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2003 Dodge Caravan front brakes

Posted By: Oldtom

2003 Dodge Caravan front brakes - 07/22/19 09:52 PM

2003 Dodge Caravan, 145K miles, 3.3 V6, bought used so no real maintenance history. Brake pedal is getting lower and braking performance is poor. Checked front discs and inner brake pad on drivers side caliper is barely touching rotor, as shown by the wear and rust on rotor. All pads are very thin and need replacement yesterday .

It looks like I need new calipers. Is any brand sold at Advance Auto OK, or, is there a brand to avoid?

Any tips for swapping out calipers?

how do I know if the rotors are OK?

Thanks in advance for any advice
Posted By: atikovi

Re: 2003 Dodge Caravan front brakes - 07/22/19 10:00 PM

Did you check RockAuto to see what's out there? Looks like rotors around $20, pad set $15, calipers without core charge under $30.
Posted By: krismoriah72

Re: 2003 Dodge Caravan front brakes - 07/22/19 10:04 PM

Originally Posted by Oldtom
2003 Dodge Caravan, 145K miles, 3.3 V6, bought used so no real maintenance history. Brake pedal is getting lower and braking performance is poor. Checked front discs and inner brake pad on drivers side caliper is barely touching rotor, as shown by the wear and rust on rotor. All pads are very thin and need replacement yesterday .

It looks like I need new calipers. Is any brand sold at Advance Auto OK, or, is there a brand to avoid?

Any tips for swapping out calipers?

how do I know if the rotors are OK?

Thanks in advance for any advice


If money is tight i would do a full inspection first, looking at seized slide pins then inspect the caliper.

How do you know if rotors are ok? If you dont feel pulsating they are probably not warped, but if the faces are marred badly then you should look into replacing.

IF you buy from RockAuto/Amazon/Ebay you will likely save enough money to pay for a caliper if you need one.

If you buy from Advance its worth the time and effort to use the coupon codes to save money.

If you plan on keeping the vehicle i wouldnt get a caliper with phenolic pistons, and would go with New not reman. If its just a beater that you will not likely keep then just go with whatever is cheapest..

PS. Dont overlook brake fluid..its possible that you have 16 year old fluid which could have already caused brake hose issues.. inspect and flush out if necessary.

So in summary if you plan on keeping the vehicle I would look into pads/rotors calipers and hoses from RockAuto. Raybestos Service Grade or Professional Grade will do you well. If you do the work yourself its basically free.
Posted By: supton

Re: 2003 Dodge Caravan front brakes - 07/22/19 10:17 PM

Sounds like anything will work better than what you have on there right now. Remans from the local shops can be hit or miss. I'd prefer new off rock or elsewhere, but sometimes you gotta do it yesterday. They might work just fine for you, and for a long time at that (or you'll wind up replacing "often" under their warranty).

I'd get a turkey baster and remove the fluid from the master cylinder, then refill. Walmart has it pretty cheap, I use the little bottles, it's not that much more expensive than the larger one. Then when you remove and replace the calipers new fluid will start to come down the line; could argue that you want it to run out for a bit, as a natural flush.

If the rotors are grooved or not flat I'd probably just replace. Even if you are reusing them, at least see if you can knock them off and put a dab of anti-seize behind them, on the hub, so that they will come off at some later date.
Posted By: andyd

Re: 2003 Dodge Caravan front brakes - 07/23/19 01:32 AM

"2003 Dodge Caravan, 145K miles, 3.3 V6, bought used so no real maintenance history." What is it gonna be used for? How much you wanna spend? Haz jack stands. Loosen front lugs, put this jewel up on stands I look at used cars as money pits. Many people replace parts that don't need replacement. Check the front wheels for looseness, play, binding or noise. Are the tires wearing evenly? You may have bigger issues than brakes. The rotors probably have been replaced at least once. Unless there's been metal to metal contact and the pedal doesn't pulsate. Why change them? Don't sweat any rust, New pads , a qt of DOT 3-,4 and some TLC with Sil- Glyde. Re-manned calipers are a crap shoot, I would rather fix what I have than replace it with iffy parts grin2
Posted By: maxdustington

Re: 2003 Dodge Caravan front brakes - 07/23/19 02:31 AM

Originally Posted by krismoriah72
So in summary if you plan on keeping the vehicle I would look into pads/rotors calipers and hoses from RockAuto. Raybestos Service Grade or Professional Grade will do you well. If you do the work yourself its basically free.
Sixteen year old disposable car in need of new pads and rotors: replace everything!
Posted By: mk378

Re: 2003 Dodge Caravan front brakes - 07/23/19 03:23 PM

Originally Posted by Oldtom

how do I know if the rotors are OK?

Persistent rust on the friction area is not OK. That will significantly reduce braking performance.
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