Question about 2005 Chrysler Town & Country

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1194 chrysler town and country 3.8L 2wd, code 41, LED gauge reads

LED gauge usually reads one bar above the middle, but yesterday I noticed that it was reading just one to two bars into the normal range. the codes said 41. that is alternator field circuit is open or shorted. online i found advice that said to use a volt-meter and check a few wires coming off the alternator, but my mechanic says i need to replace my alternator, because the wires are inside of it. there's a new looking car like mine at the pick-n-pull. if i do need an alternator, do you think it's worth pulling that one? what should i do? I can buy a new alt for $140, but don't want to if it's not necessary. thanks!

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  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler May 11, 2010

    Check belt, check & clean all battery connections, & check battery is good, if alternator has a clip on type connector, remove it, spray with contact cleaner or similar. Did mechanic say what the voltage was from your alternator when engine running? I'd do all the inexpensive things first like those listed above, but if it turns out to be definately a bad alternator, I'd spend the $140 before I'd take a chance on a used one that might end up doing the same now or shortly down the road.

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I definitely agree with motor1258's suggestions, but from the trouble code you got, it sure sunds like an alternator replacement is in your future. If you have a voltmeter, and the battery has enough charge to start the vehicle, you can check the battery voltage with the vehicle off, then start the vehicle and check voltage at the battery terminals again. If the voltage readings are essentially equal, the alternator is not charging the battery. (Voltage at the battery posts with a good alternator should read around 14 volts.)
I would not pull a used alternator from a 14-year-old vehicle to use as a replacement, no matter how "new" the salvage vehicle looks. After all, you'd probably get a 14-year-old alternator.

Posted on Dec 31, 2008

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