Ask Nathan: Insane Ram TRX Debut, How Bad Is Rust and Ford Mach-E Dealer Markup

Here’s a nice tease for the upcoming insane Ram TRX. [Photo: TFLtruck]


In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • I want to see this Insane Ram TRX! 
  • How bad is rust? 
  • I hear that dealers will mark up the Ford March-E

The first question comes from a fan who’s chomping at the bit to see the new, “insane” Ram TRX. 

Q:  I want to see the insane Ram TRX right now!

If they actually build a Hellcat pickup truck, I want to be the first one to own one. I see many photos on Twitter and Facebook, and that’s all fine and dandy but I need to see the real thing! 

I don’t think anyone will be able to compete with it. Ram has been on a rampage and this will be a winner for sure! 


— Mopar Mabel 

A: Hi Mabel. 

You’re in luck, the Ram Rebel TRX will have its debut at the end of the summer. There are still no official numbers for the TRX; however, it’s a pretty good assumption that it will produce over 700 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque. This power should come from a version of the supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI, which is currently used in other FCA/SRT products like the Hellcat and Track Hawk.  

In many applications, FCA uses an eight-speed automatic transmission, so we expect the same in the TRX. Although, the (unrealistic) idea of a manual transmission would be insane! On top of that, our spy footage revealed a robust and sophisticated suspension setup that should rival the current Ford F-150 Raptor’s setup. 

Speaking of the Ford Raptor; the Ford Motor Company made it known that there will be a 2021 Ford Raptor based on the new F-150 platform. As such, they may up their performance numbers to meet the upcoming TRX. Also, General Motors heavily hinted to us that they have something brewing as well. 

This is a good thing, competition in this new “super-truck” segment forces everyone to work harder to make a better product. The question is: will the rest of the truck-builders (Toyota and Nissan) get in the game as well? 

Check out this article for more information about the Ram Rebel TRX! 

— N

The next question comes from Twitter (NathanAdlen@Twitter) regarding rust. 

Q (via NathanAdlen@Twitter): I looked at a truck with some rust on the frame. It’s an older F150. 

How significant is rust? The dealer said it’s just surface rust. How can I tell if it’s bad?

A: Great question! 

Rust, which is a combination of iron and oxygen that creates a type of acid that eats the iron (short explanation) – is potentially dangerous.  Light surface rust, which is a bit of rust that formed where light covering (paint) has been removed, is common. In many cases, surface rust pops up near scratches, dings, bends and cracks in the paint. If left untreated, it can become cancerous and eat through (and even underneath) the paint.

Fortunately, surface rust can often be treated, removed or repaired. 

In your case, you were told about the “surface rust” on the frame. This is very common on pickup trucks. Unfortunately, so is structural rust. Your undercarriage and exposed components are the most susceptible to structural rust, which can destroy a vehicle. 

Once a frame (or any other component) suffers from too much rust contamination, it loses its structural integrity. This can, quite literally, snap a truck in two. I’ve seen catastrophic failure on the trail and on the road, due to rust.  

There are some simple things you can do with a screwdriver and a magnet to find somewhat hidden rusty areas too. A poke and tap could reveal a lot, but not all sellers will be willing to let you do this openly. Besides, if you don’t know what to look for, it may behoove you to gain further understanding. 

I recommend these articles from Carchex (for rust and repainting) and Carfax has a great article on what you should do. Just to get started. 

Please take this truck that you’re interested in to a (good) mechanic with a lift. Many mechanics will do an evaluation for a reasonable amount of money – and it’s money well spent. You will be able to truly see the rusty areas and determine if they are salvageable or not.   

— N

The last question is from an EV fan who heard there will be a serious price markup on the upcoming Ford Mustang Mach-E. 

Q: (Via Twitter@NathanAdlen) I heard that dealerships are expected to charge crazy premiums for the Ford Mach-E. 

I want one. Right now, I have a Nissan Leaf and it’s time to move up to something more exciting. Tesla is ridiculous, so I want something more to my liking. The Mach-E looks like a winner, but not if they charge an arm and a leg for it!   

Pat. M 

A: Thanks for the question! 

This is a common theme among many dealerships. To be honest, it’s one of the reason I despise automotive dealerships. Your question goes along with this story from Electrek:

Ford Mustang Mach-e reservation holders are reporting that some Ford dealerships are marking up the electric SUV by as much as $15,000. (and) The Ford Mustang Mach-E starts at $43,895 before incentives and the first edition has an MSRP of $59,900, but some reservation holders are reporting on forums that they are being quoted between $5,000 and $15,000 more by their local dealers.

Keep this in mind: like most automakers, it’s not Ford management that’s responsible for this. It’s the dealership’s decision. Nearly every automaker has seen this happen when an all-new, or highly anticipated product comes out. Some automakers try to hold the dealerships accountable, but it rarely works. 

Many years ago, I took my mother to see the brand new Chrysler PT Cruiser. She adored the look and she was curious. Before we even test drove one, the smug salesman pointed out there there was a $2,500 addition over the sticker for this vehicle. 

We never tested it, which was a good thing. 

She ended up with a Volkswagen. The point is, not only did I never visit that dealership again, I had a bad taste in my mouth about Chrysler products for a while. 

It’s dealership practices like this that actually hurt automakers, and I hate it. 

If you’re interested in a Mach-E, make a reservation to get one. Many dealerships will honor the price of the reserved vehicle, even if a few play dirty. Don’t be afraid to shop elsewhere and LET the dealership in question know that, not only have you moved on, but you’ll let others know too. 

Good luck.  

– N

Speaking of finding a bargain; this is the cheapest way I could find to take the family on an RV/trailer adventure!