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TProGuy

2003 Dodge Caravan Brake Replacement

Question

TProGuy

My brother has a 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan that needs the front brakes replaced. He is disabled and cannot do them himself, therefore has asked me if I would be willing to take care of it.

I have plenty of experience replacing brakes on other vehicles, mainly older Ford's and Chevy's, but do not know much about newer Dodge vehicles. Can any of you tell me if the brake job on a Caravan is pretty straight foward and relatively simple to do, or are there special tools required to remove the calipers to access the pads and rotors?

Thanks!

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Jeremy airjer W

Should be pretty straight forward. I can't recall specifically what you will need but at worst a set of torx or allen head sockets to get the caliper of the bracket. Some of them are a 10mm head bolt but I don't remember what the years they changed them.

Don't skimp on the pads! If you go with the cheap stuff they'll be worn out in less than 20k and make all kinds of noise! You definitely don't need to go with a super high tech ceramic either. A good quality good name brand will be just fine.

Also if there is any pitting (super common) on the inside of the rotors replace them.

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lotsofish

I've done it on a 2000 Caravan. I'm not sure if they changed anything or not, but it should be about the same I think. There are two 10mm bolts on the back of the caliper and then the caliper slides off. The pads are held on using metal clips that are built into the pads. You shouldn't need any special tools.

You probably already know this, but just in case or maybe it will help someone else out, but make sure you bleed the brakes when you push the caliper piston in. You'll find a nipple with a rubber cap on it on the caliper. Remove the rubber cap and loosen the nipple with a 10mm socket. (Don't remove it, just loosen.) Now when you squeeze the piston back into the caliper(use a c-clamp)brake fluid will come out of it. After the piston is all the way back in, pump 1 or 2 times on the brake pedal until the fluid comes out clean. Before you do the other side, top off the brake fluid because if you don't you will get air into the system, which is bad.

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Shack

Lotsofish,

I believe the fluid is just pushed back into reservoir. I would say there is no reason to crack a bleeder, unless caliper, master or line is replaced. Basically you are adding an extra step to the process, a long step. Like stated above, if rotors are not ground down or pitted, you can do a pad slap. Lube up caliper pins with dielectric grease (make sure they are free, move back and forth) this will ensure even pad wear. Plop in new pads and reassemble every thing.

!!!!!!!!!Remember, pump brake pedal before putting van or car in reverse or drive!!!!!!!!

The first couple of pumps of pedal will not apple enough pressure to caliper to apply the pads to rotor (you just pushed all fluid back in system, you have to reapply that pressure). By pumping, you build up pressure. I have seen many mechanics in a hurry on a Friday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. forget to pump pedal. Put her in rev. to back out of stall and no brakes. All of a sudden “bam” into the other car across service isle

Good luck!

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Jeremy airjer W

We had a guy total a late 80's early 90's Chrysler after he forgot to pump the pedal. Backed into a concrete/steel pylon and crumpled the unibody from one end to the other!

As far as bleeding if it has ABS than I would recommend cracking the bleeder screw before compressing the piston. It doesn't happen often but we have run into several ABS unit failures after a brake service was done. By opening the bleeder the old fluid is pushed out of the caliper instead of being pushed back through the lines, ABS, and master cylinder. Its extremely rare but can happen.

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TProGuy

Thanks guys! It sounds just like the way it worked on my Chevy truck...I was hoping that would be the case. I have heard that on some vehichles, there can be a special tool required to remove the caliper pins. I am glad to hear that it should be pretty simple.

Thanks again!

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Mid-Lake Rock

Make sure you have a set of metric allen (hex) wrenches. On my Dodge truck, the head bolts on the caliper are metric. I added an hour to the job looking for a metric set.

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lotsofish

I've always heard to open the bleeder, especially on a car with ABS, so I always do it. The first few inches of fluid is always super dirty anyway so I like to get that stuff out. You don't have to bleed the entire fluid out or anything like that, just far enough so that the dirty stuff is out and it comes out clear again. smile.gif

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