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How to Replace the Front Brakes on a 2005 Grand Caravan

by Jody L. Campbell; Updated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Brake fluid syringe

  • Tire iron

  • Service jack

  • Jack stands

  • 4-inch C-clamp (or larger)

  • Box-end wrench set

  • Caliper hook

  • 24-inch breaker bar and socket set

  • Stiff bristled wire brush

  • Brake silicone compound

  • Screwdriver

  • Spray penetrating lubricant

  • Dead-blow hammer

  • Brake/parts cleaner spray

  • Replacement rotors (optional)

  • Shop rags

  • Adjustable torque wrench

  • Replacement brake pad set

  • Brake fluid

  • Funnel

The 2005 Grand Caravan has front disc brakes that use two brake pads per wheel. The pads squeeze against the surface of the disc, referred to as a rotor, to slow and stop the minivan. Grand Caravans may feature rear disc brakes or rear drum brakes. The front brakes differ slightly between Grand Caravans with rear disc brakes and those with rear drum brakes, making for a slightly different procedure for installing front pads in the former compared to the latter.

Apply the parking brake on the Grand Caravan and then open the hood. Remove at least one-half of the brake fluid from the master cylinder reservoir, using a brake fluid syringe or suitable tool. Be sure the syringe has never been used on petroleum-based products such as oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze or power steering fluid, or you will contaminate the chemical properties of the brake fluid. Replace the cover to the master cylinder.

Pry loose the front wheel lug nuts with the tire iron no more than half a turn. Lift the front of the Grand Caravan with the service jack and then support it onto jack stands. Finish removing the wheel lug nuts and remove the tires.

Open the C-clamp to fit over the caliper housing. Place the top of the clamp on the inside housing and place the screw of the caliper onto the outer brake pad. Tighten the clamp slowly until the caliper piston is fully compressed into the bore of the caliper. Remove the clamp.

Remove the upper and lower caliper guide bolts with a box-end wrench.

Remove the caliper and hang it from a caliper hook onto the coil spring of the front strut in order not to stress the flexible brake hose attached to the caliper.

Remove the inner and outer front brake pads from the caliper bridge mount on Grand Caravan models that have rear drum brakes. On models with rear disc brakes, remove the front outer pad from the caliper bridge mount and then remove the inner pad clipped to the piston of the caliper.

Inspect the brake rotor. If you're replacing the rotors, continue on to Step 8. If you're just replacing the brake pads, proceed to Step 12.

Remove the caliper bridge mount bolts, using the 24-inch breaker bar and a socket. Remove the caliper bridge mount and clean off the mating surface of the brake pad clips with a stiff-bristled wire brush and then apply an even layer of brake silicone compound to the brake pad tabs mating surfaces on the clips.

Remove the brake rotor. Check on the lug studs to make sure a rotor retaining ring(s) is not present. If so, remove it with a screwdriver and discard it. If the rotor is hard to remove from the hub, apply some spray penetrating lubricant to the mating surface of the rotor hub and the hub itself. Allow a few minutes for the lubricant to soak in. Strike the plate of the rotor from behind with a dead-blow hammer and turn it one quarter-turn in between blows until the rotor breaks free from the hub.

Spray the new replacement rotor with a brake/parts cleaner spray to wash off the rust-preventative coating on them. Be sure to spray both sides, including the vents. Dry the rotor off with a clean shop rag as best you can and then install the new rotor onto the hub.

Replace the caliper bridge mount and retaining bolts. Tighten the bolts to 110 ft-lbs. with a torque wrench and a socket.

Install the replacement pads into the caliper bridge mount (models with drum brakes in the rear). On models with rear disc brakes, place the outer brake pad on the caliper bridge mount and place the inner pad retaining clip into the piston of the caliper. Lubricate the caliper bridge mount pad clips with brake silicone compound as indicated in Step 8 before installing the brake pads, if you did not replace the rotor.

Replace the caliper and the caliper guide bolts. Tighten the bolts to 35 ft-lbs. with the torque wrench and a socket.

Repeat the brake pad and or rotor replacement for both front wheels before replacing the wheels and wheel lug nuts. Tighten the nuts snugly with the front axle elevated and then lower the vehicle to the ground. Tighten the lug nuts with the torque wrench and socket to 100 ft-lbs.

Apply the brake pedal several times. It will drop to the floor until the caliper pistons that were compressed have extended back outward and seat the brake pads to the rotor. When the pedal feels normal or firm, check the brake fluid level in the master cylinder reservoir and top it off as needed with clean brake fluid and a clean funnel. Replace the master cylinder cover and close the hood. There should be no reason to bleed the brakes since air was not introduced into the hydraulic system.

Release the parking brake and test-drive the Grand Caravan for braking performance.

About the Author

Jody L. Campbell spent over 15 years as both a manager and an under-car specialist in the automotive repair industry. Prior to that, he managed two different restaurants for over 15 years. Campbell began his professional writing career in 2004 with the publication of his first book.

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Photo Credits

  • brake calipers image by Tom Oliveira from Fotolia.com