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Hi everyone. I'm brand new here, and I have a weird problem I'm hoping to get some insight on.

Today the alternator came off. On the top bolt, the part of the bracket(?) that it's bolted to actually broke. Looks like cast aluminum where it broke. So, is that a bracket that's attached to the side of the engine? Or is it part of the engine itself? (I really hope it's the former....)

The bolt at the bottom of the alternator broke off and left part of itself in the hole, but that's comparatively easy to deal with.

Has anyone ever had this happen before? Any secret warranties on this or alternators generally? (We replaced it twice in the last year.)

We've got a 2006 Grand Caravan, bought in Canada (but we live in the US now), 3.3L V6, with about 120,000km/75,000miles on it.
 

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welcome. who did the repair; the dealership? if so, they should warranty their labor. this is the first I've ever heard of this.....

anyone else?
 

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My van has a 3.8, so this may be different but probably not. The aluminum bracket that holds the alternator on is part of the cover for the "front" (transmission side being the back) of the engine.

Nate
 

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Brackets just don't break. Well one might break, but not three. Something, I don't know what is causing undo stain on the alternator. You might want to have the belt tensioner replaced at the same time.

You also might want to ask to meet with the Chrysler factory rep.
 

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Yeah, you can TIG weld it, But it need to be professionally done, It is a very difficult job as the alignment is very important.
But you have to know why did it break in the first place. this bracket should not be subjected to large forces. I think you may have excessive tension or may be misalignment in the belt. It is time to visit the dealer IMO.
 

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Wow. Yeah, I think that is part of the front timing cover. If it's like the 3.8's in the 3rd gen, the oil pan has to be dropped and the crank pulley removed (along with a bunch of other stuff) in order to remove and replace the cover. Probably a good weekend's worth of work.

You had to replace the alternator twice, in one year? Are you using those discount part store alternators? Maybe during an alternator change someone missed the final torque of the bottom mounting bolt and it loosened, caused vibration in the alternator and started the crack in the upper mounting point. Maybe there's a reinforcing brace somewhere that got overlooked or misplaced at one point?
 

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I'm wondering if the over-run clutch on the alternator is OK. Some of the replacement alternators don't have them...could this be a contributing factor?
 

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Getting a new bracket would be better than finding someone who can weld that well, unless you know welders. Aluminum can be very picky about being welded. Has any undue force been applied to that bracket while putting in the new alternators? Any prying or things of the like.
 

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I'm thinking something must have happened during one of those alternator replacement jobs, but I don't know exactly what. The best idea I have (and admittedly, probably not right) is that someone who was using a long prying tool for the first time ever to remove a serpentine belt put a LOT of leverage the WRONG way on the tensioner. That would place a lot of stress on the alternator pulley, which would then place a good amount of sideways pressure on that bracket, perhaps enough to break it. What I don't know is if it's physically possible to break the bracket off that way - i.e., is a person strong enough to gain enough leverage to break that bracket before snapping the belt or bending/breaking the alternator pulley shaft or the power steering pump shaft, or any number of other accessory drive shafts connected to the system...

Either way, I'd say you can give TIG welding a shot, but have a pro's pro do it. And then be ready for issues until it proves itself reliable.

Nate

Nate
 

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Pattern failure.

I'm thinking something must have happened during one of those alternator replacement jobs, but I don't know exactly what. The best idea I have (and admittedly, probably not right) is that someone who was using a long prying tool for the first time ever to remove a serpentine belt put a LOT of leverage the WRONG way on the tensioner. That would place a lot of stress on the alternator pulley, which would then place a good amount of sideways pressure on that bracket, perhaps enough to break it. What I don't know is if it's physically possible to break the bracket off that way - i.e., is a person strong enough to gain enough leverage to break that bracket before snapping the belt or bending/breaking the alternator pulley shaft or the power steering pump shaft, or any number of other accessory drive shafts connected to the system...

Either way, I'd say you can give TIG welding a shot, but have a pro's pro do it. And then be ready for issues until it proves itself reliable.

Nate

Nate
Hey guys, this is a MAJOR pattern failure with this vehicle. I am at an independent garage and I have seen at least a half dozen like this or very similar. Yes, Dodge knows it had a problem. Nope, no recall for it yet I can find.
 

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Same story, 03 Dodge Grand Caravan

I am just a little surprised to discover that this is a common problem. Just when I HAD SO MUCH FAITH IN DODGE.... I have had my van for 10 years and it has been very faithful and good to me. I have never had the alternator replaced, my belt started squealing like it was loose, then BAM the alternator snapped off, the belt still intact. WTH?! If Dodge knows its a defect, then they should volunteer to fix it free of charge- free part, free labor. :angry:
 

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A free replacement part isn't going to keep it from happening again. It is obviously an engineering/design problem. If I had one of these vans, I would be looking at adding a strut/brace from the top of the alternator case to an exhaust manifold bolt. This would be a good opportunity for someone to design and market a part like this to prevent this from happening.
 

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How did you make out?

I have the exact same problem on my 05 3.8 Caravan. Noticed the crack about 2 weeks ago and then today the alternator broke off while driving. Just trying to get an idea how much this repair will cost. The bracket is a terrible design and should be recalled.




I am just a little surprised to discover that this is a common problem. Just when I HAD SO MUCH FAITH IN DODGE.... I have had my van for 10 years and it has been very faithful and good to me. I have never had the alternator replaced, my belt started squealing like it was loose, then BAM the alternator snapped off, the belt still intact. WTH?! If Dodge knows its a defect, then they should volunteer to fix it free of charge- free part, free labor. :angry:
 

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Hi, how did you make out with this problem? Trying to get an an idea of the cost for this repair. I had the same thing happen to my 05 3.8 liter today.
 

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Have not repaired.

After researching it out, with parts at $500 and the fact that the motor must be dropped in order to fox it, I am estimating the total cost at $1500. I am still debating on whether to drop that much into a van with 190,000 miles or just buy a new one.
 

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Just got the van back today. Total cost for the repair was $700. My mechanic is an engine rebuilder and had a 3.8 spare block cover. Total labor hours were around 5 or 6. This is a big job and not for the weekend mechanic.
 

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Just got the van back today. Total cost for the repair was $700. My mechanic is an engine rebuilder and had a 3.8 spare block cover. Total labor hours were around 5 or 6. This is a big job and not for the weekend mechanic.
A skilled weekend mechanic can do this with no problem. If i was a closer friend for an example i would of done it for you only charging 400 plus a cold one when done.
 

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It looks like a simple bracket would prevent this from happening. Typically dodge recalls any simple problems like this but idk what they are doing. They probably are looking at the drawing board scratching their heads.
 
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