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Old 01-17-2020, 05:09 AM   #1
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GM, Ford, and RAM Premium Trims tested

I'll start this thread by saying I have a truck that has spent 10 weeks as of tomorrow in the shop (a new 2020 Chevy Silverado 2500HD High Country diesel). None of the issues are related to engine, transmission, or any of the typical things, but instead related to electronic models, and what would seemingly been unrelated things like wheel sensors (however errors reported on the Canbus affect other things... and this is true for all vendors).

Because of the frustration we are having getting parts, we started thinking about just taking a bath on the truck and getting something else. Warning: if you buy a new vehicle year, and something is wrong out the gate that is new and not a carry over from previous model years, don't expect parts in the system... every part has had to be shipped from the assembly line!.

So, my wife and I spent two full days looking, testing, and getting pricing on all ¾ ton trucks on the market. We have a premium trim level and wanted to stay there, so here some observations we had. I'm not brand loyal... ok, maybe with my Airstream, but outside of that, I'll really look around. We tested the Ford F250 Platinum, Ram 2500 Limited, and GMC AT4 (not a huge fan of the looks fo the Denali). We weren't sure we wanted to stick with GM especially with the current issues we are having.

Some observations on Interior:
As noted by just about everybody, RAM is ahead of the game here. Way ahead of the game. I'm not overly fond of the glossy screen in the infotainment area due to fingerprints (our tester had a ton of fingerprints already). Reviewers seem to rate the Ford higher in interiors, but my wife and I both felt it was on par with the Chevy and in fact we dinged it due to the lack of front cabin cup holders. The plastic on the Ford felt just as cheap as that on the GM products (both Chevy and GM) ... and for the record, both the Chevy and GM were identical interior wise except for some custom stitching on the seats for the AT4. Winner: RAM.

Transmission:
Both the Ford and GM line now have a 10 speed transmission. Both felt fine, worked fine and we didn't notice the difference. Ford puts a transmission indicator in the cluster so you know what gear you are in. RAM has a six speed that seemed perfectly suited for the engine. I saw no clear winner here, but having more gears should technically help you eek out a bit more when it comes to fuel economy and towing could prove very worthwhile.
Winner: None

Engine:
Every engine worked extremely well, we noticed no weirdness and not doing more than taking them on a few miles of highway, city roads, and no towing, I don't feel we did the engine any real testing.
Winner: None -- hard to say we did any real test with it to be fair.

Engine Noise:
Now here is where we had issues. Let's be honest, we spend hours in the cabin (or at least we do when we travel). You want a quiet engine, or one you don't notice much. The diesel engine noise was quite noticeable on both the Ford and RAM. We thought maybe the RAM was a bit more quiet, but not by much. GM is obviously putting a lot of effort into sound isolation, it was the clear winner here.
Winner: GM

Technology:
We have only had the 2020 Chevy on the road about 3 weeks out of 13 at the moment. But the one trip we did get to take with it, the color head-up-display is so immediately useful, and couldn't believe how much we enjoyed it until we didn't have it. Nobody had a heads-up-display except GM (and you need the technology package to get it). What may seem like a gimmick soon turns into a very useful tool. I expect to see HUDs showing up in trucks soon, but I'll bet it takes Ford and RAM another 2 years.

Infotainment is often overlooked in the product reviews I've seen online, yet we spend a lot of time sitting the cabin. Here I think both Ford and GM are adequate, RAM has a very nice screen.. very nice! The GM and Ford one's look outdated compared it. The U-Connect system is quite nice and worked flawlessly. GM has updated their infotainment for 2020 and the speed at which things like the map move around now are outstanding, Ford by comparison lagged when trying to move it around.
Winner: GM, but mostly for the HUD.

Tailgate:
I can't go without putting in my two cents here. The GMC tailgate looks very cool, but in reality I find it's more of a gimmick. It's not bad, but I guess I'm just not sold on how useful it really is.

Biggest Surprise:
How much we enjoyed the Ford. While it may seem that I dinged the Ford a lot here, just the opposite really. We haven't owned a Ford product in about 15 years and no Ford trucks in just over 20 when we had our child and had to get rid of our Ranger for a vehicle that you could put a car seat in.

Price:
All the prices were eye watering. Even with a really good trade number these are $70-80K trucks. With discounts and trades, from high to low we got this:
*GMC
*Ford
*RAM
*Chevy (our dealer feels our pain and found another location with the identical truck and worked hard with us to get it so we would only be out a few thousand dollars).

So, where did we go? What did we do? ... nothing! After talking with several people including GM corporate, we're going to see if this new wheel sensor finally fixes all the issues. IF this doesn't and the truck has to go back any time soon again, then we will find ourselves in a RAM, but willing wishing we had the HUD.
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Old 01-17-2020, 05:24 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by wbrisett View Post
. . .
Because of the frustration we are having getting parts . . .
. . .
Sorry for your troubles.

FWIW . . . a general comment about the industry's "just-in-time" inventory system for parts.

Our 2017 van tow vehicle was in the shop for repairs to the rear end, caused by a reckless driver who ran a stop sign. The damage was relatively minor, but the parts need to put the Uni-body van back together were not all readily available, and every single part is needed to finish the "jigsaw puzzle."

We waited seven weeks to get the van back.



Peter
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Old 01-17-2020, 06:23 AM   #3
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wbrisett,

Nice write up but can you add the specific engine that each truck had that you tested?

I'll be watching your connector thread to see if the wheel speed sensor fixes the original problem.

Good luck.

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Old 01-17-2020, 06:33 AM   #4
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I have encountered the same parts issue with different models of cars as well. Funny thing though, in one case my dealer indicated that I was going to have to wait many weeks for a part to come from the manufacturer and although I had a loaner, I was impatient. I started calling around to dealers within a 200 mile radius and on the 3rd call I found the part. My dealer sent a truck up to Virginia to get. I think dealers today use the online parts system which, in my case, does not inventory parts at all or some of the dealers.

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Old 01-17-2020, 06:59 AM   #5
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Well said Larry that turned out to be true for our repair. With all the computer power you’d think they could look all over for the part.

Too inconvenient for corporate profits?

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Old 01-17-2020, 07:04 AM   #6
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Well said Larry that turned out to be true for our repair. With all the computer power you’d think they could look all over for the part.

Too inconvenient for corporate profits?

It really is a 20th century idea. Back when I was working our supply system knew the location of every part in every warehouse throughout our service territory. Hard to understand why it does not work that way for all car/truck dealers. But, per this thread, there have always been risks with buying new model vehicles. Although I think we have forgotten about that with the generally excellent quality today.
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Old 01-17-2020, 10:53 AM   #7
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We have a new 2019 RAM Longhorn 3500 CTD. Ours has been a defect nightmare as well. Two water leaks, only one of which has been rectified. The infotainment system is subject to shutdowns and lockups. Lots of other electronic related issues as well. I'm at my wits end as well, but trading it for a competitive manufacturer is an "out of the pan and into the fire" situation. If Toyota ever produces a diesel 2500 and 3500 model, the domestic truck scene will be decimated.
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Old 01-17-2020, 11:03 AM   #8
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It really is a 20th century idea. Back when I was working our supply system knew the location of every part in every warehouse throughout our service territory. Hard to understand why it does not work that way for all car/truck dealers. But, per this thread, there have always been risks with buying new model vehicles. Although I think we have forgotten about that with the generally excellent quality today.
GM corporate is tracking down the parts for me. Apparently they can do stuff the dealers can't. They are supposed to call me today with an update. I think the biggest challenges we face are the things we like... the high tech gadgetry. That's where most of the issues seem to be coming from, that or the electronic modules that control 'this' and 'that'. Mechanically it runs like a top, but it's hard to use when you have no trailer brake, or the canbus indicates an issue which then triggers a safety switch that cuts engine power. Module replaced (in our case several of them because the canbus kept getting triggered and flagging different things).
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Old 01-17-2020, 11:11 AM   #9
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Nice write up but can you add the specific engine that each truck had that you tested?
Sure... In all cases we tried to do a 1:1 comparison, so in every case we used a ¾ ton diesel. In the case of RAM that's the 6.7L inline-6 turbo diesel Cummins. In the case of Ford, that's the 6.7L v8 turbo diesel. And finally, the Chevy and GMC are using the Duramax 6.6L v8 turbo diesel.
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Old 01-17-2020, 12:16 PM   #10
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I would look at asking GM to buy back truck as a lemon, I personally think any of them are good choices, I originally was going to replace a 1500 Sierra AT4 with a 2500 2020 AT4 late last summer but availability issues pushed my to a 2019 F350 Platinum, very happy.
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Old 01-17-2020, 12:30 PM   #11
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I would look at asking GM to buy back truck as a lemon, I personally think any of them are good choices, I originally was going to replace a 1500 Sierra AT4 with a 2500 2020 AT4 late last summer but availability issues pushed my to a 2019 F350 Platinum, very happy.
Actually I did, GM wasn't interested. I talked to an attorney here in town who specializes in the Lemon Law. Texas law states that if they provide a loaner (they have provided a 1500), then as far as Texas law is concerned your vehicle has never been out of service and not a lemon. There's also some rules about time in shop (again, not out of service) and repair attempts. However, the repair attempts part in Texas is that they have given up on repair it and it's a safety issue, reduces the amount the vehicle is worth, etc. My vehicle doesn't fit that either according to him. Basically, I need to give them a chance to repair it. Seems most people have this idea that a vehicle is like a toaster and you can simply return it for a refund or exchange it. Doesn't quite work that way and despite how I feel GM should be stepping up a bit more, there is little I can do with this vehicle other than take a bath and trade it/sell it once it's fixed, or just wait until it's fixed and keep my fingers crossed it is really fixed.

I agree with you about the trucks. We would be happy with any of them. There are vehicles that have a slight edge here and there, but they really are fairly close and none of them are poor choices.
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Old 01-17-2020, 12:53 PM   #12
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I think one of your first comment is true, try not to buy a first model year. I am waiting a year to buy the new GMC 2500 Denali. I love my 2016, a little problem with the DEF system but nothing too major.
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Old 01-17-2020, 01:08 PM   #13
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Anyone tried the 2020 GMC 6.6 liter gas 3/4 ton. I currently have 2018 duramax which is great. Just curious
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Old 01-17-2020, 01:09 PM   #14
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I think you are also on track with the gizmos being a real source of trouble, new and in the future. I deliberately searched for an LT when I bought mine because I did not want bells-and-whistles that would someday fail. However, you cannot get away from the modules and electronics that control and detect everything these days. You are looking diesels...just think how simple they once were...not anymore.
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Old 01-17-2020, 07:21 PM   #15
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We have a new 2019 RAM Longhorn 3500 CTD. Ours has been a defect nightmare as well. Two water leaks, only one of which has been rectified. The infotainment system is subject to shutdowns and lockups. Lots of other electronic related issues as well. I'm at my wits end as well, but trading it for a competitive manufacturer is an "out of the pan and into the fire" situation. If Toyota ever produces a diesel 2500 and 3500 model, the domestic truck scene will be decimated.
Camr, sorry to hear about your issues. Have you seen the HDRAMS website and Forum? There’s a category for 4.5 Gen UConnect systems where you can post your issue and see if anyone else has the same. *Search first*. I guess we’ve been lucky with our 2019 RAM 2500 Laramie - no gremlins at all!

Have to agree with the OP, the RAM interior is very nice. The DW had zero complaints in the ride and comfort after 2500 mile trip (except for the tall step height). Also, don’t discount the 6.4 Gas and new 8 speed trans. Very capable combination for anything Airstream makes today!

Hope you get yours worked out soon
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Old 01-18-2020, 02:40 AM   #16
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I find this guy rather funny in how he put things, but he makes some good points. Based on what I'm reading here, he might just have hit the nail on the head.





Enjoy,
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Old 01-18-2020, 07:38 AM   #17
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I think you are also on track with the gizmos being a real source of trouble, new and in the future. I deliberately searched for an LT when I bought mine because I did not want bells-and-whistles that would someday fail. However, you cannot get away from the modules and electronics that control and detect everything these days. You are looking diesels...just think how simple they once were...not anymore.

Larry


+1. I bought a leftover 2018 Ram 3500 SLT 4x4 CCSB back in August for this very reason.

FWIW, I pushed broom for awhile at a Ford dealership back when I was in HS (1970-71) and my Ram SLT (which is pretty austere) is downright luxurious compared to those old Ranger XLT’s back in the day.
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Old 01-18-2020, 03:17 PM   #18
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No more high end trim and device models for me. It has been a waste of money. I can’t use any of that gear while driving.....to distracting....read unsafe.
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Old 01-18-2020, 03:56 PM   #19
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No more high end trim and device models for me. It has been a waste of money. I can’t use any of that gear while driving.....to distracting....read unsafe.


On the other side love the seats in out F350 Platinum- heated, cooling, multi level lumbar and MASSAGING. It’s the best.
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Old 01-18-2020, 04:22 PM   #20
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My number one beef with all of them is the lack of real-time updates to the GPS systems. In today's world, with drones, satellite mapping, driverless cars, phone watches, and all the other gizmos, I just feel like Fred Flinstone looking at a flat rock sometimes. I paid for the GM update to my 2015 Silverado, but not sure what new info it received, I still need Waze or Google Maps to bail me out sometimes.
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