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Chrysler minivan alternator replacement

This covers a 1994 Chrysler Town & Country with the 3.8 V6 engine, but the process is probably fairly similar across numerous model years and V6 engines.

The original (193,000+ miles) alternator finally stopped working, in the middle of the night, when it was dark and rainy (go figure), at least we weren't far from home... I had been getting a code 41 (alternator feild fails to switch) but today I got no code, and no charging voltage with the meter.

[Editor’s note: this is probably not appropriate for the rank beginner, but may be good for the moderately experienced amateur.]

Here's how she goes:

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable and set it aside.
  2. Obtain your tools. You will need a 15mm combination wrench (this will be your best friend), another combo wrench of similar size and length for some extra heave-ho later on, a 3/8" drive ratchet, a 15mm socket, a 10mm socket, a 7mm socket, a pry bar, a flash light or drop light (preferably LED or flourescent so you don't burn yourself or the vehicle) and lots of patience.....
  3. After removing the serpentine belt, remove the bolt on the top of the intake manifold that holds the alternator bracket (15mm with the ratchet works well here):

    alternator
  4. Remove the upper alternator mounting bolt, using the 15mm combo wrench.
  5. Remove the rear bracket brace (this involves small hands and the ability to contort yourself into a pretzel, I had to lay on the intake plenum to get the correct postion). This is held on with a bolt to the power steering pump bracket, and a nut on the exhuast manifold stud. Both of these are 15mm, and remember to use the combo wrench for this, there is no room for a ratchet back there.
  6. Remove the tensioner from the power steering pump bracket. Again the 15mm combo wrench is your best bud....Very little swing room by the way.....
  7. Remove the power steering reservoir (two 10mm bolts), but do not disconnect the hose, it will swing far enough away to give you room to work. Two 10mm bolts holds this on. This is another job for the ratchet. You can now see the three lower bracket bolts....
  8. Remove the three lower bracket bolts (one on the engine mount, and two on the bracket), these are all 15mm and take the combo wrench and a lot of time, you have very little room to swing it.... To break these loose, you may have to add some length to the wrench by locking another wrench to the end of the 15mm wrench.
  9. Once the three bolts are out, swing the alternator as far back as possible to give yourself some working room.....Now pull very hard on the alternator bracket. This is sandwiched between the engine mount and the power steering bracket, so it is a tight squeeze. You may have some wire loom attached to the bracket, just pull on the loom and the loom will detatch. The pry bar may come in handy here. I just wiggled it until the bracket came out...(read: good sweaty, 10 minute workout at 36 degrees)
  10. Remove the alternator lower mounting bolt. It slides out towards the exhaust manifold; you can get the combo wrench on the bolt head by the manifold to keep the bolt from spinning (let the wrench swing up against the alternator body, that will lock it in place for removal), and the use the ratchet to remove the nut on the fender-well side.
  11. The alternator should then lift out without issue. Disconnect the three electrical leads from the alternator. The big 10mm is the B+, the two smaller 7mm are the field terminals.
  12. Remove the two 10mm nuts from the supports on the side of the alternator; this will allow you to remove the nicely formed factory alternator connector.
  13. Reconnect the terminals to the new alternator and reverse the process for install, almost everything that you removed is 40 foot-pounds of torque (except the power steering reservoir, that is just snugged in). You probably can't get a torque wrench in here, and you will have to go by feel.

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