Allpar Forums banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Intermittent instrument clusters working. Today battery wont hold a charge.

1999 Plymouth Voyageur. 300k+ km. Last winter the instrument cluster stopped working, started again in the spring. It quit again a month ago. Replaced the cluster with the same result. Yesterday, I left the door open for about ten minutes (interior lights on and engine not running) needed a boost. Today the van stopped running while driving (battery died). Headlights, radio and fan on. Had the van towed home

Battery is about a year old. Tested three times and it is "ok".

Is this a ground issue? Do I need an alternator?

Any thoughts?

Help!

Dave
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
21,398 Posts
Welcome to Allpar. Diagnose first. Do you have to jump start it? What is the voltage across the + and - battery terminals at an idle?
You may want to remove the battery cables and wire brush the posts and inside terminals if there is any corrosion or hard scale (you may not see this with the terminals on, they may look 'clean' from the outside).
Could you have gotten 2 bad clusters? The solder joints on these were known to fracture. If you thump the top of the dash, does it work again?
Look for:
2010-07-07_141601_Caravan_Cluster_Ground__issue.JPG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Yes, I have to jump start it. The tow truck driver said the alternator is not charging. I dont know what the voltage is at idle. I did wire brush both terminals (a week ago) with no difference. (Situation has got worse). I disconnected the battery again today. Both terminals are still very clean. I did thump the top of the dash several times. No change
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
21,398 Posts
Test the alternator (generator) and voltage regulator as per the 'Diagnostics and Testing' procedures in this service manual chapter (8C). Don't be overwhelmed by the number of tests and by tools you may not have.
The culprit may show up early on in the testing and it will hopefully become apparent what the problem is.
You will need a volt-ohmmeter for the tests and the battery must be fully charged before the tests begin to make them valid.
http://oskin.ru/pub/chrysler-dodge/...er_Diesel_Versions_Include/english/egs_8c.pdf
If you've had the cluster out, I would remove it again to inspect the solder joints. If the joints look OK, then there may be a communications bus issue. The bus is an 'information' network connecting all the modules together to communicate with each-other. The cluster depends on it for gauge and warning light information.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
21,398 Posts
Not my first suspect, but the voltage regulator is contained within the PCM and serviced as such.
If you can full-field the generator and it puts out, then you know that it has the potential to charge the battery.
The wiring between the generator, PCM and battery must be inspected for corrosion, breaks or rub-throughs that may be an easy fix and no major components need replacement.
It is generally, but not always 'the little, simple things that get you'. Finding the problem may be 90% of the repair.
 

·
Virginia Gentleman
Joined
·
14,794 Posts
Given what has been posted, if it died while driving, I would suspect the alternator. If the battery tested okay and then it died while driving, then, yes, the alternator has failed or is not putting out enough volts/amperage to run the vehicle and keep the battery charged. At that point it was running off what reserve energy was in the battery until the voltage fell to the point insufficient to keep the engine running.

I agree with IC - more diagnosis is necessary. If the battery is okay, I would have the alternator tested. The brushes may be worn out and unable to develop sufficient charge. In the old days you could get new brushes and replace them. It's hard to find them now and most shops just replace the alternator.

The instrument cluster is a separate issue. As IC posted, it was common for the solder joints to to fracture.

Before suspecting the computer, you really need to rule everything else out.

The codes posted (771-775) don't make sense. They are transmission fault codes (assuming there is a P0 in front of all of them.
  • P0771 Shift Solenoid E Performance or Stuck Off
  • P0772 Shift Solenoid E Stuck On
  • P0773 Shift Solenoid E Electrical
  • P0774 Shift Solenoid E Intermittent
FYI - a nice capable multi-meter doesn't cost that much. I didn't pay more than $25 for the one I have. Has come in handy to help diagnose problems.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,113 Posts
Second that info guys, and I'm thinking since there is a low/no charge running the battery down, certain fault codes for other electrical accessories might pop up also. I would fix the charging system first before doing anything else. If you don't have the tools, drive over to auto parts store that does free charging system test and that would get you some direction in which to go.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
21,398 Posts
Did "Code 771-775" show up in your cluster odometer display? Displayed fault codes would be in a P0xxx format until it said d0nE. Did these numbers show up from a key-dance or on an OBDII code reader?
http://www.allpar.com/fix/codes.html
What you saw may be just a cluster software version being displayed? I doubt that they are fault codes.
I might expect a P0622 - Generator field not switching properly or a P1682 - Charging voltage too low.
Starting with the fault codes would give us a diagnostic direction to go in. If the battery drops below a certain voltage, the codes will get erased.
 

·
Virginia Gentleman
Joined
·
14,794 Posts
Second that info guys, and I'm thinking since there is a low/no charge running the battery down, certain fault codes for other electrical accessories might pop up also. I would fix the charging system first before doing anything else. If you don't have the tools, drive over to auto parts store that does free charging system test and that would get you some direction in which to go.
Yep - a weak battery or marginal voltage from the alternator can result in odd, weird electrical issues and have you chasing a non-existent problem. Could always tell when the battery was getting weak on our '00 T&C Ltd AWD minivan - there would be flakey "stuff" happening. And this would be just before it would get weak enough to need a jump start.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gerry G

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,423 Posts
Electronics use "semi-conductors", semi-conductors require a threshold current/voltage before they conduct. So when voltage/current drops below those thresholds, semi-conductors just don't get slower, they usually just fail to work, but since the electronics are more sophisticated and work together to form "logic" circuits, some failing to work while others do, results in the craziness folks talk about.

You might want to check the ignition off draw (IOD) of the vehicle. If there are shorts in the wiring, an excessive IOD will keep draining the battery and weakening it. I've had this and it killed a new battery within a year.

Another symptom is if the car has been off and NOT started for more than 24 hours, the battery goes dead, no matter how well charged before you parked it. If I started my car every 18 hours, the battery would NOT go dead and it appeared to be working perfectly fine. Only when I slept late on the weekend and fired up the vehicle later in the day then during the week, did I get a dead battery, and the dwell time got shorter and shorter. I finally checked the IOD and found I had a 800ma draw with everything off. Normal for most cars is 35-50ma.
 
  • Like
Reactions: floridaman2013
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top