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Old 03-06-2011, 06:41 PM   #1
CL8
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Brake advice needed

Today after church services I went to lunch with some friends, I parked my van, put the e-brake on and went in to eat, after I left, about 15 minutes driving on the freeway the van steering wheel started shaking hard. I figured it was the pavement, it did stop after a couple minutes, then started to shake again for a few minutes. When I got home, I found my e-brake light was on. I drove just under 30 miles, mostly freeway with the emergency brake on. I believe this must be why I felt some shaking.

I do need an oil change soon, my plan is to take my Caravan to Brake Team tomorrow for the oil change and have them inspect the brakes. So just how much damage can I expect may have been done by leaving the parking brake on for just under 30 minutes of mostly freeway driving?
(funny thing, usually my van will have a hard time getting up to freeway speed with the parking brake on,. Except for a little shaking, It got up to 55 just fine)

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Cl8
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:33 PM   #2
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Re: Brake advice needed

The parking brake is only connected to the rear wheels and it not tied to the hydraulic system, so the shaking in the steering wheel is not really a sign that the parking brake was left on.... Does your Caravan have rear drum or disk brakes? What model year is it?

Since you didn't have any problems getting the van up to highway speeds it sounds like either the parking brake was not fully engaged or it's not adjusted properly. But if it was making contact at all you can expect some very worn parking brake pads/shoes and possibly warped drums/rotors/parking brake drums. If the parking brake assembly on your van is built in to the brake caliper you may have heated the brake caliper sufficiently to damage the slide pin grease to where you want to have the pins cleaned and greased. It also sounds like you may want to consider connecting a beeper to the brake light circuit as well.... Seems odd that Chrysler didn't add this feature to the BCM. Heck, they beep if the turn signal is left on, wouldn't it make sense to have it also beep if the vehicle is shifted from Park with the parking brake still engaged!?!

-Rod
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Old 03-07-2011, 12:32 AM   #3
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Re: Brake advice needed

Thanks once again Shorod!

This in my 1999 Dodge Caravan (only over 130,000 miles) Since it is that old it doesn't have a beeper. The other problem is where Dodge place the warning light panel.
It is above where the gas gauge is displayed, right where the top of the steering wheel blocks my vision of the lights unless I move my head around :/

I did park on a hill and put the parking brake on while my vehicle was in neutral, drive and reverse. The parking brake held in every gear, but I don't know if that would tell me if anything was warped or not.

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Old 03-07-2011, 07:55 AM   #4
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Re: Brake advice needed

I'll assume the 1999 has drum rear brakes. While the test you performed won't tell you if the drums are warped, it does indicate that the brake shoe linings are still in tact (at least on one side) and are adjusted properly. It would still be a good idea to have them inspected. Unless you really trust the shop you are taking it to, I wouldn't mention to them what happened, just ask them to see how the brakes front and rear are wearing. I don't believe the the 1999 has serviceable wheel bearings in the rear otherwise I'd suggest you have them repacked as well.

-Rod
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