Lance Soap Opera Continues!!!

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Remember our blown head gasket from two months back?

Yeah, well.

Two dealerships later, Lance has still had no work done and he’s about to be moved to dealership #3.


Let’s back up; here’s a quick refresher.

Lance had his overheating incident 30 minutes outside of Bakersfield CA. We took him to the local RAM dealer in Bakersfield, where they wanted to replace our engine (to the tune of $10k), but wouldn’t put in a request for warranty work to cover it… remember that? (We certainly do!!!)

The last time we updated y’all, Lance had been towed from the Bakersfield dealership to Stoneridge Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram K-Car DeLorean Edsel Matchbox (maybe a little name embellishment there, since who can keep all the brands straight?!?). We had HOPED there the warranty would be honored, the repair would be uneventful, and that would be the end of the story.


Instead, the story has gotten funnier.

At least in that humor-in-other-people’s-misery sort of way.



Here’s how it’s gone with Stoneridge:

1. Stoneridge claimed they could not duplicate the problem. Van was fine!!! Go home, people! Then, Gordon (from Edge Motorworks, he’s been handling everything for us) demonstrated the problem for them. They acknowledged the head gasket failure and agreed to fix it. PHEW! ONWARD!

2. Weeks later, with no repair work begun, Gordon learned the original technician no longer worked there. The new tech couldn’t diagnose the problem, so once again Gordon had to go back to them and demonstrate how to diagnose Lance’s blown head gasket. IT’S LIKE THAT GROUNDHOG’S DAY MOVIE!!!

3. Stoneridge (after having Lance waiting there more than a month) decided they’re concerned their 2-post lift can’t hold him. We have pics of Lance up on Haddad Dodge’s 2-post lift so this had us confused. Plus, we’re told that head gasket repairs are typically done from above not below, since they’re, you know, on top of the engine. Things that make you go hmmm…

4. To top it off, we were told, “yes the head gasket is leaking, but it’s not bad enough to fix”. LOL!!!! Considering that it had consumed over 2 gallons of coolant in 30 or so miles, well, it doesn’t really take a rocket scientist (HA!) to know there is a very serious problem here.

Anyways, at this point we are pretty confident that Stoneridge is Stonewalling… after so many excuses on their end, we can’t help but feel they just don’t want to deal with Lance.

So, here’s where the good news starts (at least hopefully?).

Just this week, we escalated the issue.

FCA Corporate is now involved, and we’ve got a case worker. He’s verified that we should be covered under warranty.

Gordon will be moving Lance over to Hilltop Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Fiat Ferrari Harley-Davidson Tonka. Another Travato-owning friend recently had great service at Hilltop, and we’re hoping for the same. So that’s where things are now, headed to our 3rd RAM dealership. AND ‘ROUND WE GO!!!

3rd Time’s the Charm, Right?

Big shout-out to Edge Motorworks’ Gordon White who has been managing Lance’s service for us! He’s given soooo much time to dealing with dealerships, and has been an incredible advocate for us. If only all auto shops were so customer-focused. All you Bay Area people, take your cars to Gordon! (…well unless you need warranty work from your dealership, and in that case you should probably hire Gordon as your agent anyways, lol)


Hilltop, we’re on our way and our hopes are high!

Though I have to admit, the bar is set pretty low, LOL!!!! We’ll keep the updates coming. Thanks to our FitRV community for all the support; you’re the best!

Happy travels all! Fear not, we’ll be rolling again someday soon… it’s all just part of the adventure.

xoxo, Stef

To read Part 3 of the Lance saga, CLICK HERE.

After 15 years as an educator in both the public K-12 setting and the University level in Special Physical Education, Stef made the leap to her true passion… the fitness world. She’s currently a personal trainer and wellness coach specializing in seniors, medical conditions, and injuries. Stef loves running, cycling, and being “Mugga” to her two favorite mini-humans — Punky and Marshmallow. ❤️

    40 thoughts on “Lance Soap Opera Continues!!!

    1. Albert

      lance was lucky compared to our van … a clumsy driver hit us on the highway, destroying our dream … luckily we were in a sturdy camper (Citroën jumper) and we practically didn’t get injured. now we are waiting for the new one hoping to be more fortunate. best wishes for Lance

    2. VocalVirgo

      Hey. I bought both of my ProMasters from Stoneridge. They are NOTORIOUS for their terrible service department. Ugh. I feel so bad for the two of you.
      I had to literally threaten them yesterday to give me a new spare tire because the one on the 2018 I had just bought had a sidewall puncture. They told me to bring the bad spare in and they’d give me another one. When I got there they said to leave the bad one and they’d order me a new one. Fast forward *4 months and 21 phone calls later* to yesterday. I went over there and I wasn’t %^&*&*(! around, seriously. I came prepared with the 3 tire irons (used to drop the spare) to just go to one of their vans on the lot and take one. I told them to call the police if they had a problem with me taking one from an unsold unit. 10 minutes later the nice service grunt (poor guy) was rushing to drop a spare off an unsold unit. Problem solved. But *4 months* for a new spare tire. I would NEVER buy another or bring my now finished gorgeous new #CamperVan from/to Stoneridge.
      Be grateful Lance is going to a place that will finally get him fixed.

    3. jim beaty

      Hi Guys, How many miles on Lance? Is Lance gas or diesel? Thanks Hope your problems do get worked out. I thought I read some where that you were going to build out a new van ??

    4. John Cariotto

      I wonder if a whole lot of people are in a worse fix than you two. And they’re not rocket scientists. I’ve read that Hymer/Roadtrek has declared bankruptcy and is in receivership. The plant is shut down, employees are unemployed, and all warranties are void. It’s especially bad for purchasers of units based on the Mercedes chassis because Hymer /Roadtrek was not certified as a “master upfitter” by Mercedes and thus Mercedes can refuse to do at least some work which would otherwise be covered by a Mercedes warranty. I wonder what this will do to the entire “B” part of the industry.

      1. James

        I’m sure anyone wanting warranty service on a Roadtrek Sprinter is in a pretty sticky situation right now.
        I know the whole Class B industry is wondering what will ultimately become of Roadtrek and their customers. I’d suspect that within 6 months or so, we’ll know.
        But yeah… in the meantime, I feel really sorry for those owners!

    5. smiley

      My question as I am NOT a Fiat Chrysler fan is how robust is that Penstar 6 cylinder engine to begin with especially put in this heavy duty service.

      They really screwed up when they messed around with you guys, they have no clue how many followers you guys have and not that should have made a difference BUT now I hope you guys can help everybody that faces this same issue or any issue with enforcing a warranty on the drive train. Winnebago should take not for sure to make sure this never happens again.

    6. David Stovall

      We learned with our first Class B Sprinter when Dodge had them that dealers were not quite as universal as assumed when a Dodge dealer in Fairfax, VA who sold Sprinters couldn’t handle a simple thing as a tire valve stem replacement recall. And then after that in the Twin Cities the nearest Dodge dealer was 35 miles away that had the diagnostic equipment to service Sprinters. We have had much better luck with Mercedes Benz dealers after realizing despite all the luxury cars we had the most expensive vehicle on the lot and visions of sugar plums must have gone through their heads thinking we might buy one of their luxury sedans. I can’t shake four MB dealer’s emails from around the country. Little do they know I am satisfied with my 2003 Subaru Baja hybrid pickup. 🙂

    7. Jim

      First of all, I’m sorry to hear about the headaches getting Lance repaired. That said, I love researching automotive problems. I just have one question: I noticed online that a ProMaster owner had an electrical problem that caused the cooling fan to fail, which resulted in overheating. I’m wondering if your overheating might’ve caused the head gasket issue? Could the problem be with your cooling fan? Just thought I’d throw that out there.
      All the best!

      1. Gordon White

        Hi Jim,
        Gordon from EDGE Motorworks here. Lance’s cooling fan is cycling (see what I did there? 🙂 ) normally.
        The engine fails a block test after about 30 minutes of running. The dealer I last dealt with said “it’s not bad enough to fix”
        I believe we’re on a good path with the new dealer.
        Crossed fingers….

        1. David Dionne

          There is a current recall out on this issue. However, they don’t expect a solution until the first Quarter of 2020.

    8. JJ

      I’m glad it’s being resolved, but that’s a lot of distance poor Lance to have to travel to get the appropriate work done, Hilltop is not too far from us (we are in Berkeley), so we will send good thoughts that way!

    9. Patrick

      I sure hope the Marketing Department at FCA is getting an earful from the managers at Winnebago. This abusive behavior from FCA dealers is steadily evaporating the positive PR Winnebago has earned through your good experiences with their products.

      At this point FCA should be shipping Lance to the factory, installing a new engine, and shipping it to your home with a big red ribbon around it and a case of champagne inside. 🙂 Anything to stop the bleeding from their reputation.

    10. Paul

      It distubing in the least to consider that two extremely knowledgeable, assertive, well connected owners like yourselves have to fight get what is legally due. I can’t help but think of all the people who have been screwed on these situations over the years. You publically writing about it is a big service to others. Thank you.

      1. Stefany - Post author

        Thanks Paul! We’ve certainly learned a ton in all this, and in a weird way I’m thankful for that. I’m sure there’s some takeaways in here somewhere that may help other owners who find themselves in similar situations in the future…

    11. Celeste Paquette

      Well Stef and James, though your journal is funny, I am not laughing because I feel your pain. It is deeply annoying to be given so many variations on a repair plan and I just hope that, in the end, all will be well. You are lucky to have a rocket science pilot to run interference. Keep us up to date, as you have. I may need repairs some day in the SF Bay area. May the Lance Be With You.

      1. Stefany - Post author

        Thanks Celeste! It’s certainly a bummer, but we’re glad to see some good coming out of all this. Like how the very first RAM dealership (Haddad) has reached out and apologized, and they’re working on improving service practices, so hopefully future Promaster owners will have a much better experience there!

        1. Scott Baldassari

          Hi Stef,
          My sympathies are with you. Though I’m sure it must be REALLY frustrating, whenever someone turns down or balks at doing a repair of ANY sort, on ANY thing, of mine -warranty or not-, I take it is as a blessing, and an assumption that the operation was probably not capable of doing the job right in the first place. It’s possible y’all have “dodged a bullet”, by moving to another dealer.
          Wishing good luck to you (and a really competent mechanic) 😉

    12. Carolyn Burelbach

      OMG! I am on the floor laughing hysterically! Great update. Tears are running down my cheeks. Hope you can get Lance fixed.

      1. Stefany - Post author

        Honestly, we’ve been laughing our way through this too… it’s like a sitcom episode where so much goes wrong it’s all just too funny to be real, you know?!?!

    13. WhereIsChrisNow?

      We had the pleasure of meeting Gordon at an event in Quartzite earlier this year, and we got to see the latest version of the skid plate you two collaborated on. We were so impressed with him that we are driving south from Portland to Edge Motorworks this spring to get the skid plate installed on our Hymer Aktiv.

      While we are there we are also having Gordon’s team do a 50k inspection of the aftermarket work done by Hymer, as well as getting our specialty serpentine belt that powers the second alternator changed. We love our local ProMaster tech at the Dodge dealership in Hillsboro, Oregon. However, we want to have Gordon’s team do this work.

      1. James

        So glad to hear this!
        Gordon is an awesome resource. You won’t be disappointed!
        His team really know their stuff when it comes to the second alternator… they work directly with Adam Nations of Nations Alternator and are completely up to speed.

    14. Roger

      Wow, Gordon sounds like a real gem of a professional technician and friend! Thank goodness for him. I think you’re getting close to a resolution now. Honestly, this is pretty scary for the rest of us though. Gotta find myself a Gordon! Either that or start buying a new one each year 😉

      1. Stefany - Post author

        Yep, we’re pretty confident this saga is about to wrap up, especially now that we have corporate involved. Hopefully with us being so open about our experience, RAM and its dealerships will be paying attention and they’ll tighten up their warranty repair services across the board…. fingers crossed!

      1. Sandra & the 2 Spaniels

        I second the thumbs up for Yelp! I read reviews whenever I want to use a service, a restaurant, vet, etc. Real life commentary from actual customers is worth its weight in gold.

      1. David

        Keep the faith you two. Life is full of bumps in the road, an RV pun intended. Honestly not liking the attitudes of the dealerships in warranty work. The ProMaster has earned it’s good reputation, but stories like this makes one question otherwise.

      2. Stefany - Post author

        John and David, thanks so much to you both!!! I look at it all as good training for us on handling stressful situations.

    15. Mike

      Good to know a “five star certified” dealer thinks there are degrees of “leaking head gasket”, especially given the severity of this leak. Even a backyard mechanic could make an intelligent judgement in that scenario.

      “Tis but a flesh wound”…


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