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Chrysler Repair/Charging problem on '98 Sebring Convertible


QUESTION: Hi Roland, You have helped me in the past and I could use your help again.  I have a 1998 Sebring JXI Convertible, 2.5L V6, approx 160,000 miles.  While driving it this morning, the "battery" light illuminated on the dash.  I also noticed that the interior lights flickered.  I'm thinking that it's the alternator, and will be doing a voltage check.  Do you know if the voltage regulator is built in to the alternator?  The alternator is original, but I did replace the brushes in it a couple years ago.  I would appreciate your thoughts on this.  Thanks.


ANSWER: Hi Bill,
The voltage regulation is accomplished by the powertrain control module, but that is less likely to be the problem than is the alternator itself. Of course check the battery cables to start with. Fuse 5 in the power box supplies voltage to the ASD relay actuation coil and tone end of the field coils of the alternator on the dark green/orange wire. The pcm (pin 8) is attached to the other end of the alternator field coils by a green wire and that wire is oscillated to ground by the pcm to accomplish the average voltage that is needed (about 14.4). So it could well be the alternator is going bad, but check both the fuse 5 for a possible crack and of course the ASD could be flaky but either of those would also cause the engine to run rough if that were true.
The PCM would be the least likely cause, I believe.
Please read the PS (below) and respond to it.
Thanks for doing that, and good to hear from you again.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Battery voltage when the car is off is 12.5.  When running at idle it varies between 14.2 and 14.4.  The interior light flickers slightly when the car is running, but becomes steady (although a little dimmer) after shutting off the engine.  I will check the things you suggested but I think it may be time to replace the alternator.  Thank you for the help.


ANSWER: Hi Bill,
Yes, it points to the alternator output being on the low side, but verify the battery cables and the field coil wires just to be sure. Also check that the drive belt isn't slipping. A fault code readout will probably show a 1682 meaning low output voltage. Check the resistance across the field coil connections of the alternator (with the plug removed) which should be 5 ohms or more.
Thanks for rating. If you do a 'nomination' for this answer I would be most appreciative.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Roland, do you know how to remove the field connector on the alternator?  There are two cables attached to the alternator.  One is attached with a 10mm nut.  That's NOT the one I have a problem with.  It's the other one, which supposedly just gets pulled off.  I don't know if I have to press or pinch anything to unlock it, and I can barely get my hand in there.  A diagram of it is in the "1998 Sebring Convertible Service Manual", page 8C-10.  It's labeled "TO PCM" and "FEED".  The instructions on the previous page just say "unplug field circuit from generator".

Also, and you may not know this if you aren't familiar with this specific car, is it easier to get to the bottom alternator bolt from under the vehicle?  Again, I can barely feel the bolt head from above, and I can't see it at all.

One last question - I need to release tension on the belt, and I think I need to loosen the tensioner pulley both and then turn the tensioner bolt.  I may have to remove the wheel and come in from the side, but I'm not sure yet.  Do you know the easiest way to get to this bolt?

Thanks so much for all of your help.


Hi Bill,
Sorry for the delay but I wrote an answer but somehow it didn't get sent to you.
I checked 6 different manuals I have for the 2.5L generator and none of them made an issue about that 2-wire plug. The drawing is the same as you show so it must be a straight pull out.
The manuals also say nothing about removing the bottom bolt, however the manuals for the Avenger (from the Japanese) do suggest that you remove the panel that separates the wheel well from the engine compartment when working on the pulley for the belt bolts. So that may be a good thing for you to do.
By the way, the Japanese-derived manual does give a lot of electrical testing details for the alternator if you want to get into that. I can copy the pages off of an '04 manual I have on CD and email it to you.
Please consider another rating and giving me a nomination for 'volunteer of the month.

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Roland Finston


Free fast answer to your repair question about a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth car, minivan, SUV, or truck. Problems with electronically controlled engines and transmissions as well as body wiring problems are my specialty. This free troubleshoot advice forum helps you diagnose faults, minimize repair costs or do-it-yourself.

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I have do-it-yourself experience (50+ years) and a library of 100 1982-2011 Chrysler factory shop manuals and 20 multi-manual Chrysler Corp. CD's.

I was voted "Top Expert" 2010-2015, here at AllExperts, and have answered 20,000+ questions.


Five decades as a 'do-it-yourselfer' on domestic and imported cars.

Yahoo Autos Group called The Chrysler Lebaron Club (co-moderator)

Advanced degrees in Physics/bruised knuckles

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