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Discussion Starter #1
I'll just spill my guts here.....

New member here in DFW, TX. I'm one of those lurkers who researched here before I bought my car but, alas, instead of tales of happy new car experiences, its another one of those tales of woe.

Back on May 24th I bought my first, and may be my very last, Dodge....a barely used 2018 Challenger R/T with 2K miles on it. Auto, Blacktop Pkg., Super Track Pack and premium sound group. It's a hoot to drive and beats the pants off of my Grand Marquis. But.....

Two hours after driving off the lot I get the first occurrence of my particular issue that apparently can't be fixed by the dealer.

When this intermittent problem occurs, several things happen:
1) Service Shifter and Service Power Steering messages appear
2) turn signals, hazards are erratic
3) check engine light and brake dash light comes on
4) car appears to go into limp home mode; won't shift out of 3rd, torque converter unlocks
5) and most important, the power steering assist fails.

When this occurs you have to pull over and restart the car. Problem is sometimes the car cranks once and won't restart. Eventually it restarts. Nothing seems to initiate the problem; not a pothole, or a sharp turn, speed, temperature, length of drive. When it first happened, I hooked up my scanner and it gave a CAN bus com error. When the dealer scanned it, a whole litany of errors showed up, none of which can pinpoint the exact cause.

Up to this point, the dealer has replaced an intelligent (ha!) battery sensor, the shifter mechanism and the steering rack, all to no avail. The last time I went to pick it up after the rack replacement, the service manager said he drove it for several miles with no problems. I drive one block away from the dealer and it hoses again. I grunt a U-turn (no power steering) back to the dealer and its been there for the last 2 and a half weeks while they converse with engineers in Auburn Hills on what to do next. It's been in the shop 35 days out of the 44 days I've owned the car, and I'm pretty much done with it. Under Texas law, it now qualifies as a lemon and today I sent Dodge the official lemon law demand letter.

This is my first Dodge and I really liked it. It's a black R/T with the blacktop package and super track pack so it looked bad ass and was fun to drive for a large car. When researching for this car, I didn't notice any serious system failures endemic with this platform. This is my first car with damn near everything tied to the Can Bus system; my next newest car is a CAN bus-free 03 Marquis. Are failures like this a thing now with new cars? Because I sure as hell can't fix it when the warranty runs out much less diagnose the cause, even though I'm a bit mechanically inclined.

Any ideas what could be causing this?
 

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Could the car have been a lemon car to begin with?


Water damaged? Rodent damaged? Theft recovery?


Wiring issues are a real bear. As an owner of Porsche cars for 16 years I have been in a number of Porsche service departments and invariably I spot at least one car in for wiring harness issues.


Essentially what is involved is the car is stripped at least its cabin area right down the paint. Harnesses are usually installed first so everything else has to come out to get to them. Then the old harness is removed and a new harness is installed. The car is reassembled and tested/checked to ensure everything works.


A dealer, along with the factory, might be reluctant to go this route. It represents hours of labor and the new harness/harnesses are not cheap either and the factory may be reluctant to incur this expense. Or the dealer may be reluctant to take on the job if the factory doesn't offer reasonable compensation for the labor involved.



My advice is if you can get the car classified as a lemon do so and get as a good of a settlement as you can. The experience unfortunately might put you off Dodges so one could understand if you didn't turn around and buy another Dodge.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Dodge customer care has assigned a case manager and is attempting to communicate with the dealership service rep. I say attempting because said rep never answers nor returns my calls. I've already sent a Dodge a demand letter so they can deal with getting it fixed or buy it back. I'm not carting the damn thing around to (hopefully) find a dealer competent enough to fix it, much less diagnose it.

This car had a clean Carfax and according to Dodge service records no evidence of attempted repair by the original owner or dealer in CA. It was leased for 5 months and 2k miles so my best guess is the original lessee started having problems and just canceled the lease and returned it to the dealer.

Which leads me to another question i have.....was it listed as having a problem when it was sent to auction by that dealer? If Driver Select, where I bought the car, knowingly bought a bad car without disclosing that, guess who's not gonna be happy? (Or a lot less happy than I already am).
 

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Dodge customer care has assigned a case manager and is attempting to communicate with the dealership service rep. I say attempting because said rep never answers nor returns my calls. I've already sent a Dodge a demand letter so they can deal with getting it fixed or buy it back. I'm not carting the damn thing around to (hopefully) find a dealer competent enough to fix it, much less diagnose it.

This car had a clean Carfax and according to Dodge service records no evidence of attempted repair by the original owner or dealer in CA. It was leased for 5 months and 2k miles so my best guess is the original lessee started having problems and just canceled the lease and returned it to the dealer.

Which leads me to another question i have.....was it listed as having a problem when it was sent to auction by that dealer? If Driver Select, where I bought the car, knowingly bought a bad car without disclosing that, guess who's not gonna be happy? (Or a lot less happy than I already am).

It is indeed plausible the person who leased the car encountered problems but I would have expected him to try to get them resolved before turning the car in. And this should show up in the service records, someplace. Dealers might not be able to share service records so you might need to find out the original dealer and see if it has any records of the car being in for anything.



Either the person who first leased the car didn't encounter problems, or he did and just decided to bail, or the car was in for some problems but CarFax doesn't have this recorded. CarFax is not perfect. And it doesn't have to be CarFax's fault: Not every visit a car makes to a shop/dealer service department gets "officially" noted and thus may not appear in the databases CarFax uses.



Also, it is possible the car suffered some kind of damage after it was turned back in. Water damage. Rodent damage. (I had my '96 Mustang in for warranty work and the dealer kept it for a week. The stupid Ford dealer parked the car out in a grassy area most of this week and when I got the car back the engine compartment had about a zillion dead snail carcasses scattered about. Could have easily been mouse/rat droppings from a rodent infestation.)



Would be nice I guess to know but you probably can't know but you can try I guess.



The way I understand things is you are owed a reasonable degree of skill, experience, and care when you bring your car in for servicing/repairs. You did not get that in that the dealer was unable to fix the car. After all one reason you bought the car was because of how the service capabilities of the dealer were touted. A Dodge dealer can't just throw up its hands. I mean it has or should have the factory behind it to provide more in depth counsel/guidance, so this giving up is on the factory too.



That now the dealer -- in partnership with the factory -- can't repair the car or make it right some how smacks of consumer fraud to me. 'course, I am not a lawyer.



What you can do is some research in your area with the local division of what deals in consumer protection, consumer advocacy, consumer fraud issues.


In CA my understanding is the agency will advise to you to try to reach some compromise with in this case the dealer/factory. Do your research and then mention you have been in contact with some consumer protection agency and you hope to get this resolved without having to file a formal complaint.


Be calm. Polite. Take notes of who you talk to and when and what was said. Try to communicate by letters, email, rather than phone. If you meet face to face or talk over the phone I have used a small voice recorder. In some areas you can't secretly record conversations so be sure you check on that. Regardless you are not seeking to use something in court, you are seeking to record what was said by whom accurately so you can then transcribe this down on paper.


Oh, it doesn't hurt to consider speaking with an attorney who deals in these legal areas. I'm not saying you hire an attorney only that I have found in the past an hour of an attorney's time can be priceless because he/she can advise you how to best approach this.
 

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When they replaced your steering rack, did they also replace the rack harness?

Your car's symptoms sound very similar to what happened to my 2016 R/T Plus A8 last year. At around 1 month old and 1100 miles, my car went into total "possessed mode" on the way home from work one very hot evening in June. Mine started with a CEL "bing" just before my exit off of the highway and when I came to a stop at the light, that "service shifter" message appeared and then the solenoid in the shifter started going crazy (sounded like a machine gun). I was only a mile from home so I kept driving it and then it went into limp mode (stuck in 3rd) right after leaving the next stop light. More & more things started happening the more I drove it. By the time I got home and into to my driveway... the instrument cluster was flashing every warning lamp and message while sweeping the gauges, I had no working turn signals, the wipers were on by themselves, I had no power steering or brakes, the trans wouldn't set into park after shifting into park and the car wouldn't shut off... but I still had cold a/c and my radio!...LOL. I finally held the start button for several seconds to get it turned off. I waited a minute or so taking in what had just happened and then restarted it and all was back to normal other than the CEL still being on. Anyway, after two weeks at the dealership with the tech going back & forth with Dodge, they finally found that the culprit was the electronic control module in the steering rack was bad. After ordering the parts and another week went by, they finally received the new steering rack and harness and installed them. As of today and 12000 miles later, all has been fine since then.
 

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@DodgeCares can you provide any assistance please :)

A Guy
 

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Discussion Starter #8
When they replaced your steering rack, did they also replace the rack harness?

Your car's symptoms sound very similar to what happened to my 2016 R/T Plus A8 last year. At around 1 month old and 1100 miles, my car went into total "possessed mode" on the way home from work one very hot evening in June. Mine started with a CEL "bing" just before my exit off of the highway and when I came to a stop at the light, that "service shifter" message appeared and then the solenoid in the shifter started going crazy (sounded like a machine gun). I was only a mile from home so I kept driving it and then it went into limp mode (stuck in 3rd) right after leaving the next stop light. More & more things started happening the more I drove it. By the time I got home and into to my driveway... the instrument cluster was flashing every warning lamp and message while sweeping the gauges, I had no working turn signals, the wipers were on by themselves, I had no power steering or brakes, the trans wouldn't set into park after shifting into park and the car wouldn't shut off... but I still had cold a/c and my radio!...LOL. I finally held the start button for several seconds to get it turned off. I waited a minute or so taking in what had just happened and then restarted it and all was back to normal other than the CEL still being on. Anyway, after two weeks at the dealership with the tech going back & forth with Dodge, they finally found that the culprit was the electronic control module in the steering rack was bad. After ordering the parts and another week went by, they finally received the new steering rack and harness and installed them. As of today and 12000 miles later, all has been fine since then.
Good God....I can't possibly own a car that can kill you because an ECM fails. What if it's non-car guy Joe Schmoe behind the wheel and that happens? Or a girl? A car you can't safely stop, steer, park or turn off? What if the computer decides to send full voltage to the ETC? There's a serious lack of fail safe with all these interconnected systems when malfunctions occur. The only reason this exists is so manufacturers can cut down on wiring and put everything on a digital smart network and in the process eliminate isolated circuits and redundancy. There's no need to have to reprogram your sunroof or power windows, have a computer control the shifter or even have electric power steering assist despite the minuscule gains in fuel economy it provides.

And, so now it takes an Exorcist to fix your car.
 

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I bought a used low mile CTS awd coupe that had intermittent electrical gremlins. It would not start, basically acting like the battery was bad. I tried a new battery, battery cables etc. Also the dash would go blank, no functioning gauges with all the idiot lights on. There were no codes that I could pull with Hp tuners and found no one on Cadillac forums who had the same issues. The problem would manifest, I would drive directly to dealership, and EVERY DAMN TIME the car would go back to normal once I pulled into dealer lot. I traded it in on my ordered 16 scat pack and actually received full trade value even though I disclosed everything it does when acting up.

Somebody was being totally unscrupulous with the handling of the RT for it to end up in your hands in the state that it is. I’d be furious because of all the time the car was in the shop, depriving you of the use of your new to you car. I hope you get it quickly resolved and purchase the car that makes you most happy.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Update on the Challenger

Well, here we are 4 months later and guess what....the car is still broken. After the last failed repair attempt in August, I basically parked the car under the carport and focused on my mom's declining health issues. With her situation somewhat settled, two weeks ago I returned my attention back to my hemi powered paper weight. Per FCA customer care's suggestion, I had the car towed on Nov 1st to a different Dodge dealership and its been there ever since. Last report from them is they replicated the power steering failure but found no cause yet. As of today it's been in the shop over 70 days since the beginning of June.

Next week I consult my attorney for clarification on Texas lemon laws regarding used car purchases and what my options are.

 

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Stop making payments on it and let the bank repo it.
Hope you financed it thru FCA. That would be great since they won't/can't fix the car. Let them repo their own car.
I know I'd have a hard time making a payment on a 4000# paper weight.
I've never defaulted on any loan in my 55yrs but I think I would ponder the idea if in your shoes and getting no support from Dodge.
You would think lemon law or buy back would be easy considering the amount of time sitting at a dealer with no results.
I'd be talking to a lawyer quick and get this resolved.
I once bought a new Lexus and a few months later the paint was coming off around the door handle. Took it in and dealer refused the repair saying it had been recked and car had been repainted. 6 yr paint warranty and car had 1700 miles on it and bought it new with 2 miles on it. Called a Corporate Lawyer and had a new car in less than 60 days and Toyota Lexus had to pay all expenses and my lawyer's fees $500 plus an hour. The new Lexus I received we drove for 150,000s without an issue. So hang in there and call a corporate lawyer that's what I did in my case. Good luck and keep us posted.
 

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Well, here we are 4 months later and guess what....the car is still broken. After the last failed repair attempt in August, I basically parked the car under the carport and focused on my mom's declining health issues. With her situation somewhat settled, two weeks ago I returned my attention back to my hemi powered paper weight. Per FCA customer care's suggestion, I had the car towed on Nov 1st to a different Dodge dealership and its been there ever since. Last report from them is they replicated the power steering failure but found no cause yet. As of today it's been in the shop over 70 days since the beginning of June.

Next week I consult my attorney for clarification on Texas lemon laws regarding used car purchases and what my options are.

Hey fastercat,

I apologize we're just now seeing this. Please send us a PM with your VIN (or case number) and the name of your dealership so we can look into this right away.

Jennifer
Dodge Social Care Specialist
 

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What happened the first time you sent the Lemon Law demand letter to Dodge? That was four months ago.


Exhaust all your options under Texas Lemon Law before doing anything else.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Stop making payments on it and let the bank repo it.
Hope you financed it thru FCA. That would be great since they won't/can't fix the car. Let them repo their own car.
I know I'd have a hard time making a payment on a 4000# paper weight.
I've never defaulted on any loan in my 55yrs but I think I would ponder the idea if in your shoes and getting no support from Dodge.
You would think lemon law or buy back would be easy considering the amount of time sitting at a dealer with no results.
I'd be talking to a lawyer quick and get this resolved.
I once bought a new Lexus and a few months later the paint was coming off around the door handle. Took it in and dealer refused the repair saying it had been recked and car had been repainted. 6 yr paint warranty and car had 1700 miles on it and bought it new with 2 miles on it. Called a Corporate Lawyer and had a new car in less than 60 days and Toyota Lexus had to pay all expenses and my lawyer's fees $500 plus an hour. The new Lexus I received we drove for 150,000s without an issue. So hang in there and call a corporate lawyer that's what I did in my case. Good luck and keep us posted.
Paid cash at one of those large independent used car dealers that specializes in almost new low mileage cars. I'm meeting with my attorney next week to go over my options.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
What happened the first time you sent the Lemon Law demand letter to Dodge? That was four months ago.


Exhaust all your options under Texas Lemon Law before doing anything else.

They replied they received my letter and will respond shortly, which never happened. It's now up to me to file a lemon law claim with the state but I'm going to clarify with my attorney exactly what are my options under Texas Lemon law in this situation (used car purchase).

I should've sold it when I had the chance. It just so happens the first dealer that tried 4 unsuccessful times to fix it sent me a marketing email wanting to buy my car. I took it up there and the general manager himself made an offer on it. I didn't accept it because I would have lost a grand on it but it sure would've been sweet knowing that those bozos would be stuck with it.
"Oh, the power steering failed? Well, you're a Dodge dealership. Surely you can fix it."
 

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Discussion Starter #18
So I got the car back from the dealer about a week ago and the error still occurs. However the service adviser stated that when the tech started removing the passenger side underdash panel, the error went away. So when it happened to me, i slammed shut the glovebox and voila the malfunction ceased. Since I'm getting nowhere at the dealer, I yanked the under panel and glovebox to have a look for myself.

The adviser claims the tech reconnected all the wiring connectors and even checked the connector pins, however I found this unhooked connector. It looks like it connects to the green connector block but it has a label NHP so I'm not sure of its purpose. I have serious doubts the tech bothered to check these wires considering the glovebox screws were stuck like they haven't been off for a while. I can't imagine Dodge would have intentionally left a connector disconnected like this. These wires don't appear to be Canbus wires so I don't know if they're the cause of the malfunction, but I wiggled and jiggled every wire under the dash but could not cause the error, which hasn't reoccurred since.

If anybody else with a 2018 R/T (and most likely 2015-2017 as well) could check that connector and let me know if and where it should be connected, I'd greatly appreciated it. The green block mounts on the glovebox with white plastic slide tabs. The under panel is held on with 3-4 plastic push pins.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well after more interweb searching, it looks like the green connector block is indeed canbus, specifically the front Can-C bus star connector. I still haven't determined if the NHP connector is supposed to be connected or not. I found a pic of the connector disconnected but no corresponding description.

I'm amazed the green connector block is mounted to the back of the glovebox making it susceptible to shocks when shutting the glovebox door. The wires and connectors are flimsy and of small gauge. I'll be focusing my troubleshooting on that connector this weekend. It's currently hanging down in the footwell which may be forcing leverage on the suspect connector and ensuring a good connection, which would explain why it hasn't happened again since I removed the glovebox.

It's incredible an issue such as one loose wire or connector can cause multiple system failures while driving, not to mention the lack of engineered-in fail safes when failures occur.
 

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