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Chrysler T&C/Dodge Grand Caravan brakes

we have a 2005 town and country with 18,000 miles and we are going on our third set of brakes. Any body else have this problem
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  • Funny we have a 1997 t&c and we are on our 3rd brake job in the last 2 years. Today my husband took the van in again and the guy told him it's how I drive - which is a lot of BS!!!
    I called 4 different places and each told me that it's most likely the calipers - and that the place we went should've been able to tell that - either way I need to take it someplace again to have it looked at!
  • playtimeplaytime Posts: 12
    Did you purchase this T&C new? If so you need to can that dealer and try a different one. Although I have heard of some people only getting 21,000 out of their front brakes but you did type 3 complete brake replacements "set meaning all for wheels"in 18,000 miles. I would have to see this vehical myself because you haven't said one thing about smelling anything burning and to go through that many sets of brakes you would be smelling your brakes being hot every time you pulled up to a stop light or even into the garage if you had one. Your talking about one set of brakes every 6,000 miles and the only way this could be done is if number one all calipers were sticking and and the odds of that happening are not good at all plus you would also experience brake fade and have a hard time stopping. Now lets just say the anti-lock brake control is out of sink you would also see the anti-lock brake light or loss of traction light come on also but you did not mention any strange feeling from your brake peddle at all. Please write back with some answers to the things that I have mentioned because none of this makes any sense at all. I race cars on a closed circuit race way and I expect my brakes to wear out fast in my case. Hey I am in no way stating your not telling the truth so lets not even go there if it sounded like I was going there I am talking mechanics here ok. I would love to look at this vehical myself and then check out the problem. Geez you would have to have your foot laying on the brake peddle while driving - but one thing you didn't even mention was any type of strange feeling from the brake peddle. Maybe I missed you posting some other information that I missed if so please let me know ok. Cheers
  • donajlpdonajlp Posts: 1
    This is the second minivan i have owned. The first was a dodge caravan a 1999. I had trouble with the brakes constantly on that car replacing calipers, pads, and rotors, numerous times. I could not go more than 6 months without having to have some type of brake work. (I live in a hilly area, I do not drive much, I don't ride the brake and my mechanic stated that this was "nomral". However with all the cars I have owned I never had to replace brakes so frequently. Now I have bought a certified Chrysler Town and Country an 06 with 21,000 miles. I have put 6,000 miles on it since purchase and now the brakes need replacing. I don't know yet how extensive this job will be, it goes to the dealer tomorrow. WHen I bought the car 4 months ago I had mechanic look at the brakes carefully as I heard squeaking once in a while. I was told that the brakes had 75-80% on front and full on back. How is it possible that these barkes could now be down to metal in 6,000 miles?
  • I have an 03 Town and Country with four wheel disc brakes. What tool do I need to remove the calipers? I'm talking about the 2 bolts on the back of the caliper that needs to be removed in order to remove the calipers. Is it a Torx or Hex bolt and what size is it? Thanks, Jack
  • playtimeplaytime Posts: 12
    I have heard others complain about the short life of the brakes on our mini-vans and I think its crazy to say the least and a lack of the words I would like to use but in your case its just plain nuts. I am wondering if the heat isn't causing the master cylinder to stay partly engaged from the fuild getting so hot. If you can and have a floor jack I suggest after a trip out and about and then when you reach home use the floor jack and jack up each wheel in a safe location as not to hurt your van or yourself and see if the wheels will turn early in other words that they are not dragging. Also pull the brake fuild cover off and feel the brake fuild to see if it is hot.Either case would show the brakes are over heating and you might need to change to a different type of brake pad material. Chrysler using a real soft brake lining "ever noticed all that black dust on your once clean wheels" thats what is causing it. So many people complained about their brakes being noisy as in chirping and squilling they changed pad material. I have 23,000 on my T&C and I still have over 70% of my linings left aprox. before they will need replacing but I am going to have them replaced with a semi-metalic pad soon and live with the noice if any. That type of pad is harder on the rotors and they do not operate as good as the original pads untill they get up to operating temperture in other works once they have been used for a few times they work better with each stop after. In your case with rotors having to be replaced so often it would be worth the change if your only getting 6,000 miles out of them anyway. I hate that dust and I hate cleaning my wheels twice a week and I hate cheap brake pads. Whats a little noise once in a while if this might help your problem. But your whole brake system needs to be checked out you might even have defective brake hose that go to the calipers that are explaning once the fuild gets hot. Brakes are complicated if a auto company takes the easy way out. Good Luck please let us know how you make out dollar wise also ok. Thank You Jack - playtime
  • paulwoopaulwoo Posts: 5
    Town & Country and Caravans are known for their front brake problems. I’m on my second T&C now I had 1997 T&C and I currently drive an 03 T&C Limited. These brakes last about 18 month on my driving 24,000 miles a year of mostly freeway driving.
    I eliminated my problems by replacing my front rotors to EBC Sport Rotors (Drilled & Slotted). Brembo also makes one just like it. These rotors lets dust and gas escape through the slots and dimples to keep your brakes cool. I match them with a Raybestos QuietStop Non-Ferrous Ceramic Pads :shades: . These pads come with a limited lifetime warranty.
    If you can take off lug nuts off of your tire and unscrew two bolts off of your caliper you should be able to do this your self with little effort.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    My 2002 T&C LX disc brake original pads had more than half the wear remaining when they were measured by the dealer at 36,390 miles. The 2002 T&C LX had an overall AVERAGE fuel economy of 22.3 MPG at that time. Best mileage was 28.2 MPG on a long 1409 mile round trip. ;)

    Based on my experience with the 02 T&C, the T&C have OUTSTANDING brakes for both stopping and lasting a long time.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,567
    original pads had more than half the wear remaining when they were measured by the dealer at 36,390 miles

    That does not sound very good to me, but that is still quite a bit better than 6,000 miles!

    I changed out the original pads on my '96 Legacy wagon at 144K for the fronts and 196K for the rears. ;) The higher revving engine makes for less braking though.
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • axr6axr6 Posts: 42
    I got an 2006 T&C a couple of months back. I live in a hilly area with some steep grades. The first time I descended on a steep grade my front brakes were smelling pretty bad. I was in driving in LOW (2nd gear). Not much engine braking in that gear.

    Talked to a local mechanic and he told me that these vans have a real problem with brakes on hills. According to him there is some kind of sensor that puts nearly all braking power on the front wheels when sensing a down grade.

    So, now I slow to 25 MPH on the steep down-hill and have the transmission shift into 1st and use that gear to descend. This way I practically don't touch the brakes the whole way.

    Interestingly I also had a company car (GC) that had its brakes last 94K miles. But, it was driven mostly on level grounds.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,567
    So, now I slow to 25 MPH on the steep down-hill and have the transmission shift into 1st and use that gear to descend. This way I practically don't touch the brakes the whole way.

    I recently purchased a '98 GC, and I found the same thing. The only gear that provides any appreciable engine braking is 1st. I know its brakes will not last as long because I already find myself having to use them far more than on any other car I have ever owned. It really took some getting used to letting off the accelerator and not having it slow down right away. Then again, I would not want a 3.8L V6 running at 2800-3000 RPM at highway speeds as it would not make for very good mileage.... :D Everything is a trade off.
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • paulwoopaulwoo Posts: 5
    You will wear out the transmission and it will cost you $2000 for a rebuild. Weakest link in Chrysler Dodge Van products are their trany.
    It's cheaper to buy ceramic pads. They last longer.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,567
    That seems to be the consensus of what I have read about them. My van has 172,000 miles on it, so I expect I should go as easy as possible on it. It's funny, really. I drove the van to work yesterday and hit the brakes at least 12 times. I drove my truck (1969 Chevy C20) today and hit the brakes twice - the second time was to stop in my parking space. ;)

    While on the topic, though, I was thinking about towing... is that a no-no for these things?
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • paulwoopaulwoo Posts: 5
    What I notice is that it free roll more than any other vehicle so you should plan ahead and save some gas. Is your Chevy a stick? This would explane why you don't use much brake.

    It's OK to tow these things make sure they tow it from front and let rear wheels free roll.

    I had to tow mine when the main board went bad at 86,000. It cost me $2000 for the board and 11days of rental and that doesn't include towing.

    I did have 100,000 mile no deduction service contract from Chrysler. I paid $0, even free towing and free basic rental.

    Thank God...
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,567
    What I notice is that it free roll more than any other vehicle so you should plan ahead and save some gas.

    I am working on that one and getting better at it. Even so, it takes a LONG time for it to slow down even a little (probably 1/4 mile to go from 60 to ~45). As for the truck, yes, it is a stick and geared very low at that! Unless I get caught by a surprise traffic maneuver from another motorist or a "last second red light" as happens occasionally, the brakes do not get used much. Still original pads on it at 38 years and 71K miles!

    Regarding towing - Haha... I was intending to ask if it is okay to tow with them, such as a small trailer - like 2000# or less. I do not want to stress the transmission, but would like to have the option of towing. I am specifically thinking about a two-unit snow machine trailer with two sleds on board (~600# each).
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • Hi, I also have an '05 T&C and we've had incredibly bad brake life. I am getting about 12K per set if that. The dealer insinuated that my wife must drive with one foot on the brakes and that's what's causing the problem. I took it to Just Brakes (a mistake but that's another story) for the most recent set this past weekend. They said that due to heat buildup, and the device that disengages the brakes being made of plastic, the unit melts and does not disengage causing the front brakes to wear. Not only this, but I would have to assume (if their facts are correct) that it would have some bearing on the poor gas mileage I've gotten with this vehicle. We only get about 15mpg. I'm not sure if these facts are correct, but it certainly sounds plausible. Shouldn't Chrysler be responsible for a rebuild of these units?

    Thanks!
  • 2002 t/c limited , 60,000 miles. front wheels get very hot (i cannot keep my fingers on front wheels for more than 5 secs), after even very short drives (5 miles city driving). i have replaced the front disk pads and rotors (duralast from autozone), but problem persists. just like barassa, mileage is horrible (as low as 12 mpg city driving). has anybody experienced this, and what solved the problem?
  • Hi, don't believe the BS about calipers. Chrysler just makes a bad brake system. We have to put brakes on our 2005 dodge Grand Caravan every 12,000 miles. We have 60,000 miles on it now, that's 5 sets of brakes. At least the service manager at our dealership is honest. He told us that's just the way it is. We had a 1997 Plymouth grand rally it wasn't as bad, but it wasn't good either. In addition we get tons of brake dust on the aluminum wheels and it won't come off not even with a pressure washer. We also have had many sensors fail. In short our 2005 is HIGH MAINTENANCE.
  • I just replaced my front brake pads and rotors on my 2005 T&C last weekend. I have 40680 miles on them. Rears are fine for awhile. I did notice that the "TRAC" system must be really hard on brakes, I never saw rotors worn like that before. There was a rib of rotor material about 1/16" wide on the OD of the wear area of the rotor and same on the ID of wear area. The pads were worn down so the squeel bar was just starting to hit. The pads also had rotor material imbedded into the wear surface, dont remember ever seeing that before. I thought all in all the brakes lasted well. Only problem since is I have to replace a "Wheel Speed Sensor" in one of the wheels. Cost quoted at the dealer is $160 replaced. Gotta go in tonite. I'm going to make sure I getr the old one back so I can see what happened to it.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    There's something seriously wrong when brake pads need to be replaced every 6,000 miles or so.

    Our '94 Caravan (std) needed front brake pads at 50,300 miles, 99,800 miles, and 162,400 miles. The front rotors were replaced once at 99,800 when they became pitted. I also replaced one of the front brake calipers at the 99,800 mile mark. The rear shoes were never replaced!

    oeuser's experience is more like I would expect.
  • jmudryjmudry Posts: 2
    My wife has a 2006 T&C and she just had new rotors required after 30,000. I complained to the dealer service manager and he told me that's normal. I have a hard time believing that rotors only last 30,000. What's up? I have an Odyssey and I never needed rotors until my second brake job at about 60,000.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    I previously posted my good experience with our 1994 DC's brakes. To contrast that, I also have a 2005 Dodge Dakota that needed new front rotors at the 12,000 mile mark because of warpage (probably more like pad material buildup on the rotors, but everyone talks about warped rotors, so that's the term I'll use here).

    I don't know the difference between the '94 and the '05. I've heard on other forums that manufacturers have cheapened up on the rotors and made them lighter. This could exasperate a heating problem that would make it more likely for material to be transferred from the pads to the rotors. The most likely time for this to occur is after a hard stop and the brake pedal is kept depressed, thus keeping the pads in contact with the hot rotor.
  • eppeseppes Posts: 2
    Yes need to replace for the 4th time ...2005 T&C 70,000 miles....had to replace twice in the first 20,000 miles....
  • That is definetly not normal. We have 50,000 miles on our 05 T&C and haven't touched the brakes yet. We did have to replace one of the rear wheel bearings already though at 47,000 miles. That seemed very odd to me. :confuse:
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    That's not what I would call normal. We have 23,400 mile on our '07 DGC, and have not had to touch any of the brakes yet. Everything feels, sounds, and looks fine.
  • mlzmlz Posts: 1
    We have had trouble with our brakes since the first time they were replaced at the dealership. Either they squeak terribly or worse, the current problem of grinding and brake dust all over the sides of our van.
    The pads were replaced a month ago, then again two weeks ago and now the brakes are grinding again. Does anyone know what Chrysler is doing about this problem if anything? I have to say it's at least comforting to know that I'm not the only one that has this problem. I too was "accused" two years ago when we first had the brake pads and rotors replaced of "riding the brake".
    I would appreciate anyones feedback.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    Sounds like the pads are not retracting from the rotors properly. There should be a very light drag of the pads on the rotors when the brake pedal is released, but not much. The wheel should still spin freely (this may be hard to gauge on the front with the transmission in the path).

    If the pads are not retracting the way they should, the problem could be in the rubber seals on the calipers, the brake proportioning valve, or the master cylinder.

    As to the brake dust, that's usually a function of what kind of material the brake pads are made of.

    I assume this problem is with the front bakes, both sides?
  • scoutllscoutll Posts: 40
    We sold our '03 Grand Caravan to a friend when we bought our new one. We drove it 106,000 miles on two sets of front pads, the original rear pads and never had to change the rotors. The original rotors and rear pads are still on it probably 115,000 or so miles on it now.
    I think part of the problem with the brakes on many cars nowdays is the fact they use organic (non asbestos) brake pad material and soft steel in the rotors.
    I have also heard that Chrysler used essentially the same brakes on the Caravan as was on the Intrepid, Concorde ect, and the vans are too heavy for the smaller brakes. Hopefully that problem is gone on the 2008's with their bigger brakes.
  • javandykejavandyke Posts: 3
    Our 2005 T&C had bit of a squeak in the rear brakes, (disk), I bought new pads, put 'em on, took a test drive all was well, got back home and heard a nasty howling. The calipers are not releasing, still grabbing rotor. Got a new caliper, same deal. Put old pads back on (still a lot of life left in them). But the occasional squeak bugs the wife so I need to figure this out.
    Our the rear E-brakes adjustable at all?
    I just don't get what's hanging this up.
  • joseph711joseph711 Posts: 1
    Hey guys i have a huge problem i had my 2002 grand caravan for about 2 years now and i am having problems with my front disc rotors on the passenger side the tire was getting extremely hot so i took it to my firned and he fixed it for me. Now the problem has moved over to the drivers side and its getting really hot there to.....why is it doing this?? any answers or options would be greatly appreciated thanks in advance.
  • revolrevol Posts: 5
    I just bought a 2004 caravan...we were driving in the mountains when the front left brake started smoking....After inspecting the brake .....I noticed that the front rotor was blue and material had flaked off of it. I went to the dealer ....who told me to replace the calipers, pads and rotors. I did the job myself....and now the front left brake is still overheating.....the front right is hot ....but not as hot as the left....what could the problem be?

    revol
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