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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

Titled it Electrical System Failure because that is what the mechanic thinks is the problem, but has not been able to solve the problem.

Minivan:
2008 Town and Country Walter P Chrysler Edition
142,000 miles

Problem
About two years ago we started getting instrument panel flickering lights. Took it to my mechanic who could not replicate the problem, he recommended the dealership. They said no issues, but reset some module. The problem stopped for a couple of weeks, but then seemed to get worse with the car randomly stalling. When it stalled you could put the car in Neutral or Park and it would start right up again. Mechanic checked the alternator 13.6 output and said the battery was bad. Replaced the battery, this seemed to fix the problem. 6 months after that, same thing, flickering dash lights, bells chiming, and the car would randomly shut off at low rpm. Again had the alternator checked (okay); battery bad. New battery still under warrant. Got a new battery, again it seemed to fix the problem for a while.

The problem kept appearing off and on with no real pattern and very infrequently. Eventually, it became frequently and very dangerous to drive (have your car just turn off at 60 MPH is a scary thing!). Took to dealer, they could not replicate or find the problem. Took it to my mechanic again and he kept it for a week, was able to replicate and determined that it was an electrical fault. He checked fuses, wires, ground terminal, and eventually replaced the positive terminal cable. Things worked well after that until 3 months ago.

The problem did change at that point from dash lights and chimes and shut off, to just shut off. When I mean just shut, I mean the car would just shut off without any warning. The problem got so bad that it would just shut off when you open the lift gate or the sliding doors. It will shut down while the door was sliding. The car is not even on and the whole system just shuts down. When this happens you can not turn the car on. You have to wait about 2-3 minutes and the electrical system resets. My Mechanic checked the alternator, battery, fuses again and no problems. We rarely drive it now because of fear of an accident. Before we get a new car and just give this to the dealer, any ideas on what is going on. It is a good car and we really shouldn't have to replace a car with 142K miles on it.

Thanks
 

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When you note instrument panel flickering lights, are you referring to the warning lamps that light when you first start the vehicle? The bells chiming, for me, is a major tell.

Alternator output of 13.6 volts is low, should be over 14 volts.

My suggestion is to replace the alternator. First of all the output is low. The lamps flashing and the chimes indicate, to me, the alternator is generating an ac (alternating current) ripple sufficient to reset the instrument cluster and cause the instrument cluster to perform the start-up lamp test and chimes. The ripple may not show itself until the engine compartment and alternator have warmed up. The ac ripple seems to be sufficient to reset the PCM (powertrain control module) which is causing your stalling.

Daughter has an '06 Charger where the ac ripple did reset the instrument cluster which put it through the lamp check and also reset the OBD emission monitors so they always were always 'not ready'. Alternator output was good but I noticed an occasional dip in the voltage, not a lot but not expected. Replaced the alternator and all the weirdness went away and has not returned.
 

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2009 GCV SE
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A few users here had "flickering" lights and gauges (without any warnings or chimes going off) myself included. The culprit was a bad ground, usually the headlight ground which is under the battery tray area but there are like 2 or 3 in the area. That would be the first thing to check, take them off and sand them to be shiny again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
When you note instrument panel flickering lights, are you referring to the warning lamps that light when you first start the vehicle? The bells chiming, for me, is a major tell.

Alternator output of 13.6 volts is low, should be over 14 volts.

My suggestion is to replace the alternator. First of all the output is low. The lamps flashing and the chimes indicate, to me, the alternator is generating an ac (alternating current) ripple sufficient to reset the instrument cluster and cause the instrument cluster to perform the start-up lamp test and chimes. The ripple may not show itself until the engine compartment and alternator have warmed up. The ac ripple seems to be sufficient to reset the PCM (powertrain control module) which is causing your stalling.

Daughter has an '06 Charger where the ac ripple did reset the instrument cluster which put it through the lamp check and also reset the OBD emission monitors so they always were always 'not ready'. Alternator output was good but I noticed an occasional dip in the voltage, not a lot but not expected. Replaced the alternator and all the weirdness went away and has not returned.
A few users here had "flickering" lights and gauges (without any warnings or chimes going off) myself included. The culprit was a bad ground, usually the headlight ground which is under the battery tray area but there are like 2 or 3 in the area. That would be the first thing to check, take them off and sand them to be shiny again.
The flickering begun with the Brake, ESC, and ABS lights. At one time we thought it was a module with ABS problem. But if you left it long enough (without pulling over or putting in neutral) all the lights on the dash would flicker...high beam, check engine, oil, even the odometer, radio and clock.

However, we have gotten beyond that, these no longer occur the car just is off. I mean nothing! I will have our mechanic check alternator output.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A few users here had "flickering" lights and gauges (without any warnings or chimes going off) myself included. The culprit was a bad ground, usually the headlight ground which is under the battery tray area but there are like 2 or 3 in the area. That would be the first thing to check, take them off and sand them to be shiny again.
That is interesting 🤔. Around the time that it just started to turn off without any warning the driver side head light was out. I went to replace the bulb and noticed it was not plugged in all the way (lose fitting).

Thanks, I will check that too.

Odamis
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi Everyone,

Thanks for the ideas and support. Just an update on battery and alternator:

1) I checked the battery with the car off, voltage reads 12.78
2) I checked the battery with the car on, voltage reads 14.52

So alternator and battery are OK.

Looking for rusty grounds...

1) Grounds look good
2) When checking for ground noticed that the Positive to the main fuse box was lose. Removed, cleaned, reattached.

I decided to drive it all weekend running errands and no issues!

Keeping fingers crossed that was it.

Thanks
 

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Just thought I'd post the results of my saga of the "disco dash". I've been a lurker for years and it certainly has paid off in my case. I had (fingers crossed) full-blown symptoms of this electrical craziness. Bear in mind that mine is a 2005 T & C.

Typical Event: half second ding (battery icon on, then clear) ,speeo & tach going crazy, headlights flickering, odometer & shift position lights flashing, then engine power loss. On coming to stop, turn off ignition, back on and every thing normal again until the next event. (10-150 miles).

1.Replaced alternator because of noise bearings. Made no difference.

2.Replaced battery-5years old. Seemed to work for about 200 miles

3.Pulled battery again, cleaned grounds under tray, flipped fuse box over, checked for bad connections & corrosion. Nothing. Made no difference

4.Reset dash. Search on forums, you'll find it. I couldn't believe that something so simple and free would fix the problem, so I immediately went to 5.

5.Soldered crimped connections on + & - battery terminals. (Remove battery first) Use a torch or 300 watt plus gun & lots of flux. No events after 1450 miles. Number 4 might have been the magic I'll never know. If 4 & 5 wouldn't have worked my next step would have been to go after the sliding door wiring harnesses.

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for the ideas and support. Just an update on battery and alternator:

1) I checked the battery with the car off, voltage reads 12.78
2) I checked the battery with the car on, voltage reads 14.52

So alternator and battery are OK.

Looking for rusty grounds...

1) Grounds look good
2) When checking for ground noticed that the Positive to the main fuse box was lose. Removed, cleaned, reattached.

I decided to drive it all weekend running errands and no issues!

Keeping fingers crossed that was it.

Thanks
 

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2014 Ram C/V, black, delete seats, windows, factory hitch
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I have this same issue with my chevy pickup, and always ends up being the ground connection at the motor. The connection always look great, battery load tests fine, volts are good (12.5-14.5) but all lights on the dash come on, fuel pump comes on, but doesnt even turn over at all. I remove the cable and sand both sides and the attachment point (even though they were done less that a year ago) and it roars back to life. I coated the connection with fluid film this time, getting tired of this routine.
 
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