Welcome to our Adventure!

Al and I are thrilled that you have found your way to our blog. We hope you enjoy reading our journal and viewing our photographs of the natural wonder of our United States of America. Let's hit the road together!
Homer, Alaska

Monday, June 23, 2014


No pictures today, although I am working on a great set from our first visit yesterday to Yellowstone National Park. It was amazing to use a short, succinct word! I will have a post up shortly of our day in the Upper Geyser Basin.

As it will be four weeks tomorrow since the onset of our engine disaster, I guess it is time for an update. It has been a very long, drawn-out process with Ford Extended Warranty. First they wanted the engine torn down to determine what happened. That was done, and diagnosis was most likely a stuck fuel injector dumping too much fuel into the cylinders, ultimately burning one and starting on another. Ford Warranty then requested a further tear down, and pictures sent. Dean at Young Ford complied with all this, and we waited. Last Thursday they then sent out an inspector to the dealer to do a hands on inspection. Dean told us he took a lot of pictures including pictures of the Banks tuner that Al had installed back in 2011. We were pretty sure at this point that we were going to be denied, and Friday afternoon we received the official word: Denied. The official report seems to be that the computer codes are showing that the Banks tuner caused too much power to flow to the engine causing an over-rev situation which is what blew the injector. Being that the warranty specifically states that any after-market products installed voids the warranty, and they are saying it caused the engine failure, its pretty much tough luck Sherlock. After extensive research, it was pretty much the verdict we were expecting.

We're trying not to let it over-stress us too badly, but I can't help thinking  that apparently we were pretty gullible in trusting the Banks representative when he told us that using the system will absolutely not void our warranty. It does seem as if you need to go out with the attitude that you can't trust anyone, and I hate being like that. We had also done extensive research before selecting the 2008 Ford450 truck, wanting to make the right decision. Did the Banks tuner cause the failure? Some say no way, others say possibly. I don't know that we can ever know for sure. We have to just go on from here I guess.

We have investigated several options. Al has always been a fan of Cummins engines, having had them in his boat for so many years. There is an outfit in Montana that does conversions, putting the Cummins engine into the Ford truck. He talked to those folks for awhile. We tossed around the idea of a totally new-to-us truck, the issue would be finding one that we like, is big enough for our needs, and within budget. Dean our service representative, gave us two options: a rebuilt engine with a one year warranty, or a brand new engine with a two year unlimited mileage warranty.

So: after discussing it with several folks, including a very good friend who is a lawyer; after investigating similar experiences and resolutions on the internet; after learning about how the appeal and arbitration process works with BBBAuto; discussing the overall condition of our truck with Dean at Young Ford; we have come to a decision. We will be putting a brand new engine in our current truck. The truck is in great condition, new brakes, batteries last year and new tires the year before. There is no body damage at all and the interior is in pretty good condition. We are putting less miles on it now that we are traveling with the TB, so we are pretty much just using the truck for towing. We are at 120K miles, and the new engine should easily get us to at least 300K miles. A new engine costs roughly $2,500 more than a rebuilt, but has a 2 year warranty vs. a 1 year and (hopefully) comes with no previous issues. Yes, we will be removing the Banks tuner from the truck as well!

We are maintaining a hopefully happy and healthy outlook about the whole ordeal. It could be a lot worse. We could have serious health issues plaguing us after all. We have the resources to deal with it, although we are not too happy about digging into our savings to pay for it. After all, we could be sitting here wondering how in the world we would come up with the cash to pay for it. By the grace of good friends and employers, we did arrive at our summer positions and have been able to work this summer....we could have been sitting in Evanston WY for the last four weeks twiddling our thumbs! We will be ok and work through this as we do any other problem.

I do wish to offer a warning though, to anyone who has a warranty or extended warranty on their vehicle: read your policy carefully, and be extremely wary of ANY after-market products that offered. Warranty companies look for ANY excuse they can find to deny a claim. Don't believe the sales pitches that claim their products don't affect warranty work....they do! Even having oil changes done at places like JiffyLube can be enough for them to deny a claim (not using the "approved" fuel filters"). Seriously. Another case I read that lost their claim was because someone changed the size of their tires from stock. The auto companies have a lot more lawyers and money than we do and can afford to tie things up in court and arbitration for far longer than we can deal with. So be very very careful about what modifications you do to your vehicle. We've learned the hard way. We thought we were doing a good thing for our truck, but it turns out we ended up costing ourselves a pretty penny.


  1. So sorry to hear this. You do have a very good attitude and it's a problem that can be taken care of. As Steve often says, "It is what it is. We deal with it and move on". Don't let it ruin your summer!

  2. Really sorry to hear that your claim was denied. Sometimes, as you are doing, it is just best to "move on!" I guess you could fight with them, but a different outcome is doubtful and you will just waste your time, energy and money. Great attitude... You definitely have your priorities in order!!

  3. You do have an awesome attitude! I learned, for me, that it's best to "mourn" and get it out of my system :) Then move on quickly. Rick always says what Steve does, above. "It is what it is". Nothing we can do to change it. You have your health and you have each other. That's the important thing.

  4. What a rip. To think you were doing a good thing and then have it come back to bite you seems doubly unfair. But I'm afraid it's true, you really can't trust anyone. We don't have any warranties to worry about but I know your cautions are very true and thank you for them. Your attitude about it is the only way to go. It is only money and has to be spent for something.
    I know you could think of other things you'd rather spend it for. Sounds like your Ford dealer was good and honest at least.

  5. So sorry to hear about this Karen and Al. Fix it and move on is the right attitude. I am sure everyone is grateful that you are always willing to post the bad and ugly along with the good so we can all learn from your hindsight! May your summer be sunny and stress free!!
    Teresa and Steve Heede

  6. hate to hear bad news like this, I know it is heartbreaking not to mention the hit to the wallet. Sounds like you guys have a plan now though. Try and not let this spoil your summer and we are looking forward to hearing all about your adventures.

  7. Your engine failure & dealing with the "extended" warranty have made for educational reading for the rest of us. It's been almost a month of 'waiting', that's a long time if you need the vehicle & that's just for them to determine if they are going to honor what they sold you.

    Do you know of anyone who had a positive experience with those warranties? Stories of being denied are common.

    I am sorry you had to provide us with the education on the warranty...

  8. I am far behind, just logged on and read the few posts back, BUMMER for sure. Man I hope you can go back at them and get your $$ for their extended warranty back! What good if they simply deny. I have always been skeptical of those things. Will be thinking of you guys and hoping for good results on the new engine.

  9. Thinking about it more and curious, have you talked about the denial with the Banks folks who indicated there would be NO warranty issue.