How to Install Brake Pads on a Dodge Caravanby Jody L. Campbell
If you've been told that you need brake pads on your Dodge Caravan, you already know how expensive it is to have them replaced. The pads are affordable enough, but the hourly labor rate at the repair station or dealership seems pretty outrageous. If you have some tools as home and a little technical savvy, you might want to consider attempting the repair yourself.
Park the Caravan on a flat, level paved or concrete surface. Release the hood latch and apply the parking brake.
Open the hood and suck out half of the brake fluid from the master cylinder reservoir using the turkey baster. Discard the fluid appropriately. Do not reuse it. Replace the cap on the master cylinder.
Break the lug nuts loose on the left wheel first using the breaking bar and a socket. Do not remove the lug nuts or loosen them too much.
Lift the Caravan using the floor jack and place the lift point under the transmission bushing. Place a jack stand under the inside of the rocker panel in the left front where the frame is boxed. Do not place the jack stand on the rocker panel as it will most likely collapse. You can leave the floor jack in place as an added safety support, but make sure to use a jack stand.
Remove the lug nuts and wheel.
Remove the caliper bolts with the ratchet and a socket. Gently pry the caliper off of the rotor using the screwdriver. The pads are clipped to the caliper.
Remove the outboard pad first by prying it off the caliper housing with the screwdriver. Remove the inboard pad by pulling it out of the caliper piston bore. Support the caliper to the coil spring using the bungee cord.
Compress the piston in using the C-clamp. Squeeze slowly and steadily to avoid damaging the caliper piston.
Install the new pads starting with the inboard pad. Since the inboard and outboard pads are identifiably different, there's only one way they will fit properly. There is a slight difference in the molding of the backing plates of the pads. Refer to the old pads you removed to make sure you're applying the pads for the left side.
Apply a liberal coat of silicone brake lubricant on the caliper anchor where the backing plate of the pads sit against.
Reinstall the caliper over the rotor.
Apply a light coat of silicone brake lubricant to the smooth area of the caliper bolts. Insert it into the caliper to lock it to the caliper anchor. Tighten the bolts properly.
Replace the wheel and lug nuts, tightening the lug nuts as tight as you can using the ratchet and a socket. Lower the Caravan and retighten the lug nuts in an alternate fashion using the torque wrench set at 100 foot pounds and a socket.
Repeat the procedure for the right side.
Pump the foot brake pedal when you're finished with the right side until the hydraulic pressure is restored to the caliper pistons and the brake pedal feels normal. Release the parking brake.
Check and adjust the brake fluid level in the master cylinder reservoir. Only add new DOT-approved brake fluid for your Caravan.
Remove the wheel chock and test drive.
- For rear brake pad replacement, the procedure is basically the same. The caliper is much smaller and located on the top of the rotor. The pads are smaller and different, but it's still self-explanatory to replace them. Always refer to the pads you're removing and compare them to the pads you're installing for that side. The placement of the wheel chock if you're lifting the rear axle would be in front of one of the front tires instead.
Things You'll Need
- Floor jack Jack stand Wheel chock Turkey baster DOT approved brake fluid 1/2-inch drive breaking bar 1/2-inch drive socket set 1/2-inch drive ratchet Large flathead screwdriver C-clamp Bungee cord Silicone based brake lubricant 1/2-inch drive adjustable torque wrench (recommended)
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.