2008 Dodge Ram coil pack bad?

Tiny
STANNAN
  • MEMBER
  • 2008 DODGE RAM
  • 4.7L
  • V8
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 61,352 MILES
I took my car in for scheduled maintenance - oil chance, tire rotation, spark plug check/replace, alignment check ect. Basic preventive stuff after 60k miles. I received a call saying I had a bad coil pack and sparkplugs. I said to hold off while I decide. Question is I have had no engine issues. No idling problems, no backfires ect and have never had the check engine light turn on. Is it possible that the coil pack can be burnt and coming apart and not had any warning.
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Saturday, February 21st, 2015 AT 5:30 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
I'd want to know what they based their recommendation on. There are a lot of things we do to help our customers avoid problems in the future when we recognize things that are about to act up, but if they can't provide a rational explanation, I'd wait until you actually have symptoms.
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Saturday, February 21st, 2015 AT 6:55 PM
Tiny
STANNAN
  • MEMBER
The explanation was that it was burnt and loose and needed to be changed now.
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Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 AT 5:40 AM
Tiny
STANNAN
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the reply. The explanation they gave was that they were loose and burnt.
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Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 AT 5:42 AM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
DOCS NORMALLY BACK ON HERE IN THE EVENINGS

WHILE YOU WAIT ON HIM

WHAT SORTA EXTRA CHARGE WERE/ ARE THEY GONNA ADD TO THE BILL?

THE MEDIC
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Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 AT 8:58 AM
Tiny
STANNAN
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They said $590 to replace plugs and coil packs. Don't know if that includes the labor or not. I didn't ask and that is my fault for not asking for breakdown over the phone. Don't know if they are open on Sundays but was planning on calling to verify if that is the cost for 1 pack or all of them.
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Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 AT 10:04 AM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
STILL WAITIN' ON DOC. HIS OPINIONS MAY DIFFER FROM MINE, BUT EVERYONE NEEDS DIFFERENT OPINIONS, NOT JUST ONE OR JUST ONE SIDED

I'M SORTA MORE IN TUNE WITH DIY

SOME OF THE NEWER STUFF CAN STILL BE DIYed

I'T GETTING HARDER AS THE YEARS GO BY AND THINGS ARE ONLY ABLE TO BE DONE BY THE STEALERSHIP

HOWEVER, IF YOU DON'T DIY, SMALLER SHOPS ARE STILL CAPABLE AND QUALIFIED!

SOME WILL EVEN LET YOU SUPPLY THE PARTS (THEY WILL NOT WARRANTY THEM)

IN MOST CASES, THE AFTERMARKET PART IS JUST AS GOOD AS THE DEALER PART (THERE MAY BE A FEW EXCEPTIONS)

BUT LOOK AT THIS BELOW-AS A DIYer

I THINK I USED "YOUR CORRECT INFO" AT ADVANCE AUTO PARTS ONLINE

I CHOSE THE MORE EXPENSIVE PARTS

I CAN ORDER AND PAY ONLINE, THEN PICK IT ALL UP AT THE STORE IN 30 MINUTES

$118.01

BUT WAIT!

I ADDED THE "A124" PROMO CODE

I JUST SAVED $40 MORE DOLLARS!

NOW IT'S

$78.01 FOR THE EXACT SAME PARTS!

SUBTRACT THAT FROM YOUR $590

THIS REALLY MAKES SOMEONE'S LABOR LOOK REALLY OVERBOARD OR QUITE SPECIAL

I REALLY THINK IT'S ALL ABOUT A PAYMENT OR TWO ON SOMEONES BOAT/ PROWLER/ ETC, ALL AT YOUR GENEROUS EXPENSE!

THE MEDIC
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Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 AT 11:28 AM
Tiny
STANNAN
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the reply and info MEDIC. I am starting to feel wary about the suggested repairs more and more. The shop has made a lot of changes recently. Just about everyone there is new from the Service Manager down. I'd hate to have a relationship go sour after going to this dealership almost exclusively for maintenance on my truck over the past 6 years. I didn't recognize a single person when I took my truck in. I believe you used the correct info. I have a 2008 Ram 1500 ST 4.7L V8 Flex Fuel. I haven't used E85 at all even though I am able just in case that makes a difference.
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Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 AT 12:04 PM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
I TRY TO VIEW THINGS FROM THE LITTLE GUY DIY STANDPOINT (I FALL INTO THAT CATEGORY ALSO!). I REALLY TRY TO URGE DIY, FOR THREE MAJOR REASONS

IF IT IS A TASK YOU ARE CAPABLE OF, IT'LL SAVE SOME $$$

NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR VEHICLE MORE THAN YOU, SO YOU MOST LIKELY WILL RESEARCH AND PERFORM TASKS CORRECTLY (UNLIKE EGGBERT AT THE SUPER LUBE, WHO WILL EVENTUALLY RUIN YOUR OIL PLUG THREADS 'CAUSE HE OVER TIGHTENS IT EVERY TIME---DID HE PUT THE OIL IN OR NOT? DID YOU CHECK BEHIND HIM?)

THERE'S THAT PRIDE THING WHEN YOU ARE TALKIN' WITH THE FELLERS, "I" DID THIS OR "I" DID THAT!

I HAVE 1ST HAND SEEN MANY STEALERSHP ISSUES THAT DETER ME FROM GOING TO ONE, UNLESS THAT IS THE ONLY PLACE I CAN OBTAIN A PART. THEY KINDA RATE RIGHT ALONG WITH THE REVENUE SERVICE IN MY EYES!

ANXIOUS TO SEE DOC'S VIEW ON THE DEAL

THE MEDIC
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Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 AT 12:20 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
I'm back. I'd still like a better explanation. If the coil's terminals are loose or burned, that would likely be caused by arcing, and that would be caused by a less-than-ideal connection. My question then is why were they looking in there? You won't just stumble across a problem unless there was a symptom you hadn't noticed and they took the time to look for the cause, or if there is a common problem and they check on every vehicle as a customer satisfaction issue. As an example, when I worked at the dealership, I checked for loose battery cable connections on every oil change and on every other vehicle when I had to open the hood. I had to tighten them on about 80 percent. There was never a charge for that extra service but I wrote it on the repair order, so it got added on the printout of the final bill, simply to let the customer know it was done for them.

That is an example of one of the little extra things I did that could prevent a problem in the near future. Good do-it-yourselfers can fix that when it causes an intermittent no-crank problem. My customers didn't have to wait for that problem to show up. It was already fixed.

Loose hose clamps were another common thing I addressed on every vehicle. I don't know how often that would cause coolant leakage on other vehicles, but it didn't happen to my customers.

A better example was loose outer tie rod ends on 1980's Ford Escorts and Tempos, and their Mercury twins. Every one of those parts failed by about 15,000 miles. Those cars already came from the factory with unbelievably terrible tire wear due to a very messed up alignment that could not be corrected, and those worn parts added to that wear and due to separated parts, caused a lot of loss of control and crashes. The only time we ever found one of those cars that didn't need a replacement tie rod end was when they had just been replaced already, or they had been replaced with the much-improved aftermarket parts. This problem was so common and so serious, I was always tempted to check every car I saw in parking lots! In fact, we called them "killer cars" because of the huge number of crashes they caused.

This is a better example of where you might be told parts were needed related to nothing you brought the car in for. I would not be doing my job if I DIDN'T check them for you. The test simply involved grabbing each tire and wiggling it sideways to feel the clunking. On any other car brand you can also look at the tire wear patterns, but on those Fords, tires only lasted 15,000 miles and excessive tire wear was normal, so that couldn't be used to identify other problems.

My best recommendation is to get a second opinion from a different shop. I would not show them your bill from the last shop because that can sway their opinion positive or negative. Simply tell them another shop suspects a problem with the ignition coils, then let them see if they find the same thing.
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Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 AT 4:19 PM
Tiny
STANNAN
  • MEMBER
Thank for replying. I think after taking everything in consideration I'll be calling the dealership tomorrow morning to tell them my decision is to hold off on replacing the coil packs. As far as why they even looked part of the 60k package was to check the spark plugs and replace if needed along with tire rotation, alignment check, oil change and to check all fluids. I had a friend who told me to check into it more because he thought it was strange that a coil pack had burned out and I had no check engine light or performance problems so I started looking and found this site. I have to say I am very appreciative of the help and advise handed out here. Thank you both very much.
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Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 AT 4:59 PM
Tiny
STANNAN
  • MEMBER
Hello have a quick update. I contacted the dealership this morning and ask again for verification of what was wrong. I was told that the coil pack was completely snapped in half and needed to be replaced I then proceeded to voice my concernss about how was it poccible for it to be completely broken and nonfunctional with out me noticeing any performance issues like back fireing and such or at a minimum at least the check engine light coming on. I then asked if it was in any way possible that it could have broken when the plug was removed. The service tech hemmed and hawed for a bit and said he would have call me right back. He had to talk to the service manager. I got a call about 2 hours later and they said that occasionally the plug will seize in the coil pack and could cause a breakage when removed. I said I am not responsible for that and now they are going to replace the broken one and not do anything else free of charge. Thank you both SO much for the help. I saved a lot and learned alot because of your advice and I will now no longer be dealing with that dealership. On a plus side my son called me late last night and he contacted a friend of his who works on Dodge engines and races SRT's and he told my son that from now on to just call him and if he can he will show me how to do it myself. I do the work and he will watch and help as needed. He said to just buy him dinner or something in return. That's a win win for me. Thanks again!
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Monday, February 23rd, 2015 AT 12:59 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
I'm happy you're happy, but let me play devil's advocate for a bit. Obviously the proper thing that should have been done would be to admit the mechanic broke something, and the shop should pay for it, but consider what would have happened if you were doing this work yourself. Would you accuse yourself of doing something wrong or is it just bad luck and not really your fault? If it wasn't your fault, why would it be the mechanic's fault?

We see the same thing all the time with wheel lug nuts that customers install without using a click-type torque wrench. The damage was done by the owner but it doesn't show up until months later when the mechanic tries to get the lug nuts off, then a stud snaps or the threads are peeled and the nuts won't come off. That was caused by the previous person who worked on it, but the person working on it now gets blamed unfairly. Of course the owner expects the repairs to be done for free.

It is very often we run into corroded connectors and splices, rusty exhaust pipes, rusted-tight bolts, and things like that which break just from being touched and worked on. It is very possible the mechanic did nothing wrong, but due to corrosion and the ozone that develops around high voltage, the connector was deteriorated and ready to fail. That is a repair that you can be expected to be responsible for, regardless if it was going to occur in a few weeks or if it was hurried along by being handled now by the mechanic. If the mechanic took the proper and normal precautions to handle your truck with care, it's not his fault the coil broke. You asked for a 60,000 mile service and that involves removing the ignition coils to remove the spark plugs. If a connector was going to break, it was going to break regardless if you or he did it.

Now, even though this is not the mechanic's fault, all shop personnel know most owners will not understand that and they assume everything that goes wrong IS the mechanic's fault. We've all had some more unreasonable people who blame everything on the mechanic that goes wrong for months afterward. To avoid arguments and hard feelings, almost all service managers approve of any remedial actions that don't cost their bosses money, but that often transfers to mechanics DOING those additional repairs without telling anyone. As an example, while doing a typical rear-wheel brake job, I've had hold-down hardware and springs break due to severe rust AND being handled during removal. I always had a boxful of spare parts, and I'd install one of those without telling anyone. Legitimately I could request the customer pay for a new hardware kit which would restore those brakes to like-new condition, but that means my service adviser would have to write up a revised estimate after finding out the cost from the parts department. He'd have to try to make contact with the customer, explain the situation and why those parts weren't included in the original estimate, get the approval, then make sure the parts were in stock or available to be delivered from a parts store. Then he has to put all his other customers on hold while he runs back and tells me to go ahead and get the parts. I'd have to sit and wait for the parts to arrive while all my other customers were waiting to get their cars into the shop. It's easy to see why it's far more productive to just pop on a used part that is no older than all the other parts in that system.

There's a number of reasons to not say anything. First of all, you'd think people would be grateful, but instead, many of them would be disgruntled that I didn't install ALL used parts to save them money. The bigger problem goes back to when I started out in tv repair in the early '70s. One of my miserable jobs was to check tubes in the old spider web-infested, cow manure-covered, five-tube barn radios! Yuck. If I found one bad tube and replaced it, the total repair bill might be ten bucks, and they'd happily pay that. We'd make a dollar profit on that tube. (Remember, this was the '70s). If I found two bad tubes, the repair might be fifteen bucks, and there was a real good chance they'd say, "forget it. We'll just buy a new radio". Now I have an hour invested in the diagnosis and we get nothing in return. Can't stay in business that way. Instead, if we have one good used tube, we can put that in, sell them the other new one, and we're both happy.

It was STILL important that we didn't tell them what we did to save them some money. They'd ask why we didn't install TWO used tubes, but more importantly, what if that used tube went bad in a few days or weeks? Customers understand if a new tube fails and we replace it for free, but if a used one fails, 90 percent of them are angry they had to go through all the work of taking the radio down again and returning to the shop a second time. That free tube just cost us some customer satisfaction and a bad reputation for installing used parts. Instead we would tell them our new tube failed, and quietly replace our failed used one, or we'd explain this was a different problem but we could help them out by fixing it at no charge.

You see why we never advertise that we installed used parts. No matter what good intentions we have in mind, it always comes back to bite us.

Sorry for getting off the subject. Upper strut mounts on cars often rust out in the middle but don't cause any symptoms until they're disassembled to replace the struts. THAT is when we find the wear and have to tell you more parts are needed than were first thought. This is another example of something that causes hard feelings. To avoid that, and since this is known to be a common problem, we usually include all those parts in the repair estimate, then we don't replace them or charge for them if they're found to be okay. In the case of your ignition coils, if deteriorated connectors were a common problem, ideally they should have warned you ahead of time. If more than one broke, the mechanic should have stopped after the first one and told the service adviser who would have had a conversation with you as to how YOU wanted to proceed. Armed with the knowledge that there were brittle parts, you could have made an informed decision to stop and put everything back together so you could take it home and break the rest of them yourself. It is entirely possible the mechanic did nothing wrong except to get involved with parts known to cause problems. Ask yourself how often YOU got involved with something that broke while you were taking it apart, and you know you did nothing wrong.

By the way, I had one student with a reputation for breaking things on customers' cars. I stood next to him one day and watched as a brake rotor crumbled in his hands just as he started to remove it. We both know he didn't do anything wrong, and he surely wasn't using excessive force, yet he would have been ridiculed by the other kids if I hadn't seen it for myself. Would it be fair to the shop to make them pay for that rotor? If it wasn't corroded, it wouldn't have fallen apart, and the student didn't cause the corrosion. This was the car owner's responsibility, and fortunately, in this case, the owner understood what happened. One of the big problems we have in this field is mechanics have real good communication skills, ... Among other mechanics, but not with customers. That's why we have service advisers, who usually never were mechanics, but they have good communication skills and try to interpret what they're told by the mechanic and then translate that into something they think you will understand. You know something is going to get lost in translation, but that doesn't mean there's an intentional attempt to deceive or defraud.

I moved some paragraphs around here. I hope my story still flowed smoothly and made sense. I'm not saying anyone is right or wrong related to your truck. I just wanted to show some of the things going on in a conscientious mechanic's mind that is not common knowledge. The only question I still have is how they came up with the repair estimate and why it's so high. Dealerships use factory parts and in the past you could expect to pay ten to twenty percent more than at an independent shop, but that is starting to change for some repairs. Independent shops have to spend many thousands of dollars each year for equipment and very expensive updates, and for very expensive aftermarket schools. They need to charge accordingly to recover those costs. Dealerships have high-level training supplied by the manufacturers, and they only buy equipment related to the brands they sell. Because of their training, experience, and repeatedly seeing the same models over and over, they can diagnose most problems much faster than the independent shops, and that can save you money.
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Monday, February 23rd, 2015 AT 2:53 PM
Tiny
STANNAN
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Hi there. Your story flowed great. I just returned from the shop and I spoke to the new service manager. It all breaks down to communication. I understand how many customers act. I spent years in retail management and hated both it and the way customers were when it came down to products, damage, returns ect. Before I ended up in the job I have now which I absolutely love and enjoy going to every day. I have had a very good relationship for 6 years with the precious service manager and the advisers and even a few of the mechanics. I had been dealing with the same people since the day I bought the truck brand new with only 20 miles on it. They are all gone but one service adviser now and have moved on to either other shops or just moved on all together. The other service adviser who was still working remembered me when I came and myself, the service manager and him all talked about what happened. This was not the service adviser I had originally talked to about my vehicle when I dropped it off or on the phone. Previously when something went wrong I would get a call and a detailed explanation and things got worked out very fairly I thought. No real issues and most were either unavoidable issues or honest mistakes that I said to ignore. What got me was the way it was explained at first. I was told it was already broken and it needed to be replaced. Due to previous experience I at first took it all at face value. Then I got the estimate of 590 which turns turns out was the estimate for all 8 coils and plugs to be replaced. I understood that they were only replacing one coil and 8 plugs big difference there. That is what got me looking to find out some information. I got a nagging feeling that something wasn't right and ultimately that lead to asking questions of people I know and coming to this site.

Now after talking to the service manager and getting a full explanation about what exactly happened and agreeing that there was a breakdown in communication I agreed that there was no way to know if they were stuck/seized until they were taken off and I said just replace it and add it to the bill. I paid full price for the part but they didn't add a labor charge. The others may in fact break if taken off if they also happen to be seized so they were left alone since there are currently no problems with the performance of the truck. It seems that this IS a common problem and honestly if they would have told me at the beginning that it may happen and if/when it did notify me about it I probably would have said to replace the one and hold off on the others until it was actually needed and had to be done and just ended up paying for one coil and labor and this entire conversation would never have happened.

Communication is key to a good relationship and needs to be a joint endeavor. I now have a much better feeling about it all and am putting this down to just a bump in a long relationship with a company that can be passed over. I will still be taking my truck there since I prefer going to a dealership for all the reasons you mentioned and don't really feel like looking for another. If I have to start a new relationship with a dealership I will just stay and work with the one I've been going to. Now this isn't going to stop me from taking my sons friend up on his offer. For minor things that can be done as a DIY project I will take the time to learn since he is willing to teach.
Thanks again.
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Monday, February 23rd, 2015 AT 5:06 PM

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