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Discussion Starter #1
Good morning. Thanks for having me!

My wife was driving to work this morning and at a red light, her van lost power completely! Not even the hazard lights worked. Sudden, no warning lights. No nothing. Like she turned the ignition off and took out the key. I have yet to look at it, but I assume the battery has gone bad. It has a new alternator (a week old) and the battery is actually only a few months old. However, when the alternator went out it killed the battery and I had to put it on a charger to restart it. Can you all think of anything else I should be looking out for?
 

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Update. I pulled the battery and tested it. All good. I pull the BCM off the front of the fuse box to check the terminals. Seemed clean and fine. I put it back on, hooked everything up and tried to start the vehicle and it started right up. It was charging at 14.5 V all good. It ran for about 5 minutes and then died again and once again there is no power to any of the vehicle.
 

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Sounds like you may have installed a bad alternator. Have it tested.

BTW - That was the Front Control Module (FCM) you removed from the fuse box. The BCM is bolted to the firewall left of the brake pedal.
 

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RIP, thanks for the response. I don't thinks it's the alternator. I test the battery it was fully charged and for the few moments it ran, I was getting upwards of 14.5 volts. And yes you a re correct, it was the FCM I pulled, not the BCM. Do you all think that could be the problem? Any suggestions on where the best place is to find a FCM?
 

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FCM? Can't say no but I will say iffy. Here's an explanation of FCM function from the factory manual: http://forum.chryslerminivan.net/showthread.php/6911-FCM-question

The FCM shows up on the start system diagram but only depicted as receiving an input from the ign switch. No output. It's also on the charging diagram and shown as a parallel PCI data bus input to/from? the PCM and to/from? the instrument cluster. Not exactly chrystal clear.

Best source? If cost is primary - junkyard, EBay, on-line. If not, your local dealership will be happy to thin your wallet.
 

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If you are losing all power, you've got to determine where it is lost.

Check with your local library for online wiring diagrams.

You'll also need a multimeter, if you don't already have one.
 

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You shouldn't be getting 14.5 v from the alt on a fully charged batt.

How did you test the batt?

A voltage test will not show batt charge condition, only a load test or specific gravity test will show that.
 

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Still get the alt checked out. This did start happening after the replacement of the alternator right? Where did you buy the alternator and was it the 160 AMP alt with the decoupler pulley?
 

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I took the battery out and went to the auto parts store and had it load tested. It's only a couple weeks old.

Tonight I removed the battery and lifted the IPM to check the connections underneath. When I put it back together the van started right up again. Ran for about 5 minutes and then died again. While it was running I checked the charge voltage again and it was around 14.5V. I found a refurbish FCM for $65.00. We'll start there and see where it leads me. I wondered about the charging voltage also, but it's not running long enough to see if it stops charging. I know the charging is controlled by the PCM. I did notice when I removed the battery again after it had been running the positive cable was hot! Hotter than I would have thought it should be.
 

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Still get the alt checked out. This did start happening after the replacement of the alternator right? Where did you buy the alternator and was it the 160 AMP alt with the decoupler pulley?
I got the alt from O'rielly. To be honest I am not sure if it is the 160 amp with the decoupler pulley. I first replace it about a year ago. The van ran great and then all of a sudden, started seeing the dash lights kind of flickering. Actually more like dimming. Then started seeing the battery icon on the dash. I pulled the alternator, took it up to O'rielly and had them bench test it. It was bad. Only putting about about 10V and under load only around 30 amps. So I got a replacement, put it in about a week ago and the thing ran great. I also replaced the battery and put new clamps on the positive cable. Then the fiasco this morning without warning.
 

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Drivin' Maniac
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... put new clamps on the positive cable.
Hmmm, are you sure that all connections are OK? A poor connection could cause loss of all power.


Even some of the factory crimps were defective...
 

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Hmmm, are you sure that all connections are OK? A poor connection could cause loss of all power.


Even some of the factory crimps were defective...
I used these terminals.

http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/detail/SS01/01346/02111.oap?year=2004&make=Chrysler&model=Town+!p!26+Country&vi=5017490&ck=Search_battery+terminal_5017490_458&keyword=battery+terminal

I just used channel locks to crimp the terminals on. There's one for each of the two positive cables that goes to the positive terminal.

Funny thing is I came out this morning to get something out of the van before I go to work and we got power. You got me thinking now. Maybe the cables are getting too hot? Can anyone suggest a better replacement for the terminals on the positive cable? Or should I replace the entire cable?
 

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I used these terminals.

http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/detail/SS01/01346/02111.oap?year=2004&make=Chrysler&model=Town+!p!26+Country&vi=5017490&ck=Search_battery+terminal_5017490_458&keyword=battery+terminal

I just used channel locks to crimp the terminals on. There's one for each of the two positive cables that goes to the positive terminal.

Funny thing is I came out this morning to get something out of the van before I go to work and we got power. You got me thinking now. Maybe the cables are getting too hot? Can anyone suggest a better replacement for the terminals on the positive cable? Or should I replace the entire cable?
Channel locks, not an actual crimping tool? Again, Hmmmmm. :(

ISTR that the cables are part of a harness...unless, of course, you run your own main wires.

Those cables carry a relatively heavy current.



I've had enough problems with poor connections on various cars over the years, that I go to my local Auto Electric shop (the guys that rebuild my alternators) and have them make cables to my specs.


One thing I'll note: The O'Reilly terminal shown has a strengthening flange on one end only, while the factory terminals have a flange on both top & bottom.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Channel locks, not an actual crimping tool? Again, Hmmmmm. :(

ISTR that the cables are part of a harness...unless, of course, you run your own main wires.

Those cables carry a relatively heavy current.



I've had enough problems with poor connections on various cars over the years, that I go to my local Auto Electric shop (the guys that rebuild my alternators) and have them make cables to my specs.


One thing I'll note: The O'Reilly terminal shown has a strengthening flange on one end only, while the factory terminals have a flange on both top & bottom.
Thanks for the feedback. I must admit these terminal are pretty cheesy. But the closest thing I could find to original.

Your initial post got me thinking. So I have already ordered copper lugs. Pulled the short positive cable off the IPM. I have a hammer crimper which I will use to crimp and solder the terminals. I will use a vise with the hammer crimper on the main cable in the engine bay to crimp that one and I will solder that also. I am also going to change the battery post terminal and go with this one

http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/detail/SS01/08505/02111.oap?year=2004&make=Chrysler&model=Town+!p!26+Country&vi=5017490&ck=Search_battery+terminal_5017490_458&keyword=battery+terminal

Then I will use the two bolts, which would normally compress the cable on that terminal, to secure the two lugs. I think there is something to this. When the engine is cool, it has power, it starts, no worries. Something happens once it runs and heats up. Hoping between the cable ends and the FCM that it will fix the problem. I am going to fix the cables first and see what happens. If that doesn't do it, we'll move onto the the FCM.

Question for anyone who has replaced their own cables. How did you run the cables, type of wire, connectors, etc? Did you go from the alt to the starter to the battery? Or just from the starter to the battery? Schematics show Alternator - Starter - Fuseable Link - Battery. Is the fuseable link a must? For the sake of a quality connection does anyone see a problem with simply adding a new cable from the starter and running it to the battery. Cutting the old main cable at the battery and capping it?
 

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UPDATE:

It was the positive battery terminals. I removed the others and use 6ga copper lugs. I crimped them, then soldered them. And used a real heavy terminal to attached to the battery post. I may go back and run a new cable from the starter to the battery, just because I barely had enough to reach the terminal with the existing cable. But barely enough was enough. Thanks for all the input. :)
 

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Glad you got it sorted! :thumb:
 

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A loose batt cable will definitely heat up, this is a high resistance connection. I can't tell much in the photo but I don't see anywhere to crimp it?

There is nothing magic about those stamped metal connectors, just another money saving part for mfgs. Once the zinc plating is gone they don't last long.

When mine wear I replace them with the old type lead, much better. This thin sheet metal will not tolerate much corrosion like the lead ones.

Nothing wrong with cutting and capping a cable but as long as you're adding a new cable and will be working at both terminals anyway why not cut/remove it at both ends and eliminate all possible problems?
 
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