.
We chose to go with Ford for the following reasons:
1. Ford “dependability” – Fords seemed renowned for being dependable, at least that’s what we observed with doing our 7.3 diesel research, and people were saying good things about the new EcoBoost motors so it made sense to go with a Ford.
2. In addition to the current reputation that Ford has, my family has always driven Fords. My dad had countless Broncos over the years, eventually owning an Expedition before he passed away. My mom had a 1963 Thunderbird back in the day (she still has the sales receipt), and many more after that. She currently drives a Focus. My father-in-law also drives an F-150 Lariat that he’s put many miles on with 0 issues.
3. I am a Ford shareholder. I have been since one of its lowest points back in the 2008 recession. I felt that Ford had a progressive mindset, and they refused a government bailout. These factors inspired me to invest in shares that I still own.
4. Our F-150 configuration gives us enough power to easily pull our 7300-pound trailer since its max tow amount is over 12000 pounds, while at the same time being an acceptable daily driver since we only have one vehicle and bike commute in most situations.
In relation to #4, the most appealing part of this vehicle configuration is the HD Payload option. This gives us a payload of 2415 pounds, which gives us a lot of confidence to store things like our bicycles and camping gear in the cap of our truck. This truck is the only HD Payload truck I have found in the wild. I spent months looking around for them at dealerships, most dealers had no idea what I was talking about when I asked about this package, they simply tried to push me on to another F-150 configuration saying that it would tow what I needed. Eventually, I found one in Pennsylvania at Kovatch Ford, while browsing online. I called the dealer up and they didn’t even know it existed yet, which it didn’t. The truck I found was listed on their site but wasn’t even built yet. I excitedly put down a deposit and waited a month or two for it to finally arrive, then we picked it up.
We drove it with no issues for about 12 months.
We took it on our wedding adventure up to Banff National Park in Canada and throughout Montana. The whole time it performed admirably.
Then the truck started acting up…
We were visiting parents in Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving when the truck first started acting up on 11/24/2017. We finished a mountain bike ride with friends and were leaving the parking lot and noticed the truck was idling rough and accelerating in a jittery manner at lower RPMs. We drove it directly to the closest dealership, Gibbon’s Ford, and begged them to take a look (it was busy, on a weekend, and they were getting ready to close up). They pulled engine codes P0017 and P0015. They said it was ok to drive for now and suggested doing an oil change to see if it helps. I bought Motorcraft oil and a filter on the spot and went to our family’s house and changed it….no improvement.
We headed back to Ithaca, parked the truck, and made an appointment at Maguire Ford, our nearest dealer. The first visit spanned 12/04/18 to 12/12/18 (invoice #312695). The top end of the motor was pulled apart to service the cam and related parts. Oil was also changed at this point, so all the oil I put in was a waste.
During this visit, we were not offered a loaner vehicle even though my wife requested one multiple times. We eventually demanded one and were granted a sedan for the last 2 days of the service. This was the only time we were given a vehicle during this whole saga. As mentioned above, we are a 1 car family, so we needed to rely on our neighbors letting us borrow their vehicles and biking (in December). Needless to say, this was an inconvenience.
It is also important to note that when the vehicle was returned to us we would get the occasional smell of burning oil. This was concerning and we mentioned it, but were told things were fine.
The next visit was on 3/02/18 for a check engine light (invoice #315890). Tech did a test and cleared out the codes and sent it on its way. I mentioned the smell of oil at this point when dropping the vehicle off.
Next incident happened when we were traveling to North Carolina for vacation. Check engine light came on and we immediately stopped at an Autozone to get codes pulled to make sure it was nothing major. Codes indicated a purge valve issue, so we continued on with our trip. We dropped the truck off on 4/20/18 and picked it up the same day (invoice #317775). Tech confirmed purge valve issue and ordered a replacement.
5/4/18 – Dropped truck off to have purge valve replaced. Got call later in the day to tell me they ordered the wrong one and they would call when the correct one arrived. (invoice #318350)
6/7/18 to 6/8/18 – I was only contacted once that the replacement purge valve had arrived, but I missed this call. Called them eventually to make this appointment. They replaced the purge valve. We took the vehicle and drove it that evening, things seemed fine. Check engine light came on the next morning. (invoice #319756)
6/18/18 to 6/21/18 – Dropped truck off and got a call later in the day asking who did our oil changes because the dipstick was missing. Ford did this oil change….back in December (invoice #312695). The dipstick was missing since then, and its absence was not discovered during any of the previous times the truck was in for service! This was causing oil to spew out of the motor and burn up on the hot metal creating the burning oil smell mentioned earlier. Oil was replaced, as was the dipstick. Engine codes were cleared out and we took the truck home…check engine light came on the next day. (invoice #320133)
6/25/18 to 6/27/18 – Dropped truck off for an extended stay so they could clear out the codes and let it sit overnight. The light came back on the next morning for technicians. They ordered a new purge valve, the same one that was replaced previously. The truck was returned to us and we were told that as long as the light didn’t start blinking, it was fine to drive, and since we were busy moving stuff out of our house and the 4th of July prompted us to visit family, we didn’t need to get it serviced immediately. So, we were planning on having it done the week of July 8th.
This whole saga culminated this past weekend when we were trying to move our trailer and belongings from our house so we can be out before the new owners need to move in.
We made it 3.5 miles and we heard a bursting sound.
We thought we had a tire blowout. We pulled over to investigate and were perplexed to find nothing wrong with the trailer. We hit the road again, but now the truck was making an especially loud hissing noise associated with the turbo…it seemed…and there was a lack of power. This truck was definitely not going to get us where we needed to be right then, so we headed back and parked it at our house again.
Now we’re living in our Airstream next to our house for the time being, since our house is completely empty. We do go inside when it’s really hot and sit in our camp chairs near the AC. Much of our stuff is packed in the truck and trailer, so currently it’s not the most livable place.
At some point soon we will be closing on our house. That means we need to get the trailer out of the driveway and get the remainder of our belongings out of the house. Unfortunately, we have a $52,000 truck in our driveway that is not capable of doing either of these tasks.
This is all very upsetting to us. We feel completely powerless.
If we can’t get this moved by the time we close, we’ll have to beg the new owners to let us keep it there until we can find some way to tow it out.
This has put us way behind on our timeline for getting on the road. We still have work we need to do to the trailer, but we cannot do any of that at its current location.
Even if our truck (once again) gets fixed, we do not have much faith in it to be dependable on the road after all of these prior issues. This thing is meant to pull our home around…it’s actually part of our new home. If it breaks down somewhere, our home and all our belongings are stuck in that spot as well. We really don’t know what to do right now except to write this letter to express our dissatisfaction with this product. We’ve paid a decent chunk of money for a brand new truck that is supposed to be dependable and reliable, but now feel cheated. We also now have to deal with people who know about our current situation saying things like, “Should have gone with Chevy or Dodge” or “Isn’t it a brand new truck? Why does it have this many issues?”
We don’t want to go with another brand, we want you to make this right, and we believe you will.
We need our current truck repaired so we can get on with our lives for now. We would like its warranty extended to 200,000 miles. We would like to explore the possibility of a replacement vehicle in the future, either a comparable F-150 with a payload like ours or an F-250 diesel…we are willing to pay some difference in price.
Thank you for your time and understanding,
Jay and Jess Rogan
Service documents referenced above can be viewed here.
For response please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A physical copy of this letter and invoices have been mailed to your Dearborn, MI, address that was given to us by a phone representative we called on 7/9/18 – case #CAS15220583.