Eric Van De Vens Blog

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Time for a “Brake”!

As I am technically on “injured reserve” with this calf injury, I was going to take today off from everything. Then I decided, since I have the parts already, I might as well change all the brakes and rotors on the Durango and get it over with.

I must first inform everyone, that the front brakes were done about a year and a half ago. I would have to guess that the mechanic who did the job either did not cut the rotors properly or not at all. This creates problems, one of which is a vibration when the brakes are applied. Chrysler trucks are notorious for the “warped rotor syndrome” where after 10,000 miles, every time you apply the brakes, especially at high-speed, the vehicle shakes like crazy. It has something to do with the rotors themselves.

After doing some research, the cure seems to be aftermarket rotors and organic brake pads. These rotors were purchased on E Bay from a guy who supplies several individuals with replacement brake parts. Brakeomotive76 is the E Bay name. He has a great reputation and there was a price drop so I purchased the entire set. I figured the rear brakes had to be worn after 60,000 miles. The price for the whole set was $229.00 including shipping.

I decided to do the front brakes first as those usually are the most worn. This was the case as the front pads were pretty well-worn as evidenced by the large quantities of brake dust everywhere!

Two bolts to release the caliper, two more bolts to release the caliper adapter plate, a gentle pull on the rotor and ready for new parts. The driver’s side was done in 15 minutes!

Time for the passenger side. Same procedure and 15 minutes later, that side was done. This is too easy!

As things were moving along so well, I thought everything would be smooth sailing! Before starting the rear brakes, I took the Durango out for a spin to see if there was any difference. Wow! There is a huge difference now in braking power, however, there is still too much pedal travel for my liking.

On to the rear brakes. Since all the tools were on the passenger side, I decided to remove that rotor first. The rear brakes are a little bit more involved as the rotors are actually for disc as well as drum brakes. Inside the hub of the rotor, is a cavity and on the axle, there is a drum style brake system which serves as the parking brake. I recalled from doing brake jobs in my mechanic days, that in some instances, it is very difficult to remove the rear drums.

After all of the hardware was removed including the two retaining clips that were on the wheel studs, the rotor is “supposed” to come right off. Guess what….it didn’t! I checked online to make sure there wasn’t some “trick” to removing these rotors and all I could find was that you need a sledgehammer and in some instances, a cutting wheel. After 20 minutes of hammering on the backside of the rotor, it still hadn’t moved at all. At this time, although the parts for the front brakes fit perfectly, I didn’t know if the backs would.

After an additional 20 minutes of hammering, prying and obscenities, the rotor hadn’t moved at all! Reluctantly, the cutting wheel was brought out to cut the rotor off. I was very careful not to cut anything else, like the rear axle! That might get expensive to replace! After one skillful cut and two whacks with the hammer, the rotor fell off! The cut was made on the right side as you are looking at the picture between the two wheel stud holes.

Now that the old rotor was off, time to put the new one on.

And, all the rest of the hardware.

Now on to the driver’s side.

Surprisingly, six whacks of the hammer and that rotor came off!

All that remained now was to install the new rotor, calipers, bracket and wheels and this job was finished! I forgot to take a picture of the last rotor installed. 😦

After I put the wheels on and tightened them up, time for a little test. Since the Durango was on jack stands anyway,I started up the Durango and pumped the brakes so the pads were now in contact with the rotors. Then, I put it in gear and let the wheels spin, then applied the brakes. The wheels stopped immediately and there was virtually no pedal travel! A quick adjustment of the parking bake and now it was time for a test ride.

I shut off the Durango and took it off the jack stands. There is a huge difference in the stopping power now. When you apply the brakes, they gradually grab the rotors and slow down the vehicle. There is no vibration at all and no noise. I have to break in these pads and then the real test will come on the highway to see if all of the vibration has been eliminated.

All in all, a very productive day off. Worst case, the Durango now stops properly which has always been a problem with this vehicle. As big as the brakes are, and the rotors weigh 30 lbs. each, it was always “iffy” stopping.

Now that this project is done, it may be time for shocks next month followed by belts and hoses…..before anything breaks!

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March 30, 2011 - Posted by | Home, Uncategorized, Weight Training | , , , ,

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