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For everyone that has had “challenges” with your FCA dealership or with FCA “Customer Service” related to failing air suspensions on your RAM Rebel or other Dodge/RAM 1500 series, here’s my story and my solutions (because neither your dealership nor FCA is going to help you). Dealership tells me the air suspension is the same in the 5th generation 1500's so this may be relevant to anyone with a 2019 or contemplating a 2019.

By way of a bit of context, I have a 2016 RAM Rebel, with 62,000 km’s. I absolutely love the truck and had no issues with it. I live in the interior of British Columbia where temperatures are generally moderate in the winter but routinely drop below zero between late November and the end of February. This winter was particularly cold with a major cold snap in February that routinely saw temperatures drop well below -10.
The first time my air suspension failed was in January 2018. Temperatures were below zero. The vehicle was under warranty and the dealership replaced the compressor, no questions asked. This fix would have cost me about $2600 if it had not been warranted. No problems from the time of repair until about a year later.

In December 2018, the air suspension began to act up again but after the vehicle warmed up, it would reset itself. This occurred through January with the vehicle dropping down all the way in the front overnight but resetting itself after warming up. The vehicle was still under warranty and I talked to the service manager and I suggested (and he agreed) that I monitor the situation. At that time he told me that he was getting a lot of complaints related to this issue. In early March, the system failed again permanently.

When I took the vehicle to the dealership, there were 3 other vehicles in for service for the same reason (and there was a brand new 2019 on the lot that had failed). The service desk guy bemoaned the fact that FCA was doing nothing to assist dealerships or customers with failing air suspensions and gave me the customer service # to call. He also told me that a guy with a 2017 Rebel was in for the same reasons, his truck had 67K on it and was past warranty, and he didn’t have the cash to replace the compressor so they were contemplating switching out the suspension (ironically, the guy traded his vehicle in instead and the dealership put it up for sale for $42k even though the suspension routinely failed…you’d think they would have at least sent it to auction. The truck was a very distinct dark grey Rebel with burgundy trim pieces and I happened to see it on autotrader a few days after I had my own truck in. I have to say that really made me angry).

As for my options, the dealership put the truck on the hoist and gave me two choices – the more expensive option was $668 (see invoice attached) and he told me there would be no guarantee that it was a long term fix but it was a better solution than the cheaper option (which he estimated at about $400). I opted for the more expensive option and tried to negotiate a goodwill or reduced rate. Dealership said they couldn’t help me – they were stuck between a rock and a hard place. FCA was completely useless saying the truck was off warranty, there was no issue with the design, etc. Part of their response follows:

“I have been in contact with the service department at XXXXXXXXX Chrysler and was advised of the evaluation of your vehicle. There was no replacement part required to repair your vehicle; therefore FCA Canada is unable to review for any outside of warranty assistance. We must stress that they are qualified to assess vehicle conditions which are causing concern, and advise regarding the possibility of warranty coverage to any required repair. As such, we must concur with the information they have provided pertaining to your vehicle repairs.”

Typical runaround. I would be more than happy to share my correspondence with anyone on the forum that wants it – just to save you time or perhaps to compare notes. I would however recommend that you still contact FCA via their online forum to lodge complaint – just don’t expect a remedy.
11 days later, the suspension failed again. Dealership put it back on the hoist and said they could repeat the same “fix” but once again no guarantee on the results and no goodwill discount. Because the parts weren’t failing, there wasn’t even any relief on the cost since it was entirely labour related. The dealership was “kind enough” to encourage me to buy a new vehicle and they would discount any new purchase by the cost of my previous service $668).

Instead of giving FCA anymore of my money, I researched my options to replace the air suspension with a conventional set-up. See the build-sheet for what I eventually settled on through Sportsman 4x4 in Kamloops, BC. This was a $2300 job and quite honestly, the truck rides even better than before.

In the meantime, I emailed a class-action legal firm in Canada who had successfully won a case against FCA previously. While sympathetic, the lawyer had this to say:

“In my opinion, a class action will not be successful because the recall does not involve the safety of the vehicle. Your facts involve comfort not safety. A recall about safety, for example, involving air bags will be the basis of a successful class action.”

While I think it could be argued that a failing air suspension is a safety issue, because from my research the suspension doesn’t fail while the vehicle is in motion, the lawyer is likely correct. It strikes me if the system were failing while the vehicle was in motion, there may be a case to be made that it is, in fact, a safety concern. So basically, the dealerships and FCA have us collectively by the balls. If you have an air suspension system (which we all wanted for the benefits, features, convenience, etc.) and you live somewhere that the temperatures routinely fall below zero, you won’t get any relief from either the dealership or FCA (or even from the legal system).

My take home messages:
• If you live in a cold climate, don’t buy a 1500 with an air suspension system.
• Solve the problem yourself. $2300 for a brand-new suspension set-up that is guaranteed for 1 year/20kms is cheaper and more convenient than multiple returns to the dealership to do work that doesn’t solve your problem.
• Dealerships don’t care about your loyalty. I’ve bought 3 vehicles from the same dealership over the past 3 years and have routinely serviced them there. I’m tempted to name the dealership but there’s really no point – at the end of the day, I firmly believe that all automakers and dealerships are cut from the same cloth. That said, I won’t be giving that dealership any more of my business and this is the last FCA vehicle I will ever buy.
• There are no such things as ethics when it comes to dealerships/automakers. When the same dealership can resell (and profit from) a vehicle with known and unfixable problems at a premium price, after likely low-balling the previous owner on a trade-in value, what other conclusions can one draw as a consumer?
• Goodwill – there’s no such thing from either the dealership of FCA
• FCA Customer Service is a misnomer….there is no service, only excuses
• Best of luck to all of you. Happy to engage more if it helps you.
 

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Sucks you had to go through all that. Your spot on with your 6 closing comments. Been saying the same thing for years.
Thanks for sharing
 

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Yeah couldn't agree more with your ending statements ended up removing the air ride last year I think it was late November and thankfully I did it when I did because we had one hell of a cold spell here in manitoba it was minus bloody 30 for almost a month and a half it was brutal man but I was the only rebel on the road for most of the winter and I actually had a vehicle to drive unlike the year prior to that
 

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Yeah couldn't agree more with your ending statements ended up removing the air ride last year I think it was late November and thankfully I did it when I did because we had one hell of a cold spell here in manitoba it was minus bloody 30 for almost a month and a half it was brutal man but I was the only rebel on the road for most of the winter and I actually had a vehicle to drive unlike the year prior to that

If you don't mind me asking how much did it cost to remove air ride?

I'm having issues with my 2016
 
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