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Caravan/Voyager Brake Issues



  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Hmm. I guess that surprises me because we have now put a little over 20,000 miles on our 1998 DGC (191,000 on the ticker), and when checking the brake pads while changing out tires this fall, they were at ~1/2" apiece, which was not appreciably different from last fall - maybe 1/16". I would expect them to last upwards of 100,000 miles at this rate, but I do not know how new they were when I purchased the van. The rotors, while I am not sure if they are original, are smooth and true. If any vehicle I have ever owned was going to have warped rotors, I would expect this van to be it. It does not slow down by engine resistance nearly at all, which leads to additional braking, plus it is rather heavy, which leads to stronger application of the brakes. Granted, I am fairly easy on the brakes, but my wife is not. ;)

    Maybe it has more to do with the frequency of repeated braking, rather than individual applications.
  • I had my tires rotated recently ~12000 miles. I now notice a sever wearing of the discs. When I questioned the service tech they told me the usual wear on brakes in the western PA area is any where fro 11000-17000. This does not sound right to me as I am not hard on brakes and previously gotten over 30000. Is it possible that the lug nuts are over-tightened? One other car I had required a 105 torque. Anything above that caused excessive wear on the brakes. Does this apply to the Caravan os well? :confuse: :confuse:
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    A severe wearing of the discs themselves, rather than pads? Yeah, it is certainly possible that the nuts are overtightened. That is an often-sited contributor to warped rotors. As a general rule, I recommend that you always check the torque on the nuts either at the shop or as soon as you get home. I check them at the shop most of the time, unless I am in a hurry and just do not think about it. I find that the shops typically overtighten them, which makes it nearly impossible to bust the darn things loose with the lug wrench. Once, though, a shop forgot to tighten them (hand tight only), and I nearly lost one wheel 12 miles from the shop. I applied the brakes and felt a very disconcerting wobble, so I stopped and two of five nuts had almost completely backed off two tires, with the other three following behind. That was scary - I called the shop on that one and politely asked them to make SURE they double check the nuts.... It really would have paid for me to remember to check them at the shop that time!

    I always tighten mine with the lug wrench, by hand, by feel. I'm fairly consistent, and would estimate them to be at 90-95 ft lbs. A torque wrench would remove the estimation factor, if you choose to invest in one. I have never had a problem with discs on any vehicle I have owned, and never have I replaced a set of discs on any vehicle. My Subaru Outback went 220,000 on the original discs and I replaced the front pads at 144,000 miles, rears at 192,000. So, I dunno about 11-17,000, but that seems nuts to me for pads, let alone discs! I would think discs should last at least 50,000 miles, absent any extenuating circumstances. Again, it is likely to be highly dependent upon conditions, though.

    You know your service history - if something suddenly seems awry to you, it probably is.
  • dno36dno36 Posts: 71
    You should have bled the line at the cylinder of the line (just hold your finger over the end of the line whilst a buddy pedals it) when you replaced the rear cylinder, .
    This would eliminate the possibility of a blockage inside the cylinder.
    If there is junk in the line(unlikely), it will probably pass through this way.

    I would try this to see if the pedal responds better.
    If it does, try a new cylinder.

    This would eliminate the problem at the cylinder if nothing changes.
    You would them move up the line towards the master cylinder looking for possible kinks or smash points.


  • My 96 Caravan goes through front pads on the left front wheel every 10,000 miles or so. Two mechanics haven't found the problem. So, I need to replace the pads and want to save some money and do it myself. Last time I did it I had a problem getting the caliper pried apart to put the new pads in. Any tips? Do I have to remove the brake line? Then I have to bleed the brakes.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    I have not changed the pads on my GC yet, but on other vehicles, I use a C-clamp and slowly compress the piston(s) into the body. As for actually getting the pads in and out, I have never had a problem - loosen the retaining bolt for the caliper, it swings up and out of the way, then slip the old pads out and the new pads in. Apply some anti-squeal to the pad backings and, as long as the pistons are fully compressed on both sides, the calipers swing right down over the pads. Lock the retaining bolt back into place and viola - pads changed.

    Perhaps Dodge does theirs differently, though.
  • Dodge Caravan SE - 1996

    Replaced the Front Pads and Rotors on our 1996 Dodge Caravan 3-weeks ago. When I test-drove the vehicle everything was fine.

    My wife used the van on short errand trip around town for a week and found the brakes to be working fine. The van was not used for a few days and when I went to drive it the wheels felt like they were locked. I felt the brakes were FIRM to the touch and it was sticking both in forward and reverse. I didn't have time to figure it our that day so I used another vehicle.

    I checked it a few days later and the van seemed to roll normally so I took it for a short test drive of 1-2 KM and then stopping - I could smell hot brakes outside the vehicle. The front-drivers wheel was warm/hot to the touch.

    I drove home and raised the front end. With the engine running and the transmission in Drive the front-drivers wheel would not turn and the front-passengers wheel turned freely.

    I raised the rear and found the rear-passenger wheel was also LOCKED and the rear-drivers wheel turned freely.

    I can't figure out why the BRAKING CIRCUIT for the affected front-drivers wheel and rear-passenger wheel is maintaining/creating pressure, which is preventing the wheels from turning freely.

    There are no “Warning Lights On” on the dash.

    The situation has escalated to the point where the van can’t be driven at all. To move the van from my driveway into the garage I had to release the Bleeder Screw on the Front Caliper slightly and this allowed me to drive the van into the garage.

    The front calipers are retracted normally – and the rotor turns when you bleed the caliper and locks when you close the bleeder screw.
    The fluid level in the master cylinder is also at the correct level.

    :confuse: I have bleed the brakes with a vacuum pump according to the manual – But the manual also states that for a proper bleed the van should be taken to the dealer with a DRB scan tool. Is that true for this Make/Model?

    Below is a list of what I have tried to see if it would correct the problem, but saw no change:

    1. Bleed the brakes (twice) according to the repair manual with no change.
    2. Replaced the Brake Hose on Front Drivers Side – Again no change, then Bleed the Front Drivers Caliper – Wheel remained locked.
    3. Pulled the ABS relay out, as well as the 40AMP – ABS fuse trying to deactivated the ABS System to see if that would make any changes – No Change
    4. Rechecked calipers and pistons and they are moving freely no binding no sticking.
    5. Pins & sliders have been cleaned up & lubed.

    Have spoken to a few mechanics this week and they have had no new ideas as to the cause of the problem.

    Could the ABS be causing this problem? The front-driver and rear-passenger is the Braking Circuit that is affected.

    I’m truly stumped by this problem and am at a loss as to what is going on. Any ideas as to what I am missing… :confuse:
  • Wondering if about pulling the rotors off the front of a 2000 GC. Anything special, I've done the pads many times but never the rotors, I'll be using hand tools, no air impact.

    Thanks for the help in advance.
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    jkraut: Check the tiny return holes in the master cylinder for probable blockage in one of the return circuits.

    pphillips700: Once the calipers are off, the rotors should be removable easily barring any corrosion. There is a factory clip on one of the studs that may catch, but the removal itself is easy.
  • 2005 Dodge Caravan-58,000 miles. Disk on the front, drums on the rear. I tried to drive the van yesterday morning. Rear wheels locked up as if the parking brake was on (I never use it). Neighbor came over, checked the parking brake cable; free and loose. He jumped up and down on the rear bumper, while I engaged and disengaged the transmission from drive to reverse. Nothing. Rear cylinders froze up?
    Checked the fuses; everything is o.k.?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Do you have a recent snowfall? If you drove through deep snow, they may be literally froze up (water in there has frozen the shoes to the drums). If that is a possibility, you can heat the drums with a propane torch (as you would use for soldering copper plumbing joints) just long enough to thaw the ice, then it should pop loose.
  • Hello all, I was wondering if someone had an exploded view and or a set of instructions on replacing the rear rotors and pads. I am finding out it seems like Dodge has done like Volvo did on my old 240 wagon and put a parking brake aka drum brake shoe setup inside the rear rotor to function as the parking brake.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,993
    Sometimes you can find instructions online. Try the links in the Online Repair Manuals discussion.

    Steve, visiting host

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • muggelbergmuggelberg Posts: 19
    I have 2001 caravan, pass side rear brake locks tight and I can't get it to release. I heard a little clicking sound from under the dash when I apply the brakes.. I wonder if that has anything to do with it?? I don't believe the van has ABS. so I'm stumped... HELP..... If the van is in Nuteral it clicks even more and then locks right up!!

    Thanks Bill
  • I have a 1993 Plymouth Grand Voyager with same ABS problem that I took to Chrysler service for warranty work. Estimate was $466.52 because the ABS Accumulator was not covered. I would like to find out how the replacement of non-ABS parts went and any details if available, please.
  • As for my 2001 caravan. I had the rear drums on both sides rebuild. Everything! Money well spent. Everything was in major need of being replaced. If you can rebuild the brakes yourself, I recomend it, it would be cheaper! Good Luck.
  • Did you ever solve this problem? I am having a similar one on a 1999 van. Mine is front brake only though. Tried the same things you did including a new brake vacume booster.
    Any luck?
  • I've got a 1999 van. 167,000 miles. The front brakes begin to apply pressure after about 45 mins of running. Even put it on the rack & nobody touched the brakes. Same thing. They don't ever lock down while driving but you can feel the tug and smell it when you stop. They get very hot of course.
    Done all the basics, line-bleeding, cleaning proportioning valves, etc. Even put a new brake vacume booster on. No effect.
    Disconnected the abs fuse and it still did it.
    Is it the ABS Hydraulic Unit?? They are quite pricey.
    We can't find anyone else who has had this problem.
    Any ideas?
  • I did have the problem corrected. I ended up re-building the entire rear brake system on both sides, the drums, the shoes and all of the hareware. All in all it cost me about $180 for the parts. I would think that the front end would be easier to fix... Less hardware. I would start with the cheap parts and work my way to the more $$$ stuff. Sorry I couldn't help you any more...
  • Hi , we have a 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan. Does anyone know what the eco on display means on the dash. Thanks.
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