loud noise in 2002 T&C



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View Poll Results: What is making the marbles in a tin can sound?

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  • flex plate?

    1 20.00%
  • alternator decoupler pulley?

    1 20.00%
  • A/C compressor or clutch?

    3 60.00%
  • Don't worry about it, just "fix" the problem by cycling the A/C on and off.

    0 0%
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Thread: loud noise in 2002 T&C

  1. #1
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    loud noise in 2002 T&C

    I got a call from the SO yesterday afternoon when she was driving back home complaining of a very loud noise and perceived loss of engine power. I told her to find a safe place to pull over and I'd come and investigate, I couldn't diagnose over the phone given the information I was given but I had torque converter/transmission failure running through my head. I drive the 40 miles to where she and the kids were and started the van. It sounded awful and the noise was there in while in P and Neutral. I opened the hood and crawled under the van when it was running but couldn't pinpoint where the noise was coming from with un-aided ears. I had her cycle the A/C on and off - BINGO - I could make the noise go away by turning the a/c ON. I thought I'd solved the issue and an a/c compressor clutch would fix this. I drove the van home without issue most of the way home, the noise came back upon decelerating for a stop light and again downshifting to go up a decent sized hill. I could get the noise to stop by turning off the a/c and back on both times. Got home and started reading the forums and found this about a similar sounding situation with a broken flex plate only his hammering noise occurred with the a/c OFF. I then went out and took the serpentine belt off to isolate the noise to the flex plate or the accessory drive. I could not replicate the noise with the serpentine belt off but did not run it very long since I didn't have a functional water pump. I tried spinning the alternator and a/c compressor pulleys and and noticed the alternator pulley and rotor were decoupled. Back to the forums and found out about the litens decoupler pulley on our vans. There is about 10deg of free rotation in the pulley before it engages the alternator rotor which doesn't seem right in my mechanical engineering mind (BSME) and after looking at the litens website have more concerns about the alternator pulley. Would cycling the a/c compressor cause the alternator pulley clutch to slip making a marbles in a tin can noise? I failed to mention that earlier this week we noticed the A/C wasn't blowing cold anymore either which lead me to my initial diagnosis of A/C compressor clutch failure. I'm currently unemployed and have to watch where I spend money, I hate to just start replacing parts with the hope of getting it right the first time. I do all my own wrenching unless expensive special tools are needed and I can't find one to borrow. If I have to replace the compressor I'll have to pay someone to recharge the system. I need to get this going and fast, we are supposed to be going to Minnesota next weekend for my brothers high school graduation party and I really would like to take the van.
    2002 Chrysler Town & Country 3.8L V6
    2000 Volkswagon Passat 1.8T

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  3. #2
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    Cool

    If I were you, and given the financial situation [which I understand completely], I would remove the alternator from the vehicle and take it to AutoZone to have it tested. This will cost you nothing but your time. Also bring along the battery as well (couldn't hurt). They will load test the battery and check out the alternator. Regardless of whether something else is wrong, if the alternator fails the test. You're going to need a new alternator in order for the van to function, period. I have a feeling though that you might have more than one issue going on here, but I am not 100% certain on that.

    Again, this part will cost you nothing. Just your time, and the gas to drive to AutoZone. Your Haynes Manual (assuming you own one, will provide some guidance into how to get it out.)

    I would start there. Get back to me.
    1996 Chrysler Town & Country LX [My lovable Daily-Driver]
    2000 Chrysler Town & Country Limited [Yes, it's still around!]
    2000 Chrysler 300M [New kid on the block...]

  4. #3
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    The alternator is functioning fine, 13.8V at battery terminals at idle and no effects of alternator electrical failure. I've narrowed it down to the alternator clutch, A/C clutch/compressor, and flex plate (least likely). The alternator feels fine when turning by hand other than the play between the pulley and rotor from the litens clutch. The A/C compressor pulley feels pretty stiff when turning by hand.
    2002 Chrysler Town & Country 3.8L V6
    2000 Volkswagon Passat 1.8T

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLMKA View Post
    The alternator is functioning fine, 13.8V at battery terminals at idle and no effects of alternator electrical failure. I've narrowed it down to the alternator clutch, A/C clutch/compressor, and flex plate (least likely). The alternator feels fine when turning by hand other than the play between the pulley and rotor from the litens clutch. The A/C compressor pulley feels pretty stiff when turning by hand.
    If you can somehow find a shorter belt, you could try bypassing the A/C compressor completely and seeing if that eliminates the problem, then you'd know.
    1996 Chrysler Town & Country LX [My lovable Daily-Driver]
    2000 Chrysler Town & Country Limited [Yes, it's still around!]
    2000 Chrysler 300M [New kid on the block...]

  6. #5
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    Listen to each component with a stethescope? Or use a long screwdriver placed against each one and then listen with your ear to the handle. The source of the noise should become obvious.

    Have a safe trip.
    Pat
    08 T&C Touring

    Previous vans:
    00 T&C 3.8
    95 GV 3.3
    89 Caravan 3.0

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLMKA View Post
    The alternator is functioning fine, 13.8V at battery terminals at idle and no effects of alternator electrical failure. I've narrowed it down to the alternator clutch, A/C clutch/compressor, and flex plate (least likely). The alternator feels fine when turning by hand other than the play between the pulley and rotor from the litens clutch. The A/C compressor pulley feels pretty stiff when turning by hand.
    There are multiple things that can cause these noises. We need more info, like have you done anything in the way of maintenance recently. Some times the simplest thing can resolve it. I remember one morning after an oil change the previous day I had started the van and it sounded like marbles in a tin can or bolts and the seemed to be a bit of smoke. I shut it down and lifted the hood and could see nothing wrong, even the little bit of smoke dissipated by the time I lifted the hood. It scared me quit a bit. I restarted it and it was fine, so I drove the 3 klms to take my wife to work and slipped into ctc and got a bottle of lucas and added 1/4 of it to the oil just to be sure. It never happened again. Upon reading the posts it became apparent that some one else had this same problem because of a house brand oil from ctc where I bought mine.
    That's why we need all the info you can give us on maintenance recently performed. Some times we are our own worst enemy. Sure hope you get this resolved soon and inexpensive.
    2000 Caravan 3 L. 17-20 MPG. 134,000 klm. New tranny at 97 K. Tires are P205 70R14 Bridgstone M+S. 123,800 KM. replaced tensioner pulley, serpentine belt, and power steering pulley.
    Old reliable - 1982 Dodge Ram Long Box 318 Auto 3 speed transmission 66 K.

  8. #7
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    I think I figured it out, I don't think the compressor clutch should look like this. This would explain why I've lost A/C cooling too. Gauges show 105psig on the high side and 100psig low side no matter if the A/C switch is on or off. There must be enough something going on in the clutch to make the noise go away with the switch on though. Anyone know if the A/C clutch is replaceable on it's own? Hopefully I can do this without breaking into the A/C lines.
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    2002 Chrysler Town & Country 3.8L V6
    2000 Volkswagon Passat 1.8T

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLMKA View Post
    I think I figured it out, I don't think the compressor clutch should look like this. This would explain why I've lost A/C cooling too. Gauges show 105psig on the high side and 100psig low side no matter if the A/C switch is on or off. There must be enough something going on in the clutch to make the noise go away with the switch on though. Anyone know if the A/C clutch is replaceable on it's own? Hopefully I can do this without breaking into the A/C lines.
    If you have the room to get at it and it looks like you do, there is a center bolt on your AC Clutch that needs to be removed and then it should come off. You can probably pick one up at a wreckers. I would suggest you not drive it in that condition, could be a more expensive problem if that belt shreds.
    2000 Caravan 3 L. 17-20 MPG. 134,000 klm. New tranny at 97 K. Tires are P205 70R14 Bridgstone M+S. 123,800 KM. replaced tensioner pulley, serpentine belt, and power steering pulley.
    Old reliable - 1982 Dodge Ram Long Box 318 Auto 3 speed transmission 66 K.

  10. #9
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    The compressor is seized up, I can't turn the center part of the clutch, probably what caused the clutch failure. I found a shop that will draw down the existing R-134a and let me take the van to change the compressor and receiver/drier out myself then purge and recharge the system.
    2002 Chrysler Town & Country 3.8L V6
    2000 Volkswagon Passat 1.8T

  11. #10
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    Same Boat....just checking

    It appears that i may be in the same boat. Recently the A/C began making random screams. I pulled the fuse and relay so my wife couldn't accidentally turn it on. I am noticing the rattle like marbles as you discussed.

    I am about to go under the Van to check out the Clutch and hope that I can just replace that....If I attempt to move the pulley can I assume that the entire thing is seized up?

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