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2012 Dodge Grand Caravan SE
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hoping to get some guidance on doing a pseudo HD brake upgrade with the 225/65R-16 wheels for my 2012 DGC. Does anyone have part number recommendations for new rotors for the 16” wheels?

My front brake pads are newer, with only about 7000 miles on them. What gives!?!? Is this normal?

I’ve read the fantastic post about the 17” wheels HD upgrade, but my blood isn’t so rich.

The prior owner just had them done about 2000 miles prior to selling & had the front rotors resurfaced and mentioned the brakes were a continuing issue since they lived up a steep hill—but seems this is a frequent issue for these unibodies that aren’t always recognized for needing more truck/commercial/“HD” parts. Anyways, the brakes were flawless, until our trip last week and doing highways speeds I can feel the beginnings of rotor imbalance. It’s my opinion that the rotors are simply not going to hold after resurfacing. I’ve replaced rotors a couple times, and it’s not a job I’m relishing, but I need to get it done before July when the heat is unbearable.

If I’m doing the rotors, I guess I’ve gotta do the pads too. Any pad recommendations? I’ve had issues with ceramic pads in my trucks, making rotor wear quicker, so I’d rather have brake dust.
 

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Likely rust build up on "white box" quality rotors or surface delamination on even expensive rotors. Some sanding or filing on the rotors may work. Has the vehicle been sitting unused for some time i.e. rusted rotors? Old pavement and high tire pressure can give bad rotor type sensations. Check the rotors out. Very high heat is required to actually "warp" a rotor, so the metallurgist say.

Go to RockAuto and check out the heavy duty, long life, truck and tow stuff. Consider coated rotors if salt is an issue. For better mass (heat handling), stay away from drilled and slotted rotors.

Raybestos is a pretty dependable line. They know brakes. Semi-metallic for better stopping distance/performance. I have never had noise problems with semi-metallic brakes. Some have.

Brake Pad MaterialCostDust LevelNoise LevelStopping PowerPad Life
Semi-Metallic$$
Dust Cloud
Dust Cloud
Speaker Icon
Speaker Icon
Speaker Icon
Stop Sign
Stop Sign
Stop Sign
Hourglass Icon
Hourglass Icon
Ceramic$$$
Dust Cloud
Speaker Icon
Stop Sign
Stop Sign
Hourglass Icon
Hourglass Icon
Hourglass Icon
 
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POWER STOP K6563
or
POWER STOP K4015

Depending on your van's build date. Do it once, break them in properly, don't worry about brakes anymore. The reason for issues with ceramic pads is generally because people don't break them in properly, so they glaze and end up noisy or give poor performance. Follow the proper break in procedure and they offer longer life, better stopping, and little-no dust.

We've done this upgrade on every one of the 5th gen vans in our driveway whether they're HD brakes or Single Piston and they've never disappointed. 10/10 will recommend to anyone looking for brakes on these, they can't be beat.

Buy once, cry once.
 

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2013 Dodge Grand Caravan
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I got several years out of Duralast Gold pads from Autozone. Their 3 year warranty high carbon rotors are good in every application I've used them in, but I never used them on my van.

Avoid the base level Duralast brakes though. I always have customers return a week or two later complaining of noise after they insist we install the cheap brakes.
 

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538 RWHP, LS motor, RX7 body
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Unless the brake jutter is severe, and only occasional, I would ignore them and keep using until time to change pads.

Not all jutter is rotors. Hub face may be irregular or dirty, and may cause rotors to not sit true. Coming from road track background, brakes are wear items to me.

I like using ceramic pads for heat resistance - I try not to cheap out on Pads Raybestos or Bendix.

Rotors should be disposable, not refinished - machining a warp will not fix it. I will cheap out there. I've not been impressed by "special coatings", they all rust eventually. Centric.
 

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Being in California, rust likely isn't an issue. The heat is. The small brakes are too light duty for these vans, which is why people upgrade to the bigger HD brakes and 17" wheels.

Your rotors are "warping" because they are getting too hot and brake pad material is becoming deposited on them (so really not "warped"). Because they've been turned once, they are already thinner and have even less mass for absorbing heat, making the problem worse. Cooling ducts and an electric blower may help in some situations if you want to retain the tiny brakes. The bigger front brakes are the way to go for long-term reliability.

We had a 2011 DGC with the 16" wheels/standard brakes. In half a year it developed a vibration, from the front right rotor. The caliper was dragging and the excess heat was melting pad material onto the rotor. So, new front brake time! One new Duralast Gold rotor, Duralast Gold Ceramic pads and a new caliper fixed the problem. We only had the van a year after that and it got totalled, so no real long-term results. I did find out the 2004-2008 Pacificas used the same size front dual piston caliper and rotors, so I bought used junkyard parts to do a front brake swap. Only thing that was a problem, that I was going to work around, was the different size fittings on the brake lines. I was going to use the Pacifica steering knuckles, rotors, calipers/brackets, caliper hoses and hard line to connect to the line at the cradle, pads, and the 17" wheels/tires. That fall the van was totalled, and we bought a Toyota Sienna instead so I never got to try those parts out.

For comparison, the standard brakes under the 16" wheels are the EXACT SAME SIZE as the 4th gen brakes, which were barely adequate for those vans. Putting those brakes on the heavier 5th gen vans was an engineering mistake. As you found out, lightly using the van will be fine. If you do high speed stops or hilly/mountainous roads, you're always going to have problems with the little brakes.
 

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For the 16" brakes, I saw a lot of inconsistencies between being reliable and unreliable. The general outcome however was the shaking does eventually come back which I don't think anyone likes the feeling of.

I have heard about people having a lot of success with the slotted/drilled rotors offered by power stop, however these are noisy and I didn't really favor having noisy brakes.

It's also the front which shakes, not the rear, so maybe start with the front rotors first.
 

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You are given what you are given. Having driven road race tracks with cars that had WAY more power than factory, yet using stock factory size brakes-- there are strategies to prolonging and keeping brakes working.

Unless you are driving mountain roads, or doing repetitive high speed stops-- I have trouble seeing how you guys are warping your rotors to such degrees.

Use quality, higher temp pad materials (ceramics are my suggestion). (My race pads cost $200 for a front set-- so street pads are cheap, get good ones).

Anticipate the stops and the slow downs-- don't throttle all the way up to when you have to stop, then hold the brake down. Learn to coast, then lighten up on the brake as you get close to -- the more you RIDE the pedal, the hotter it is going to get. Let the brake pedal rest as much as possible-- rotor turning is what cools it, sitting still with pads clamped will be what can warp in that spot.

Brake less-- use as little brake as possible to get the job done. Throttle less.
 

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2007 Dodge Grand Caravan:
Curb weight4,339 lbs.
Maximum towing capacity3,800 lbs

2013 Dodge Grand Caravan
Curb weight4,510 lbs.
Maximum towing capacity3,600 lbs.

Never heard many complaints about the 4 wheel disk brakes on the 4th Generation with 16" wheels. My experience with the "heavy duty" brakes on the 2016 DGC, with 17" wheels, was disk delamination and a stuck slider pin on a front wheel, early on (before 84,000 km/52,000 miles). Ended up replacing the caliper bracket one side and the pads/rotors, both sides. "Heavy duty" but not "durable duty". The rubber pieces at the internal ends of the sliders get negative comments as well. Problems with the sliders are all too ommon for something "heavy duty". If it were a Honda I would have another name for it (p poor quality).
We hear the bad news about the 5th Generation "standard duty" brakes, but there must be good news out there using higher quality aftermarket parts. Reduced rotor weight (for fuel mileage) is a typical stated issue with OE brakes. Honda was bad for that, white box outlasting OE, by a long shot.
 

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I’m using the raybestos element3 rotors and pads on my van, all around. They’ve been pretty good for the many months I’ve had them on. They can squeal a bit at times, usually during light brake applications. The front pads seems kind of low for the age and mileage, maybe 60-70% life or so. The rears still look almost new. This is with around a years worth of driving (10k miles).

However, I live in a city environment. Everyone slowly creeps in traffic, whether on the highway or city streets. I assume this creep with the brakes applied is what’s worn them down so much.

The severe shaking has not returned yet, and I hope it does not. It occurred on a trip a few years ago and was quite scary. I have told everyone in my family to not apply the brakes unless they’re needed. Sometimes some people would hold them while going down a hill. I told them to apply the brakes in “pulses.” When the vehicle speed gets a little high, tap the brakes to slow down a bit and then let off. This cools them down. Repeat as necessary. With this method, I’ve had no issues with brake vibrations so far. Time will tell the full story.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I’ve tried to hold off on grabbing the brakes hard during stops and at highway speeds. I just hate the pulsating which makes me worry it’ll cause subsequent knuckle or CV damage. I want to replace rotors before it gets worse. It only happens at 70+, so it ain’t bad yet. I’ll grab them, then let go. At stops, after a hard brake, I’ll let off the pedal as long as I can to let the pads breath. I looked at the brakes as a area of this van that wouldn’t need work, but after being on this forum, I realized my bitty 16” were gonna be an issue. We don’t haul a lot, but it’s a heavy vehicle.

I had a dead battery 🪫 yesterday. The battery survived 4 years, in the desert that ain’t bad. I wasn’t expecting it, but it’s an easy job. Trying to keep the brake job under $200. I’m trying to keep this van in as top condition, as possible, since I’ve been less concerned about the transmission (did the fluid drain/fill & filter which fixed funny actions). So far I’ve been able to fix everything myself, except for tires/alignment. New thermostat, new coolant, fresh trans fluid/filter, top quality oil/filter, alternator, belt. I actually found a working OEM alternator off a 2018 TC wreck with 40k miles.
 

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Check for spots of delamination on the wear surfaces of the rotors, especially on the inside face. I first came across this about 6 years back and I believe it's associated with ceramic pads, never saw it with semi-metallic pads. Never heard of it before, ever. Some still don't believe it or haven't seen it with their own eyes. My 2016 DGC with HD brakes, had this happen a couple years back. Applying brakes was a shaky experience for a while. Pieces of the shiny surfaces were missing, rough rusty surfaces in their place, in the middle of the wear surface.
If brakes warped, one might expect cracking and delamination. This appears to be more localized, like hot spots maybe.
 
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Was it in the winter? Sounds like salt spray on the rotors. Ceramics are the least likely to do that. They'll eat a rotor, but they won't knock the shine off. Organic pads are worst because they shed a lot of material.
 

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For the 16" brakes, I saw a lot of inconsistencies between being reliable and unreliable. The general outcome however was the shaking does eventually come back which I don't think anyone likes the feeling of.

I have heard about people having a lot of success with the slotted/drilled rotors offered by power stop, however these are noisy and I didn't really favor having noisy brakes.

It's also the front which shakes, not the rear, so maybe start with the front rotors first.
Powerstop brakes ARE NOT noisy.
If yours were, they were either installed wrong, or they weren't broken in properly.
 

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This is what I have been using for the last 20K+ miles and I have been happy:
Brakes: Raybestos Enhanced Hybrid: Front: EHT1273AH Rear: EHT1326H (I purchased from RockAuto)
Rotors: AdvanceAutoParts: Carquest Platinum Painted/Treated: Front: YH245037P Rear: YH245038P
But I am not hard on the van
 
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