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tom
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5/24/2002
17:16:35

Subject: please please please help
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i own a 2001 rt with 7000 miles with a few mods and the dealer wont look at it because i have done mods. my mods are K & N FIPK, throttle body spacer and a Magnaflow Cat and Muffler. my problem is when i drive my rev limiter kicks in at 25 mph and it seems to jump out of gear and on my dash board the gear selector indicator box surrounding what gear i am in disappears. has anyone had this problem? is this common in dakotas? and could this be due to a bad body?



DakotaDan
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5/24/2002
17:51:16

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http://www.sema.org/warranty


The enclosed materials are intended to help you should you have a vehicle warranty claim denied in circumstances in which an aftermarket product has been used. The information describes the law on vehicle warranties and will provide a sense of what is and is not an improper warranty denial. After reviewing this information, you will be aware of the steps to take to fight unlawful warranty denials.

In many cases it will not be necessary to take all the steps outlined here because disputes are often resolved at an early stage.

What Does the Warranty Actually Say?

Start by re-reading the warranty documents. Become familiar with what the documents actually say, not what you think they should say. If the language is confusing, get help in understanding what it really means. Look for specific items or circumstances that may or may not be covered. Determine if there is a process specified for resolving disputes.

The Law

Federal law sets forth requirements for warranties and contains a number of provisions to prevent vehicle manufacturers, dealers and others from unjustly denying warranty coverage. With regard to aftermarket parts, the spirit of the law is that warranty coverage cannot be denied simply because such parts are present on the vehicle, or have been used (see Attachment A). The warranty coverage can be denied only if the aftermarket part caused the malfunction or damage for which warranty coverage is sought. Disputes in this area usually boil down to arguments over facts and technical opinions, rather than arguments over interpretations of the law.

Check Vehicle History

Sometimes a malfunction in a new vehicle may be identified as a "pattern failure," a failure that is recognized as common to your make and model of vehicle. It may be a manufacturing defect which has become the subject of a government-mandated recall. You should check with another dealer, the vehicle manufacturer or an independent service provider—such as those listed below—to see if there are any Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs), ěfield fixes or other service-related information for your vehicle which would indicate that the problem you are experiencing is a common one. In cases of government-mandated recalls, the dealer is obliged to notify you as a vehicle owner. However, you may check for yourself by calling the vehicle manufacturer's 800 number, the EPA (for emissions systems issues) or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), for safety-related issues.

EPA: 202/233-9040
NHTSA: 800/424-9393
Chiltons: 610/964-4600
AllData: 916/684-5200
Motor Publications: 800/426-6897
American Automobile Manufacturers Association: 313/872-4311
Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association: 202/296-8537
Determine the True Cause of the Problem

If possible, attempt to independently verify the accuracy of the claims made by the dealership. The manufacturer of the aftermarket part may be helpful to you in providing a technical assessment of the problem. If there is a reasonable possibility that the aftermarket product caused the problem, it may be best to try to reach a compromise. If, however, it is clear that the aftermarket product is unrelated to the problem, you should attempt to gather as much information as possible to support your claim. Useful evidence might include photos, copies of relevant service information, records of prior repairs performed under warranty, or the objective written opinion of a qualified third party (with relevant experience, accreditation, etc.).

Try to Work it Out With the Dealer

Once prepared with the appropriate support information and a basic understanding of the law, present the facts to the dealers service manager and make an effort to resolve the situation. Keep the discussion objective and professional. Make sure to take notes of any significant claims or explanations made by dealership personnel and try to obtain a written explanation if possible.

If discussions with the service manager do not bring about a resolution, speak with the owner of the dealership. Many problems can be resolved at this level. If there is a known pattern failure which matches your problem, be sure to bring this to the dealer's attention. The dealer is able to obtain reimbursement from the vehicle manufacturer under such circumstances. If there is no pattern failure, but other evidence that exists contradicts the dealers conclusion, be sure the dealer is made aware of it. Also explain that you are aware of your rights under EPA's emissions warranty and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Again, if there is a reasonable possibility that either the aftermarket product or its installation could be the cause of the problem, your best bet is to suggest a compromise with the dealer. In many cases, presenting an objective technical assessment and a basic understanding of the law will do the trick.

However, if you believe that you are entitled to warranty service, but the dealer disagrees, you can take other steps to seek a resolution to the dispute.

Get it in Writing

If a dealership denies warranty coverage, they should be willing to do so in writing. Have the dealer describe the failure which is causing your problem AND how the dealer believes the aftermarket product installed is responsible for the problem. Keep an accurate log of all contacts and correspondence in addressing the warranty denial.

Contact the Vehicle Manufacturer's Zone Representative

If a car manufacturer backs your warranty, and you have a dispute with the dealer about either service or coverage, contact the local manufacturer's representative. The local or zone representative has the authority to adjust and make decisions about warranty service remedies or repairs to satisfy customers.

Some manufacturers are also willing to repair certain problems in specific models free of charge, even if the manufacturer's warranty does not cover the problem. Ask the zone representative or the service manager if there is such a policy.

The procedure for contacting your zone representative is usually provided in the vehicle owner's manual. This information can also be obtained from a dealer, or by calling the manufacturer's customer service number, as listed in the carmaker's owner's manual. Present your case to the zone representative. Be sure to indicate how the dealer responded to your information, especially if dealership personnel were notably uncooperative, etc. Once again, be sure to get as much information in writing as you can; request that any determinations or actions which are promised by the zone representative be confirmed by a letter or a fax.

Contact the Vehicle Manufacturer Directly

You may find that contact with the zone representative does not achieve resolve of the matter. If you are still not satisfied, the next step is to contact the vehicle manufacturer directly. Most carmakers maintain a contact office or a special department that is responsible for dealing with warranty issues (see Attachment B).

Using the information you have gathered and any additional information you may have to supplement your case, forward a letter directly to the vehicle manufacturer's customer service office (sometimes called dispute resolution board or something similar). Be sure to explain your situation in detail and in a logical, easy-to-understand manner. Provide as much detail as you can about your contacts with the dealer and the zone representative. Do not hesitate to state if you felt you were treated improperly or unfairly by either. The vehicle manufacturer will almost always respond to you with a letter; sometimes promptly, sometimes not. Again, be sure to retain all correspondence in case you need it for future use. Generally, the vehicle manufacturer has the greatest interest in ensuring your satisfaction; they want you to remain loyal to their brand. As such, they will likely make a good-faith effort to resolve the issue particularly if there is a known pattern of similar failures. If there is a request for any additional information, be sure to keep a record of what you send. If the manufacturer should still decide against you, make sure that their refusal letter provides an explanation of how they believe the aftermarket part caused the problem.

Local Approaches You Can Try

If you cannot get satisfaction from the dealer, the zone representative or the manufacturer, contact one or all of the following:

Better Business Bureau
State Attorney General
Local Department of Motor Vehicles
State Consumer Protection Office
Many states also have county and city offices that intervene or mediate on behalf of individual consumers to resolve complaints.

You also might consider using a dispute resolution organization to arbitrate your disagreement if you and the dealer are willing. Under the terms of many warranties, this may be a required first step before you can sue the dealer or manufacturer. Check your warranty to see if this is the case.

If you bought the vehicle from a franchised dealer, you may be able to seek mediation through the Automotive Consumer Action Program (AUTOCAP). AUTOCAP is a dispute resolution program coordinated nationally by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA: 800/252-6232), and sponsored through state and local dealer associations in many cities. Check with the dealer association in your area to see if they operate a mediation program.

National Approaches You Can Try

Since the manufacturer's failure to honor the terms of the warranty may be a violation of federal law, you can pursue the issue with the appropriate federal agency.

You can call or write the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and ask for assistance on non-emission-related problems. Input from consumers is very important to the work of the FTC. These contacts with consumers are often the first indication of a problem in the marketplace and may provide initial evidence to begin an investigation. Although the agency cannot act to resolve individual problems, it can act when it sees a pattern of possible law violations. FTC, Washington, D.C.: 202/326-3128.

The FTC also maintains regional offices to field consumer complaints. For the telephone number to one near you, see Attachment B.

In the case of a problem with an emission-related component, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the organization to contact. A pamphlet published by the EPA on emissions warranty matters called "What You Should Know About Your Auto Emissions Warranty," can help explain your options. In essence, the EPA requires that you exhaust all of your options with the vehicle manufacturer before you contact the Agency. In all cases, you must correspond with the EPA in writing. You must also provide copies of all correspondence with the dealer and manufacturer, as well as any independent evidence you may have that describes the cause of the problem. The better you are able to make your case that an aftermarket part was not the cause of the failure, the more likely you are to get EPA's help. The EPA is particularly interested in any evidence of a pattern failure being involved.

Warranty Complaint Field Operations and Support Division (EN-397F), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C. 20460. Telephone: 202/233-9040 or 202/233-9100.

You can also call the Bureau of Consumer Protections Office of Consumer & Business Education in Washington, D.C., at 202/326-3650.

Final Steps

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act may also be helpful. Under this federal law, you can sue on breach of express and implied warranties. The main point of interest here is that the Act says warranty coverage may not be conditioned upon the use of only the vehicle manufacturer's parts unless the parts are provided free of charge. In other words, use of a non-carmaker product should not void your warranty unless it caused the problem.

Obviously, litigation can involve considerable time and expense on your part. However, if the cost of the warranty claim is high enough, this may be an option to consider. Any such lawsuit or claim would have to be fought on the unique merits of the case and we recommend that you consider finding qualified legal counsel familiar with this area of law. In some cases, the filing of a lawsuit may encourage a settlement of the dispute. You should also be particularly aware of the fact that once you file a lawsuit or claim against the dealer or manufacturer, your vehicle and your documentation may become material evidence and may be subject to inspection and reviews in the lawsuit.

You can also consider going to small claims court, where you can resolve disputes involving small amounts of money for a low cost. The clerk of your local small claims court can tell you how to file a suit and what the dollar limit is in your state. Again, this action will sometimes lead the parties to settle the dispute.

No matter which steps you undertake, always approach the situation in a professional manner. Fits of anger, shouting, threats and the like seldom accomplish anything other than aggravating the situation. The best strategy is to stay calm and tactfully demonstrate your knowledge of your rights and potential courses of action.

In most cases, it will not be necessary to go through the entire process described here. What you will normally find is that you will be able to resolve your situation at a fairly early stage if you have the proper information in written form and you approach the issue in a calm, professional manner.



Dan
K&N FIPK # 57-1517 * DynoMax #17748 * OEM 5.2/5.9 V8 TB #53032691AA * Crower 1.7 Roller Rockers # 73654K * Factory Flares * WeatherTechs * Saddleman Low Profile Tonneau

YJ
Dodge Dakota
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5/24/2002
18:33:39

RE: please please please help
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I've heard of others having similar problems with the shifter indicator disappearing. Do a search and print them out along with DakotaDan's Gigantic post.; ) Take it to the di@k dealer, if you have to, otherwise, go to a different dealer.



don94
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5/24/2002
18:55:43

RE: please please please help
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dakotadan:
congrats on ur help for the originator of this post. usually i dont answer what appears to be a long winded post, but in ur case that is not the case :) these dealers are about 95% of the problem because they think everyone is stupid and therefore they can tell u anything and get away with it. i have yet to find a reputable dealer and i have owned daks since 91. its sad but true. again congrats on ur help with a fellow dak owner, its not the trks fault for most of the problems, but the dealer or chrysler. keep up the good work.



tom
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5/24/2002
19:14:00

RE: please please please help
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so far, thank u for all the info. i am going to visit the dodge dealer tomorrow on saturday. the dealer is Reedman in PA. i am going to talk to them about fixing my truck and if they refuse to look at like they did yesterday, some hell will be paid.



Dakaty
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5/24/2002
19:24:43

RE: please please please help
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I have quite a few mods on my QC and have taken it to the Dealer for warranty work without much problem. The "Senior" tech did explain to me that depending on the type/extent of the modification, Dodge COULD deny warranty work.

I have developed a fairly good relationship with the Dodge techs and mechanics at my local Dealership. Talk to yours and respect their opnions (even if they don't know $hit from shinola). You catch more flys with honey!!

Based on your mods, there is no way they could have created your described problem.

If your Dealer continues to be an a$$, take off the TB spacer (you should anyway), re-install your factory air box and take it back in. If they deny warranty work because you changed your exhaust, contact Dodge Corporate and/or your lawyer.

I hope you get your problem solved. Experiences like the one you had sure take the fun out of fixing up your truck.



DakotaDan
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5/24/2002
22:22:01

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That was Copy & Paste stright from SEMA'S web site, I keep that handy in my favorites list.

Good luck Tom

Dan
K&N FIPK # 57-1517 * DynoMax #17748 * OEM 5.2/5.9 V8 TB #53032691AA * Crower 1.7 Roller Rockers # 73654K * Factory Flares * WeatherTechs * Saddleman Low Profile Tonneau

Doc
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5/25/2002
01:34:25

RE: please please please help
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Dan,
Nicely done!
I agree with DAKATY, I can see no relationship between the transmission and air/exhaust system modifications.
I have the same mods on my '00 QC and have gotten only compliments from my dealership.
The only thing they said would create warranty problems would be a body lift [for which I have no desire].
Good luck, and hold your ground,...D



tom
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5/25/2002
16:57:50

RE: please please please help
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could my problem be caused by a bad valve body? if anyone knows



DakotaDan
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5/25/2002
18:39:12

RE: please please please help
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Tom see if your getting any MIL codes

Turn key on (not start) off 3 times leaving it in the on position at the 3rd time and if there are any engine codes you will get P**** in your digital odometer.

You may get more than one code so be ready to write them down.

If you get a code you can then look it up on the OBDII site or post it here and someone might be able to help.



Dan
K&N FIPK # 57-1517 * DynoMax #17748 * OEM 5.2/5.9 V8 TB #53032691AA * Crower 1.7 Roller Rockers # 73654K * Factory Flares * WeatherTechs * Saddleman Low Profile Tonneau

tom
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5/25/2002
22:17:39

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ok did the turning fo the key test and the only code it gave me on the dash is PdonE. what does that mean? no problems? and on the OBDII. com site that code wasnt listed.



DakotaDan
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5/25/2002
22:36:55

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Tom I'm out of ideas for you, now that you know how to check for codes you can do that every once in a while.

Personaly I would try reseting the PCM, but thats up to you.

Or find a differant dealer

good luck





Dan
K&N FIPK # 57-1517 * DynoMax #17748 * OEM 5.2/5.9 V8 TB #53032691AA * Crower 1.7 Roller Rockers # 73654K * Factory Flares * WeatherTechs * Saddleman Low Profile Tonneau

tom
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5/25/2002
22:40:19

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all ready reset the pcm the other night lol problem was still there and ran like crap for a few mins



tom
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5/27/2002
17:44:42

RE: please please please help
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can u believe it was a bad vehicle speed sensor. if that sensor goes bad dodge's have an emergency computer system that doesnt allow u to go over 25 mph so u can get to the next service station.



DakotaDan
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5/27/2002
19:03:18

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Glad to hear you got a fix Tom and thanks for posting, I'll try to remember that one if it ever happens. Strange it didn't log a code tho !




Dan
K&N FIPK # 57-1517 * DynoMax #17748 * OEM 5.2/5.9 V8 TB #53032691AA * Crower 1.7 Roller Rockers # 73654K * Autolite 3923's
Factory Flares * WeatherTechs * Saddleman Low Profile Tonneau

tom
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5/27/2002
19:27:50

RE: please please please help
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it didnt log a code because it was an intermitent problem that didnt happen all the time until the truck was warmed up and going around 25.



tom
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6/07/2002
11:11:47

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ok this truck still isnt fixed. it ran fine for like 6 hours with the new speed sensor. i took it to the dealer-a different one then before- and they told me i was still under warranty which is good. the problem is still there though and so far they changed the PCM, 5 sensors, the timing control module and tightened up a wire that was loose. but they still dont what s wrong with it. they tol dme to take out my stereo system and alarm and bring it back up. WTF is wrong with this truck?



tom
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6/07/2002
11:11:56

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ok this truck still isnt fixed. it ran fine for like 6 hours with the new speed sensor. i took it to the dealer-a different one then before- and they told me i was still under warranty which is good. the problem is still there though and so far they changed the PCM, 5 sensors, the timing control module and tightened up a wire that was loose. but they still dont what s wrong with it. they tol dme to take out my stereo system and alarm and bring it back up. WTF is wrong with this truck?



Detho9000
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6/07/2002
11:48:08

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Thank you very much for the link and the info Dan...you've answered a lot of questions I had about warrenty information but was unable to find information about. I figured that if the modification didn't cause the problem then it should be warrentied. I could see how a supercharger or a turbo charger could completly void a warrenty, but not an exhaust or intake mod.

Thanx again!

-D9K



tom
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6/07/2002
11:54:16

RE: please please please help
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the dealer said as long as you dont do internal engine work or mess with the computer, youw ill always be under warranty. as far as superchargers i asked the dealer and he said not under warranty.



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