How to Troubleshoot the Electrical System in a Chrysler Town & Countryby Contributor
Chrysler has made many modifications to make its minivan-the Town & Country-safer for all who use it. Unfortunately, the electrical system hasn't been able to keep up. Problems with headlights, interior lights, instrument gauges and alternators are common. For Town & Country owners, 2004 was an especially poor year for electrical systems.
Stay calm when lights dim. When your Town & Country idles with a heavy electrical load, lights may dim or lead to a low voltage reading. This isn't considered a problem as long as it resolves when the minivan accelerates. However, excessive idling during high heat can lead to problems with the regulator and alternator. A handheld Kent-Moore tool, J-41450-B, can check whether the alternator has a problem or if the wiring is the issue.
Keep the battery and connections clean. Otherwise you'll clog up your battery and make it difficult for the Town & Country starter, which leads to an electrical system nightmare.
Test your starter with a feed circuit resistance test if the Town & Country shows difficult starts. After disconnecting the Automatic Shutdown, attach the negative lead of a voltmeter to the negative battery post. Connect the positive lead to the negative battery clamp. Turn the ignition switch to "Start," and check the voltmeter for a voltage reading. Then switch the positive lead to the positive battery clamp; turn the ignition switch and again check the voltmeter. Voltage at either clamp means that you need to repair the contact between the battery post and cable clamp. For a last test, attach the voltmeter negative lead to the battery's negative terminal. Connect the positive lead near the battery cable on the engine block. Switch the ignition to "Start." If you receive a voltage reading above 0.2, the ground cable or contact at the ground cable is at fault.
Wait a few hours if repeated starting of your Town & Country elicits a "No Response." This is the security system kicking in to prevent someone from stealing your minivan. It takes a few hours for the computer system to clear the "No Response" error from its memory.
Check the instrument gauge cluster circuit board located behind the instrument panel when instrument gauges don't register at startup. Look for solder cracks where the main power source connects to the instrument panel. It helps to have a magnifying glass. The cracks may look like little black rings. If you're handy, try to re-solder all the points to fix your electrical system problems.
Look also at the circuit board wiring for problems with the headlights if fuses all check out OK.
Items you will need
- Kent-Moore J-41450 tool
- Magnifying glass