My van is stalling after the dash lights flicker

Tiny
STEVENHAUGE
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 180,000 MILES
My '99 dodge caravan seems to have an electrical problem. It has died twice now while driving, yet has still started the next day without need for a jump. Symptoms of the stalls are: a flickering of dashboard lights, then loss of power. Is this the PCM? My daughter uses the van now, so I don't know any further symptom details other than how she described the stalls to me.
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Friday, December 9th, 2011 AT 2:19 PM

18 Replies

Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
So it stalls and then does it restart right away?If not does it crank no start?Or no crank no start?Also any codes in the computer?
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Friday, December 9th, 2011 AT 5:33 PM
Tiny
STEVENHAUGE
  • MEMBER
No crank. Just a clicking sound and no start. Got it started with a jump, got it home, and then it started up fine the next day. Haven't tried driving it a significant distance since. Just a couple blocks.
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Friday, December 9th, 2011 AT 6:03 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
With the had to be jump started after it died I would make sure the battery cables are clean and tight also have the battery and alternator tested. Even a bad battery can cause these issues especially with computer cntroled cars these days. Let me know what you find and we will go from there.
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Friday, December 9th, 2011 AT 6:10 PM
Tiny
STEVENHAUGE
  • MEMBER
OK, good plan. I'll get the battery tested first (cause that's easy). To test the alternator, do I need to remove it from the car?
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Friday, December 9th, 2011 AT 6:15 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
They can test the battery at the auto parts store in the van or if you have multimeter we can give it a quick once over after you square away the battery. Let me know what you find.
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Friday, December 9th, 2011 AT 6:20 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Alternator can be tested on vehicle. A multitester is all you need for basic testings.
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Friday, December 9th, 2011 AT 8:07 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Thanks klow I ment to say the alternator can be tested in the van at the auto parts store.
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Friday, December 9th, 2011 AT 8:12 PM
Tiny
STEVENHAUGE
  • MEMBER
OK guys, took the van to O'Reilly's and they tested the battery and alternator first, both test fine. Then put the computer on it and the only thing it came up with was low voltage. The guy there suggested I take the battery out, clean all the posts and connectors well, and bring it back the store for the in-store test. I'll do that, but do you guys have any additional thoughts at this time?
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Saturday, December 10th, 2011 AT 1:00 AM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
The van died and had to be jump started to get it going again so there is a charging and or battery issue going on. So were the battery cables loose or corroded?Also do you have a multimeter to do some testing?
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Saturday, December 10th, 2011 AT 1:17 AM
Tiny
STEVENHAUGE
  • MEMBER
OK, so it's been 3 weeks since I last communicated about this, so sorry for the delay. The van still has the electrical problem. Here's what I've done: removed the battery, had it charged and tested. Battery is good. Put it back in the vehicle and did Voltage test while running without accessories on (tested fine 14V) and with accessories on (14V). Didn't do a continuity check. Symptoms remain: charge battery, runs for a while, then dies. Battery drained. Not getting charged, but Alternator appears to be OK. Is there a possible problem with the Mega fuse or the PCM?
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Saturday, December 31st, 2011 AT 7:16 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
So it dies while your driving?Thats when the battery runs down?
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Saturday, December 31st, 2011 AT 7:57 PM
Tiny
STEVENHAUGE
  • MEMBER
Yep. I haven't ever been the one driving at the time, but both my daughter and my ex's boyfriend both have been driving it when it stalls. They get a jump to get home, then drive it again another day until it stalls again. Jump, drive, jump, drive. You get the picture. Had the alternator charge tested and it tested fine. I need a "what's next." From 2carpros!
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Saturday, December 31st, 2011 AT 9:05 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
So the battery cables arent corroded and there both tight?Also disconnect your negative battery cable from the battery then hook the black meter lead to the engine block. Then hook the red lead to the negative battery cable end you unhooked. Set the meter to low scale ohms You should see 2ohms resistance or less. Then leave the meter settings where they are and the black meter lead hook to the engine block. Then touch the red meter lead to the case of the alternator you should again see 2 ohms or less.
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Saturday, December 31st, 2011 AT 9:18 PM
Tiny
STEVENHAUGE
  • MEMBER
I don't have a meter of my own, so I'll have to go to the auto parts store and see if they'll do it for me. What variable are we trying to eliminate through this test?
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Saturday, December 31st, 2011 AT 9:26 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
You can rent one at auto zone we are making sure we have a good ground to the negative battery cable and the alternator.
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Saturday, December 31st, 2011 AT 9:54 PM
Tiny
STEVENHAUGE
  • MEMBER
Did the Ohm test as you described. Everything tested out below 2 ohms. What's next?
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Sunday, January 1st, 2012 AT 12:30 AM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
If you have squeaking or belt noises intermittently and crank pulley is equipped with harmonic balancer, check the condition. A bad harmonic balancer would cause the outer ring to slip and result in the alternator turning at a lower speed than required to charge the engine. During cold start and no load test the voltage would be good but when under load test on vehicle, the voltage would start to drop. It might take a while for voltage to drop.
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Sunday, January 1st, 2012 AT 2:27 AM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
You can also get a volt meter that plugs in the cig lighter so you can watch the voltage while you drive to see when the lack of charge happens.
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Sunday, January 1st, 2012 AT 8:12 PM

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