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Chrysler T&C/Dodge Grand Caravan brakes



  • tedebeartedebear Posts: 832
    Does it only overheat like this when you're driving in the mountains? The reason I ask is I occasionally do some bicycling in the mountains. When I'm in back of certain vehicles as we're descending a long mountain pass I see their tail lights on constantly for miles and miles. I assume they're riding the brakes and that will cause them to overheat, warp the rotors, etc.

    Anyway, did you replace the calipers when you did the brake job or just the pads and rotors? I'd look at a stuck caliper if it's still the old one. You can sometimes extract the piston (compressed air), clean it out and reassemble with new seals without having to buy a replacement.

    If the calipers are okay I'd check for a bad proportioning valve. Do a Google search for more details.
  • gopokesgopokes Posts: 1
    Anyone know what size hex bit to use to remove the front brake caliper on a 2007 town and country? Went to auto parts store and guy sold me a 7/32" one but that is to small. Any help would be appreciated.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    The master cylinder? I had that happen to our Outback wagon 2 years ago, and replacing the master cylinder fixed it. For whatever reason the MC was holding pressure on the line even though the brake pedal was released. This cause the pads to drag heavily on the rotors, heating things up.
  • revolrevol Posts: 5
    Just to let you know....i think it is the master cylinder as well. I have replaced the rotors, pads, calipers and the right side brake line (was not sure if it was defective).

    I took it to a dealer...who told me the only thing they could to start changing parts....this I could not beleive!!!! Anyway he suggested the master cylinder first....then the brake booster after that. What you describe that happened to your outback exactly what is happening to me. I guess it was happening ever since I purchased the van......but when I was in the was just to much for the brakes.

    I have to wait until Monday for the master clyinder...I tell you how it goes!!
  • barassabarassa Posts: 2
    This is really frustrating - I'm sure I have no recourse against Chrysler - this was defective from the factory and I am now getting ready to have ANOTHER set put on.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    Yeah, I would be interested in hearing what fixes your problem.

    In my case, I had a hint that it was the master cylinder 'cause the brake pedal just didn't feel right (in addition to the smoke coming out from the wheel wells). Luck also has a certain amount to do with picking the right part to replace. Also, since I did the work myself, it only cost me the $150 or there 'bouts for the master cylinder.
  • revolrevol Posts: 5
    I changed my master cylinder...the results are the improvement. The service guy at the dealer...said to change the booster if the master cylinder did not improve the problem.... I just can't believe that the booster is the problem.
    It can only be the problem......if it is applying a pressure to the master cylinder after the engine is started. I will lift the van and see if the resistence changes after the engine is started. I noticed an adjustment screw on the booster shaft and I'm not sure if this has to be adjusted.

    i did drive my van with the vacuum line to the booster disconnected....It made for hard braking....but the brakes still heated up.

    There are only two things left to check.....the ABS system could be, for some reason is applying a slight pressure....or the new (high end ) brake pads that I bought are causing the excessive heat. My 2000 caravan, which I still own and have owned for 5 years....does not have any brake issues...... I have done the brakes a few times....but I don't know how many miles in between brake jobs. But I do know that I have always put cheap pads in that van.....So maybe its the high end pads on my 2004 that are causing the problem.....even though I can't beleive that myself.
  • revolrevol Posts: 5
    Spoke with another brake shop....who told me brakes just run real hot. After reading some of the other e-mails...I'm starting to believe that the brakes on these vans are not big enough for the van.... maybe my problem....was just driving on a steep hill for a long time.

    I've got a 3,000 km drive coming I think I will drive and see how it goes.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    I don't buy that. They may run warm/hot, depending on the driving, but they should not smoke! I've come down 2-3 mile mountain grades at 40-50 mph, and, when I've parked, the rotors were way too hot to touch, but not smoking. That's what I would call normal. BTW, I have 30,000 miles on our '07 DGC, and have not touched the brakes yet.

    Can you jack the van up in the front, take off the wheels, turn the engine on, put it in gear, and watch the rotors turn? Or leave it in neutral and try to turn the hub/rotor yourself by hand. There should be a light drag.
  • tedebeartedebear Posts: 832
    There are only two things left to check.....the ABS system could be, for some reason is applying a slight pressure....or the new (high end ) brake pads

    Did you research the brake proportioning valve issue that I suggested you check way back on July 19?
  • revolrevol Posts: 5
    as far as I know....there is no brake proportionung valve when you have ABS.\\

    The ABS controls the pressure on all the wheels.

    I do think you are right....but I am disapointed that there is no test to check for this.

    we are heading back home ....and I will try not to use the brakes too much
  • 68gs68gs Posts: 2
    Bought our 05 T&C with 30k on the odo. Don't know if brakes were original at that time or not, late in 05. But we've put on 30k since then, and just now had to replace the pads for the first time. Pads were almost non-existent, so I got as much out of them as possible. Flat roads here, lots of city miles though. Maybe it already had better than OEM pads put on when we bought it. Anyway, will be interesting to see how long these new pads last.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Last spring I drove my daughter's 2000 Chrysler AWD (disc/disc) T&C minivan for the first time in ~3-4 years. The brakes did not have the right "feel" IMMHO so I had her take it back to the Les Schwab service shop, Redmond WA, where she had brake work done last Nov.

    In Nov. Les Schwab had turned the rotors, replaced both front front calipers with rebuilts, and installed new brake pads F & R.

    When she took it back they said the brakes were operating normally but they drained and refilled the brake fluid and bled the brake system anyway.

    I didn't drive the van again until about six weeks ago and the brakes still didn't feel right to me. "Normal" braking seemed to be okay but if I tried to stop more quickly than normal the brakes didn't seem to grab or take-hold adequately.

    Back to Les Schwab yet again who after driving it told me the brakes felt normal to the service technician.

    Not being satisfied I took it to the Kirkland Chrysler who, the service manager, without even test driving the car told me that Les Schwab, because they warrant the life of the brake pads, typically use "longer lasting" brake pads rather than pads that will provide the best braking HP.

    So, off to Napa to purchase and install their Ceramix front pads.

    No difference.

    Next, back to Kirkland Chrysler to pay $500 to install a new master cylinder on the chance the wrong one was installed 3-4 years ago down in the south bay area of CA.

    Again, No help. And the master cylinder that was removed proved to have the correct (25.4 mm - 1 inch) cylinder bore required for the T&C AWD disc/disc braking system.

    Since Kirkland Les Schwab happened to be right next door I drove into their shop and asked to have the vehicle test driven. The technician, upon returning, drove the van directly into the service bay and put it onto a lift. He told me that the van's brakes were definitely not operating correctly.

    After reseaching all the Les Schwab invoices and work orders my daughter had retained he concluded that the wrong front brake calipers had been installed by their Redmond shop. Within an hour, no charge, he had the "correct" (correct by Les Schwab's computer database) front calipers installed along with yet another set of new front brake pads.

    Guess what..??

    Right, it didn't help.

    I have just ordered a new proportioning valve ($75) from Kirkland Chrysler which I will have them installed. Estimated arrival in a week.

    The way I read the factory service manual the AWD van uses a "fixed" proportioning valve which doesn't come into play until the master cylinder brake pressure rises to about 1000 PSI. Apparently at that pressure level it will have activated and limited, limits, the rear braking pressure to 690 to 800 PSI.

    That might mean that if the proportioning valve has failed then both front and rear brakes will continue to get equal pressure distribution even during hard/severe/panic braking thereby WASTING braking effort at the mostly "do-nothing" rear brakes when the weight shifts to/toward the front due to deceleration/inertia.

    Have I missed something/anything..?? :sick:
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I emailed the above desertation to Les Schwab headquarters in Prineville OR and they have now agreed to test the proportioning valve operating pressures at no charge.
  • I bought this van used from my uncle a couple years ago, and for as long as I can remember, there has been a mildly irritating 'NNNNNNNNNNN' noise when you hit the brake pedal. I've been told this is the brake boost system. Two weeks ago, I lost some brake fluid onto the driveway and my ABS and BRAKE lights were on the dash. The annoying noise was now a constant. The pedal was very hard (took both feet to stop it), then suddenly the lights went out and the pedal come back up. Everything's been okay until today. Same thing, but now there is no noise, just a hard pedal and idiot lights. Did I lose the booster? I see that some of the components have a lifetime warranty, but wondering if those of you have experienced the same thing can offer the most efficient way of dealing with this. I appreciate any info you can pass along! I just lost my job, so cheapest fix (even if I have to convert to a manual braking system) is best. Thanks for reading/responding!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,870

    Your conclusion sounds logical to me. I, also, have an AWD van, though mine is a 1998. With 190,000 miles on it, we have had it ~16 months and the front pads have worn probably about 10% in those 20,000 miles. I think the brakes on this van are excellent, especially on dry surfaces. They are extremely responsive to driver input and will slow the vehicle down very quickly in a "panic" stop.

    Good luck tracking down the issue, and please post the solution when it is found. I used to live in Pendleton, OR, and used Les Schwab on numerous occasions. I always found their staff helpful and honest, so I expect they will do everything they can to set this situation right both for your daughter's safety and your satisfaction.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Les Schwab installed the new proportioning valves but it appears that did not help.

    They tried to do the pressure testing but with three out of four defective pressure guages, reading above 500PSI "at rest", the testing must be considered inconclusive.

    I suspect my next effort, if any, will be to block the fluid flow to the rear brakes altogether and see how the braking "feels" under hard/panic braking.

    My problem may be that I am simply expecting too much of the braking capability of the van. I seem to remember that back when I was driving it on a more regular basis the panic level braking was much better, but at my age...

    But based on other vehicles I drive regularly I can panic brake on dry pavement, asphalt, and get the ABS to kick in easily, with the van that is difficult even on wet asphalt.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,870
    Well, either that van has the most incredible tires in the world, or the brakes are not grabbing enough. You should be able to get the ABS to engage in a panic stop. :sick:
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    As a reference point last week I test drove a 2003 AWD Chrysler T&C minivan. The brakes were not any better than those on our 2000 van. Even on a rain slicked asphalt roadbed the brakes were no frictional enough to activate ABS.

    To cross check I went next door to the Toyota dealer and test drive a used Sienna. Surprise, even without my leaning into the brakes ABS would kick in on that same section of rain soaked roadbed.

    The Sienna did seem to be more ponderous handling wise but the brakes were as expected, "lean" into them and the nose would dive, unlike the T&C that under hard/severe braking just seems to "float along".

    I guess my next step is to find calipers that will fit the van but have BIGGER pistons. Or do I have to find a machine shop..??
  • you are right the sliders get locked up in the caliper all the time and that is why you eat brakes
  • I have been reading these post hoping for an answer but I can't find anything like what mine is doing. About three months ago my father and I replaced the front brakes on my wife's '03 GC because the rubber sleeve on the caliper adapter on the passenger side had froze up. We turned the rotors replaced the pads w/Wagner premium, and all of the bushings and boots on the adapters. About a month later the driver side did the same thing. I replaced the sleeve on the slide pin again and this seemed to fix it. 2 weeks later same thing. Replaced sleeve again. A week later same thing except now the brakes are "jumping" (kinda like hitting a bump in the road) every time you slow down. Pulled adapter again to find slide pin jammed and bent inside adapter. So now we replace both calipers/adapters/pads - rotors still in good shape - problem fixed. Untill today. Same problem also noticing that the drivers side seems to get extremely hot and you can smell the brakes after driving. This is driving me nuts, has anyone heard of this? Any other ideas? :mad:
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    Master cylinder maybe? I had one go bad on my wife's '02 Subaru and it caused the front pads on one side not to retract from the rotor which led to overheating and smoking.

    Sounds like you replaced all the right stuff - more than I usually do unless the parts look bad when I remove them ;)

    One thing, what do you mean by the adapter? Is that the assembly that bolts to the spindle and to which the calipers bolt?
  • Yes the adapter is the bracket that the caliper bolts to. One of the sleeves that the float pins go into had pitted an was jamming up the pins. I thought that was the main problem - apparently not. Hoses and master cylinder were my next steps.
  • moons2youmoons2you Posts: 1
    :lemon: Well, I can't even tell you how many times my pads and rotors have been changed! Has anyone been having warped rotors also? I have been bringing my van in for a oil change and braking problems EVERY 3,000 miles. THANK GOD IT IS STILL UNDER WARRANTY!!!!! At first I had been told it was my driving. Then it was, I must have hit a puddle when the rotors were hot. Asked of driving two footed and now just plan down to it, they can't understand WHY as no other van we know of is having this problem............. This is crazy my van now has 25,000 miles and we still are going threw this mess any help will be greatly appriciated so I can show them other people are having the same problems too! :sick:
  • We own a 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan. We bought it used at about 150k miles. It now has 200k. During the 50,000 miles we have owned it, we have replaced the brake pads about 8 times! I am serious! We only get around 6,000 miles before the brake pads are worn completely thin. The other weird thing is that there is no warning sign. Suddenly, I come to a stop and cannot stop fast enough and just as suddenly, start hearing a grinding, squealing noise. My husband replaces the brakes and has brought many different brands. He has accused me of stopping too quickly but this is not true. I am just a suburban mom that drives to school and back and runs errands. I am not speeding or coming up to stops too quickly. How can we go about getting Chrysler to take responsibility for this? How does a recall occur? This is time consuming and too expensive!
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    Sounds like your pads are dragging on the rotor, for whatever reason. I posted my experience with brakes with our '94 DC and our '07 DGC in this forum, and it's nowhere as bad as what you describe.

    If you think you have a safety issue, file a complaint with the NHTSA. You can fill out a complaint form on-line there.
  • I've been having problems with overheating front brakes for a year now and going through the same anguish. Finally I decided to replace parts one by one until I found it. It's the flex hoses (rubber hose going to calipers). Mechanics have a bad habit of putting ViseGrips on flex hoses when they work on them. Not a good idea since it collapses them. Anyways after I replaced flex hoses overheating front brakes problem is finally gone.
  • ehanlonehanlon Posts: 2
    What was the problem, how did you fix it?
  • ehanlonehanlon Posts: 2
    1993 caravan, loose the power brakes,daSH LIGHT COMES ON, STOP BACKING UP, light goes out and they are ok for awhile, just had the brakes looked at two days ago for this problen and the grage said they were fine?
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