Expected operation of ESS in cold weather - 2017+ Chrysler Pacifica Minivan Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-22-2018, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
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Expected operation of ESS in cold weather

OK, there are threads about the ESS but I have not been able to find the right answers. If I missed one, point me to the right place.

My commute is about 12 miles and lately (it is winter now and temperatures are in the 20's and 30's)ESS hasn't activated for the entire trip. I've observed that when the coolant temperature reaches to 180 degrees or so the ESS low engine temperature indication switches off and ESS is ready. What I have noticed lately is once I reach 180, instead of ESS activating, the next message is "charging battery". Which battery is that referring to? It seems that after ten miles at moderate speeds there should be no need for further charging. The same observation pretty much reflects the trip home though often the ESS is ready part way home. The car is driven almost every day and rarely does it sit for three days.

Otherwise ESS has worked and I have no complaints about it but now I have questions.

What good is ESS if it doesn't activate in, what I call a "normal trip"? Am I missing something?

Am I on the way to being a candidate for a battery replacement? FYI, the battery voltage indicated is 14.6-7 Volts.

1966 Chevy Nova Sport Coupe (wish I could get it back)
1975 Plymouth Valiant
1989 Plymouth Voyager
2005 Chrysler T&C
2018 Chrysler Pacifica Red Velvet w/Advanced Safety and upgraded audio (March 2018 build)
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-22-2018, 03:52 PM
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Try turning off your cabin heater after a full warm up. If ESS works then, it is related to your cabin heat not being satisfied.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-22-2018, 06:17 PM
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It sounds like the OPs works much like mine. To my understanding the system is quite conservative with battery power, completely unwilling to risk not having enough juice to restart the engine or damage the battery. If I donít take a long drive my ESS gets stuck in battery protection mode. Iím convinced itís normal, as itís more challenging to maintain adequate battery charge with short trips. Much more so when itís repeatedly being used to start the engine.

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Originally Posted by Lipster View Post
Try turning off your cabin heater after a full warm up. If ESS works then, it is related to your cabin heat not being satisfied.
I donít think so. If the system is disengaged because of that, it will display ďCABIN HEATING/COOLINGĒ or something like it.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-22-2018, 08:17 PM
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Doesn't cost a cent to try.
Another data point can't hurt to diagnose.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-22-2018, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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Actually, I have experimented with shutting the heat off (OK, I am a bit eccentric) to see if the engine would warm up faster. Results were inconclusive due to too many variables.

Yes, I have seen the engine restart in cold weather to add heat and in the cold when the A/C is needed. In the case described in my original post, we take forever to get past battery charging status.

Here is an interesting thing I noted the other day. I stopped on a rather steep hill at a traffic light. The ESS status screen said ESS was not available due to being on a steep hill. It also will not engage if the steering wheel is turned sharply. All that said, there is a lot of electronic decision making that goes into controlling ESS.

I have a whole winter ahead of me to see how ESS works in cold weather.
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1966 Chevy Nova Sport Coupe (wish I could get it back)
1975 Plymouth Valiant
1989 Plymouth Voyager
2005 Chrysler T&C
2018 Chrysler Pacifica Red Velvet w/Advanced Safety and upgraded audio (March 2018 build)
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-23-2018, 09:54 AM
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I canít comment on cold weather affects, itís been beautiful here in central Texas. But my 2018 will periodically go into ďbattery chargingĒ and stay there for a week or two. Then it mysteriously comes back. I live in a small town where local trips are rarely more than 10 minutes, so am guessing that may not be enough run time. It always revives when I make a longer drive of 30 or more minutes. I have checked resting battery voltage with my DVM when it was stuck in battery charging mode and both showed about 12.6 volts, which is quite fully charged for a lead acid battery. So the system does seem very particular about battery condition. Or maybe itís just buggy...

Cold weather does slow the chemical reaction which produces the electricity. So battery voltage and power is reduced. Perhaps the system is sensitive enough that slightly aged batteries plus cold weather is enough to disable it?
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-23-2018, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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My theory is that it is the colder weather but I will monitor it. It is due for a recall update and perhaps the dealer has insight but then again, maybe not. I have not been confident in the dealer service department knowing little esoteric details of operation.

1966 Chevy Nova Sport Coupe (wish I could get it back)
1975 Plymouth Valiant
1989 Plymouth Voyager
2005 Chrysler T&C
2018 Chrysler Pacifica Red Velvet w/Advanced Safety and upgraded audio (March 2018 build)
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