Dodge Ram brake pad premature wear problem

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  #1  
Old 07-25-12, 11:27 PM
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Dodge Ram brake pad premature wear problem

Hello,

I have a 1996 Dodge Ram 2500 2wd diesel extended cab lwb truck. I have to replace the front brake pads at least once a year, sometimes more. I have installed new rotors, calipers, and hoses, yet the problem persists. The inside pads are usually the first to go with the outer pads not far behind, but with 1/8" or so of material more than the inside ones. The right side usually goes first but the left is usually just about to touch at the same time. I put new pads on today, and the ones I replaced were just put on last october. That's a 9 month lifespan. I tried using ceramic pads and got about 13 months out of them. I tried the medium grade softer metallic pads, and got 9 months, and now I have installed the top grade metallic pads and will see what I get with them. I have a large, heavy truck with a lot of tools in it and I run service calls with it, so it does get a lot of use, but they should last more than 9000 miles. What could be causing this?

I notice I have to adjust up the rear brakes as often as well. I back up a lot every day, and I would think they would keep themselves adjusted up, but they don't. I noticed today that although the parking brake will hold the truck, it barely does anything to slow it down. I was using it to try to keep from using the front brakes as much so I didn't grind the rotor down too far to resurface. I cringe to hear the metal-on-metal when the pad goes out. I turned the adjuster wheel on each side probably 20 to 30 clicks.
 
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Old 07-26-12, 03:55 AM
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I've got a 2001 3500 4wd cummins, but I get a bunch more. Do you have rear disc or is it drum brakes? Mine are rear disc with "brake in a hat" drum parking brakes. I have a feeling it is the lack of rear braking that is eating up your front brakes. If you are having to turn the stars that much, you may have a rear brake job in the near future. Is it a dually?? PITA to get to the brakes. May as well pull a rear wheel to see if the slave is working properly. If the wear is minimal on the rears, then my guess is the slave is locked up and not working, causing a shift in work to the front brakes.
 
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Old 07-26-12, 06:55 AM
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Larry pretty much covered what I was thinking.
I tend to tear apart, clean and grease my brake components once a year. The rear auto-adjusters on all my vehicles to date tend to not work all that great, specially if not regularly serviced.

With the age of your truck, I would consider replacing your brake fluid and definately bleeding the lines.

If you are doing a lot of hauling, might be worth looking into a big brake kit.
 
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Old 07-26-12, 11:10 AM
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I didn't take the rear drums off this time, but I did once before and the rear shoes looked almost new. I made sure the correct shoe was in the front and the wheel cylinder was working and everything was relatively clean. I put the wheel on and spun it and it stopped immediately when I hit the brakes, and with light pressure on the brake pedal, the wheel could not be turned by hand. I have bled the brakes, and it didn't change anything. I can change the fluid if needed, but the fluid in the front lines should be new from when I changed the hoses and calipers. There may still be some old fluid in the rear lines, but much of it is new mixed in from bleeding the lines.

I don't do much heavy hauling but I do haul a little utility trailer somewhat often. It's just a little single axle trailer that I can move around with one hand and it's empty half the time.

There are some valve blocks up by the master cylinder and I'm not sure how they work. I assume one of them is a combination valve and if so, could this be the problem? Maybe putting too much pressure to the front and too little to the rear?
 
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Old 07-26-12, 03:00 PM
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I just found last week - that I was driving around with seizing rear caliper, what resulted in pass side rear brakes worn to the metal wgile driver side was 3/4 good.

But you have already replaced all brake components, so that should be taken care of, right?

Here's the thing. 2, actually.

1. do you have ABS?
2. Back from my infamous 87 Taurus times, I have learned something. If you have brake booster rod, where it goes into the MC, not adjusted right, as in - slightly too long - it will cause continuous ever so slight pressure in the system, causing brake pads to touch rotors/drums continuously. As fluid warms up from friction, it expands, causing even more drag. Took me entire front end system replacement to have that figured.
Reason I mentioned ABS is because ABS has internal valves that must be bled also.
Basically, imho, you have something in your brake system that is causing higher than normal brake fluid pressure.
If brake pads are worn more on the inside - it's first sign of dragging caliper. But you had calipers replaced, so it's not calipers, it's hydraulic pressure in the system then. MC maybe.
 
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Old 07-26-12, 05:40 PM
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I forgot to mention that this does have drums in the rear. It also has ABS, but it''s rear only.

I jacked up each wheel and there wasn't any noticeable drag or sound that would indicate contact. I also forgot to mention that the brakes don't seem to be as good as I would expect them to be. When I got the truck, they felt this way, so maybe that's just the way these trucks are. My old 1985 chevy scottsdale that I used to work out of had the large brakes on it and slight pressure on the pedal gave instant results. In this truck, however, slight pressure on the pedal gives slight results, and if you want to stop hard, you really have to jam on the pedal. Even then, it still has that feeling like it's not doing right, it sort of gets that hard pedal like if you had no booster, or like it feels when your brakes have overheated and lost their stopping power. In other words, it hits a spot where the pedal stops traveling down and even if you press harder, it still doesn't go further much to speak of, and it doesn't seem to stop much harder. It will come to a somewhat hard stop with a good effort on the pedal though.

After driving it today since I adjusted the rear brakes up, the pedal is back up and it seems to have a better braking force, so maybe that's the reason for the lacking feeling that they had.

I suppose the suggestion that the rear brakes aren't doing their job is probably right. I need to figure out why they aren't self-adjusting. Maybe that's why the fronts are wearing so badly.
 
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Old 07-26-12, 08:30 PM
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you have proportioning valve for that. Supposed to equalize hydraulic pressure between front/rear and pending on load.
Your brakes sound exactly like mine, on 2000 Silverado.
If you still have issue, take MC off booster drum, and back up center rod maybe 2 turns. Maybe 1.5.
Otherwise, I say - your MC sticks.
 
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Old 07-27-12, 06:07 AM
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I suppose the suggestion that the rear brakes aren't doing their job is probably right. I need to figure out why they aren't self-adjusting. Maybe that's why the fronts are wearing so badly.
I don't depend on the auto-adjusters except for when I first reassemble the brakes.
When doing a tear down (clean and grease), I'll adjust the rear drums so that they just bearly touch, then back them a hair so they aren't touching.
With a clean and greased auto-adjuster, I'll do a couple reverse stops just to get everything in check and balanced out.
Once I'm done the clean/grease/setup, I stop depending on the auto-adjusters as they will get gummed up with brake dust and what not (specially on a drum brake system).

Both my wife's van and my SRT are disk primary (drum parking brake) in the rear. The drums see very little use in the van, and only full on/off in the car. The Auto-adjusters work a bit longer on these systems as the drums do not really generate any brake dust.
 
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