Car Tech Tips
1989-1994 - Many
Many 1989-1994 Chrysler products may produce a noise from the vicinity
of the alternator that sounds like a bad bearing or electrical arcing.
The noise is not necessarily caused by a failed alternator, but by a misaligned
alternator pulley. To determine if the pulley is the source of the noise,
spray the inside of the alternator drive belt with water while the engine
is running. If the noise immediately disappears then gradually returns,
belt misalignment is the cause. For 1989 and 1990 vehicles the cure is
to fit a replacement alternator bracket (Chrysler part number 4556173).
If the noise is still present, add the spacer (flat washer) listed below.
1991-1994 vehicles already have a redesigned bracket but may need to have
a spacer (Chrysler part number 6500299) added next to the existing flat
washer on the pivot through-bolt.
CHRYSLER 1995-1999 Avenger
& Seabring 2.0L; 2.5L
1995-199 Dodge Avengers and Chrysler Seabrings may develop a wiring harness
short circuit that causes one or more of the following:
- Dead battery
- No-start condition
- Charging light stays on
- ABASE warning light stays
If these symptoms occur, and
if the computer shows no trouble codes, check the wiring harness in the
vicinity of the transmission shift lever. The harness runs very close
to the lever at this point and, over time it may chafe against the lever
enough to wear away the insulation and cause a short. If the harness is
found to be damaged, repair or replace it as required and resecure it
farther away from the shift lever.
CHRYSLER 1996-1997 Dodge
Caravan, Plymouth Voyager 3.3L; 3.8L
1996-1997 Caravans, Voyagers and Town and Country mini-vans with the 3.3L
and 3.8L engines may experience a problem where the starter partially
disengages and then re-engages while cranking the engine. This may be
accompanied by a noticeable pinion noise. The problem can be traced to
a malfunctioning Powertrain Control Module (PCM). Repair involves replacing
or reprogramming the PCM. To reprogram the PCM proceed as follows:
Connect the MDS (Mopar
Diagnostic System) and the DRB III (Scan Tool) to the vehicle and
Using the arrow keys, select
#2 MDS Diagnostics on the DRB III Main Menu Screen.
Select Diagnostics Menu
on the MDS, and then press "Next Menu."
Select Vehicle Controller
Programming on the MDS, and then press "Next Menu".
Select Programming of All
Other Controllers With MDS & DRB on the MDS, and then press "Next
Follow the prompts on the
MDS and DRB III, which will allow the DRB III to obtain the current
number of the PCM.
The MDS will display the
part number of the PCM on the vehicle and the appropriate part number,
then press "Next Menu". NOTE: If the PCM has already been
updated or programmed, "No Updates Available" message will
appear. Check the part number of the PCM on the vehicle and compare
it to the number displayed. If the PCM has already been updated, another
problem exists that will require further diagnosis and repair.
The MDS and DRB III will
prompt for inputs required to complete the reprogramming process.
NOTE: law requires the following steps:
Type the necessary information
on the "Authorized Software Update" label, part number 4669020.
Attach the label to the PCM and cover the label with clear plastic
Type the necessary information
on the "Authorized Modification" label and attach it near
the VECI label.
CHRYSLER 1981-1987 LeBaron,
New Yorker, Aries, Reliant, Caravan & Voyager 2.6L
Many Chrysler models with the 2.6L Mitsubishi engine may develop a no-start
or low battery charge condition due to a faulty cooling fan switch relay.
If the relay fails in the closed position, the fans will run constantly,
whether the ignition is on or not. This can put enough of a load on the
battery to completely discharge it in a matter of hours. If the vehicle
is started, the alternator will be forced to work continuously at maximum
output in order to recharge the battery. Under the best circumstances
this will greatly shorten the alternator's life; at worst it may cause
it to fail almost immediately. Always check the cooling fan relay when
replacing the alternator on one of these vehicles. Install a new relay
if there is any sign that the old one is not working properly.
1992-1994 Explorers may develop a no-start condition along with intermittent
failure of headlights, instrument lights or other accessories. These same
vehicles may also experience drivability problems including erratic idle,
rough running and hesitation. Ford suggests that the battery cables and
other wiring near the battery be inspected for corrosion or deterioration
resulting from exposure to battery gasses. Swelling, discoloration, or
a buildup of corroded material can identify damaged wires. In some cases
wiring may be corroded almost completely through. Ford recommends replacement
of any damaged wires with new and the installation of a redesigned battery
cover (Ford part number F3TZ-10A687-A) to prevent a recurrence of the
FORD 1990-1991 Explorer,
Ranger, Ranger 4.0L
1990-1991 Explorer and Rangers with the 4.0L engine may develop a rough
idle accompanied by a hard-start or no-start condition. The problem can
be traced to a poor ground at the EDIS ignition module. To check quickly
for a ground problem, locate the module's connector on the right-hand
radiator support and wiggle it. If this results in an improved idle or
easier starting, inspect the module's ground wire (black/light green for
1990; black/white for 1991) at the ground terminal. If the terminal does
not have a brass sleeve Ford recommends installing a replacement terminal
(Ford part number F1TZ-14461-A) to insure a good ground connection.
FORD 1991-1994 Ford, Lincoln,
1991-1994 Fords, Lincolns and Mercurys with the 4.8L engine often develop
an intermittent "no-start" condition where the starter fails
to respond when the ignition key is turned. Often there is nothing wrong
with the starter. The problem is caused by corrosion in the vehicle's
wiring harness at the push-on connector to the starter solenoid. Whether
you have experienced this problem or not, the connector must be inspected
and, if necessary, replaced whenever the starter is serviced (use Ford
part number F4VY-A411-A or equivalent).
FORD 1985-1991 "F"
Series Trucks 4.9L; 5.0L w/Fuel Inj.
1985-1991 "F" series trucks with fuel injected 4.9L and 5.0L
engines may develop a no-crank condition due to deterioration of a sliced
connection in the engine compartment wiring harness. The connection is
located under the breather box on the driver's side inner fender. Over
time, water penetration can corrode the splice, causing a complete loss
of power to the fuse panel. Repair the splice as required, making sure
to reinsulate the wiring bundle carefully.
FORD 1990 Lincoln Town Car
1990 Lincoln Town Cars with the 3.8L and 5.0L engine may develop a no-crank
condition caused by the corrosion of the neutral safety switch contacts.
Water droplets from the wiper module can leak into the transmission vent,
contaminating the transmission fluid and leading to failure of the neutral
safety switch. If the transmission fluid appears milky, it is likely contaminated
with water. To eliminate the no-start problem, replace the neutral safety
switch. Ford also recommends installation of a deflector kit, part number
F0VY-17A500-A to prevent water from entering the vent tube.
FORD 1989-1992 Lincoln Town
1989-1992 Lincoln Town Cars may develop a no-start condition due to low
battery charge. The ABS pump motor relay is subject to moisture contamination,
which can corrode its contacts, causing it to remain running continuously.
This can drain the battery, leading to a slow-crank or no-start situation,
and can also cause the alternator to work at maximum output for extended
periods thus causing premature failure. Installation of Ford relay kit
number F0VY-14A303-A will relocate the relay to avoid recurrence of the
FORD 1989-1992 Probe
1989-1992 Probes may experience premature alternator failure due to a
constant electrical drain caused by one or both of the following problems:
A binding or misaligned hood
release handle. The micro switch for the engine compartment light is part
of the hood release handle on these vehicles. If the handle is misaligned
or fails to return to its normal position, the light may remain on even
though the hood has been closed tightly. The continuous draw of the light
is enough to keep the battery in a constant state of discharge, forcing
the alternator to operate continuously at full output as it attempts to
recharge the battery as well as meet normal system demands. The solution
is to place a thin washer between the backside of the dash and the retainer
nut on the release cable. This will allow the handle to return to its
normal position and switch off the light.
Corrosion in one or more of
the main wiring harness connectors in front of the radiator or in the
engine compartment. Water contamination in these connectors can cause
short circuits or high resistance connections which can lead the battery
drain, blown fuses, or problems with headlights, A/C or the heater fan
relay. To correct the problem, all main connectors must be inspected carefully.
Those showing evidence of corrosion or water damage must be thoroughly
cleaned or replaced.
FORD 1989-1992 Probe 2.2L
1989-1992 Probes with non-turbo 2.2L engine may experience a low battery
charge condition if regularly driven short distances, at low speeds or
in stop-and go traffic with heavy accessory loads. Under these conditions
the engine does not turn the alternator fast enough to meet the demand
on the electrical system and the battery must supply the difference. Over
time, this imposes severe loads on the charging system, and can lead to
premature alternator failure. To correct the problem, Ford recommends
the installation of a kit (Ford part number E92Z-010344-D) to replace
the original crankshaft pulley, alternator pulley and accessory drive
belt with ones which will permit the alternator to turn at higher shaft
FORD 1993-1994 Ranger
Ford Technical Service Bulletin # 94-18-8 warns that some 1993-1994 Rangers
may experience a state of low battery charge due to belt slippage in wet
conditions. It suggests that an additional splash shield (Ford part number
F47Z-14A411-A) be installed on the left-hand fender apron to prevent road
splash from reaching the belt.
FORD 1993-1994 Ranger 3.0L
1993-1994 Ford Rangers with the 3.0L engine may experience a slow-crank
or no-start condition due to a discharged battery. The heater fan switch
being left in the "on" position when the engine is shut off
and the key removed can cause this condition. Under these circumstances
the voltage regulator continues to energize the alternator, gradually
draining the battery. To correct this problem, Ford has developed a jumper
harness kit (Ford part number F47-14A411-4) which, when installed in the
fuse box, prevents the alternator from being energized with the ignition
off. Installation instructions are included with the kit. Failure to correct
the problem will impose a strain on the charging system, which can lead
to failure of the alternator, battery or even the starter.
FORD 1992-1993 Taurus, Sable
1992-1993 Ford Taurus and Sables with V-6 engines may experience a slow-cranking
or no-start condition even after the battery, alternator and starter have
been replaced. If the condition persists although the charging system
works to specs, the problem may be a short circuit in the 12A581 and 14290
wiring harness. These harnesses run across the edge of the transmission
case. Over time, the sharp edge may cut into the wires, causing them to
short to ground or to each other, causing the no-start condition. Examine
these wires for evidence of chafing or abrasion and repair as required.
Reinstall a protective covering around them and secure them away from
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All 1994 and later with CS130D
The CS130D series of alternators introduced by General Motors in 1994
has a unique feature, which makes it more difficult to diagnose than previous
series. Built into the regulator of the CS130D is a temperature sensor
whose function is to shut down the alternator whenever its internal temperature
exceeds 280 F. When this occurs, the unit's output drops to zero and the
dash warning light is lit. The alternator will resume charging again once
its temperature drops below 280 F. Drivers whose vehicles are subject
to long periods of idling under heavy electrical loads in hot climates
may notice the intermittent dash light and complain that their alternator
is failing. In fact, the alternator may be working exactly as it was designed
GM 1990-1995 Buick, Chevrolet,
Oldsmobile, Pontiac 3.1L; 3.4L
Many 1990-1995 GM cars with the 3.1L and 3.4L engine may develop an intermittent
no-start condition where turning the key produces only a click. If a thorough
check of the starting and charging system finds no other problems, check
to see if an aftermarket antitheft system has been installed. It has been
found that some aftermarket antitheft systems, including the "Goodwrench"
system, may add enough resistance to the starting circuit to prevent the
solenoid from working properly. Rewiring the solenoid circuit with heavier
gauge wire usually eliminates the problem.
GM 1992-1995 Lumina APV
Silhouettes and TransSports with the 3.8L engine may develop intermittent
drivability problems, which may be accompanied by erratic instrument cluster
operation and fluctuating charging rates. The appearance of these problems
may be followed by alternator failure, but the problems may persist even
after the alternator is replaced. General Motors has determined that t
the problem can be caused by a poor ground at the G105 stud location,
on the right side of the engine just behind the serpentine belt, under
the front coil of the DIS coil pack. The nut securing the ground wires
to the stud may be loose. Cleaning the stud and re-torque the nut to 17Nm
(12 ft. lbs) will correct the problem.
North Dighton, MA 02764