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Aloha,

I purchased a 17 Pacifica Limited Gas with 40k miles. I dropped the car in Long Beach to ship to my family in Hawaii and now it's stuck.

The transporter is getting a service shifter caution and not seeing any indications of P/N/D when trying to shift. The car starts strong, but there is some kind of a service engine soon light on the dash.

Before this happened, they had to idle the van for like 12 hours to burn down fuel from 1/2 tank to 1/4 tank. I'm thinking one of the batteries might be dead but I'm not actually present to help the shipping company so any details I get are third hand.

Any suggestions what might get the minivan running again? We tried cycling the ignition. Tonight we're trying to charge the main battery and will check again in the morning.

Attached is a photo of the battery. Greatly appreciate any help.
 

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Aloha,

I purchased a 17 Pacifica Limited Gas with 40k miles. I dropped the car in Long Beach to ship to my family in Hawaii and now it's stuck.

The transporter is getting a service shifter caution and not seeing any indications of P/N/D when trying to shift. The car starts strong, but there is some kind of a service engine soon light on the dash.

Before this happened, they had to idle the van for like 12 hours to burn down fuel from 1/2 tank to 1/4 tank. I'm thinking one of the batteries might be dead but I'm not actually present to help the shipping company so any details I get are third hand.

Any suggestions what might get the minivan running again? We tried cycling the ignition. Tonight we're trying to charge the main battery and will check again in the morning.

Attached is a photo of the battery. Greatly appreciate any help.
I'm thinking the aux battery failed and has drained the main battery. Disconnect the aux battery and charge the main battery. After charging the main battery temporarily disconnect it's negative cable as well to reset things. It's easiest to just remove the large ring terminal from the IBS (intelligent battery sensor) to accomplish this. Leave the aux battery disconnected, but reconnect the main battery and attempt to start it. Everything should return to normal except for the ESS warning. Like I said in my other response, you can safely leave the aux battery disconnected. Disconnecting it should stop it from draining the main battery again. There's a good chance the main battery should still be good. It's been replaced before, and it's not a crappy Mopar.

If the engine still starts, you may be able to get away with just disconnecting the aux battery. Then, temporarily disconnect the main battery too to reset any codes and attempt to start it again.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm thinking the aux battery failed and has drained the main battery.
THANK YOU for offering up your advice. We were able to get the vehicle out of Park the next day and the minivan is continuing on its journey to my family in Hawaii.

The transporter charged the Aux battery overnight. As soon as he entered the van the next morning, he said the dash was much more lit up and included the shift selector being displayed. He knew right away that the problem was probably gone. Sure enough, when he started the van he was able to shift normally.

I considered asking him to just disconnect the aux battery but decided it wasn't worth explaining. If this problem happens again during shipping, then we'll either charge the aux battery or disconnect it. The minivan still has about 2 weeks of transport left to go as it waits to get loaded on the ship and then unloaded in Hawaii.
 

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THANK YOU for offering up your advice. We were able to get the vehicle out of Park the next day and the minivan is continuing on its journey to my family in Hawaii.

The transporter charged the Aux battery overnight. As soon as he entered the van the next morning, he said the dash was much more lit up and included the shift selector being displayed. He knew right away that the problem was probably gone. Sure enough, when he started the van he was able to shift normally.

I considered asking him to just disconnect the aux battery but decided it wasn't worth explaining. If this problem happens again during shipping, then we'll either charge the aux battery or disconnect it. The minivan still has about 2 weeks of transport left to go as it waits to get loaded on the ship and then unloaded in Hawaii.
Thanks for the update, its good to know what the problem is and that it is an easy fix to replace both your van's batteries.
 

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I'm thinking the aux battery failed and has drained the main battery.
This problem is still occurring, unfortunately. The van has broken down on us 3-4 times in the past week.

I had it running ok with the aux battery disconnected. Then, all of a sudden my wife experienced some erratic electrical issues while driving and the idle was hunting up and down. She turned the van off and back on, and it wouldn't shift. She pushed it to a parking spot and about 30 minutes later it started fine.

I replaced the main battery because Oreilly said it tested 14v but bad. They also tried testing the aux battery but didn't know exactly how. Voltage was about 14.3V and that's all they could tell me. They didn't have a replacement aux battery so I left it disconnected.

This time on the new main battery with aux disconnected, the van would shift but still said service shifter with the shifter lights out. I was able to drive to several times this way.

I decided to reconnect the aux battery (likely bad). It was driving ok but strangely still said driving start/stop with the aux battery. Sure enough, two days later it's broken down twice with the aux connected and is currently stranded. Even disconnecting the aux this morning wasn't enough to get it to activate the shifter. My usb jump start pack on the main battery also didn't help.

I haven't tried anything really to "clear codes". If it won't work this afternoon I'll try that.

Sent from mobile. I'll update when able.
 

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My guess, the aux 12v is bad and is now dragging down the new, good 12v too.

Turn off auto-stop, disconnect aux 12v, charge the new 12v really well, and monitor results. A bad battery will vampire drain/bleed voltage from the good one.
 

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This problem is still occurring, unfortunately. The van has broken down on us 3-4 times in the past week.

I had it running ok with the aux battery disconnected. Then, all of a sudden my wife experienced some erratic electrical issues while driving and the idle was hunting up and down. She turned the van off and back on, and it wouldn't shift. She pushed it to a parking spot and about 30 minutes later it started fine.

I replaced the main battery because Oreilly said it tested 14v but bad. They also tried testing the aux battery but didn't know exactly how. Voltage was about 14.3V and that's all they could tell me. They didn't have a replacement aux battery so I left it disconnected.

This time on the new main battery with aux disconnected, the van would shift but still said service shifter with the shifter lights out. I was able to drive to several times this way.

I decided to reconnect the aux battery (likely bad). It was driving ok but strangely still said driving start/stop with the aux battery. Sure enough, two days later it's broken down twice with the aux connected and is currently stranded. Even disconnecting the aux this morning wasn't enough to get it to activate the shifter. My usb jump start pack on the main battery also didn't help.

I haven't tried anything really to "clear codes". If it won't work this afternoon I'll try that.

Sent from mobile. I'll update when able.
You can clear the codes by disconnecting the negative cable from both batteries (at the same time) to reset the codes. Then just reconnect the negative cable for the main battery. The service shifter warning should go away, but the service stop/start message will persist. If possible, I would use a second vehicle with the engine running to jump start it.

You may need to recharge the main battery if you can't get it jump started. I would probably recommend recharging it anyways even if you do get it jump started.
 

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So I have more details, this problem continues.

Question: There is a strange green light in the bottom left corner of the driver side knee dash panel that flashes when the van is off. Could that be an aftermarket alarm that might be draining my main battery?

I have a trickle charger that I can dig out and try throwing on the minivan to see if that helps with the battery. We've been driving it which should keep it charged. It seems to function better throughout the day being driven, instead of the first time you jump in it for the day.

The service shifter warning is still a problem even with the aux battery disconnected. The battery is measuring 12.8V right now. The only messages with the ignition on are that start / stop is unavailable and an associated check engine light. However, the shifter lights are not illuminating and when the van is started the message "Service Shifter" asserts and the van won't shift. Interestingly, there was one time with the ignition on only, that the van said "shift into park, then into gear." Of course, I was unable to do that because the shifter lights were out.

We've also had at least one time where the van was running with no shifter lights, unable to shift. Then, all of a sudden, the shifter lights came back on and the van drove normally. I've also seen no shifter lights, a service shifter message, and yet the transmission shifted normally.

Worse of all, while driving yesterday, the very strange electrical anomaly happened to me instead of my wife this time. I was 2 miles into my first trip of the day driving about 20 mph and the dashboard started going crazy. The RPM gauge was bouncing around (no change in engine RPM), the collision avoidance and ACC features popped warnings, even an airbag warning momentarily asserted.

I felt comfortable continuing to drive it to see what was going to happen. The van drove OK, airbags were working, but the car said service FSW/ACC and Stability Control. Additionally, the transmission was not shifting properly. It was as if the van was stuck in a limp mode or single gear mode.

I drove to O'Reilly's where I thought they had a AUX 14 battery (they did not). When I pulled into a parking space, I shut the van off for the first time and immediately restarted it. All the errors cleared (except for service auto start stop), and the van was able to be shifted. All I needed to do to clear the problem was turn it off and then back on. The van worked fine the rest of that trip around town with several stops.

The main difference hear from when this happened to my wife was when she shut down the van she was then unable to get the shifter to work for about 15 - 20 minutes.

My only plan at this point is to monitor, report back, and try throwing in a working Aux 14 battery. We really need the van to be dependable right now so at least a new Aux battery will help rule the batteries out.
 

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I went back down to the minivan after about 15 minutes and now it's working again, shifting with ease, working normally.

I put a trickle charger on it tonight just because I can, to see if that effects the problem.

Here is the green light I'm seeing. I disconnected the cable just now. The light went out and there was no other indication in the van that I could see.
45573
45574
 

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I went back down to the minivan after about 15 minutes and now it's working again, shifting with ease, working normally.

I put a trickle charger on it tonight just because I can, to see if that effects the problem.

Here is the green light I'm seeing. I disconnected the cable just now. The light went out and there was no other indication in the van that I could see. View attachment 45573 View attachment 45574
I think that the green light box is an aftermarket item. My van doesn't have one.

Whenever my van's battery has failed it said service shifter as one of the odd messages that showed up. After replacing the battery those messages went away.

Making sure both of your van's batteries are good (and probably new) would be a good place to start.

I was hoping that after my van's battery died recently, it would recover. It started fine for a few days, but within a week it was dead again so I replaced it. My van doesn't have ESS so there is only one battery.
 

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I think that the green light box is an aftermarket item. My van doesn't have one.
Great to know it is aftermarket. I'll keep looking into that as it may be contributing to this problem.

The main battery is brand new. It was measuring 12.8V when giving this error, which I think should be enough. I have a trickle charger on it overnight regardless. I haven't yet been able to find a replacement Aux battery so it remains disconnected.

In one final update tonight, I read this thread and decided to try this. Disconnecting that plug removes the aux battery from the PCU, apparently. The service auto start/stop message no longer asserts. However, for some reason, the van decided it didn't want to let me shift again. Probably needs another 15 minutes to decide its ready to drive. We'll see how tomorrow goes.
 

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I think that the green light box is an aftermarket item. My van doesn't have one.

Whenever my van's battery has failed it said service shifter as one of the odd messages that showed up. After replacing the battery those messages went away.

Making sure both of your van's batteries are good (and probably new) would be a good place to start.

I was hoping that after my van's battery died recently, it would recover. It started fine for a few days, but within a week it was dead again so I replaced it. My van doesn't have ESS so there is only one battery.
Other users have reported similar things in that location. My guess is that it is an aftermarket vehicle tracker. Since you got it used, did it come from a fleet? Did they have fleet tracking? You may want to remove it if that is the case. It is not helping you.
 

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Question: There is a strange green light in the bottom left corner of the driver side knee dash panel that flashes when the van is off. Could that be an aftermarket alarm that might be draining my main battery?
Other users have reported similar things in that location.
I have an aftermarket item there too. Ours has a phone icon on it and was a BS dealer installed (and stuck on no less) profit item. I will be completely removing mine because this is exactly the sort of thing I fear it will it will do (vampire drain).
 

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Worse of all, while driving yesterday, the very strange electrical anomaly happened to me instead of my wife this time. I was 2 miles into my first trip of the day driving about 20 mph and the dashboard started going crazy. The RPM gauge was bouncing around (no change in engine RPM), the collision avoidance and ACC features popped warnings, even an airbag warning momentarily asserted.

A bad/infrequent grounding issue can cause strange things.

I’d remove the dealer installed item, get two new 12v batteries installed and make sure all connections are secure. That process should also at least temporarily erase the CEL too. Then, monitor.
 

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Glad to see you disconnected the AUX battery, but did you seat the fuses? Loose fuses can easily cause intermittent errors.
 
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oof, electrical problems like you are describing can be very hard to nail down. I sure hope you keep this thread updated with all your troubleshooting.
Getting those errors while driving doesn't seem like its a low battery problem. Could be an alternator problem, but if the engine never bogged down then probably not (especially if you were able to restart the engine after this).

My guess is somewhere there is a grounding problem, or problem with the CAN bus wiring somewhere. Good luck
 

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Glad to see you disconnected the AUX battery, but did you seat the fuses? Loose fuses can easily cause intermittent errors.
My guess is somewhere there is a grounding problem, or problem with the CAN bus wiring somewhere. Good luck
Another day, another update... Nothing getting easier here, unfortunately.

BL - I received a NO BUS caution alternating in place of the odometer display for a few minutes on my drive today.

2/23: Trickle charged the main battery with the aux disconnected last night. Van started immediately but had the service shifter message and would not shift. I shut the car off and reseated all the fuses for the first time. There were a few that were a "little" loose, although nothing that seemed like an obvious red flag. Regardless, I immediately went back into the van, started it, and the service shifter was gone. The van shifted normally.

The van drove great for most of the day. No service shifter cautions, and eventually no cautions of any kind. I was cautiously optimistic!

THEN I was driving up a steep hill (H3 highway in Oahu, HI) at about 50 mph and the erratic electrical problems started again, but worse.

Every random caution you could imagine popped on the dash. The van was still driving fine, despite errors about air bags, parking brake failure, electronic stabilization, collision warning, you get the idea. The RPM indication bounced around erratically at first, then the needle actually swung the whole dial as in a test / start pattern. Even the fuel indication was mippling between accurate or empty or erratic.

As all this happened, I continue to drive the van up the hill. (I'm a fighter pilot so its ok)

The engine RPM was limited as if the van was throttled and the speed was bleeding off slowly. I kept the pedal at above 50% throttle demand but the speed kept falling until about 35 mph. At this point, the RPM gauge appeared to be working with the indicated RPM at maybe 1500 (despite my throttle demand being higher). At around 35 mph, the RPM would increase to 2500-3000 RPM briefly and the car accelerated up the hill slightly until about 38 mph. At 38 mph, the RPM fell back down to 1500 until the speed fell to 35 or so and the process repeated.

The van was basically throttled to 38 mph up hill (or maybe an equivalent load). As I summited the hill, the van accelerated on the downhill and the throttle could control RPM up to 3000-4000. The rest of my drive was either downhill or flat, so much lower load, and the engine/transmission performed mostly normally despite all the cautions remaining.

Around 10-15 minutes after all this started happening a new indication appeared that I think could help. The odometer started alternating displaying NO BUS with its normal reading. This NO BUS warning lasted for less than a minute and then went away.

My next steps are to research this NO BUS caution. I'm also still trying to figure out how to trace and remove the aftermarket accessory with a green light I mentioned in a previous post. Finally, I'm trying to track down an Aux 14 battery just to see if reconnecting a healthy aux battery would help (doubtful). I might also test the new main battery I just purchased. Maybe its not a great battery, although the car starts great every time...

I'll continue to update.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Question for anyone interested - What are the normal indications for the gear selector lights above the knob when :
1) approaching the van
2) opening a door
3) accessories on
4) ignition on
Mine seem to be inconsistently lighting up and it would probably help with diagnosis.

Mid day update since today got off to a rough start.

Both wife and I are working today, so I needed to drive the minivan. In what is becoming fairly normal, it wouldn't shift first thing this morning. I waited 20 minutes, tried disconnecting the negative terminal for a while, nothing seemed to work.

An hour later and the van was working again.

During that break I investigated the random electrical tracker or alarm under the steering wheel. I need to get more information on taking apart the dash.

This first picture is below the drivers side dash, taken just inside of the hood release latch and the "airbag" embossed letters. There is a white plastic bracket with a black plastic rivet. Just forward of that you can see what looks like a blue electrical splice and a green and black wire. I believe this is aftermarket.

45589


This next photo traces what I believe are those same wires coming out of the firewall and into the engine compartment. You can make the two wires out in the bottom third of this photo, running from left to right on the screen.

I'm trying to track what electrical connector these two wires are plugged into. You can see two rather large ones in this photo. The wires are going into the connector below the one that is most visible. For orientation, the photo is taken with the driver side sitting position and windshield located just beyond the right edge of the photo, front of the van in the upper left, driver side fender would be at the bottom of the image.
45588
 

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Another update:

Van has not had any significant electrical malfunctions while driving the last two days. Both mornings it has failed to shift out of park for about the first 30 minutes. After walking away from the van and returning 30 minutes later, the van shifts normally for the rest of the day.

We occasionally get a service shifter caution while driving that will persist for about 60 seconds. It clears and has no noticeable effect on drivability.

I purchased an auxiliary battery and will plan to install it next time the van won't shift out of park to see if the new battery registering solves any problems.
 
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