Question about 1997 Dodge Ram 1500 Club Cab

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Repeated warping of front brake rotors. Have replace rotors 3 times with both Chrysler OEM and aftermarket. Replace calipers, ceramic pads, etc. Still warps rotors in less than 5000 miles.

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  • kdeffendall Sep 29, 2009

    No, not really. This truck is mainly used as a highway commuter vehicle for the last 12 years approx 60 miles per day round trip. I've even torqued the lug nuts to 75 lbs thinking an imbalance might have caused it. No joy.

  • kdeffendall Sep 29, 2009

    I'm a 47 year old engineer, not a boy racer. This is primarily a highway commuter car. 60 miles a day. I don't even break the speed limit on the interstate and never tow anything. I'd agree the symptom is overheating, but I was really looking for a cause. Your rank seems a little high.

  • kdeffendall Sep 30, 2009

    The pulsing is through the pedal and most evident when coming to a stop. I do the mechanical work. I've restored 6 different cars and come from a family of mechanics (father and two brothers). I did not have the rotors skimmed before initial application. I've never heard of anyone machining a new rotor. New wheel bearings were installed in last 10k miles and the pads have always worn evenly. The brake master cylinder is the original and the Dot 3 brake fluid has been changed every tow
    years since new. I also torque the lugnuts to 70lbs. Computer Engineering with EE and math minor. You think it may be an imbalance in the pressure from the MC? One caliper is doing more work and heating up?


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  • kdeffendall Sep 30, 2009

    You're right. I do appreciate your help and a new point of view. This problem has been with the truck since new. I've changed the rotors 3 times. I've done a dozen or more brake jobs and had the rotors skimmed. The only original part is the MC and brake lines.
    One point you mention that might be it is the size of the tires. Stock tires are 225/75-16 and I've been running 265/75-16 on original rims. 1.2 in" taller sidewall. Do you think the heavier, taller tire could cause enough additional heat? It's a stretch to think that a truck built to tow (and stop) a 7000lb trailer couldn't handle a upgrade in tire size. Doesn't make sense. I guess I'll change out the MC, turn the rotors and see what happens.

  • kdeffendall Oct 07, 2009

    You could be right. The problem is side to side as the left rotor was .021 out of round and the right was .009 out. Since the only parts left unreplaced were the brake hoses, I replaced them and had the rotors trued up again and flushed the brake lines with new fluid. The right caliper gets a direct line from the MC. The left hard line takes its fluid from the coupling on the right flex hose. I saw a post somewhere that said it might be the clearance between the steering knuckle and the caliper, but I checked with a feeler gauge and it's within spec. Wheels are original and tires are the OEM size. Let's hope you're right. Thanks for the input. Kelly

  • kdeffendall Oct 14, 2009

    Thanks for all your comments. Problem seems to be solved. The front brake lines were the originals and after 225k miles one was blocked to such an extent that when the brakes were applied hard, it wouldn't allow pressure to flow back quick enough to release the caliper. One caliper was still clamping the rotor while the truck drove on after the stop. Left rotor was always the one to warp.

  • Richard Scordino May 11, 2010

    One thought...I've seen a good number of chrysler brake hoses fail, right around the same age as yours are. Failure on the inside creates a small flap (acts like a one way valve) that prevents the caliper from releasing, resulting in heating of the rotor/warping. I've installed rotors new with anti-rust compound still on them and also have cut them before use and really never saw any difference and certainly not any overheating!! Larger tires will slow down the rotor and would decrease heat! Could be a valving problem if proportioning valve is putting too much up front and not enough at rear but I think I've seen that twice over a long career.

  • CarySchroeder May 11, 2010

    Be interesting to see other's comments on this, but I was told that driving thru water with hot rotors can cause warping. Is that a frequent issue for you?

  • kdeffendall Jun 15, 2010

    Hello. I posted the original problem and after 10 years, I solved it. Thanks to all who offered suggestions. The problem was caliper bushings. When installing the caliper the two mounting bolts fit through these bushings. Mine had corrosion on the ends that were exposed to moisture and were not allowing the caliper to slide back and forth as the pads wore down. This heated one side of the rotor more than the other and caused the repeated warping. I cleaned them up with sandpaper, polished them with steel wool and put copper anti-sieze on the outside of them before re-installing. Months now with smooth braking. Guess I'll keep the truck.




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Do you do a lot of hills work?if so use the gears ,ifdown hill not the brakes if it is auto then slip it down i gear . make sure your rear brakes are adjusted regularly,but for the main part i would think it is the driver that is the problem,you may get an occasional faulty rotor but not three sets, over heating is the cause of your problem.dont missunderstand me chrysler brakes arent anything special but they arenot that bad , slow down

Posted on Sep 29, 2009

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  • kerry littleton Sep 30, 2009

    I am sorry you think I am rated abit high ,but I have the numbers on the board. If we get all the info straight away we have some sort of comments were reasonable considering the info supplied Now 99.5%% of rotor warping is caused by over heating for some reason or another ,as you drive like granma, that cant be the case here .we need information ,so,are you feeling the pulsation through the brake pedal and /or the steering wheel ? who is doing the mechanical work ? have you had the discs skimmed on vehicle when they are first fitted?have the wheel bearings been cleaned and repacked and adjusted correctly?What happens to the brake padsin this 6 month period, do they wear evenly front to back and top to bottom ? how long since the break master cyl. has had a kit through it? and 260,000miles onthe clock? I have an idea forming that may be of interest but we will wait for this info before jumping in, I`M 20 years your senior ,so we will hve some respect , in what field are you an engineer ?

  • kerry littleton Sep 30, 2009

    Iknow very little about computors and only started doing this to help me learn how to use it a little better .Respect for your elders is common courtesy,wisdom through experience most people seem to think I have and Ihave earned the respect of many including the management at FIXYA as you can see by the number of solutions to various problms and the ratings I have earned. you are the one who questioned my rating ..BUT NONE OF THIS RUBISH WILL SOLVE A PROBLEM, SO LETS GET TO IT,,,,Ihave never fitted anew disc with out having it skimmed once it has been fitted to the hub ,here in australia ,that is common practice, years ago they used to machine e few thou.warp into them to push the pads back slightly ,i dont know if that is common practice now . I still have a couple of mates who are in the brake and clutch game and I have seen them machining discs on hubs every time Icall in ,as many service stations dont have a brake lathe so they send them out ,to repco or the likes of Robbie (my mate) .Also there are anumber of come to you brake people who travel to peoples homes and machine the discs on the vehicle.Now that is what I would like to see you do ,on the vehicle , Just recently ,on fixya I saw asolution posted about nearnew discs having a woof in them,I didnt buy into it but theguy who was trying to solve the problem was quite adament that he had seen it on anumber of occasions when the hub had rust or dirt under the rotor when it was bolted on the hub and consequently a small wobble was in the the rotor before they started.I am not concerned about rust etc but the hubs are cast and machined and therefore can get distorted by a large number of factors . You may have experienced with tyres on the larger vehicles ,you take a wheel off the front without marking where it came from and you put it back ,and you cant hold the steeringwheel at variouse speeds, it doesnt have to be far out to upset the whole show .We have to start some where and the most likely place to me is ,for some reason the hubs arent running dead true and to give you any chance ,get rotors on the hubs machined and true. you dont need to buy new ones ,you should get 3skims before you are down to the minimum, if the pads are evenly worn you can re use them.Because the pulsing is not being felt is agood thing ,that shows that the problem is confined to the rotors and the hydraulics so we sould be able to find it. Tell me ,you have had the vehicle for 12 years and the problem only started in the last18 months,is that right ? Can you think of any thing that may be relevant an accident or a change of tyres ? at this point that is what I suggest you do , I`ll go and talk to robbie and see if he has any thing to put in. Get back to me ,if you are going to try that for astart and i`ll send my direct email address because it will be a few days and Imight lose the thread.I am off to bed us old people need our sleep and it is nearly midnight here ,go to it and have a good day

  • kerry littleton Oct 01, 2009

    I already sent this but it didnt show up . Iwas talking to Matt at Perth 4 wd centre,Iwas looking for amotor for my "driveemtiltheystop" daughter ,and Istarted to run it past him,and before I finished he said " got to be machined on the vehicle" he knew where I was going before I finished . definatly worth trying .and that is the cheap end to start. my email is easier if you want to get me quick--------- kerry

  • kerry littleton Oct 14, 2009

    thanks forletting me know,kelly.i was wonering how it was going.i bumped into a clutch hose that did that many years ago. one thing i have always worried about is the clamps we use to block off those hoses while we change the calipers,those hoses get hot from time to time and tend to dry out and when we use those bar clannnmps it would not surprise me if we contribute to the failure.well its fixed and we have both learnt something thanks it has been interesting ---kerry


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I have a 2001 Dodge Durango that had the same problem. Check the bolts holding the caliper on and see if one of them is cross-threaded. Both of my front ones were because of the design of the caliper. I had to replace the steering knuckle, rotors, and ceramic pads. Problem was solved.

Posted on Oct 13, 2009

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My wife had been driving my dodge for a good year before i lost my company truck, i took it back and found along with many other problems, that my rotors were warpped. i found my problem was that the rear brake adjusters had backed off and the front was doing all of the work thus overheating the rotors. does the park brake hold good? i replaced the rear hardware(shoes were like new) along with new rotors and pads up front. i also had to replace both front brake hoses because she was pulling hard and problem solved. i don't know how the wife ever stopped the truck.....and she never complained about it.

Posted on Oct 14, 2009

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