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Discussion Starter #1
Gee, it's been a while - http://www.allpar.com/forums/topic/109191-97-gc-front-brakes-again

Guess what brings me back? Inside pad rivets gouged the rotors by the time we heard the indicators squeal. New pads and rotors after 31K miles. Wifey must be doing more freeway miles.

Otherwise it's been oil changes and topping the coolant (darn rear head gasket). Overdue for ATF and engine mounts. Don't know how long the coolant's been in there. I'll get to them yet. Front and rear crank seals weep but nothing hits the ground yet. And there are brakes on the rear wheels too, right?

Sixto
97 GC SE 3.3 217K miles
 

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Definitely helps to make sure the rear drums are adjusted correctly - especially if they are drums. In theory the adjuster is suppose to automatically work anytime you backup and then brake, however, many drivers don't brake hard enough in reverse for the adjuster to work properly so over time the rears get out of proper adjustment.

Many years ago I thought the brakes on my '92 Acclaim were worn out. Took it into the shop (a very good friend owned it) and he found the front pads (disc) were fine - only half worn. The rear drums were way out of adjustment. He adjusted them and it felt like I had new brakes all the way around.

Don't complain about only 31K miles. Many '09 and '10 Journey owners didn't even get 15K miles before the pads and rotors were shot. Had to replace the front pads on our '09 had 22K miles. Chrysler eventually reimbursed me in full.

The brakes on our '00 T&C Ltd AWD didn't last long either. One set barely got 25K on them. The last set was from Firestone and they had at least 40K so they must have used quality pads and rotors. Helped that the van had discs front and rear. Keep in mind the 3rd generation minivans ('96-'00) are on the heavy side - mine weighed in at 4,340 empty.
 

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Both of my 3rd gens do not last long on brakes either- but since doing brakes is still significantly cheaper than purchasing a different vehicle that would have longer brake-life, in the end I don't mind. I am considering upgrading both of my vans to the 4-wheel disc setup that is utilized on the 4th generation 2001-2007 vans. There are a few folks who have done it with seemingly great results.
 

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In this generation minivan, using the parking brake is what adjusts the rear drums, not stopping in reverse.

I think I would go with high performance pads, like Hawk.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That didn't last. At 232K, the front left outer pad was worn to the backing just sparing the rotor. Autozone's records say they were premium ceramic pads with lifetime warranty so I get another set. Unfortunately, they're not in stock today and this is a rare opportunity to deal with it so I bought a set of lesser pads, saving the credit for the premium pads which I will need sooner than later :/ Or maybe not. I noticed the left outer CV boot starting to give, a gallon of coolant goes missing every couple of weeks, more than a quart of oil goes missing between 5K mile oil changes and the motor mounts are shot. The wifey loves it but it might be time to move on.

I don't buy the weight argument other than the brakes are under spec'd for the weight. Our Ford E150 weighs far more and front pads last far more than 30K miles. Maybe there's something wrong with the proportioning valve. I don't recall replacing the rear shoes in the last 100K miles.

Sixto
97 GC SE 3.3 232K miles
I should add, if these were ceramic pads, they're the dustiest ceramic pads I've ever known. I have Akebono ceramics on my clunker MB Diesel and the front alloy wheels look as clean as the rear wheels. They require more pedal pressure than OE dust monsters but the pedal doesn't go mushy after hard stops. I see Akebono makes ceramic pads for our van...

Sixto
97 GC SE 3.3 232K miles
 

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Jee wiz. What with brakes being so much better than they were twenty years ago, maybe it isn't the brakes themselves, but the driver, or driving habits. I know everyone is in a hurry, and yeah, I am usually above the speed limit and get from stop light to intersection faster than the person next to me almost every time, but when it comes to braking, I taught my daughter and I myself meticulously determine there is a minimum 200 yards of coasting if a red light is ahead of me, so we don't go from gas to brake pedal unless it is another idiot doing something stupid. If anyone goes from gas to brake, you wonder why brakes go bad in short order? On the highway with stop and go traffic, it ain't like you are going to get there any faster by driving hard and slamming on the brakes. Coast from snail to stop paces, and so what if someone pulls in front of you, it never fails, when things speed back up, or at the next stop sign or stop light, you are right behind them anyway. Save a little gas, increase the life of your brakes and rotors, and 15 seconds slower never has harmed me, it can be made up in a minute or two at highway speeds. My brakes usually last in the 30-35K range and rotors every other set at the minimums.
 

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If it makes you feel better, my mothers 2000 T&C goes through front pads every 12-15 k miles. This is all city driving at this point, as she uses the Charger for long trips and driving to work.
 

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Just commenting that some styles of driving wear brakes faster, just a simple matter of usage.
 

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Dana is right, I see many drivers who just ride the brakes with their left feet, sometimes I see brake lights coming on at highway speeds and no traffic - weird!

Also at the slightest hint of a curve up ahead or, on a two lane road, when meeting oncoming traffic?

Tell me more about mushy pedals with ceramic pads. I just got a 2003 GC that does this, a new thing to me.

Also, never heard of parking brakes adjusting rear brakes. Is this really so? Of course all my vehicles are so old there are a lot of vehicle changes I never heard of!
 

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In these vans, the parking brake does indeed adjust the rear drums. Having the rears properly adjusted makes a world of difference in stopping. It just takes having them set up properly.
 

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It is also possible that the fronts are doing all the stopping. If your rears haven't been looked at in 100K, the wheel cylinders and self-adjusters may be frozen.
The rears may contribute ~20% to stopping the vehicle and help the fronts last longer.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
dana44 said:
Just commenting that some styles of driving wear brakes faster, just a simple matter of usage.
We could be abusive on the brakes that way but we don't drive the GC any differently than our other vehicles on which we get more than double that life from a set of front pads. The discrepancy between inner and outer pad wear suggests we could get another 15K miles out of them if the caliper weren't sticking - though 30K miles is still on the short side IMO. I cleaned the caliper sliding points which weren't dirty or gummy to begin with. Is there an appropriate lube? Should I try disc brake quiet or anti-seize paste?

Sixto
97 GC SE 3.3 232K miles
ImperialCrown said:
It is also possible that the fronts are doing all the stopping. If your rears haven't been looked at in 100K, the wheel cylinders and self-adjusters may be frozen.
The rears may contribute ~20% to stopping the vehicle and help the fronts last longer.
I replaced the rear pads, cylinders and hardware about 100K miles ago. I pull the drums when I rotate the tires which is maybe once before the set wears out :) They're wearing evenly with no indication of leaks. A brake shop would insist I replace the pads at this point but since the future of this van is iffy...

Sixto
97 GC SE 3.3 232K miles
 

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Discussion Starter #14
gusc said:
Tell me more about mushy pedals with ceramic pads. I just got a 2003 GC that does this, a new thing to me.
I meant the brakes don't get mushy after hard stops. With the GC, I can't tell between organic, ceramic or whatever the brake material claims to be. The clunker MB has a sensitive and communicative brake pedal. Organic pads (MB brand, Pagid, Textar, etc.) grab nicely when cold but require more effort with repeated hard stops. You have to drive like an idiot to observe this and too often I am an idiot so I know of which I speak :) Ceramic pads seem slippery when cold but the same effort yields more linear stopping when warm and you can ride the pedal all the way down Pike's Peak with confidence. I can probably activate ABS on dry pavement :)

Sixto
97 GC SE 3.3 232K miles
 

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Usually lithium white grease is used on the sliders. Don't need much. The pads have been made with a clip on the backs to keep them from floating the way they used to in most cases, anti-stick is usually a glue the holds the pad to the caliper and pries off when you replace them. Is it possible that with this many miles the flexible brake lines may be degrading on the inside and allowing extra pressure to remain when the brakes are disengaged? A tiny rip on the inside of the lines collects fluid under pressure and doesn't bleed off as quickly as normal and the slower return allows the caliper to stay compressed longer. Also, another thing is the junk that collects in the lines is very fine, which then settles in the bottom of calipers and then has the piston jam up against it over time, slowing down the return of the piston. These two things are long miles wear and tear things that can attribute to excessively wearing brake pads. I had this happen to my Barracuda, changed the pads and they would stick. Happened about a week after I had replaced the pads, was so bad the pads actually cracked the lining in about 200miles before I was able to replace them. Changed the lines and pads and didnt' have any problems after that.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'm pretty sure I replaced the front brake lines at around 180K miles when I replaced the calipers.

I don't understand how the outer pad alone is taking the brunt if the piston is sticking. Makes more sense to me that the floating side of the caliper is sticking. The bellowed sliders and the bolts are absolutely clean. With no pads installed the floating side moves freely. There might be a tolerance stack problem with the aftermarket caliper and pads.

Sixto
97 GC SE 3.3 232K miles
 
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