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The Dear GM Letter

To whom it may concern.

        My name is Dennis Sattler, and I am writing you this letter in regard to the new 1 ton cube van I bought two mouths ago.

        This letter is a request for help in solving the problem the van has given me. To give you a view of the circumstances, this letter is somewhat personal oriented, because I'm considering sending it to several destinations.

        On November 11,1993, a propane heater caught the fluid line on my airless spray outfit, in which it burned down my shop, destroying my work trucks, and damaging my house. As I realized I did not have a home, but I was also out of a job. Not only that, all my time and money three mouths that I was committed to and needed to finish in order to get paid. Suddenly I realized, there is people depending on me. It took ten days to collect money from accounts receive, the advance from the insurance company to start rebuilding my business or may I say my livelihood.

        Having located and at will call, the necessary equipment and materials. The hold up was the need of a van. I checked out a few used vans, but they were in need of some sort of repair. As a result I decided that a new van, because I have no shop or tools to fix anything and a shop on wheels seemed like thing to have.

        To bad I have to rent a 5 x 10 storage unit because the one ton cube van can not carry twelve hundred pounds safely. The idea of not having to load equipment and saving time is out of the question. Just looking at a empty cube is upsetting and quit embarrassing at times. To have to think of my old 1977 telephone van I bought at an auction for thirteen hundred dollars could haul more weight and it was only rated as a heavy duty half ton at 6400 gross weight. What a sham, I have lost the pride in owning a Chevys from here out. I fill like sticking my foot in my mouth for promoting Chevys as long as I can remember. I used to say all I would own is Chevys, well, I think this on is my last.

        But looking at my 1969 Chevelle with the 396 in it, I can reminis of the days when General Motors built a decent investment. At least it goes up in value. Buy the way my new cube van isn't worth 3/4 the price I paid for it two mouths ago, and dealers don't even what it as a trade in even though it looks as good as new. My hart fills like it is in my stomach.  

        The   experience trying to purchase a new van was an lesson in it self. To begin with, the van I originally wanted was already sold. ( a one ton single rear wheeled ten foot cube). I saw it at the Chevrolet dealer in Sumner, so other dealers tried to locate one. A dealer in Olyimpia said, give me money down and we'll get one for you in about two weeks. Another G.M.C. (Truck Center) in Seattle said he could get one in two months, instead the salesmen offered to sell me a one ton dully with a fourteen foot cube. He pointed out to me that the space inside was a substantially larger and I thought, sense I need a shop on wheels this one ton truck could handle at least a thousand pounds more than my old 6,400 Gross telephone van did.

        The next day I found a 93 One Ton Cube Van at Jet Chevrolet, in which I bought without test driving, Because I had just test drove one in Seattle the day be for,   I was in a hurry to get back to work, and people waiting for me. The dealer ship wanted to detail the van for me. I thought go ahead wash it for me, so I let them. When the service person drove by me, I thought it didn't run very smooth, and then I thought it was probably because the heat riser gate was cold and closed.

        They were taking so long I decided to see what they were doing to it, and was glad that I caught them when I did.

        They had cleaned the floor mat and sprayed armorial Protectent on the mat to make it black and shinny again, (which intern, turned white the next day). I told them to keep the armorial Protestant off it, because it rots the threading and causes fish eyes in new paint jobs. Hopping they didn't spray it on the body from doing the tires and or used it anywhere else.

        Getting into van I noticed a sticker on door about air bags, I then thought about the leaky air bags my parents had to replace in there motor home, this made me a little disappointed.

        Leaving the lot, accelerating up the hill, I noticed the miss in the engine, and thought " I'm glad I bought a new van with a extended warranty, I can bring it back when I get the time and have them fix it."

        I thought it maybe moister in the distributor cap or maybe just to cold yet. What ever it was I thought it would be fixed under the warranty. Shortly I noticed a bearing noise in the transmission   at about 45 M.P.H. going down Highway 99 at about 2 miles from Jet Chevrolet. I wanted to turn around and go take it back, but some how I knew that they would say bring it back if it brakes down, " It's under warranty.    When the van had almost two thousand miles on it, (1,200 miles with me). I decided to change the oil in the engine. After draining the oil, I put in the plug and filled the oil filter before installing it.

        When I thought it was full I checked the dipstick, I thought " wow the made the oil pan bigger on newer 350's . After almost braking my butt from slipping on the oil on the ground. I said to myself, " come on, your smarter than that Sattler" , this is something you heard of other people doing. I checked the plug even knowing that I had put it in anyways and yes it was in.

        I took another look at the engine and discovered that the oil filler tube wasn't pushed in at all, the nut was only half on.

        My heart fell to my stomach, I thought, " why me." " What else didn't they put together all the way?"

        I remembered the times when I worked on race cars that I had noticed the details of the P.C.V. valves. On many of the racecars I have worked on the P.C.V. Valves were important parts of the engine, because they help the seals from blowing out, and the valve train, and piston rings to lube and set properly.

        As I would assume that if a person did one modifications to the factory engine, such as disconnecting the P.C.V. valve. The factory warranty would be expired of terminated because the integrity of the engine had been altered.

        As a result, if General Motors could void the warranty, then why is it not the buyers right to void the engine and receive the engine they thought to have bought new. The thought of being forced to keep an engine that runs bad with less than 2,000 mile on it (even after a tune up was done on it)   should have the right to receive a new engine.

        I am sure my engine will not last as long as I have to make payments on it, and I fell I shouldn't have to suffer the lack of power and bad gas mileage I'm receiving.

(2/27/94) Sunday night   I'm driving home from Sumner and I notice, in order to leave Puyaulp I need to go up a hill. Of course it isn't going to go up the hill in 4th. Ya, 3rd gear automatically. I see 53 M.P.H. at mid hill the van will not go any faster. Gally gee wess I'm gald I only have less than 500 pounds in the back, just think if I had any thing in this truck, or should I say a van want-a-be truck. Do I deserve this, to put up with this truck is not worth putting up with this, just because I don't fill like I should have to come up with five thousand dollars, just to drive a new truck.        

        The next experiance I had , was a clunk in the frount suspension.

The sound and feel in the steering became more noticable as time went by. Quite embarassing when I turn into a parking lot and a loud clunk makes people turn their heads to see a new Chevy Van. I get out and say if I would have known of the junk General Motors was building I know I would have bought something else.

        I tell people that the extended warranty isn't worth the paper it is written on because I got a free lube job and a tune up on a bad front end and bad engine, and missed two days of work to get them. Is there a better way to waist time and money.

        I guess that it saves G.M. time and money when we try to trade it

in on a different brand of truck, and the dealer that sold it to you wants you to pay them another   $ 1,400 dollers to clear up the dept after putting five thousand down 3,200 miles earlier.

        That means you have to come up with five to six thousand dollars in a two month period, after you just spent over five thousand. Ya, I can see why there is more profit per vehicle selling lemons. So we take them back and ruin our credit or come up with the money two trade it off as a six thousand dollar loss. They put it back on the lot and wait to see who takes the bait ( the van ) and catch another meal ( contract ).

        Just like realtors, they like to see how many times they can sale the same property. " Say mister, can I interest you in some swamp land" .

For real, it looks like swapland behind my seats when I drive the van on wet roads. The water travels to the spot where my computer ( the one the dealers show you when the mention the extended service agreement.) the one that cost so much, has been sitting in a puddle of water, instead of being mounted so the metal dosen't show.

        It looks as if whom ever drove the van from Montana didn't like the seat beat buzzer very much, cause the wires were tore apart. I had a dealer fix them but the connection failed. " Gee, the driver just could have pulled the buzzer from the fuse box" .

        I'm also surprised that the seal between the cab and box dosen't leak more than it dose. Because when I washed it I noticed that the seal looked terrible over the passenger seat. The ten or more dents in the top of the cab looks as if they could use something like staging, walk planks or anything better than a piece of carpet when painting and installing lights.

        Buy the way, there was no primer used inside the cabs back wall. The paint is poping of and scrapes of very easily. They must have been pressing for time, because the put the drivers seat into the wet paint on the back wall and put a small tear in the seat putting the seat back in.

        The passenger door has overspray from the person that did the undercoating. The dash has some black finger prints on the end of the drivers side by the door closer.

It's Only Junk


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