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Dodge Dakota Braking Problems



  • Well Well Well, you live and learn!... I should have known better. But motivated by my 25 years as an aircraft mechanic where you rebuild almost everything and the hope of saving $1oo. dollars I desided to rebuild the calipers by changing the o-ring and dust boot which was not hard to do at all but it did not work.
    I replaced the calipers and now it works fine.
    Thanks for the reply it's greatly appreciated.
    I'm glad I came across this web site,I think is awesome.
    Thanks again
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Ah ha! You are accustomed to aircraft components that are made of high-quality materials and are designed to be rebuilt many times.

    Modern automotive brake calipers are built as cheaply as possible with the lowest-cost materials that will barely do the job.

    In my many years of doing my own brake-work. I sense that Chrysler has been notorious for using the very cheapest of materials. Even my old AMC Eagle had Chrysler brake-calipers on it that even Chrysler did not want to use on their own vehicles.

    I have found that the brake caliper design and components on my old Nissan pickup truck may have been the best I have ever seen.

    The main positive thing I can say about Dodge-Chrysler brake components is that spare parts are plentiful and relativly inexpensive. (as compared to some other brands)

    Here is a photo I snapped of some Powerslot Rotors after just 3 Vermont winters. (The originals lasted only 2 winters) The astute observer will see that there are 2 sets of pads in that photo. It did not save me any money to install cheep components... they were junk. The surface of the pads started to transfer to the rotors!!! (I did expect better from Powerslot-brand rotors)

    On my Dakota... after replacing pads/rotors and calipers with HIGH QUALITY components (Bendix and Raybestos)... It has been trouble-free thru many Vermont winters.
  • My ABS and Brake light both light after about 10 secs above 65mph and stay lit.
  • tjfitztjfitz Posts: 41
    This morning it was 4 degrees, F, and I drove my 1990 Dakota around the block. At a stop sign, I put on the parking brake. When the way was clear, I pulled the brake release handle and it flew off in my hand and landed on the seatback. Luckily the brake had released. I rang our local Dodge dealer and learned a new plastic handle costs $25! I could have gone to one of the local auto junk yards, but its just too cold to struggle out in some frosty back lot trying to get the handle off a junked Dakota and anyway the handle I would get might already be brittle and ready to fail. So I bit the bullet and told the dealer to get one for me.

    I suppose the lesson to be learned here is to be careful not to jerk the handle when releasing the brake, especially in cold weather.

    Can anyone tell me how big a job it is to replace the handle?
  • I recently had to avoid an accident by slamming on my brakes and swerving off the road. About an hour after that, my ABS light came on and I can't get it to go away. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the brakes. I have a 97 5.2L Dakota and I know that there are 3 ABS sensors on it, two up front and one in the rear. Is there a way to tell which one is bad... if any? Any other solutions?

  • the truck operates fine for about 10-15 miles then when i reach 55-60mph the truck is fighting itself to move. the pedal gets extremely firm and the truck vibrates excessively when braking. the driver side caliper seized completely up about three weeks ago, so i replaced the master cylinder (twice), the driver side caliper and brake hoses on both sides. the problem keeps returning. the above parts have been replaced about a week apart from each other. should have i replaced both calipers??? :confuse:
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    sounds to me as if the vacuum booster is "sucking" the brake pedal down and applying the brakes. You have been replacing the WRONG parts... it is not the master-cylinder... the problem is the vacuum booser (or its plumbing)
  • i am doing a front end break job on my 2002 dodge dakota. i have depresssed the piston with a c clamp. my repair manual sas that i need to remove the mounting pins. i have located two monuting pins, but how do i remove them. they look like they have a rubber dust boot covering them. do i need to remove that too?
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    If I understand your question... if you feel INSIDE the end of those pins, you will find that the end of each of the pins has a Hex-wrench fitting. You need to install into your ratchit the proper-sized hex-wrench. Then loosen the pins.

    It is often best to pull the pins back just a bit (perhaps 1/2 inch) instead of removing them completely. This protects from dirt gettting into the sliding surfaces.

    The pins slide inside those rubber boots as the pads wear down to keep the caliper centered on the rotor. This is known as a "fully floating" caliper design because the caliper is said to hover or "float" the pads over the surface of the rotor.

    BTW: How the heck did you compress the piston BEFORE losening the pins and removing the caliper????

    The usual process for Dakota brakes is;
    1) Losen guidepins and pull them back a tad.
    2) Work caliper off of rotor (including pads)
    3) Remove pads from rotor
    4) Install used pad backward and use C-clamp against it to compress piston. (WATCH TANK FOR OVERFLOW!!)
    5) File smooth the surfaces which the pads slide against.
    6) Apply hi-temp lube to same surfaces. (quality pads come with lube and stainless-steel sliders)
    7) Install new pads into caliper.
    8) Slide caliper over rotor.
    9)make certain guidepins are NOT cross-threaded.
    10) USE TORQUE-WRENCH to finalize toque on guidepins.

    NOTE: Some folks prefer to only loosen ONE of the guidepins and then rotate the caliper off the rotor using the other guidepin as a pivot-point.
  • Hi,
    My 98 dakota 4wd 3.9 is giving me a hard time. Most of my driving is short distance around town. Occasionally (especially if I've been on a longer trip than usual), as I come to a stop, one of the fronts will just grab and lock up. I've replaced both calipers and the pads, but not the rotors (they don't produce the pulsation I'd normally associate with warped/distorted discs). There are times when I do feel pulsation as I come to a stop, but I can't understand how with warped rotors this wouldn't be present all the time. Regarding the slide surfaces, I figured with fresh calipers I should be good, although if I remember correctly, one of the slide surfaces is on the knuckle/spindle assembly, not the caliper itself. I didn't file down these surfaces (yet).
    Does it sound to you guys like uneven slide surfaces could be my problem? There have been times when they were grabby just after I got off the interstate when I wanted to blame the power booster (a high vacuum state?)... Hoping Bpeebles or Dustyk can help me out with this one, before I pull my hair out! Thanks in advance!

  • Hi james, check the sliding surface by all means, look for any wear marks or grooves. small stuff you can correct with a file.
    As for the calipers locking up, are they both locking ? if so, I would be looking at the brake master cylinder as the cause of this problem.
    On my 2002 quad cab both fronts would lock and then release after about 15 minutes. I went to the dealer for answers since I had never encountered that in 30 years of driving. The mechanic said it was the brake hoses. against my better judgement with my 26 years as an aviation mechanic I fell for it ( I can see one side failing with a callapsed hose but not both at the same time with separate hoses) but that was not the problem.
    I ended up replacing the master cylinder which had caused both calipers to fail and fry. I also replaced the rotors that were warped with by .010 " and I could feel it in the steering wheel everytime I would hit the brakes.
    A problem with the booster would probably make the brake pedal feel quite hard.
    Good luck and keep us posted of the progress.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Grabby brakes can usually be traced to contamination on the rotor-surface. Given your description, I wonder if the front bearing is thowing grease at the rotor while on a long trip. This would cause grabby brake.

    I assume you have already done the "feel test" to see if he lugnuts are hot to the touch after driving on the highway for awhile. (lugnuts SHOULD be almost ambient temp.... never more than slightly warm)
  • Hi Robert,
    Thanks for your reply. Both sides will lock up, but not at the same time. I've thought about replacing the brake hoses, but can't wrap my head around how worn hoses could create increased hydraulic pressure... Sounds like your master cylinder got to a point where it just wouldn't release? My fronts will release ok, just grabby as heck (but not all the time). I may pull the wheels off in the next couple days and give some close inspection to those sliding surfaces. Maybe I'll even grab some fresh rotors, I'm running out of parts to replace (ones that make sense, anyway).

    Thanks for your help, and I'll post back whatever I find.

  • bpeebles,
    Thanks for responding. I'm feeling a little stupid for not having done the "feel test", just never had the idea that there was any dragging going on while I was moving. Will try this today and report back. I suppose if I find the lugnuts are warm (and the calipers just replaced) this would indicate rotor distortion or possible master cylinder not releasing (like cubansky's problem)?

    Again, thank you guys for the help...

  • Well yesterday I finally remembered to do the "feel test" on the lugnuts, this was just after a short trip to the store, during which the brakes didn't act grabby. The lugnuts were maybe just slightly warmer than ambient temp, but I reached in and touched the rotors and had to get off of them pretty fast cause they were nice and hot (both sides).
    In the past I've only replaced rotors when they give a consistent pulsating feel when brakes are applied, but I'm starting to think I should throw some fresh rotors on there just to see what happens. Any thoughts?

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    There is no need to replace the rotors if the calipers are dragging.

    NOTE: this may not be the fault of the calipers. If BOTH sides are dragging, then suspect the brake-booster on the master-cylinder or perhaps the ABS system is acting up.

    Most often grabby brakes on ALL the wheels is caused by a faulty brake-booster.

    Dont forget that the rotors are expected to be hot if you just used the brakes. Did you perform the "feel test" after running on highway and coming to stop with mininal use of the brakes? (I dp the "feel test" after coasting into a rest-area and use the emergancy brake to come to a stop... but you have to know what you are doing!)
  • Hey guys- I got a shop to tell me that my ABS light is being caused by a faulty rear wheel speed sensor. Looking at my Haynes, I see that it is in my rear diff, but there isn't a procedure to change it out. Can anyone help?



    BTW, 97 Dak 4x4 5.2L
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    disconnect wire - unscrew it.
  • a couple of weeks ago I started to notice that whenever I tried to make a sudden stop my rear wheels would block completely...I though it would just go away with a couple of pumps on the brake....three days ago I was on the freeway and had to make a sudden stop due to an 75mph my wheels locked completely then started to lossen then lock back up again like if I were pumping really hard on the brakes, I had to get out of the road to avoid slaming into the stopped cars...can anybody give me a hand on this? :confuse:
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    You did not say if your Dak has RWABS (Rear Wheel Antilock Braking System) but from your description, it sounds as if you may.

    Are you certain that BOTH of the rear wheels are locking up? If so, suspect the RWALB, speed-sensor (screwed into rear diff housing), proportioning valve, and tire size. (If you do not have EXACTLY the proper size tires installed as from the factory, the RWABS system may act up.)
  • huckelhuckel Posts: 1
    Anyone else having this brake problem with their truck? First the brakes felt like an ABSproblem with no ABS lite coming on just the jerky shudder when slowing down. Now the ABS and park brake lites are both on and the brake pedal is very soft almost to the point of having to pump the brakes to stop. Resevoir is still full to the top and no signs of a cylinder leaking. Huckel
  • rudy616rudy616 Posts: 1
    I am having the same problem, I just bought a 2005 Dakota 4x2 and when the brakes are applied at a high rate of speed (60-70mph) the front end starts jumping. The front end will also vibrate between 55 and 60 mph, had the tires balanced and rotated but this did not correct the vibration problem.
  • 01dak01dak Posts: 6
    I have a 2001 Dakota 4.7L. I noticed that the rotor on the passenger side was worn oddly. Therefore I want to replace the rotors and pads. I have limited knowledge of vehicular repair. Is this something I will want to try to do myself? Or is it better left to the pros?
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Replacing rotors/pads is not a difficult task.. but I would not suggest tackling it without knowledge/tools and a buddy that has done it before.

    If any work needs to be done to the hydrolic system. (like bleeding), it is better to have some knowledge of what you are doing.

    Keep in mind that brakes are an important safety feature on your Dak. and we dont want anyone to get hurt (or worse).

    When you pay somone to do it... they also assume liability and provide a warantee too. (You are not just paying for parts and labor)
  • 01dak01dak Posts: 6
    Thanks for the advice
  • 1jim1jim Posts: 1
    I have a 1999 Dakota with 60225 miles on odometer, at 60000, the chec engine lite came on. Within 1 week both brake and ABS lites on dash came on. Truck brakes OK, master cylinder is full and there are no leaks. Any ideas? Thank you. Jim
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Did you "pull the codes" from the onboard diagnostics? (review forum history (use search button) for procedure)
  • anyone ever had a problem with the ABS light coming on at around 40 or 45mph i have a 2000 dakota
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    My guess would be that you have a weak Speed Sensor in the rear differential housing. These are easily replaced from outside the axle housing, one bolt attaches it.

  • bone5bone5 Posts: 5
    I replaced the speed sensor in the differential. still get a ABS and brake light after driving a few miles. any ideas on next move? ABS and brake light will sometimes come on if the truck is just idling in the driveway. front rotors have been turned down very thin could this be the problem?
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