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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings all. Hoping for some direction on my charging issue. I have a 2011 Town and Country that got the battery light on the dash. About 5 minutes later got a Christmas tree of lights on the dash and the van died, not even enough juice to lock the doors back, completely dead.

Luckily I wasn't too far from home, took the batter home and charged over night, put the battery back and drove the van home, battery light came back on about half way home.

I got 12.1V with the van off, about 11.7V while running, but the voltage dropped over the next 5 minutes of idling, so the alternator is definitely not charging. I bought a remanufactured ACDelco alternator and put it in last night, Exact same symptoms after the new alternator.

I checked the voltage at the large stud on the back of the new alternator while running and was receiving around 11.5V there. Does this definitely point to the new alternator being bad? How would I test the PCM? Battery is 2.5 years old, still under warranty so I don't believe that's the issue, but I'll be taking that and the old alternator up to AZ to test today.
 

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538 RWHP, LS motor, RX7 body
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Sounds like the alternator is not putting out. Test any alternator before putting it in - or test it before replacing it.. Yes test battery too.

I did a writeup on bad PCM, voltage regulation, and workaround.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sounds like the alternator is not putting out. Test any alternator before putting it in - or test it before replacing it.. Yes test battery too.

I did a writeup on bad PCM, voltage regulation, and workaround.
Thanks much! I'll check out your link below.

How exactly do you test these alternators before installing? Since the don't have a nut on the pully to spin with a drill?
 

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2013 Dodge Grand Caravan
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Usually the part stores you buy them from will have an alternator test bench. Just tell them you want it tested because you're worried about getting a dud.

If the alternator you got passes the test, this is a control issue. Either the wiring to the alternator or the driver inside the PCM has failed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Usually the part stores you buy them from will have an alternator test bench. Just tell them you want it tested because you're worried about getting a dud.

If the alternator you got passes the test, this is a control issue. Either the wiring to the alternator or the driver inside the PCM has failed.
Thanks, I was trying to get this back up and going quick, Amazon got me the alternator faster than any of the local parts stores so I bought it there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Take it to autozone or other parts store.

This place sells you the whole kit and provides support.
Much appreciated, if the alternator and battery both test good, assuming the $110 kit is what I need to bypass the PCM Regulator? Pretty straight forward install?
 

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You should get the *091 kit with mod driver for the alternator. - even if it tests good, jut put the mod driver in, don't want to waste the time taking it out again (lessons learned).

Pretty easy, with good directions. And phone support !!! Finding a place to put it and keeping wiring out of the way of moving or hot things is the fun parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You should get the *091 kit with mod driver for the alternator. - even if it tests good, jut put the mod driver in, don't want to waste the time taking it out again (lessons learned).

Pretty easy, with good directions. And phone support !!! Finding a place to put it and keeping wiring out of the way of moving or hot things is the fun parts.
Thank you, bought it kit, on it's way. Haven't gotten to test the alternator yet, wife stole my Jeep while she was running errands. Either way good to have the kid on stand-by if it's not needed.

I've got the electric fan pulled so it's easier to access the back of the alternator with the fan running. Is there a test I could perform to ensure it's the PCM/Regulator? Checked again and getting the same voltage across the battery terminals as I am at the main Alternator stud (about 11.6 currently).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You should get the *091 kit with mod driver for the alternator. - even if it tests good, jut put the mod driver in, don't want to waste the time taking it out again (lessons learned).

Pretty easy, with good directions. And phone support !!! Finding a place to put it and keeping wiring out of the way of moving or hot things is the fun parts.
Talked to the company, they actually recommended the ERCKFRM-071 kit with the plug as well. Got that order placed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Looking at the below field test, would I apply 12v power to the F-Terminal on the back of the Alternator, or to the wire in the plug? Or would I apply it to the wire with the plug plugged into the Alternator?

Font Rectangle Circle Parallel Number
 

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Connect power to the F terminal on the alternator with the harness disconnected. You’re energizing the field coil in the alternator’s rotor when you give it power.

The PCM does the same thing, but it varies the current supplied to the field to control alternator output voltage. You’re “full fielding” the alternator, which causes unregulated voltage and can damage things if it gets too high.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Connect power to the F terminal on the alternator with the harness disconnected. You’re energizing the field coil in the alternator’s rotor when you give it power.

The PCM does the same thing, but it varies the current supplied to the field to control alternator output voltage. You’re “full fielding” the alternator, which causes unregulated voltage and can damage things if it gets too high.
Thanks, Got my old alternator and battery back from Autozone, Battery tested good and Alternator tested back. I already had the new alternator in, so I put the battery back in and field tested the new alternator that was already in, Voltage jumped right back to high 13's/low 14s as soon as I put power to the F Terminal. I think this both confirms the new alternator I got from Amazon is good and it's definitely my regulator that has gone back. The external regulator kit should be delivered tomorrow. Hopefully this gets me fixed up.
 

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Seems like the alternator failed and wiped out the PCM driver with it. As you said, that should get you right.
 
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Thanks, Got my old alternator and battery back from Autozone, Battery tested good and Alternator tested back. I already had the new alternator in, so I put the battery back in and field tested the new alternator that was already in, Voltage jumped right back to high 13's/low 14s as soon as I put power to the F Terminal. I think this both confirms the new alternator I got from Amazon is good and it's definitely my regulator that has gone back. The external regulator kit should be delivered tomorrow. Hopefully this gets me fixed up.
So it doesn’t charge with the harness plugged into the new alternator? I don’t see that you mentioned that.

Edit: I guess you did note that earlier. You plugged the harness connector into the new alternator and it didn’t charge? Could be wiring between the PCM and alternator rather than the PCM itself.
 

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It could, but it's not very likely without visible damage. Plus the PCM driver issue is a known problem on these. Doesn't happen to everyone, but it happens pretty often. Either way, the external regulator will solve the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So it doesn’t charge with the harness plugged into the new alternator? I don’t see that you mentioned that.

Edit: I guess you did note that earlier. You plugged the harness connector into the new alternator and it didn’t charge? Could be wiring between the PCM and alternator rather than the PCM itself.
Thats right, plugged in I got the same no charge situation that I got when all this first started. The harness pretty quickly goes into the main harness which is huge, but I didn't see any damage in the little harness near the plug. Looks back along the larger harness and there was no external damage that I could say. No way I"m about to open the main harness to look, easier to just install the external regulator.

It could, but it's not very likely without visible damage. Plus the PCM driver issue is a known problem on these. Doesn't happen to everyone, but it happens pretty often. Either way, the external regulator will solve the problem.
Good to know, I'll be happy when this is over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Alright guys, got the kit installed and now I have an overcharging issue. Symptoms:

When I first stated the vehicle, voltage was up near 18V, I credited this to how dead the battery was, but now thing there is more of a problem. The instructions didn't state how to install the modified driver (Brown Plug + included harness). I have an email into QS Alternators, but hoped to get some quick feedback here. After a few minutes the voltage dropped down to 16.5, and my LED/Radio screen started working, but as soon as I touched the gas everything went off, assuming because of the high voltage.

I mounted the regulator to a grounding bolt right behind the battery. I then ran another ground wire from this bolt directly to the negative battery terminal. I would assume this rules out being a grounding issue. I'm getting 0 resistance from the body of the regulator to the negative terminal.

I have the FRM installed between the two field wires going back to my computer, but the Battery light is still on, any way to fix that?
 
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