How to Replace Dodge Dakota Brake Rotors

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Removing and replacing the brake rotors on your Dodge Dakota isn't as difficult as your local dealership or auto repair station may have you think. It may take you a little longer to do yourself than a seasoned mechanic but think about the hourly labor rate you'd be paying them to do so. If you have some tools, some technical ability, and some time on your hands, why not tackle the project on a nice sunny weekend day in the comfort of your own driveway? The Dodge Dakota introduced rear disk brakes on 2001 and newer models; however, the procedure is fairly similar as the front. The following article will show you how and what minor differences there are.

Things You'll Need

  • Floor jack Jack stand Turkey baster DOT approved brake fluid (check the fluid specs in the owners manual) 1/2-inch drive breaking bar 1/2-inch drive socket set 1/2-inch drive ratchet 1/2-inch drive adjustable torque wrench Large flat head screwdriver Dikes Bungee cord Hammer C-clamp Brake clean spray Shop rag(s) Silicone brake lubricant (recommended)
  • Park the Dodge Dakota on a flat, level paved or concrete surface. Apply the parking brake (unless you're replacing the rear rotors). Release the hood latch.

  • Place a wheel chock behind one rear tire if you're replacing front rotors or in front of one front tire if you're replacing rear rotors.

  • Open the hood and suck out 1/2 the amount of brake fluid from the master cylinder reservoir using the turkey baster. Discard the fluid properly and replace the master cylinder cap.

  • Break the lug nuts loose on the left tire you are removing first. Do not loosen them too much and do not remove them.

  • Lift the vehicle on the left quarter in a safe and secure manner using the floor jack. Lift it high enough to place the jack stand under the front frame rail if you're removing the front rotors or to the left side of the rear axle if you're replacing the rear rotors. Lower the floor jack to allow the weight of the Dakota to come to rest on the jack stand.

  • Remove the lug nuts and the wheel.

  • Remove the caliper bolts. On the rear, remove only the bottom caliper bolt and pry the caliper off the rotor with the screwdriver. Lift it upwards and slide it off the top adapter. Support the caliper with a bungee cord to the frame and do not allow it to hang from the brake hose. For the front caliper, remove both upper and lower caliper bolts, pry the caliper off with the screwdriver and support with the bungee cord to the frame or coil spring.

  • Gently pry off the inboard and outboard pads with a the screwdriver and take note which is which to replace them in the exact same manner your removed them.

  • Remove the rotor retainer rings. These are located on two of the lug studs, if they're present at all. Cut them off with the dikes and do not worry about damaging them. They hold the rotor flush to the hub so you can replace the caliper, and you do not really need to replace these.

  • Remove the rotor. If it is stubbornly rusted to the hub, strike the rotor with the hammer on the edge of the fins or the back side of the fin forward.

  • Spray the new rotor with brake cleaner generously on both sides of the rotor to clean off the coating. Wipe clean with a rag.

  • Place the new rotor onto the hub and screw on one lug nut to hold the rotor flush to the hub. This will replace the rotor retainer ring until you've replaced the caliper.

  • Apply a light coat of silicone brake lubricant to the pad mounts where the backing plate of the pads contact it. Replace the inboard and outboard pad.

  • Compress the piston of the caliper in with the C-clamp.

  • Replace the caliper over the pads and rotors and replace the caliper bolt(s).

  • Replace the wheel and lug nuts. Tighten the lug nuts as much as you can with the ratchet and socket until you lower the Dakota to the ground.

  • Lower the Dakota and torque the lug nuts in an alternate fashion to 100 to 120 foot lbs. using the adjustable torque wrench and a socket. Refer to the owners manual for the correct torque specifications. It will depend on the year of the Dakota.

  • Repeat the procedure for the right side.

  • Pump the foot brake pedal until it feels normal. This motion restores the hydraulic pressure back to the compressed caliper pistons. Failing to perform this task will be hazardous.

  • Check and adjust the brake fluid in the master cylinder reservoir, only adding new DOT-approved brake fluid specified for you Dakota. Replace the master cylinder cap securely and close the hood.

  • Remove the wheel chock.

  • Release the parking brake (if it's applied) and test drive the Dakota.

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