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2008 Chrysler T&C & Dodge Caravan brake life expectancy!

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  • I have spent too much money on brake pads, rotors and calipers. This is the third time I've had every thing replaced - both front and back with 90,000 kms on my 2008 Town and Country. I was told the caliber was sticking due to very dirty brake fluid (my fault). I just had the van in in March 2011 when they replaced all brakes and rotors and checked all fluids. Now, 6 months later I am replacing it all again, including calipers, and was told it was my fault due to extremely dirty brake fluid.

    It is almost a relief to find this website today and know that there is something drastically wrong with the 2008 vans. Now the fight with Chrysler begins!!!

    Going in to trade it in tomorrow - not wasting another dime!!!

    Where do I begin to file a complaint with Chrysler in Canada?
  • Yes, I have the same noise and have taken it in to the dealership a few times but every time I take it in they say I need new brakes. I get the new brakes but still have the noise every once in a while. They tell me they can't hear the noise when they test drive it and don't know what it could be.
  • 45k miles just told today that the new updgraded rotors need to be turned. We have already had the pads and rotors changed 3 times and there screwed up again. We also have bad wheel bearings at 45k. The break problems are due to the breaks holding too much heat and I am now curios if the bad wheel bearing is due to the heat issue caused by the breaks. Does that make sense? Bearing grease heats up too much and breaks down so the bearings fail.

    Thoughts?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,221
    sure, it makes sense.

    But what upgraded rotors are you referring to?

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • thomasxthomasx Posts: 7
    edited November 2011
    FINALLY!

    Finally I find some more chrysler owners with the same problem as mine. :) I've been looking around for some time on the internet and have been more surprised not to find anything, than I was today when I found all the info here.

    I'm in sweden, my car is out of warranty as it is a 2008 and there are no class act law suits or anything alike going on here. :mad: So, I am mostly interested in how to actually solve the issue, rather than how to deal with chrysler or dealers. I also do all of my service etc my self.

    I've noticed that the breaks are often actually applied during normal driving, they do not release properly. This goes for all four wheels. It causes excessive wear and excessive heat AND excessive fuel consumption. The heat destroys the disks/rotors and can also, as in my case destroy the bearings. I have checked multiple times, the pads are not stuck and the calipers are not stuck. The problem has to be in the hydraulic system one way or another, or on the other side of the hydraulic system. I have also noted, which is a bit odd, if pressure is applied to the brake pedal continuously, it will slowly go all the way down to the bottom.

    So, does anyone know or have any idea of the root cause for the problems, or how to solve them once and for all? :confuse:

    Thanks

    Thomas

    Gothenburg
    Sweden
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,221
    If your pedal is slowly going to the floor and you have a release problem, it sounds to me like you have a leak in your system. Most likely the master cylinder. Sounds like your fluid is slowly seeping past the seals. This doesn't mean fluid is leaking outside the system, just that pressure is not building and releasing properly between chambers.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • As you say a leak would explain the pedal going to the floor, but how would it explain the release problem?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,221
    edited November 2011
    Well, I can't say I am intimately familiar with the inner workings of hydraulic valves or what have you, but I'm imagining the leak prevents a proper transfer of fluid, so when you release the pedal, the leak is letting fluid by at the leak, which is slowing down the release at the caliper(s).

    Picture pushing a cup upside-down into a bowl of water. As long as the cup is solid, the air pressure prevents the water from moving up inside the cup. And when you pull that cup out, it comes out quickly and easily thanks to the air pressure from within.

    Now put a small hole in the bottom of that cup. When you push it into the water, it pushes the water down at first, but the air slowly pushes out the hole and the water rises. Now go to pull that cup out. Rather than releasing quickly and easily, it tries to pull the water out with it while that small hole struggles to allow enough air in to release the vacuum hold on the water.

    This really is a wild guess on my part. Just attempting to apply logic to the problem. I could be way off.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • Well, normally not I would say. Here's a simplified illustration of how a master cylinder works. Hit the red arrows to see the action.

    http://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-parts/brakes/brake-types/master-brake1.htm

    If there is a loss of pressure, as in the case of an internal leakage, it is in practice almost the same thing as if the piston went back to the original position, and the brakes release.

    I don't know exactly how the chrysler team designed the brakes in this car (well we do know they did it in an exceptionally bad way ;) ) and playing with the thought, one could see a scenario where a leak would cause the effect, but it would involve a one way valve controlled by the piston position, opening the valve for return when the piston returns to the original position. And in addition, that the piston does not return to the original position as a result of the leak which in that case only leaks oil from the primary (pressurized) side to the secondary side, and not back again, and a rather weak spring. In that case, the piston could get stuck at the activated end and the oil activating the caliper and break pads wouldn't return. Seems a bit far fetched, but hey, who knows. Would be interesting to see exactly how the chrysler break system is designed.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,221
    I see what you are saying.

    So what do you mean by slow to release? You lift off the pedal and... the car doesn't roll? You could have one bad caliper causing all of this.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • Sorry, I can't seem to find where I wrote 'slow to release'.

    It is not just one caliper, as all four wheels gets hot after just a short drive not using the brakes. Hence, the brakes on all four wheels are activated during driving.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,221
    Oh, when you said "they do not release properly," I thought that's what you meant.

    So you are saying they never fully release? I can't imagine that to be the case as they would probably catch fire.

    I'll have to feel our wheels after the next time I drive the van.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • kope49kope49 Posts: 15
    Perhaps this explains why my gas mileage has dropped like a rock. The last three tanks with my 3.8 SXT I have averaged 13.8 mpg. That is mostly city driving but still unacceptable. I replaced rear rotors at 41K and still have originals on front at 43K.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    From what I know, disc brakes are supposed to drag a bit on the rotor, and thus are supposed to create a bit of heat. This helps the braking system by keeping the pads/rotors drier in wet weather so the brakes have a better chance of working in the wet, something the old style drum brakes had problems with.

    So, the brake pads should probably not be fully released from the rotor. One way manufacturers do this is by the design of the o-ring seal that's between the brake piston and the caliper. This is designed to slightly retract the piston, or just release the pressure it's applying to the rotor, but still alow the pad to drag (slightly) on the rotor.
  • bobc5bobc5 Posts: 8
    Hey William

    I was wondering if you had an update on these parts? Have you rotated the tires and taken a look at the brakes. I just went through some crappy Bendix and wagner pads in 11k miles and they were supposed to be ceramic. I can deal with changing them every 30k miles but right now that seems like a pipe dream.

    I have an 09 Grand Caravan.
  • Can you say RIPPED OFF!? There is no way that your brake fluid, in six months, or even in 3 years, can get that dirty. It's a sealed system. I drive 25K miles a year. I've had new cars, old cars (55 Chevy, 62 Pontiac) and NEVER EVEN CHANGE MY FLUID. Its a sealed system. It would take rust, abuse, leakage and/or 10-20 years for fluid to get dirty.

    You are getting ripped off bad.
  • Someone needs to learn about brake fluid...

    Fluid should be flushed every 2-3 years not because it's "dirty" but actually due to copper content and moisture. Sealed system? Not fully. The reservoir cap is vented and brake fluid LOVES to absorb moisture.

    The copper content comes from the ABS system and general corrosion of the brake system due to a breakdown in the fluid due to heat which in turn reduces protection against corrosion/oxidation. The copper content is the main concern these days, not moisture, and copper test strips should be used every 6-12 months to determine when the brake fluid should be flushed.

    I pity anyone's vehicles that are abused by not following proper maintenance procedures.
  • I am relieved to find this website.. I'm having to change brake pads and rotors on my 2008 T&C Limited 4.0 every 20,000-30,000 miles and was just told that I needed to change brake fluid and flush the lines because it was "routine maintenance" at 50,000 miles. I'm on my 3rd set of brakes and rotors and being told its driving habits, but my van before 2000 dodge caravan sport 3.3 has only had 2 set of rear brakes ever and still are good. I think I changed the front pads about every 45,000-50,000. I think its nuts to pay 1200-1500 dollars a every year or so for brakes. I've also had the intermittent issues of my van not starting, charged 100.00 to tell me I needed a battery, but it worked up until 3 weeks ago when it didn't start again for the 3rd time in 2 years, I finally changed it. Waiting to see if that fixes it or like many of you will still be intermittent issue. I have trouble with the doors not wanting to close, and one time actually closed on my husband and he had to fight to get it to open back up, had it been a child I know it wouldn't have turned out good. I have loud squeal when I turn the wheel hard to turn into the drive. My rear seat cover will NOT stay on no matter what I do. The rear seat automatic stow acts up every time I use it. I purchased this van and bought the extended warranty as I was going to keep it for long time. I bought the top of the line and now I just want to get rid of it. I've paid for Chrysler's top of the line only to have gotten a piece of crap I feel. I've called Chrysler about brakes issues and they took care of cost at 10,000 miles and again at 20,000 miles but not at 48,000 miles they are offering me 100.00 assistance on a 651.00 dollar bill. I don't think that is fair. For those reading this. Dealership Freedom Dodge tried to convince me that it is routine maintenance at 50,000 miles to flush and clean brakes lines, this is NOT true as I have now found out. I feel like a fool for trusting them to maintain my van. Thank everyone who has posted on here. I now know I'm not alone! and its not my "driving habits" that is causing brake issues!
  • Is it safe to assume you are employed by a Chrysler dealership?
  • Pardon me? No, I don't work for Chrysler or any other manufacturer. Do yourself a favor and do the research yourself if you don't believe me. Copper and moisture are two things that need to be monitored in your brake fluid and the fluid needs to be flushed when either of those contaminants exceeds safe levels. That's just the way it is. Rule of thumb is to flush the fluid every 2 years if you don't want to do the test, otherwise test every 6-12 months and flush when the strips say it's time. It may be 2 years, 4 years or 10 years, but the test doesn't lie.

    Tell me, what's more important, the safety of you, your family, and those that share the road with you or saving, say, $120 because you don't feel like properly maintaining brake fluid is necessary?

    How often do you change your oil? Why? Some people, including myself, use oil analysis to determine when the oil needs to be changed instead of going by the manufacturer intervals. Other people go by mileage, others by time. Regardless of the method, I think we can all agree that the oil in your car needs to be properly maintained, right? Or do you wait until there's a problem with your engine before you change the oil?

    Likewise, coolant needs to be tested or replaced at specific intervals, depending on the vehicle. My truck has coolant that's "good" for 5yr/100k miles, but after a few years it's a good idea to have the pH levels, etc checked to make sure everything is still OK. Do you have your coolant flushed when it's reached the end of its life or do you wait for it to cause so much scale in your radiator that the vehicle overheats due to the flow restriction? Maybe wait for it to eat your water pump so you can spend money on coolant AND a new water pump?

    The list goes on and on. Brake fluid is easily one of the most neglected fluids in cars and we kinda need brakes in order to...you know...stop...and be safe. You'd think people might take this critical fluid a little more seriously. Don't wait for there to be a problem, have your brake fluid checked for copper and moisture content and have it flushed before it has a chance to damage your brake system or result in an accident.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,221
    you assume the poster is employed by Chrysler because he/she suggests changing your brake fluid, a product that degrades over time? Geesh.

    yahooligan is completely correct. Brake fluid is not a "lifetime" fluid. BTW, I'm also going to have the transmission fluid changed in our town & country at the next service visit. I don't believe ANY fluid in a vehicle is "lifetime."

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • My story sounds exactly like yours. I have changed my brake pads and rotors (3) times and my van only has 67,000 miles on it. I am at wits end because Chrysler does nothing. My doors do not always close when I press the button, I always check to see if there is a toy or something in the way but never anything. If you are not careful the door will close on you, I keep the kids away from it. Just had another issue this morning, my car completely died on me today, checked the oil, none. Just had the oil done, there was no indication on my dash board that alarmed me I was low on oil.
  • My doors too had the sliding close issue. Dealership did a code upgrade which cleared the problem.
    For the brakes, including the originals i'm on my 4th set and have 51K miles. Already hear the grinding going as if the caliper is stuck closed again. Chrysler did a recall, I used twice, so only paid $150 in total for brakes as they did reimburse each time. But now with higher mileage that isn't going to happen. My mechanic says the 2008 were a newer and worse design they did, and will continue to fail.
    Newest issue is oil light comes on when i hit the brakes, oil is good so is brake fluid. I change oil every 3500 miles with tire rotation every 3rd. The brake fluid was drained last year when my guy had to work on the caliper which was stuck.
    Had an issue with the A/C each spring, another recall they fixed for free as it seems to be prone to leak over the winter. This past spring no issue and it was hard winter in NE, so I think that problem is gone.
    Other than that I actually love the damn thing with all the room for the kid's gear, sat radio and dual DVds for road trips.
    Are you all signed up to get the recall notices? not quite sure how i'm getting them, but they mail it to me and I let the dealership deal with it.
  • Has anyone had their 2008 T&C front wheel bearings replaced under Chrysler's warranty letter program?
  • Does anyone know of any information on the web on what the actual root cause of this brake problem is, or a forum where that is specifically discussed?

    I sent an email to the swedish chrysler agent with a couple of questions about the brake issue and any possible good-will. They didn't even bother to answer me. This was my first and last chrysler, that's for sure.
  • Hello Thomas,

    The root cause of the problem is that it´s a design fault with the brakes. The brakes are simply too small for the car. This apparently was changed in late 2009 or 2010 and the problem has been resolved. However, the people who have the 2008/2009 models with the brake problem are more or less screwed.

    Our dealer says it is not uncommon to have to change the brakes and rotors on these cars every 20-25k km....which is basically insane. With that said, I think your best bet is to buy some aftermarket performance brakes...like EBC ultimax with yellow pads....these brakes are drilled and slotted and will take heat much better than the current OEM parts from Chrysler. The performance parts are expensive but they are about the same price as the original OEM parts which are no bargain either.

    So in the end, there is no solution.

    There is however a class action lawsuit regarding this problem which can be found here:

    lemberglaw . com/class-action-cali.php
  • Hi

    Thanks for your reply. Yes, no doubt there's a design flaw. Unfortunately however I don't quite buy that it is just the brakes that are too small. At least not on ours. All four brakes often get hot (and I mean hot) even when they have not been used. Some times I have noticed that they are so stuck when driving away that I noticed the car is "heavy" and stops way to quick if I just release the gas. Brake performance also indicate there is no real problem with the size of the brakes. Hitting the brakes hard and the car stops real quick.

    As you say, the solution is to change the brakes. However, I believe the problem is just not with the calipers, pads and rotors, but might also be with the master cylinder or other parts further up in the system. I've sent a question to brembo on what parts I would need from them to replace the whole system. But it doesn't seem like they care to answer.

    Our car is around 45k miles without changing the rotors, so compared to others we are fairly lucky anyway.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,221
    edited January 2012
    If what you say is true about late '09s and '10s having larger brakes, then why not just swap out for those brakes? It would require the rotors, calipers, and pads, but if they truly are superior and cure the problem, then it is worth the expense.

    EDIT: However, I just looked up a set of rotors for the 2008 and 2010. They are the same part numbers. So I think somebody fed you false information.

    I had the thought that we could swap out for something like Cherokee SRT8 brakes. I haven't been able to figure out yet if this is even feasible, though. Don't know if they would fit within our stock wheels or even mate up with our hubs, etc.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • sorry Don't get your hopes up on the class action lawsuit. I just received a call from Att. Hirnky fom Lemberg and he stated that the courts have dismissed the lawsuit.
    Pam
  • The door issue is on recall bring it to dealership to get fixed. We just had 3 recalls fixed now our ABS system is acting up.
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