2014 Ram 1500 Manages The Big Stuff, But The Quality Isn’t Right On The Details

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From time to time, automakers give major outlets long-term loans of their popular products. Currently, Edmunds.com has a 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. This truck has performed well, but has had a slew of quality issues. While these “annoyances” may not seem that major (besides a stalling issue), they certainly don’t help improve Ram’s quality reputation.

2014 Ram 1500 Manages The Big Stuff, But The Quality Isn't Right On The Details

This isn’t a good image for Edmunds.com long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. Photo Courtesy of Edmunds.com

Reading over the long-term log here, you will find numerous posts detailing the truck living up to its expectations mixed with a variety of odd quality issues. Granted, this truck is used harder and more frequently than most trucks, but:

  • It spent two weeks at a dealer as Ram corporate engineers tried to determine why it suddenly stalled.
  • The truck came with a misaligned trim panel (likely a result of hurried manufacturing or a bad assembly process)
  • The nav system isn’t really reliable (doesn’t update traffic data quickly, sometimes shows wacky results)
  • Some weatherstripping just flipping fell off on one of the rear doors
  • The door handle got stuck during normal use
  • The seats are visibly wearing after less than 20k miles
  • A haphazardly assembled fender liner and wiring harness led to some mysterious tire rub
  • There was a stupid little light bezel that popped out at some point
To be fair, the truck did the big things (towing, hauling, fuel economy) reliably and capably. But the little details matter to truck owners and these numerous issues for a truck that only has 26k miles on it as of today are troubling. Is it an engineering issue? Is it a factory issue? We aren’t quite sure, but it is clear something is amiss.
The big question is: If Ram’s engineers can’t design an LED bezel to stay put, or workers can’t figure out how to assemble a trim panel correctly, what else did they screw up? How long until there’s a problem with something expensive?
Chrysler has a reputation for poor quality, particularly on non-essential components that the newly formed FCA is likely eager to get away from. Maybe Edmunds just got a bad 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel or maybe the Ram engineering team needs more support to keep up with their numerous new products and the current explosion in sales.¬†Whatever the cause, it’s embarrassing at best and disconcerting at worst.
We asked Ram for a quote in response to these numerous issues and they said several of the interior issues could be from kicking it and knocking the pieces off. While we can certainly see this as a possibility (we have kids), it simply doesn’t cover all the issues Edmunds has come across.
Lastly, many manufacture reps we talk to don’t understand why the seemingly outdated Toyota Tundra continues to sell well even though their are arguably more technologically-advanced trucks with nicer interiors on the market. We can see that argument and then again we can’t. The above story is a BIG part of why Toyota can’t build enough Tundra pickups to meet demand. These new trucks may have a lot of fancy knobs and interesting innovations, yet at the end of the day, having a truck that isn’t in the shop is the real luxury to have.

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  1. DJ says:

    This is exactly why I wouldn’t buy a Dodge. Nice looking trucks, significantly upgraded interior, yet same poor Chrysler quality.

    Yet all of these reviews journalists praise their trucks (same w/jeep cherokees) yet theres never a mention of reliability.

    When I bought my 4Runner I googled “2014 Toyota 4Runner problems”, no results came up. “2014 Jeep Cherokee Problems” yielded dozens of results, transmission issues, electrical issues, etc.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      DJ,

      In the auto journalists defense, it is hard to mention reliability when we have a vehicle for 7 days. While I did bring it up in my Ram 1500 comparison article, even I said, it is too early to judge the EcoDiesel on it.

      Long-term loans are a good way to get a better idea on reliability except most problems happen at 60-100k miles. Journalists simply can’t provide this information unless they buy a truck. No way would a manufacture allow us to borrow a truck for that length of time.

      Agreed on the other points.

      -Tim

  2. Randy says:

    With the price of $50,000 dollar trucks the quality of Ram, Ford, and GM should be on par with Lexus. It is not, and that is a crying shame. IMHO the quality is not any better than a Ford Pinto or an 80’s Chrysler New Yorker.

    In addition to their poor engineering, poor assembly, it is as “if” the dealerships are prompted in keeping their franchise, then they better not be turning in any warranty claims; hence it is a rare day indeed when something actually gets fixed or resolved (i.e. EcoBoost).

    So far my Tundra has had four issues, the biggest being the infotainment system. More importantly the dealership has fixed all four items without any major hassle. I never got that level of service from the other three brands.

    There are two major reason I drive a Tundra:

    1) It comes better made and engineered right out of the box.

    2) If something is broken or defective, there is a strong likely hood that a Toyota Dealer can fix it.

  3. breathing borla says:

    sucks it broke down, I haven’t read of this issue at all yet, but buying a first year model of anything is risky.

    I’m glad it happened to a journalist though, maybe get Ram’s head out of their rear and make sure that they know huge sales gains come with a greater challenge to make sure quality is still improving at a faster rate.

    That said, I haven’t had any issues to speak of with mine and with them building 400K Rams a year, most people are happy and have good trucks.

    Tim,

    What are you hearing from them about quality improvements? Or can you ask them point blank next time about how they feel about constantly being at the bottom of the ratings and what they are doing about it.

    My 2013 seemed to be a big jump in quality vs the older ones and much closer to tundra levels from the ones I owned. That said, they still need to work on it.

    Overall, it a real nice truck, I have been happy with mine so far and it’s still on the shopping list for next time. So is the tundra, GMC.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      BB,

      I learned a while ago to NOT ask about quality with Ram guys. They get a little ornery when you bring it up. I believe they know it is an ongoing issue and they are working to improve it. However, there is something to be said about how fast they have grown. Fast growth typically equals quality issues. Case in point is Honda who’s CEO just left because they grew too fast and quality suffered. Also, Toyota which froze new plant expansion to improve quality.

      I don’t see Ram halting expansion to focus on quality, but I do see them working to improve it. Why do I say that? Recently, I was in Montreal with the Ram guys and I noticed them using the quality word more than I have ever heard in the past. That was a pretty big eye opener.

      -Tim

      • Randy says:

        Tim,

        What you say is all very true. These systems work differently in different areas.

        The DFW area that we drive covers about 10 Texas counties with Tarrant (Fort Worth) and Dallas County at the center of it all.

        Our relatives are up to 125 miles apart which can make getting from far northeast Collin County to SW Johnson County a challenge at times. Plus we are “new again” having not lived in this area for over 50 years and the changes in these counties have been major. That is the main reason “we like” the Tundra’s Navigation system.

        When making these long trips, we have noticed the traffic warning’s and route restructures can appear up to 25 miles in advance; but typically around 2-5 miles in advance. The shortest of the traffic warnings we have received have been 1 mile.

        I have no idea how the traffic information is actually getting “into” the truck; whether it is from the HD radio or the data link via the smartphone or possibly both (since I have the switch turned “on” for both)…but all I know is it works great.

        With all the “unmarked” freeways and toll roads in this area with nightmares of traffic, I think it is really neat when I hear “ding ding” and glance at either of the “two” displays and it tells me what to do and which lane to be in. All without taking my hands off the steering wheel or having to mess around with a tiny smartphone while driving in heavy traffic.

        That is the real reason I made my post above. In reading the Edmonds details of the same feature of traffic alerts with Navigation in the Ram; it appears to be a dud. I have no idea if their system can get traffic data from two sources or not? I also do not know how it works, so I am only going by what I read from Edmonds? My interpretation was it did not work?

        As you have mentioned the other QC details (like fit and finish) that are lacking in the Ram, I have never seen to that extent in the Tundra’s.

        I have lived with 3 different Ford Sync systems through 2011 MY and two GM infotainment systems with navigation through 2008 MY. One of the Ford systems was just OK for navigation but it could not do the traffic at all, though it was supposed to. Neither of the GM navigation systems worked for me. True those are older vehicles.

        It is 5 stop lights to our Central Market. LOL

        Someday I may get to try out the navigation system in Girvin Texas. I have heard there is less traffic there, but I have had trouble finding a gas station? This is number 1,012 on my bucket list.

        Randy

  4. LJC says:

    My personal experience with Toyota is not any better, period. As a matter of fact, it’s been the worst vehicle I’ve owned in terms of quality.

    Here are the problems I’ve with my 2011 Tundra (format is sequence, mileage and problem):
    1) 11,335: mounting brackets for Toyota bug deflector wore through the paint and primer
    2) 16,901: oil leaking from valve covers onto exhaust manifold heat shields
    3) 17,090: oil still leaking from value covers, diagnosis is notorious cam tower leak
    4) 17,632: TSB 0121-08 (front axle growl)
    5) 31,059: Paint Issues, no luster in various locations and dark blotches that looked like snake skin; Toyota agreed to repaint the affected panels the following spring; in the following spring I had my paint re-inspected; prior to this visit I successfully removed a dark blotch with a white wax / cleaner product; I demonstrated this on a second area to both the field rep and paint technicians. Based on my successfully removal of the blotches, I declined the refinishing of affected panels; Ill live with the lack of luster
    6) 41,424: TSB 0013-13 (axle rubbing againt backing plates)

    On Deck:
    * TSB 0101-0012: Bed Rust, rust perforating in multiple locations
    * Startup up clatter, sounds like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMp7LELtNb4

    I “tried” working with Toyota Customer Care by stating I want the QDR I paid for. Here’s the result of my experience with them “There’s no Care in Toyota Care”–as a matter of fact, they’ve made things worse…

    I’ve read your article “https://www.tundraheadquarters.com/blog/toyota-customer-service-tips-for-getting-your-problem-solved/”.

    I’m going to express my concerns, in a professinal mannger, with the dealership I’ve been working with and where I bought my Tundra. They’ve done an excellent job fixing things the first time and have been easy to work with–this dealership rocks! I’ll be meeting with a field rep who will be examining my bed rust. Prior to this meeting, I’m going to let the service manager know there’s no QDR in my Tundra and I want it addressed. By aligning all the resources, I think something positive will happen.

    I know I got an outlier in terms of no quality, cuz I know it shouldn’t be this bad.

  5. Randy says:

    Tim,

    I took the time to read all the details form the Edmond’s report link you provided – long term log.

    There were more OC problems with the Ram than I expected. No reason to list them all here because they are covered by all the various drivers.

    One that does stand out, is the one area of Navigation they mentioned – specifically the traffic reporting.

    The JBL Entune Navigation is fantastic by comparison. It has provided not only traffic issues with pin point accuracy well in advance but also provides alternate routes and can recalculate routes instantly with no action on your part. In the DFW metroplex this is a feature my wife and I both use every week; it is a major time saver.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Randy,

      The navigation item is somewhat tricky for me since the area where you live makes a difference. I’ve had poor navigation from different vehicles at times, but I’m not really into blaming the manufacture. In fact, I rarely use navigation anymore and just rely on my iPhone. It is just a software issue and I prefer to look at the things manufactures can really control like fit and finish, engine power and drive comfort.

      Finally, I live in like a 5 stop light town, so navigation isn’t that big of a deal. LOL.

      -Tim

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