First Look - Long Term Update
Driver: Dan Ward
The first time a loving and caring Rottweiler bites your child without warning, you have to put it down. This is what flowed through my mind after our Mega Cab diesel long-term truck died during a 10-minute trip to the grocery store. The battery was fine, yes, it had plenty of gas, and, no, there was nothing wrong with the encoded key. Now that you are boggled, too, the problem was with the Dodge's electronic control unit (ECU). Keep in mind, this truck had less than 12,000 miles on it when this happened...the first time. According to the clueless dealer (we were forced to use the closest dealership because of the Daimler Chrylser towing service), the problem was a loose wire that needed tightening. After the second time the Dodge died, and the second check up, the dealer returned the truck with a clean bill of health, and a new computer was sent, along with several apologies. Besides being a serious problem, it was a hassle, and besides being a hassle, the truck was brand new and it didn't run. If I had paid $54,000 for the top-of-the-line Lariat Cummins-powered 4x4, and it had already needed a computer, I would have been upset, and ultimately disappointed.

Luckily, and with my fingers constantly crossed, the Ram has performed flawlessly since its new, back-ordered computer had been installed. Yes, the truck has immense power thanks to the 5.9L Cummins, and yes, the truck is outfitted with features like heated-leather seats, navigation, power rear window and sunroof. But do a few bells and whistles exonerate two trips to a dealership on the back of a flatbed? The jury is still out, and until Dodge announces a recall, I'll still turn the key and hope.

This is the third installment of our long-term coverage of the Dodge Ram Mega Cab 2500. Miles to date are 16,743.