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For the first few years of owing my 97 T&C I didn't have any odd problems with the brakes. Within the last couple of years it's been a nightmare! I'm SOOOOOO tired of replacing the front brake pads!!!

Using normal semi-metallic pads with "new" rotors (or so the "brake specialty" shop said) I was able to go a whole 2 months before the squeaking began again. I couldn't believe it. There was no way that I wore through the pads that fast. I'm a stay-at-home mom so I don't have to drive that much. Ok, I cancelled the semi-metallic pads. I made my husband replace them with ceramic.

We went about 4-5 months this time. Took it in to our local shop. They said that the rear brakes (then 7 or so months old) looked brand new. All the braking was on the front. No calipers sticking. They replaced with more ceramic pads, machined the rotors (a lot) and adjusted the brakes so that the rear brakes would help out. I got 6 months this time.

My husband replaced them again on 3/8/09 and the squeak is back within the last couple of weeks. Not quite 5 months. I understand the vehicle is heavy, but this is ridiculous! (Going on 2 years with the back brakes.)

Has anyone else had this problem? Suggestions as to what might be wrong?? I'm going insane!!
 

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Your master cylinder is bad. Think about it for a minute.
Also, any stains or extra dirt on the face of the booster, under the master cylinder?
Total mileage would be helpful, too.
Then get back to us.
 

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Why do you say no sticking pads? Are the rotors wearing out too, or just the pads. Back brake inefficiency is charagteristic, just read a recent post on brake problems and you will see. But I got 10 years out of my front pads, semi mettalic, with my 1990 GV 3.3. And autozone gave me a new set, since I saved my receipt. If it is squealing and not the wear indicator, make sure the shop uses the goop on the back of the pads that quiet squeal, I have never had squeal, I always use the stuff. But master cylinder, as AZ says is suspect. Have your rear brakes ever been adjusted? My 2000 Caravan used the emergency brake to adjust the rear ones, and if you never use the emergency brake, you have a lot of travel before braking begins. There are another few possibilities( collapsing hoses, etc.) , but check out the simple stuff first. Are the metal rims hot after you have driven a good bit?
 

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The van has 212K miles on it. Most of those miles were from the first years after I got it when I did work (had less problems when I did drive too much). :)

It is definitely the wear indicator. The squeak is ALL the time...not just when braking. After we replace the pads, the squeak is gone.

Yes, we have had all the brakes adjusted. It helped, but didn't solve the problem.

My husband doesn't think there is any extra dirt around the master cylinder (we can double check tomorrow when it's light). It's definitely not leaking because that would affect the power of the braking, right?

How would a bad master cylinder cause the front brake pads to wear faster?
 

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The van has 212K miles on it. Most of those miles were from the first years after I got it when I did work (had less problems when I did drive too much). :)

It is definitely the wear indicator. The squeak is ALL the time...not just when braking. After we replace the pads, the squeak is gone.

Yes, we have had all the brakes adjusted. It helped, but didn't solve the problem.

My husband doesn't think there is any extra dirt around the master cylinder (we can double check tomorrow when it's light). It's definitely not leaking because that would affect the power of the braking, right?

How would a bad master cylinder cause the front brake pads to wear faster?
The master cylinder actuates "both" the front and the rear brakes, using separate sections of the master cylinder. If one part isn't working, then you have the other part doing all the work. When the seals wear out, you end up with only the front brake section working. I recently replaced mine around 197kmiles. Since it was also leaking out the plunger seal, into the booster, I replaced the booster, too. Why ? Because brake fluid eats the diaphram in the booster, causing it to fail, so to be SAFE, I replaced it for another $60. I've had boosters fail due to brake fluid leaking into it. Not nice to go to press the pedal and find you need "both feet" to get the van to stop.

Crumb, the master cylinder is only around $30 and easy to replace, so is the booster. Bleeding the lines front and back, afterwards is also expected (adding fresh fluid).

If/when you do, make sure the booster plunger is adjusted properly to press against the plunger in the master cylinder before you install them, otherwise, you'll loose some of your pedal (it will have to move further before engaging the master cylinder plunger).
 

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I just dealt with a similar issue with braking, abeit it was on my F-150 but the same principle applies. the driver side brake hose was no longer holding pressure, the gasket had turned into a sponge and wasn't applying any brake fluid to the caliper. I knew this had been a problem for a while, and once I managed to change out the hoses 3 days ago the drivers side pads looked brand new while the passenger side pads looked like they were 40% used.

Moral of the story, your husband needs to verify that the rear calipers are getting the proper pressure from the master cylinder. As previously posted it could be a cylinder issue but you could also simply have a bad rear brake line somewhere in there.

Another culprit that could be worsening the situation is driving habits; hard braking and "assertive" driving can also bring havoc on brake systems.
 

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If it's "squealing all the time, not just when braking", then either the brakes are not retracting properly, or this is not a brake issue. If the caliper is sliding properly, then the pads will retract, and neither they, nor the wear indicators, will be touching the rotors (and hence, no squeal).

If you are absolutely sure this is brake noise, and it's happens in the brake-off condition (foot off the pedal), then you need to either rebuild the calipers, or get new calipers, because something is causing them to drag (not retract).
 

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The van has 212K miles on it. Most of those miles were from the first years after I got it when I did work (had less problems when I did drive too much). :)

It is definitely the wear indicator. The squeak is ALL the time...not just when braking. After we replace the pads, the squeak is gone.

Yes, we have had all the brakes adjusted. It helped, but didn't solve the problem.

My husband doesn't think there is any extra dirt around the master cylinder (we can double check tomorrow when it's light). It's definitely not leaking because that would affect the power of the braking, right?

How would a bad master cylinder cause the front brake pads to wear faster?
Aggravating for sure:
Some say women drivers tend to react more to brake noise than their male counterparts. Brake noise may indicate a problem and a potential safety hazard. So many women drivers will want their brakes checked to find the cause of the noise. Guys, on the other hand, will take the macho approach. As long as the vehicle stops, a little squeal doesn't hurt anything - especially if it might cost several hundred bucks to get rid of the squeal. Such is life.
:biggrin:

Some assumptions (by me):
- Front disks with rear drums.
- Brake line separation is diagional rather than front to back. AzTraveller take note.
- No ABS.

Since the brakes are quiet for several weeks after being serviced, one thing that might be different later on is the effectiveness of the lubrication and anti-squeal compounds used during the installation.
- petroleum based lubricants are "wet" (attract dust), not that friendly to rubber components, and may not stand up to high temperatures.
- silicone based lubricants are good but are "wet" lubricants also, not the best for external use.
- synthetic based lubricants, designed for brakes and for standing up to high temperatures (up to 400 degree F, atleast) are not "wet" lubricants, can be used to lubricate the pins, bushings, sliding surfaces and can also be applied to the back of the pads to provide anti-squeal. Here's one such brake lubricant.

My suggestion would be to redo the brakes, using the same components that are there now, but with synthetic brake lubricant, designed for disk brakes and for noise supression.

Here's a Post with lots of information on brakes, including noisy brakes.

From the site referenced in the Post pertaining to brake squeal:
Another way to dampen noise-producing vibrations is to apply a high temperature brake lubricant to the backs of the pads, and the points where the pads contact the caliper. Lubricating the caliper mounts, shims and bushings is also recommended to dampen vibrations here. The lubricant acts as a cushion to dampen vibrations. It also helps the parts slide smoothly so the pads wear evenly (uneven pad wear is a classic symptom of a floating caliper that is sticking and not centering itself over the rotor).

The key here is using the right kind of lubricant. The lubricant must be heat resistant so it won't melt and run off the pads, and it must be durable so it will provide long-lasting protection. Synthetic lubricants that contain moly are a good choice for this type of application.

Never use ordinary chassis grease or silicone brake grease for this purpose. Also, do not allow the lubricant to come into contact with the fronts of the pads or the rotor face. Keep it on the backs of the pads and the pad contact points.
Worth a try, I think. Good luck and to prove the point, I wouldn't even bother to sand the pads during the redo. :thumb:
 

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If it's "squealing all the time, not just when braking", then either the brakes are not retracting properly, or this is not a brake issue. If the caliper is sliding properly, then the pads will retract, and neither they, nor the wear indicators, will be touching the rotors (and hence, no squeal).

If you are absolutely sure this is brake noise, and it's happens in the brake-off condition (foot off the pedal), then you need to either rebuild the calipers, or get new calipers, because something is causing them to drag (not retract).
If this was the case, applying new pads it would still cause the brakes stop squeaking at least until the calipers wear down the new pads again. If the calipers have a difficult time retracting the pads, the van would be constantly losing speed and her gas mileage would drop like a rock due to the constant friction on her rotors. On top of that, her rotors would probably be fried just as quick as her brake pads are being replaced.

I agree though, new calipers and a good check over of the front and rear brake lines/hoses are in order.
 

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One can telll so much by the wear paterns, temperatures after short trips, or my favorite, pull the abs fuse, seed up and slam on it as fast and as fard as your knackers will take, than examine the patern, but sience you all don't seem like that kind of guy/person, change the dam hoses, it's been 212k for crying out loud, they are only $15 each, flush the fluid while you are at it than tell me you still got a problem
 

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For the first few years of owing my 97 T&C I didn't have any odd problems with the brakes. Within the last couple of years it's been a nightmare! I'm SOOOOOO tired of replacing the front brake pads!!!

Using normal semi-metallic pads with "new" rotors (or so the "brake specialty" shop said) I was able to go a whole 2 months before the squeaking began again. I couldn't believe it. There was no way that I wore through the pads that fast. I'm a stay-at-home mom so I don't have to drive that much. Ok, I cancelled the semi-metallic pads. I made my husband replace them with ceramic.

We went about 4-5 months this time. Took it in to our local shop. They said that the rear brakes (then 7 or so months old) looked brand new. All the braking was on the front. No calipers sticking. They replaced with more ceramic pads, machined the rotors (a lot) and adjusted the brakes so that the rear brakes would help out. I got 6 months this time.

My husband replaced them again on 3/8/09 and the squeak is back within the last couple of weeks. Not quite 5 months. I understand the vehicle is heavy, but this is ridiculous! (Going on 2 years with the back brakes.)

Has anyone else had this problem? Suggestions as to what might be wrong?? I'm going insane!!
What's wrong is whoever is doing the brakes doesn't really know how. Just throwing parts here is NOT going to fix it well........at least not the way you're going at it.
The rear brakes system has to be gone though COMPLETELY. I'll lay odds here the rear cylinders are rusted and locked up ready to start leaking profusely. Start in the back. New shoes, new drums, all new hardware wheel cylinders, a thorough cleaning and PROPER reassembly and bleeding of the system. Than to the front. New rotors, new pads of your choosing. I'd seriously think about new calipers and hoses too.
Now a thorough going over of every line, and fitting, look at master and booster to make sure they are up to par.
Doing it RIGHT the problem WILL go away
 
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