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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings all... hopefully someone here has info that will help my strange situation.

In January 2016, I bought a new RAM 2500HD BigHorn... Overall it's a beautiful truck, including the 8.4AN Radio (with HD Radio and Navigation). Although I never actually tried the HD radio explicitly (if it's not automatic?), my wife clearly asked the salesman what the "CD"-looking symbol on the radio was since there's no CD player, and the salesman demo'd the built-in navigation which would get rid of my dash-top GPS. And yes, the navigation app was pretty obvious in the menus as well...

A month or two into owning it, it went in for service, and they did a firmware update. A week after that, my wife asked where the navigation function went on the radio, and sure enough it's GONE. Coincidentally, so is the HD Radio symbol on the radio screen. I called the dealer and they swear up and down that we never had it, aren't entitled to it, etc... they REMOVED it, and now want $600 to reactivate the dormant functionality. I checked my window sticker (since I still had it) and it specifies an "8.4A radio" (which I think is the same radio before activating the navigation???). I feel that since it was sold to us with it working, they shouldn't disable it later -- it was part of the "whatever rolls off the lot" deal. Skimping $600 on a brand new $45K truck is absurd already, IMHO. They additionally swear that they COULDN'T downgrade the radio with firmware since its different hardware and the update program wouldn't have let them (true or no?).

SO: Is there a way to prove what the HARDWARE in my dash actually is, separately from the firmware version (that comes out of the software they loaded)? If what they say is true about not being able to load the wrong firmware, wouldn't that mean they actually physically downgraded my hardware by swapping the entire radio unit (sounds paranoid, I know, but so did downgrading functions like they did)? Since I don't think I took a photo of my dashboard while it WAS working, is there any suggested recourse for this? Yes, I still have my dash-top GPS, but this has me hot under the collar as absurdly bad business practice.

-Keith
 

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Sounds like you had the wrong firmware loaded to start with. When they did the update, it only updated what you were supposed to have according to the Monroney sticker. I'm not sure you can get anywhere with this since your truck is not supposed to have Nav. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than me can give an alternative. Otherwise, I feel like you are stuck with what you have unless you pay the $600 or whatever they quoted you to upgrade.
 

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this is kind of a tough one... i understand how you feel you were screwed, but but as someone who paid for the option, i can't be too upset for you.

basically - if you get the 8.4A radio, its the full shebang 8.4AN where the software adds features. Your firmware is irrelevent - they all have NAV to my knowledge. The dealer probably demo'd or trained someone on flashing the radio with different firmware then forgot to put it back. you lucked out, but then got caught.
 

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From what I've read, the 8.4AN has navigation and HD radio from the factory, the 8.4A can have a version of navigation added to it but no HD radio. Navigation is already in the 8.4A, you add a license key to activate it(it has nothing to do with firmware).
It's possible they dealer put a demo code in the radio for the nav in an attempt to sell it to you, the firmware update would have wiped that out.
Someone posted a link to a place online to get the nav actived for somewhere around $400
 

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They're definitely trying to make a buck on that one. I paid $500 Canadian to get my 8.4A to have the nav upgrade... my understanding is they pay RAM a pretty penny for the code to begin with. My buddy's dad shopped around and was quoted anywhere from 500 and 800


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Wolfe, If you originally had it, it will show up in the system. Review this PDF View attachment RA3_Online_Activation_Instructions.pdf and call the number listed and furnish your VIN. If it's been previously activated, they will give you the necessary code.to reactivate the Navigation.

I went through this once after I did a factory reset and lost my navigation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Hershey: Is it really an issue of the wrong firmware, or "removing" the activation code? From what I can tell (monkey examining the nuclear sub), it appears they load the same firmware into the radio either way, and it detects what hardware to talk to (kinda like loading the same Win10 disk on different computers). Backing this up, when I go to download my own firmware on the uconnect site, it wants me to install 16.x.x.xAN.

Shaggn: I don't think I lucked out -- I think I got bait and switch. Imagine if you test drove your truck with any other option: You drove it with heated leather seats, but after the first oil change, you get it back with a plain cloth bench. It's not what was sold to me, whether or not someone made a mistake installing it in the first place.

97HMCS: Would that somehow lookup a history of navigation ACTUALLY being on this truck, or just what the sticker/VIN believes is *supposed* to be on it? The dealer (and a couple posters above) take the stance of "it wasn't supposed to be there, so be grateful for a month" -- I still feel like they ripped out a feature that WAS sold to me, even if accidentally on their part. My wife liking the navigation, and the dealer showing it working, was part of the "deal" we agreed to and bought. If this were real estate, you can't remove "built ins" from a house after you've sold it just because you didn't mean to give it to them, and this is the same idea. In this case, it's not even something extra they are losing -- it's apparently IN the radio, and purely a matter of deciding to charge even more after the sale to get back functionality that is physically already installed.

I like my truck overall, but this has really soured my opinion of the dealership, and Ram by "splatter" of who they let represent them.
 

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Wolfe..... In all fairness these dealerships have no idea what their downloading in your vehicle, they put your vin number in the FCA system and FCA down loads a program into their lap tops and they just install it without actually knowing what they just did , because FCA doesn't tell them .
I just went through a similar situation as yours and my dealership had no idea what FCA sent to them to install in my truck , it changed all the characteristics of my engine and transmission and some were very good changes and some not .
And my dealership learned a lesson about FCA, just like I did .
 

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Great education for me. Never in my wildest dreams (trite) would I create a scenario in my mind that one radio is built. Then that one radio has all kinds of features. Those features are then activated piecemeal depending on how high a cost you will pay to activate these features. Unreal scam to my understanding.

Thanks for bringing up the topic. Still in a bit of a shock that people would actually pay $600 or something like that to activate a radio feature. Manufacturers know there are many who will and take advantage of that to make big money at near no extra cost. Unreal bit of human understanding I got here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wolfe, call the number listed and furnish your VIN. If it's been previously activated, they will give you the necessary code.to reactivate the Navigation.
I called the PDF's number to Uconnect, who can only handle new sales, no checking on past activations. They referred me to Customer Care...

Customer Care was able to look up the VIN and records of what is SUPPOSED to be installed (again, no "real" history, but at least the manifest of what the sticker should have claimed). They confirmed that this is supposed to be a 8.4A/RA3 radio (nav capable, not activated). The level I spoke with is unable to override what they intended with what I actually bought. They will be bumping my case up to their supervisor, who expects to call me tomorrow with what they can find...

So, it is sounding like this was indeed some sort of accidental activation/sale on their part... we'll see what they do to keep their customer happy after the bait-switch. Considering the dealer refused to do their "free oil change" until 6000 miles, LONG after the truck was begging for oil changes (this truck tows almost all the time, a very harsh break-in!), I'm expecting this dorky radio issue will have to "come down from above" if it's to be addressed at all.
 

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Greetings all... hopefully someone here has info that will help my strange situation.

In January 2016, I bought a new RAM 2500HD BigHorn... Overall it's a beautiful truck, including the 8.4AN Radio (with HD Radio and Navigation). Although I never actually tried the HD radio explicitly (if it's not automatic?), my wife clearly asked the salesman what the "CD"-looking symbol on the radio was since there's no CD player, and the salesman demo'd the built-in navigation which would get rid of my dash-top GPS. And yes, the navigation app was pretty obvious in the menus as well...

A month or two into owning it, it went in for service, and they did a firmware update. A week after that, my wife asked where the navigation function went on the radio, and sure enough it's GONE. Coincidentally, so is the HD Radio symbol on the radio screen. I called the dealer and they swear up and down that we never had it, aren't entitled to it, etc... they REMOVED it, and now want $600 to reactivate the dormant functionality. I checked my window sticker (since I still had it) and it specifies an "8.4A radio" (which I think is the same radio before activating the navigation???). I feel that since it was sold to us with it working, they shouldn't disable it later -- it was part of the "whatever rolls off the lot" deal. Skimping $600 on a brand new $45K truck is absurd already, IMHO. They additionally swear that they COULDN'T downgrade the radio with firmware since its different hardware and the update program wouldn't have let them (true or no?).

SO: Is there a way to prove what the HARDWARE in my dash actually is, separately from the firmware version (that comes out of the software they loaded)? If what they say is true about not being able to load the wrong firmware, wouldn't that mean they actually physically downgraded my hardware by swapping the entire radio unit (sounds paranoid, I know, but so did downgrading functions like they did)? Since I don't think I took a photo of my dashboard while it WAS working, is there any suggested recourse for this? Yes, I still have my dash-top GPS, but this has me hot under the collar as absurdly bad business practice.

-Keith

crazy scenario
all in all; I would find it highly unlikely that the dealer would purposefully try a bait and switch on the navigation feature; I don't think they are doing this intentionally

regarding the hardware
all the 8.4's have nav & hd built into the hardware; the dealers can enable it for a fee

regarding the firmware; my guess is they are trying to say the firmware doesn't enable / disable the nav/hd; rather the firmware is the software and the activation tells the truck what features to turn on
try the link above which talks about the system being activated

otherwise maybe a call to FCA and tell them how you test drove and were demo'd your truck with features that you cared about and now they are gone; tell them how you feel bait and switched, ect seems like it'd be a no brainer for FCA to fix
 

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Great education for me. Never in my wildest dreams (trite) would I create a scenario in my mind that one radio is built. Then that one radio has all kinds of features. Those features are then activated piecemeal depending on how high a cost you will pay to activate these features. Unreal scam to my understanding.

Thanks for bringing up the topic. Still in a bit of a shock that people would actually pay $600 or something like that to activate a radio feature. Manufacturers know there are many who will and take advantage of that to make big money at near no extra cost. Unreal bit of human understanding I got here.
building hardware in this manner makes total sense; its why the feature is $600 vs $1600
car companies do it all the time; like when the base models include wiring for power mirrors or door locks, drop in the wires then snap on the features as necessary

in the software world this process of enabling features via activation is pretty much standard process; we are seeing it grow even more with the advance of "in app purchases"

you being shocked that someone would pay $600 for nav is just like someone else being shocked that you paid for a new truck, or the ED option; different strokes for different folks
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
HaulNGrass: Actually, I had an issue like THAT as well -- I almost forgot that SNAFU... one of the firmware updates they gave me broke my cruise control (wouldn't activate at all 80% of the time, happily it didn't malfunction once activated!). The next update they fixed it to about 90% success -- it still glitches on occasion and you have to shut down for 20 minutes before it will work again "magically"... Their service department told me the "car's network has to wear in" -- which I KNOW to be BS face value, but maybe(?) they meant to say something like "calibrate signal levels"? Still... Huh?

I'm getting very tempted to dis-assemble their firmware (not a trivial task!) and try to fix things myself... The MDS is fantastic when it decides to work, but seems WAY too conservative allowing MDS mode. I can almost always knock the truck into MDS by "double clutching" the gas pedal, which shows the program ought to be trying to get into MDS mode more than it does if it IS capable of holding speed in MDS mode. If I'm conscious of keeping it in MDS mode, I can get the 6.4L truck up to low/mid-20s (wow!!!!), but setting the cruise on the same exact route drops to high-teens MPG at best.

Ah, but I ramble off topic... :-D
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Steiny: Indeed, I'm pretty sure there are at most two 8.4" hardware options (one has 3D maps, which I assume just means more MMC memory for the maps... I wasn't sure if HD radio was on the "lower" 8.4 model hardware or not). I totally understand "economy of scale" issues, in-app models (which this is, since a code activates nav, not new firmware. Also why firmware is over a GB, since most of that ISO image appears to be the map files).

As you say, and I agree, fixing this to keep a customer happy seems like a "no brainer" to me as well, but I live and die by customer recommendations. I actually didn't want a brand new $50K-after-taxes truck, but the used market here was crappy wrecks... having HAD their customer spend that much on their product, it seems sleazy to be cheaping out on the "95% premium" radio... Squeezing every last dime at this trim level isn't the best policy if they want my recommendation. Or my silence, I suppose... :)
 

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Base 8.4A radio lacks memory for 3d maps and lacks HD radio hardware (could actually just be firmware if it's a software defined radio).

8.4AN has 3d maps and HD radio.
8.4A is Nav capable, but not HD radio capable, and Nav won't be 3d.

What likely happened was NAV was probably turned on for demo and defaulted to deactivated when flashed since it wasn't supposed to be left on anyway as it wasn't paid for.
 
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Great education for me. Never in my wildest dreams (trite) would I create a scenario in my mind that one radio is built. Then that one radio has all kinds of features. Those features are then activated piecemeal depending on how high a cost you will pay to activate these features. Unreal scam to my understanding.

Thanks for bringing up the topic. Still in a bit of a shock that people would actually pay $600 or something like that to activate a radio feature. Manufacturers know there are many who will and take advantage of that to make big money at near no extra cost. Unreal bit of human understanding I got here.
Kinda like paying $800 for a tune....... pun intended.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Warning: lots of speculation follows. Those who come behind, don't take anything I guess as fact:

Sorny: thanks for confirmation of my understanding of the hardware (RA3 can only handle 2D maps and RA4 gets 3D). But it confuses things even worse since I had HD radio on what the window sticker says is an 8.4A... I suspect it must be a software-defined radio since I don't think RA3/HD is supposed to exist in the wild(?):

A/RA3 - no nav, no HD -- what I appear to have now, and was their intention?
AN/RA3 - with 2d nav and HD - what was delivered if HD is software, but may not ever be an intentional offering?
AN/RA3 - with 2d nav, no HD - what I'd have if they fix this by turning nav back on?
AN/RA4 - both 3d nav and HD - if HD is hardware only, what I actually have, now loaded with wrong firmware.

If HD really is in hardware, I definitely accidentally got a RA4 which they are loading RA3 firmware on -- which was my original question about IDing the hardware separate from the firmware.

Just as an experiment, I put my VIN into the firmware download page, and it wants to download "UCONNECT_8.4AN_RA3_16.33.29_MY16"... so that *may* indicate that the mothership believes I already have an 8.4AN, but the RA3 downgraded hardware. My understanding was that the hardware is either A/RA3 or AN/RA4, and only becomes AN/RA3 designation once nav is activated (?) on the lower hardware. As discussed in past posts, the firmware has to be the same for A/AN since it's a code-activation, so maybe the file name doesn't indicate anything at all.

I don't know I've really added anything here... LOL... Just working through this mess "out loud"... :-S
 

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Kinda like buying a new desktop PC that "comes with Microsoft Office" and then finding out that it comes with a "trial" version that requires activation codes beyond the three month trial period :)
 
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Kinda like buying a new desktop PC that "comes with Microsoft Office" and then finding out that it comes with a "trial" version that requires activation codes beyond the three month trial period :)
:D ;)
 

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One reason to use something like this iMac. Since I got it, life with computers has sure been a lot easier.
 
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