Friday, July 24, 2015

How to replace the alternator on a 3.0 Caravan, Voyager or Town and Country

     Normally replacing an alternator is not a complex job. However, on these Chrysler Corp. minivans made from 1998 to 2003 the windshield wiper housing must be removed to make head room for the alternator to be pulled out and placed back in. 

                                                    The Job at a glance

  • Tools: 10, 13 and 15mm sockets and 3/8" ratchet. 10 inch long 15mm box end wrench, universal adaptor, pry bar
  • Parts and materials: Alternator
  • Cost of Materials: $100-140
  • Time: two hours 
  • Shop cost: $80-120 labor


1) Remove the wiper arms. Mark the position of the arms with some whiteout on the arm and the long plastic wiper enclosure cover.  Remove the plastic covers at the ends of the arms and unbolt with a 15mm socket and ratchet. Tap the end of the wiper stud lightly with a hammer and remove the arms and set aside.

2) Remove the wiper enclosure cover. There are five T-25 screws holding this cover on. Ignore the two Philips fasteners under the end of the arms. There are also four keepers holding the front edge of the to cover in place. Break them free with a 16mm socket and they will lift over the studs.  Disconnect the washer line on the left side and pull it through though the hole.

The retainers, or keepers, for the top cover will just pull off or turn them with a 16mm socket

3) Remove the lower wiper enclosure pan. Disconnect the wiper motor. Disconnect the two water drains at the left and right ends of the pan. Unbolt four 10mm nuts on the windshield side of the pan. Unbolt five 13mm bolts along the firewall.  Lift the pan up over the studs on top and remove.

Some of the pan bolts. White arrows are 10mm. Brown arrows are 13mm

4) Remove the serpentine belt by putting  a 15mm 10 inch long box end wrench on the tensioner and pulling forward (away from the firewall).

5) Remove the back alternator mounting bolt with a 15mm socket, a universal adaptor and a 3/8” ratchet.

The back bolt is the hardest to remove

6) Remove the front long bolt with two 15mm tools, holding the bolt with one and nut with the other.

7) With a pry bar lift the alternator upward  off the holding bracket, using the bracket as a fulcrum.

8) Unwire the alternator. Turn the alternator over and unwire the large charging wire with a 10mm socket and ratchet. Remove the control connector by squeezing the locking tab and jiggling the connector till it comes loose.

9) Remove from the vehicle through the gaping opening now provided.


1)  Slip the new alternator through the opening with the wiring end face up.
2) Wire the two connectors back in.
3) Turn it into mounting position and rock it into place between in the middle of the mounting bracket.
4) Install the through bolt and keep loose for now
5) Mount the back bolt and snug up to final torque
6) Tighten the through bolt to final torque
7) Install the serpentine belt.
8) Install the lower wiper pan over the studs by the windshield. Make sure to plug in the wiper motor and re-connect the drain hoses.
9) Install the upper wiper housing cover.
10) Install the wipers, making sure the marks made earlier align. 
11) Connect the battery
12) Run and test the wipers and alternator. 

It's charging. A meter should show 13.8 to 14.2 volts Or just make sure the battery light isn't on

                                                                                                                        Good enough for
                                                                                                                          occasional use 

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