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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
We discuss maintenence, schedules, fluids, etc. and with over 45 years of repairing, driving, analyzing failures and so on, I decided to share some of the conclusions I've developed.

Although doing my own work is, for the most part, enjoyable, there are some things that I've decided are enouph of a pita, and inexpensive enouph to have done by others.
For example, oil changes.
I let the dealer do them....here's why.
They send out/or email service specials which often include oil change service.
Thursday last, I had them change the oil.
I use Mobil 1 oil and this dealer has no problem with me supplying it.
As long as I buy their filter (Mopar) no issue.
So, on their coupon deal, in this case $10.00 off a 6qt oil change is $21.67 before tax/supplies.
But, because I supply the oil, the amount is further discounted by $15.96.
So, the dealer is charging me $5.71 for a filter and labor which is less than a filter alone costs.
To this I add the $28.00 the Mobil 1 cost and I now have a Mobil 1 oil change with filter for 33.71 plus tax applied to the filter only as the tax on the oil has been paid.
And, they take care of the disposal.
My primary motivation is the pita disposal can create and the added benifit of virtually paying nothing for that.
Now, while changing the oil, I said to the service manager ' motivate me into changing the transfer case oil while he has it on the rack'
He looks up his normal time charge (this dealer is $108.00 per hour) and says 'how bout $35.00 + fluid.
SOLD!
He gets to make a few bucks while it's on the rack.
So, at the dealer end I now have oil change/filter, transfer case oil change with 2 qts. at 12.50 a qt. (discounted that too...just because) for the princely sum of $65.71 + tax on parts.
And I'm still clean, and a real tech. (not a jiffy lube) did it, and Jeep has record of maintenence in their database.

The moral here is, use those coupons, take advantage of the deals, build a relationship with your dealer, so you can ask for those 'deals' while it's on the rack.
Makes the ownership experience a positive experience.
Plus, when your in a vehicular bind, the dealer remembers who gets their service where and not what you payed for it.

So much for recent experience.
Over the years I've learned to modify the service intervals based on my specific driving habits.
You should too....saves you money and aggravation in the long run.

I use a combination of the A and B schedules and you can too.

Oil changes should be done by time or mileage, whichever applies to you.
I change oil every 4 months or 3000 miles, whichever occurs first.
With Mobil 1 this is WAAAAY to often, but it makes me happy.
For me, January, May, September is usually the interval and if I go over mileage it is because I was on a trip which is the easiest situation for oil to be operated under.
The manual does not vary regarding transfer case service...it's 30000 miles so I will stick to that.
The 4.7 calls for plugs at 30k.
I will be there soon but I will install double platinum Champions with no intention of seeing them again till 100k or more.
This is an example of modifying the schedule as it does not take into account a upgraded component, just like it doesn't account for synthetic oil.
The trans service is called for at 60k....if schedule B fits but calls for no service EVER if schedule A applies.
I think 60k is a bit long, NEVER is way too long.
I will use a 50k service schedule, again a modification, but I've never seen a trans unhappy it was serviced too soon (or at all)
Besides, it's easy to remember, just like my oil change schedule.
Differental service is a tough one....I've never owned a vehicle that called for such frequent fluid changes if schedule B is followed but NEVER if schedule A applies.
Since I don't tow anything that has weight to speak of, and so far only twice in 28k miles, I've decided to follow the industry standard of 50k differental service intervals.
HOWEVER, if I had QD II I would not vary from that 15k interval regardless of my usage.
There are too many complex components in there dependent on clean lubricant.
So, in each case, you are modifying the maintenece schedule to fit your driving habits or protect your investment.

Next time you're bored, or not, list the various services called for and determine if they should be adjusted to better fit your needs.
The schedule is meant to be a guidline for the most part, not necessarily a rulebook.

You may find you can save some dough or save yourself from needless preventable expense if you create your own schedule based on those guidlines.

Rob
 

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Sounds like a volunteer for another "ask the expert" thread. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
From the standpoint of mechanical questions I can provide fairly accurate suggestions considering we are only working with the written word.
The suggestions given are based on past experience and, regardless of the manufacturer, generally would apply to any motor vehicle, not just Jeep.
Some of my answers are endemic to our vehicles but, thats only because I have one to look at.

From the standpoint of electronics, because they are for the most part vehicle specific, I usually respond in generalities.
Since I am not a brand specific mechanic, I can't possibly know every manufacturers approach to how they've chosen to direct electrons.

I think the term 'expert' as applies to one individual regarding vehicles is not possible.
There are too many sub-systems in these gasoline powered computer transporters to ever allow anyone to become 'expert'

This forum has many people who have focused on certain areas of the Commander and are far better versed than I to answer questions related to those areas.

So, I really don't think 'expert' would apply to me.
But I do think the term applys to all of us on the forum with a mechanical/electrical/vehicular background.
As a group, I really don't recall a single instance where the forum was unable to help a member resolve a concern, and that experience has been a lot of fun for me to watch and participate in.

So, not a 'expert' but willing to make a well educated suggestion will be just fine, thanks.

I guess you could create a thread that says 'Ask the brain trust questions' but I think, as a group, we are already doing that.

Sorry for rambling on,
Rob
 

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Very good thread which I didn't notice before. Thanks Rob.

For me I rather change the engine oil every 2300 miles instead of 3k.

Transmission fluid and both filters every 25k miles

Diffs every 15K miles for ELSD equipped axles.

Transfer case oil every 25 k miles

In my area where its so dusty I used to change the Air-filter very often almost every two engine oil changes. Now I have K&N replacement filter and I'm not sure how often I should wash it !!
 

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I have had the pleasure of meeting Robby in person. I have been telling you guys that he knows what he is talking about for awhile.

If I see a post by Robby, I always read it and pay attention to his advise.
 

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Very nice Robby. I like the idea of changing the intervals to suit your personal driving habits and conditions. We just went to the Outer Banks of N.C. and since I knew that I was going to be doing a lot of beach driving ( about 15 miles a day average ) I took a new air filter with me. When we left the beach to come home we stopped about ten miles away for breakfast. I took five minutes and popped the new filter in. You could see and hear the sand fall to the ground from the filter. I bet most of the folks down there on vacation never even thought of this and would just wait till their vehicle was in for maintainance, if ever, to change the air filter.
 

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So how do you know that the plugs have been changed, oil you supplied is used and they are not keeping it using their bulk oil? The reason I ask is the local dealer did the first oil change on my jeep. When I got home I was looking it over and the oil filter said "factory installed". I went back down and asked the parts department for a oil filter and the manager, long story short they suck! So I go 35 miles away to another dealer for the next oil change. I needed a new dipstick after they where done! It looked like a Z and would not go in the tube, thanks to their mechanic! Oh lets not forget they couldn't even get their paper work right, according to it they used 5w30. Long story short I have a 3year/36,000 mile maintenance plan that I can not use! No one will care for your vehicle like you will! The guy usually changing your oil isn't ASE certified and was fired from Walmart tire lube.

Does the transmission have 2 filters? Could someone explain?
 

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Yes there are two filters. One looks like a small spin on filter and the other hangs down and is flat.

Here is a picture of the two.

 

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Discussion Starter #13
So how do you know that the plugs have been changed, oil you supplied is used and they are not keeping it using their bulk oil? The reason I ask is the local dealer did the first oil change on my jeep. When I got home I was looking it over and the oil filter said "factory installed". I went back down and asked the parts department for a oil filter and the manager, long story short they suck! So I go 35 miles away to another dealer for the next oil change. I needed a new dipstick after they where done! It looked like a Z and would not go in the tube, thanks to their mechanic! Oh lets not forget they couldn't even get their paper work right, according to it they used 5w30. Long story short I have a 3year/36,000 mile maintenance plan that I can not use! No one will care for your vehicle like you will! The guy usually changing your oil isn't ASE certified and was fired from Walmart tire lube.

Does the transmission have 2 filters? Could someone explain?
I know this because this dealer has no problem with me hanging about.
Part of service success is hanging around different dealers and watching how they operate.
Regarding my supplying oil, the manager recommended it because he said he can't get Mobil 1 as cheap as I can......so, one can determine a degree of honesty right off the bat.
This dealer does not use a specific lube monkey....the mechanics integrate the oil changes with the rest of their workload.
This dealer uses only Mopar parts.....that includes filters.....you learn this by hanging out near the parts counter and seeing what is running across it.

The techs are used to seeing me....they know my past based on prior discussions, and sometimes even ask me why I'm having them do something they know I can do myself.
I give them the same answer that I posted.....service records to prevent any warranty questions and disposal.

Somewhere in that post I said it is up to YOU to develop a relationship.
It is OK to ask the writer if he would assign the job to a regular service tech.
It is OK to ask what parts are being used.
If the answers you get don't make you feel comfortable, it's OK to take your business elseware.
But, if you are the kind of owner that drops it off, leaves the building, and hopes for the best before you have ever established a working relationship, your vehicle will be serviced the same as all the other sweaty masses that drop the vehicle off.....Quickly, and a 'I can't see it from my house' attitude.

It is helpful to become the guy who opens the hood, checks his oil, looks over the job, asks questions BEFORE leaving the premises.
You DO want to be remembered as one of the customers that checks things out and will accept nothing less than what you contracted for.

I agree, it is sad we have to go to these lengths nowadays.....but we do.
At least, if you want to be satisfied.

I hope you shared your dis-satisfaction with the dealer that you had a bad experience with.

And, beyond getting a replacement dipstick, what transpired?
Did they try to earn your trust back?

Rob
 

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Rob,

Great writeup and appreciate your input. I would say however that there is nothing wrong with using a Jiffy Lube or other service rather than the dealer as long as you keep the reciept. I just used Jiffy this weekend and they spent 30 min w me going over what lubes they were going to use and quantities. At the end of the day they did my oil/filter, front / rear diffs, transfer case for less that $200 (dealer quoted me $800 for these services alone). I do not use Mobil 1 in this vehicle, but do use the SUV (some call it semi-synthetic) and change it pretty much at 3000 miles religously due to the extreme heat down here. I would really like to use my local dealer, but with such a price difference, its hard to justify.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Rob,

Great writeup and appreciate your input. I would say however that there is nothing wrong with using a Jiffy Lube or other service rather than the dealer as long as you keep the reciept. I just used Jiffy this weekend and they spent 30 min w me going over what lubes they were going to use and quantities. At the end of the day they did my oil/filter, front / rear diffs, transfer case for less that $200 (dealer quoted me $800 for these services alone). I do not use Mobil 1 in this vehicle, but do use the SUV (some call it semi-synthetic) and change it pretty much at 3000 miles religously due to the extreme heat down here. I would really like to use my local dealer, but with such a price difference, its hard to justify.
You are absolutly correct!
I really should use the term 'Service Facility' instead of dealer because I am inadvertently implying 'Dealership' as opposed to a 'Service Dealer' such as a Jiffy Lube or similar Service Facility.

I was pointing out that I have also had a good experience at the Dealership level, mostly in the hopes of helping others realize that there are many Dealership operations that are quality and cost competative.

I might add, many of our members have had a good service experience and saved a TON of money by using independent operations such as yours.

And, yes, the paid reciept showing date and mileage is absolutly satisfactory from a warranty protection point of view.

Good points!
Rob
 

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I know this because this dealer has no problem with me hanging about.
Part of service success is hanging around different dealers and watching how they operate.
Regarding my supplying oil, the manager recommended it because he said he can't get Mobil 1 as cheap as I can......so, one can determine a degree of honesty right off the bat.
This dealer does not use a specific lube monkey....the mechanics integrate the oil changes with the rest of their workload.
This dealer uses only Mopar parts.....that includes filters.....you learn this by hanging out near the parts counter and seeing what is running across it.

The techs are used to seeing me....they know my past based on prior discussions, and sometimes even ask me why I'm having them do something they know I can do myself.
I give them the same answer that I posted.....service records to prevent any warranty questions and disposal.

Somewhere in that post I said it is up to YOU to develop a relationship.
It is OK to ask the writer if he would assign the job to a regular service tech.
It is OK to ask what parts are being used.
If the answers you get don't make you feel comfortable, it's OK to take your business elseware.
But, if you are the kind of owner that drops it off, leaves the building, and hopes for the best before you have ever established a working relationship, your vehicle will be serviced the same as all the other sweaty masses that drop the vehicle off.....Quickly, and a 'I can't see it from my house' attitude.

It is helpful to become the guy who opens the hood, checks his oil, looks over the job, asks questions BEFORE leaving the premises.
You DO want to be remembered as one of the customers that checks things out and will accept nothing less than what you contracted for.

I agree, it is sad we have to go to these lengths nowadays.....but we do.
At least, if you want to be satisfied.

I hope you shared your dis-satisfaction with the dealer that you had a bad experience with.

And, beyond getting a replacement dipstick, what transpired?
Did they try to earn your trust back?

Rob
Rob, I don't understand how this is my issue. I took my vehicle to jeep for one reason competent mechanics. If I wanted to stand over a guys shoulder making sure he is using mopar filters and doing his job right I would go to Walmart. I should not have to second guess a so called quailfied mechanic to that extent. I do check the fluid at the dealership and check the filter and drain plug for leaks at the house.
The dealership that left the "factory filter" installed didn't get a second chance. They lied when I asked about it until we stood side by side and I asked what ment and where could I buy them since it was new.
The second dealership told me that the dip stick was made like that. I asked them to show me by pulling the one out of the brand new hemi on their lot. They said no and I said I will be in the waiting room. While I was in the waiting room I was looking over the receipt and notice 7 quarts of 5w30 was on it. Now wouldn't that cause interference with the MDS? I went out to Bob and explained that the oil change needed to be redone. Long story short I left with a dip stick out of a new vehicle. I got to go home and do my own oil change because it was apperent they left something to be desired!

I have contacted jeep and they didn't care even with the paper work being incorrect. But the paperwork is what you need for the warrenty, correct. How does it work when its from a dealership and says they put the wrong oil in it. Poor service can ruin the perception of a vehicle you love!

So with all that being said I don't like them doing warrenty work none the less something I'm paying for.
 

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So what do you do? Take differentials for instance most places suck the fluid out. So what about the metal shavings and wear? Wouldn't it be better to remove the cover and inspect the gears, remove the debris especially for the cost they charge?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
So what do you do? Take differentials for instance most places suck the fluid out. So what about the metal shavings and wear? Wouldn't it be better to remove the cover and inspect the gears, remove the debris especially for the cost they charge?
I'll respond later....blooming laptop keeps dumping me.

Rob
 

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I to have adjusted my maintenance schedule. 3k miles way to early for mobile 1 I think as well. I was going to do my trans last week but upon inspecting the fluid it still looks and smells new so I'm going to wait. I do a lot of off roading so I carry an extra air filter as well as change my air filter every 2k miles. I refuse to change my open diffs every 15k miles even with the amount of wheeling I do. I don't see a problem with just sucking out the old and putting in the new threw pumps after the first few changes and the break in is over. When it breaks I'll fix it any visible damage you may see I feel you can hear or feel as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
So what do you do? Take differentials for instance most places suck the fluid out. So what about the metal shavings and wear? Wouldn't it be better to remove the cover and inspect the gears, remove the debris especially for the cost they charge?
What I was getting at, in your situation, it appears as though you know the difference between correctly performed and incorrectly performed service.
Since you understand the difference, you should take the time to either observe, if possible, the service dept. while in operation.....just like I mentioned watching what parts are handed out....one can be nosey without looking the part.
You mentioned something about the oil filter.....are you saying it was a incorrect part or was it a substandard (in your opinion) part.
Also, some unhappiness about the motor oil.
Although 5253 will swat me around if I'm incorrect, I believe the use of 5w30 is acceptable in the mds 5.7.
The damaged dipstick......I assume it was not in that condition when the vehicle was dropped off.
Lastly, regarding the dipstick, Did the first dealer exchange it or was a second dealer involved?

The question about sucking the fluid from the final drive:
Since the front unit has a drain plug and the transfer case has a drain plug, thay are not involved in this question.
The rear unit, that is involved, ideally should have the cover removed for a full case cleanout, as Sal stated, at least for the very first service.
From that point on, opinions vary relative to cover removal and case cleaning.

My opinion is that since I have the non-ELS units and I rarely tow I will service at 50k intervals and the cover will be removed every time.
Otherwise, IMO it would be the same as changing the engine oil with no filter...ie, whats the point. The reason I'm changing it is so I can fully service it and inspect for any up and coming issues.
If you were to contract a dealership or independent, you have the right to ask for the service to be performed as the manual specifies.....cover off and clean and inspect.

I believe, on another thread, you mentioned a power steering pump noise.
The dealer said since there aren't codes there is no problem?????????
That is an example of a dealer that will never see me again.....not even to use the washroom....I hope they really didn't say that.

Again, I restate, the service schedule can often be modified to better line up with your specific usage.
You can often save money by asking the facility for a better deal if you integrate some services.
Once you have found a dealership that meets your expectations at all levels, throw them a bone (customer pay) service from time to time.
That good relationship is what can help you down the road such as a repair done out of warranty, but the dealer went to bat on your behaf with Jeep and a customer goodwill repair took place.

Rob
 
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