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Discussion Starter #1
I found this forum when looking to see if anyone else has had this happen. I did not see any reputable posts, so here it is.

On 5/7/20, I was in a parking lot with the transmission in drive, I let my foot off of the gas to move forward and bang! I thought the engine or transmission seized up. However, the engine was not hot and now warnings were on. I had it towed to the dealer, who said the alternator fell off and they are trying to figure out why. This van has around 45k miles on it and I have had no issues. So besides oil changes and dealer recalls, no work has ever been done. The last service was a recall at the dealership on 4/23/20. As you can see in the picture the mounting bolts appear to have been broken off. As the dealer continues to "investigate", it seems more like they are looking for anyone other than Chrysler to blame.

I want to know what other than defective bolts could have caused this and solve this mystery. So far, I do not know the condition of the engine, but will update this post with any new info as I get it. Any thoughts?

43623
 

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The dealer has stated that the belt mysteriously wrapped around the alternator and ripped it right off. This does not seem feasible. The only thing I can think of is that the bolts failed. Either sub-par quality, being over-torqued in assembly, or maybe one or more came loose. Also, someone suggested in another forum that maybe the alternator seized up and that may have caused it.
 

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It's hard to see in the picture, but those look like fatigue cracks (there's a little shiny part but mostly the surface looks old and fretted as if it's been moving around for a long time). I'd say that makes it very likely that they were under-torqued and the alternator was loose and moving around. If it had been an overload, you'd see a shiny, rough, surface on all the bolts.

Is the alternator really only mounted with two bolts like that? It doesn't look like a very wide support surface...
 

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The dealer has stated that the belt mysteriously wrapped around the alternator and ripped it right off. This does not seem feasible. The only thing I can think of is that the bolts failed. Either sub-par quality, being over-torqued in assembly, or maybe one or more came loose. Also, someone suggested in another forum that maybe the alternator seized up and that may have caused it.
That's probably a chicken & egg question -- if the alternator broke free it probably then wrapped the belt around it -- or the alternator became highly unstable as the fracture was imminent and caused the belt to deviate from the path and deliver the coup de grace to the mounting.

I think that @Jeep-Chrysler-Owner-2017 put his or her finger on it -- a clean fracture leaves a shiny surface -- the death of a thousand cuts of fatigue cracks that finally exceed the strength of the remaining cross-section to hold things together can leave the tell-tale of tarnished surface on the snapped bolt as a clue.
 

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I remember another post here months ago from a user stating the alternator fell off. I figured it was a troll because I have never seen or heard of one falling off. It is different if the mounting bolts sheared off due to faulty bolts or over-torquing from the factory. It is important that you report what has happened as this how recalls get started.

NHTSA | National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Ok, so I confirmed the alternator did not seize up. There are 3 mounting bolts, but getting a camera in there to take pics is difficult. Here are the additional pics I took. Sorry the bottom bolt shot isn't better. I tried 20x and it was the best I could get being it was a blond spot.

43634
 

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It looks like that bottom bolt came out. That put additional stress on the other two, but eventually they sheared off. There was one other member that reported having their alternator falling off about nine months ago, but they didn't provide any details (thread linked here).

They were the only person to have this bizarre issue at that time and they never followed up so no one took them seriously. They never said what year or exact model/trim their van was, but their first post was in July 2017 so their van was most likely a 2017, but could've been an early 2018 model too.

I'm tempted to check my alternator bolts to make sure they're all tight now. It seems weird and unlikely, but what if one of them is loose?
 

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The dealer has stated that the belt mysteriously wrapped around the alternator and ripped it right off. This does not seem feasible. The only thing I can think of is that the bolts failed. Either sub-par quality, being over-torqued in assembly, or maybe one or more came loose. Also, someone suggested in another forum that maybe the alternator seized up and that may have caused it.
l want to buy that belt, where can I get one!? 😆
 
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I confirmed the bottom bolt sheered as well. So, any other thoughts other than over-torqued or sub-par bolts?
That about sums it up. Tough break. (I know, bad pun)

I hope it's a warranty issue. AT 45K miles, it should be.
 

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I confirmed the bottom bolt sheered as well. So, any other thoughts other than over-torqued or sub-par bolts?
Cross threaded and over torqued to get them all the way down.

I had a Neon SRT-4(sucker was fast 😈) when I dropped the tranny to replace the clutch the was a couple cross threaded bolts on the bell housing that were a real pain in the rear to get off and thought for sure one of them would snap. Luckily tho I got them all off and replaced the clutch and got it back on no problem.
 
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Before I retired 10 years ago, there was a significant concern about graded bolts being counterfeited. Not only did we have to get samples before awarding a contract, I understood that our material people were quality testing shipments as they came in. It is sadly amazing what people do.
 

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Before I retired 10 years ago, there was a significant concern about graded bolts being counterfeited. Not only did we have to get samples before awarding a contract, I understood that our material people were quality testing shipments as they came in. It is sadly amazing what people do.
I have heard of that, as well.
I had an alternator seize up once, it ate the belt, that was all.
I would conclude faulty bolts.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you all. Just to conclude our forum, this was not under warranty since it is not considered powertrain and the bumper to bumper expired at 36k. However, after reaching out to FCA Customer Care, they have agreed to pay all but $200 of the repair.
 

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Thank you all. Just to conclude our forum, this was not under warranty since it is not considered powertrain and the bumper to bumper expired at 36k. However, after reaching out to FCA Customer Care, they have agreed to pay all but $200 of the repair.
Pretty good. That is basically what you would pay under some extended warranties. Glad they stepped up on the side of their customer.
 
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