Electrical System goes nuts, shuts down - Stalls

Alexandra Dumas

Asked by Oct 06, 2014 at 05:21 PM about the 2002 Chrysler Town & Country Limited

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Sunday Morning: Low on Gas and Gas Gauge always reads false low - So I stop to get
gas before a long trip. I pull out, all is normal exept that my battery light is on. About a
mile down the road going 40 mph my Tachometer Jumps Wildly but I lose acceleration.
I put car in Nuetral while coasting and try to restart - it fails to restart and I coast to a
stop in a Parking lot (power steering has failed at this point as well). I wait 10 minutes
and the van restarts. I drive about 25 miles on freeway and the Battery Light comes on
again but the van does not stall. I complete my drive and take the van to autozone -
they test battery and alternator and all checks out FINE.

This morning I head to work before dawn. I notice that my Speakers are all turning on
and off sporadically (I have independant amps on all speakers). About 2 to 3 miles after
I notice that I noticed a dimming of my headlights and dash lights. about a mile or so
after noticing that the Tachometer Goes Wonky, I lose the ability to accellerate and I
manage to coast out of traffic before losing Power steering. the Van will not restart. It
attempts to restart but just won't fire. A friend comes to try jumping the van - after a few
minutes it turns over. As soon as the jumper Cables are removed the van's electrical
goes HAYWIRE - Windshield Wipers on front and Back go on by themselves and then
everything dies again and it will not restart. I went back to the van after work and it will
not restart - waiting for a friend to come help me Jump it and will perhaps have to get a
tow. I have no alternative Vehicle - I need a solution fast and cant afford the fix-things-
until-you-fix-the-right-thing-approach. Any help is Much appreciated!!

One piece of background - Every time it rains my power steering would fail to work
when I first started the van - I would turn van off and back on and the power steering
would work normally.

6 Answers

Mark Grignon

Your power steering does not require 12 volts to operate. It is pump driven from the crank driven pulley assembly. So I would treat that as it's own issue. As far as your electrical issue, it almost sounds like you may have lost your ground. Your common ground from the battery post, there should be a (negative) heavy cable that bolts to the chassis. If you lose chassis ground, these types of symptoms make sense if there is no/lose reference to ground for the electrical system. Check all grounding.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Alexandra Dumas

Heading out in a bit to see what I see with a friend. Thanks for the feedback. Fingers crossed I can at least get the old bitch home.


Sound,s like the belt is slipping,from bad idler,or bad belt,this would lose,power steering and electrical,power because alternator,run ,s of the same serpintine belt.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

yea but battery tested fine , dont forget starter needs 12.6 volts to start turning over, i assume jumps are becuz you cranked it a lot i say grounds ....plural..// there is battery ground, several engine grounds and some body grounds ... gotta check them all and look for more.... if not loose, disasemble and reassemble after cleaning all contact surfaces, maybe some vaseline to prevent any corosion gooluk.. this can be difficult to figure


also disconnect all aftermarket electronics i e .. speaker boosters and any iothers , they can confuse the computer ..


my van just stopped. We took it to a great mechanic and all 32 computers that work the van no longer work. That's why ours shut down. The Van is only 2 years old. the battery light came on first, then a little shaking, so I turned around on a steep hill, and then all the lights flickered on and I lost power steering. Thank god it didn't happen the day before when I was a 7 hour trip

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