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An Open Letter to Ford Motor Company

An Open Letter to Ford Motor Company

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:

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.

Me see dong one day, or how I’m learning to read Korean

Me see dong one day, or how I’m learning to read Korean

Dong. There it is again. I keep looking for it and seeing it. Dong here, dong there. Dongs are everywhere. I’m referring to the Korean syllable “dong”…it looks like this.

It’s the first symbol I actually learned to recoginize since I’ve been here in Korea. Though, I feel like I might have a breakthrough and learn a few more in the next day or so. For now, I scan the Hangul characters whenever I see them, and I try to pick out the dongs. It’s become this bizarre Where’s Waldo style search that keeps me entertained during car rides, sitting in restaraunts, and riding the subway.

Finding this one symbol may seem a very minor accomplishment, but I consider it a breakthrough. Prior to this, these characters made absolutely no sense to me. They were just some lines and circles. I couldn’t grasp how one might be different from the next, how many of them there could be, and how one could ever remember all of them. But now I have a relationship with this one symbol, and I understand what makes it “dong”. Finding it requires me to make a judgement on all of the other symbols around it. It’s a very simple judgement: “Not dong. Not dong. Not dong. Nope, not dong. Not dong. Dong!”

Here is another example of it.

I consider this progress. Weeding out what is not important is a necessary part of learning. Spotting dongs out of what once was a bunch of random lines to me is something I’m proud of. I point them out to others and say, “dong”, and wait for their approval. I’ve even done this to a few Koreans. They don’t seem to mind. They simply nod and sometimes grin. This is the same response I get when I point at things that fall into my limited vocabulary and say them in Korean. There is a bike…”jajeongo”. That’s a knife…”naipu”. While I find this kind of human connection warm and friendly, I’m not sure how I am perceived by the locals. Being a white man pointing at a knife, pronouncing it poorly, all the while grinning like a lunatic might come off a little frightening. But no one has run away yet, so I’ll continue to do it in my quest to get better at Korean.

See if you can find any dongs in the following images.

Beers Boulders and Friends

Beers Boulders and Friends

This past weekend we ventured back to our home state of Pennsylvania, or PA…pronounced pee-aay. We were visiting some friends, Gretchen and Adam, we made in Ithaca who have relocated to attend physicians assistant school, or PA school…in PA. They were some of our closest friends both in terms of interests and proximity since they liked outdoor adventure and lived downtown near us.

For a wedding gift, they had bought us tickets to see Penn State play Nebraska. They also arranged for a bunch of other Ithaca friends to attend the game, and hang out that weekend…which also happened to Gretchen’s birthday. The weekend consisted of some drinking, standing in the rain to watch football, soup eating, and a pretty fantastic hike along a boulder field in Lock Haven. We even spotted a sasquatch, but the image was blurry…as are most documented photos of these things.

You can see some photos of the weekend below.

Walking through the woods with friends

Walking through the woods with friends

It’s been getting colder and colder as of late. The mild Fall lulled us into a false sense of comfort. But now it’s apparent, Winter is coming. It takes a lot more effort to just step outside. Biking isn’t as appealing as it was a few weeks ago, and there is not enough snow for skiing.

We got a text from friends asking if we’d like to join them on their hike around Shidagin Hollow State Forest this past Saturday. It’s not normally a place we go hiking, it’s our local bike spot. But we were looking for something to do outside, and Cooper was acting cooped up in the house, so we eagerly said “Yes!”

We spent a few hours wandering through the forest with some of our best friends.

It was really nice to wander through this forest at a more casual pace for a change. Unlike biking, walking causes you to slow down and take in more of the details that surround you.

Everyone was glad they broke out of the comforts of their home today and spent a little bit of time in the cool crisp air. Jess even did some parkour off the lean-to.

Minimize Spending – Building Tools

Minimize Spending – Building Tools

It’s been a while since we rode our bikes, far too long. We got a text from some friends letting us know they were taking advantage of the decent weather (28 and cloudy) to go for a little spin around town. We eagerly decided to join them.

While I was airing up the tires I remembered the crank arm came loose the last time I rode the bike (over a month ago). I had to wedge a rock in the 16mm hex bolt to tighten it so I could finish the ride.  In the time since then, it did not happen to “heal” on its own. It was still loose and needed to be tightened….our ride was in jeopardy.

A 16mm hex or “allen” key is not a common thing. I called all the local bike shops, no luck. Their tone seemed to be suspicious of my need for such a tool, as if there is no way to fit a bolt this size on a bicycle. So then I reached out to local garages, surprisingly no one had one. How about an auto parts store? No.

We ended up heading to a “box” home improvement store. The largest hex key they had was 12mm. Feeling pretty bummed out, we headed over to the hardware section to find things to cobble together. After a lot of trial and error, and eventually needing to take the bolt into the store, we were able to fit the head of another large bolt into the 16mm space. By threading a nut onto this new bolt, and using a crescent wrench, we could easily torque the crank arm back on. Not bad for $2.22.

Money was spent, but it wasn’t very much…and now we have a tool to fix this if it happens again. More importantly, we got out and did a great ride with friends on a fair winter day.