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2002 Chrysler Town and Country Van Braking Problem

I have the identical problem with my vehicle except it only lasts a week in between each brake bleed…below is what was on your site in 2010 but there was never an aswer. Can you send me the persons email address or send him mine so that I can follow up with him on how he resolved it? phil.davies@sbcglobal.net


2002 Chrysler Town and Country Van Braking Problem
JohnnyAdams February 2010

Problem:
About 5 months ago this vehical started to have a spongy brake pedal and loss of braking.The following work was done in order to try and correct this.

First the master cylinder brake fluid was checked and there was no real loss of fluid.

There were no visual signs of brake fluid leaks.

The brake system was bled and the brake performance was restored.

It ran about 3-4 weeks and the brake pedal became spongy again.The brake system was again bled and performance restored.This work was done by the used car dealer who the car was bought from.

It ran again for several weeks and this spongy pedal reoccurred again.The dealer tried to tell me that it was probably just trapped air in the system that had to work its way out.I didn’t buy this and decided to look at this myself.I am a diesel engine tech and have some car experience.

When I looked at it I noticed that when bleeding the brakes that the left front caliper was the only one with air in it.After bleeding the air the brake performance was again OK.

Being concerned as to why the air was just coming from the left front caliper I decided to look closely at the caliper.Didn’t see any signs of brake fluid around the seal and the piston seem to move in and out OK.

Just to eliminate any possibility that the caliper was causing this I replaced the caliper.

The van ran about 2-3 weeks and again got the spongy brake pedal and loss of braking.Rechecking there were no brake fluid loss or signs of leaks.

Rechecking when bleeding the brakes found air again only at the left front caliper.

Just as a hunch decided to replace the master cylinder.

The van ran about (4) weeks and the same scenario again.Still air at the left front wheel and no fluid loss.

I have been bleeding the brakes (just the left front) now for several months every few weeks just to be able to keep using it although it seems to be getting more frequent now.

Conclusions:

Can you offer any advised I am at wits end?I tried calling Chrysler for technical assistance but really didn’t get much help.I was thinking about a possible ABS problems and if there would be anyway this could introduce any air into the brake system?Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

Tagged: Chrysler brake town & country performance

I suggest you check the ABS system as the source of the trouble.

Check the check valve for the vacuum booster and see if there’s any fluid residue.
If the O ring that seals the rod going into the brake booster is failing it could allow passage of air from the booster to the master cylinder. If it is failing, it’ll also allow the vacuum in the booster to draw brake fluid in the other direction. Fluid residue on the check valve would be a telltale sign. See the attached drawing to better understand if necessary.

http://tijil.org/Scion_Docs/05_tC_Shop_Manuals/Repair%20Info/Repair%20Manual/Brake/Brake%20Booster%20Assy/conponen.pdf

NOTE: this does not address the “left front only” question. Unless, of course, the rear chamber on your MC is the “LF/RR” portion. There are two portions to the MC, one for the LF/RR and the other for the RF/LR. I do not have access to Chrysler drawings, so I’m offering this without a reference to draw on.

I would look at the flex hose, but a quick question, did you reuse the two gaskets on the banjo fitting when you replaced the caliper? And if you replaced them, did you put one on each side of the banjo? These can act like a one way valve to let air in but not let fluid out. Same at the fitting between the hose and the hard line if it was cross threaded or the flair got distorted.

I did replace the two copper gasket/washers on the banjo fitting when I replaced the caliper although I had to file the ID of the copper washers to allow them to seat on the banjo surface.
I’ll check the check valve on the brake booster (assuming I can find it) although I didn’t notice any oil in the brake booster when I replaced the MC.
If that doesn’t identify the problem I’ll move on to the ABS system.
Thanks for the suggestions!

Still working on the issue but during this cold period of weather it has improved greatly and maintained pedal force/travel…could this be a change in the fluid viscosity or where ever the air is getting in it is restricted due to tollerance shrinking of parts?

One way air can accumulate in a brake caliper is thru the caliper piston seal.

When the brakes are applied the hydraulic pressure is forced onto the caliper piston and the piston seal. This causes the seal to expand to prevent brake fluid from being forced past the seal. When the brakes are released, and the caliper piston retracts back into the caliper, a slight amount of air can leak past the piston seal. Over time and depending how often the brakes are operated enough air can leak past the piston seal to the point where it results in a soft brake pedal. Once the calipers are bled of air, the brakes work fine until the cycle repeats itself.

And yes, temperature can have an effect. Rubber expands at colder temperatures and shrinks at higher temperatures.

Tester

Replace the ABS hydraulic control unit. see below

Case NumberNNN-NN-NNNN
Vehicle Issue Low Brake Pedal. Has Air In Left Front Caliper.
Year 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000
Model NS - Caravan, Voyager, Town and Country | RS - Caravan, Voyager, Town and Country
Category Customer Concern (No DTCs)
System or Component Base Brakes
Symptom Low / Spongy Pedal
Case Verification 97 - 2000 NS, 2001 - 2005 RS vehicle equipped with ABS. Not equipped with traction control. Air only in left front caliper.
Recommendation Replace the hydraulic control unit.
Modification Date 09/20/04 7:35 AM

Im having the same exact problem with my 2002 town and country it is in and out of the shop noone has answers for me.We keep bleeding the left side as well. It last maybe 4 days PLEASE HELP …

@missy109 see post directly above yours. That is your answer.

Replace the hydraulic control unit