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7/22/2007
18:09:23

Subject: Dan's Beer Budget Front Brake Upgrade
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If you want no more front brake problems, want to upgrade to 16" wheels (which I would do, it's worth it) Check this link out.

http://bigdakotabrakes.gotdns.com/brakes.html

I completed this yesterday, Dan did the homework, follow his part list, you will not need anything but the time to complete the project. Best damn mod I have completed to this date.

I replaced my front brakes about a year ago, a caliper stuck on me, so I replaced both calipers, new rotors, new pads. I tore mine done to do this. Left side already was getting hot, could tell by the cracks in the pad, thus that was the shudder I was feeling while braking, and pulling left.

Granted I just insatlled Dan's Brake Job, But these brakes where not even close to this from the day I drove this truck off the lot new. I mean unless I Let you drive it, I can't explain it. No pulsing pedal, no pull, not near the pressure on the pedal to stop. It's like a new truck but even better, it's my old truck that I love to play with. Kinda like buying your wife a new dress.LOL (sorry I got carried away)

Everyone wants SPEED, but ya know, all that speed and money to get that speed, and not stopping, well you have a wrecked truck. nothing else.

And hey Dan, 04 Dakota steering knuckles work too.



screwuphead
Dodge Dakota
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7/22/2007
20:52:04

RE: Dan's Beer Budget Front Brake Upgrade
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id like to have big break calipers in the front and back!



Dan M
Dodge Dakota
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7/23/2007
05:45:39

RE: Dan's Beer Budget Front Brake Upgrade
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The 01's didn't come with 16" wheels? My 02 QC has them.

nice how-to, well written.

- Dan M




Duncan
Dodge Dakota
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7/07/2011
23:43:44

RE: Dan's Beer Budget Front Brake Upgrade
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Crap, the "http://bigdakotabrakes.gotdns.com/brakes.html" link no longer works. Does anybody have these instructions handy to send to me? I'm about to purchase the parts and would like to have Dan's instructions handy. I want to make sure that I receive the correct knuckles, and Dan mentioned the distance between the caliper mounting bolts. Please let me know, thanks



LOL
Dodge Dakota
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7/08/2011
10:05:06

RE: Dan's Beer Budget Front Brake Upgrade
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I love the name! "Beer Budget"
That alone is worth a near perfect score.



BeerHat
Dodge Dakota
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2/29/2012
02:03:05

RE: Dan's Beer Budget Front Brake Upgrade
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Sorry Duncan -- been swapping my DNS names lately like I swap socks.

Here go:

http://bigdakotabrakes.kelterm.com

or just

https://kelterm.com/brakes.html

Click through the cert warnings, the site is hosted on my own linux box, it's safe.

Dan




Tristar
Dodge Dakota
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3/08/2012
22:28:54

RE: Dan's Beer Budget Front Brake Upgrade
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Do you know if this kit fits the Gen 2's. I have a
95 cc sport that I would love to put that kit on.



98Durango
Dodge Dakota
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3/14/2018
09:10:01

RE: Dan's Beer Budget Front Brake Upgrade
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I found this thread in 2018. The link from 2012 is no longer valid, and none of the URLs are archived. Is the guide available anywhere?



BeerHat
Dodge Dakota
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3/14/2018
10:41:52

RE: Dan's Beer Budget Front Brake Upgrade
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I'm afraid that website is long, long gone. The
pair of mirrored disks its webserver was running
on died together (Seagate drives suck). I had
no other backups of it, just notes and pics are
what's left. I even spent 100 bux tried
swapping the boards on the back of the drives
with no luck. In the end, I drove a pick axe
through them both so I wouldn't be tempted to do
any further recovery attempts, and anxe over it.
Yeah, I suppose I'm weird that way. I'll see if
I have any info left worthy of post here.

Dan



BeerHat
Dodge Dakota
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3/14/2018
11:35:56

RE: Dan's Beer Budget Front Brake Upgrade
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Message:
Below is a very rough first draft of the text I
used for the project site. One thing to note,
the kingpins/knuckles needed for this can also
be found on +03 Dakotas as well as Durango. I
have an 03 Dak now, and when I swapped over my
brake kit from my old 01 truck, all I did was
swap the rotors, calipers, brake line bolts
over. As well, the +03 Dak brakes were not as
lacking as the 01's were. So those of you
thinking you wanna change your +03's brakes over
to Durango, the differences are negligible. But
I did it anyway. -Dan

===========
Dan's Beer Budget Front Brake Upgrade

I started this project out of an epiphany
really, and I'll have to say it has come
together rather nicely.

If there was one thing about my truck that
scares the living hell out of me on a daily
basis, it's the braking
system. And yes, I did install cross-drilled
rotors and some whizbang pads a few years back
which helped
a little; but I'm sorry, you can't make up for
sheer size with holes. I'm not sure how a car
company's engineering
department could believe that a single piston
caliper clamping against puney 11.3" rotors is
going to stop a 5500lb truck
adequately at 80mph.

I've owned BMWs with bigger factory brakes that
weighed 1/2 of what this truck does. Don't even
get me started on towing
expectations!

Bottom line is: this project could potentially
save lives.

SO LET'S FIx IT!

Our Dakotas, depending on the setup, are rated
at a maximum towing capacity of 6200lbs. The
2003 Durango is rated
for around 7800lbs towing capacity, mainly due
to it's increase in weight over the Dakota. And
because
of this increase, the retards in Michigan knew
they needed to beef up not only the chassis, but
also the braking systems
in these SUVs. And that, they did. Sales are
everything, so this was probably done more to
compete with the other
auto industries stellar tow rating performance
measures.

They installed a massive dual piston floating
caliper, clamping down on a pretty beefy 12.1"
rotor.
To compare, the mounting holes for the Durango
calipers to spindle are 6" apart, wheras the
Dakotas are about 4".
Given that difference, the calipers are
proportionally larger.

There's just a heck of a lot more surface area
covered with these new binders. This is what
even the earliest Dakotas
should have left the factory wearing. Damn you
Chrysler for cheaping out.

Don't let anyone kid you, the braking systems in
the Dakotas ARE DIFFERENT from the spindle -->
outward than those in the
Durango (even of the same year). And this is
where it gets really interesting. Everything
inboard of the spindle shares
the same part numbers with the Dakota. They're
both basically the same truck upfront. Brake
booster, master cylinder,
control arms, hubs, ball joints... you name it.
Everything is the same.

Therefore, it would seem logical that you should
just be able to bolt these brakes on, right?

YOU CAN!

To save a great deal of time for those aspiring
for killer budget brakes on their Dakotas, I've
compiled my shopping list:

PARTS LIST:

BONEYARD - 03 Durango 2 front factory rotors -
20.00
BONEYARD - 03 Durango 2 front spindles and
backplate - 30.00
NAPA - rotor resurfacing - 20.00
NAPA - remanufactured front calipers P/N 242-
3184 & 242-3185 - 160.00
NAPA - cotter pins for castle nut - 5.00
DEALER - 4 main caliper to spindle bolts 16.00
DEALER - 2 Durango rubber brake lines - 80.00
INTERNET - Hawk Hi Performance brake pads -
88.00 shipped

TOTAL:

The Rotors: Normally I would have bought new
slotted rotors, but I got lucky in that
the Durango I stole parts from was wrecked with
very low mileage (under 10k). And for 10 bucks
each
I just couldn't pass up those nearly new factory
rotors. The Durango had sat in
the junkyard for quite some time, so there was a
nice thick coating of rust on everything.
A trip to NAPA for some rotor machining and they
looked new again. I hit the vent areas and
center hub of the rotors
with a black semi-gloss Rustoleum prior to
taking them in. So as you can see, they looked
really nice when I picked them up.
And the guy who did the machining said the rust
wasn't very deep at all, he just cleaned them
up, removing very little
material.

The calipers: were not available from the donor
vehicle. Being what some would consider the
Dakota and Durango capital
of the world, Montana just doesn't have many of
them in the boneyards yet. Which to me, is
quite suprising as it's
often necessary to dodge (big) wildlife a few
times a year on slippery roads, but I digress. I
was able to buy the calipers at
Napa for a reasonable price after core. They
actually gave me full core for the Dakota
calipers I returned, knowing full
well they were Dakota calipers. The calipers
came with a 'hardware kit', which is quite
rediculous. It consists of the 2 shims
you need to install your pads, but also comes
with 2 extra caliper bracket bolts. I would
have expected the kit to include the
big caliper to spindle bolts, but it doesn't.
Kind of a waste of bolts if you ask me.

One interesting tidbit, the 03 Durango and full-
size Ram share the same size calipers.
If this gives you any indication on how well
this setup works on our lighter trucks...

Brake pads: up to you really. Total preference
thing. I like Hawk, you may not. But whatever
you decide, make sure you
hit the steel plate backings with a generous
coat of Permatex's "Blue Brake Quiet" spray. It
will tack up in about 15 minutes in the
heat of the sun, and will definetly shut those
brakes up. Bed in brakes according to
specification.

The brake lines: The rubber brake line decision
was a very difficult one. This project requires
Durango brake lines, as
the caliper fitting is different than on the
Dakota. I have always entrusted Goodridge
stainless lines on my BMWs and
really wanted to buy a set for this project too.
However, I couldn't find anyone on the web
willing to sell me Durango fronts
and Dakota rears. I would have had to purchase
2 sets (8 total lines!). This was a budget
brake project, remember?
Even the Goodridge guys couldn't work with me on
this request.

Also, now is definetly an excellent time to
inspect your ball joints. People have made
horror stories
out of the balljoint project, but it's really
very easy when you're in this deep. If you have
some good earplugs,
a ball cap, and a dia-grinder, do yourself a
favor and spend the extra 80 bucks and get some
quality Moogs and
just knock it out. A trick I came up with to
getting the grease boots on the uppers (they've
got a steel ring) was to find a
small scrap of a 2x4 maybe a foot or so in
length, and bore a hole into it using a hole saw
that is just big enough for the boot to slip
into
but small enough so it catches the lip of the
boot. With this, you should have enough
leverage to push it onto the
ball joint with your hands. Don't forget to
grease'm up with a quality synthetic grease.

*** Oh yeah, the ballcap is for preventing
accidental hair combustion. don't ask ***

One nifty thing I found is that they have
redesigned their backplates a bit. The 03
Durango backplate protects the back of the
brake rotor from the ball joint, which can
transfer grease to the disc on earlier versions.
This was a real problem for my truck
being that it had crossdrilled rotors, which
hold in the grease preventing adequate cooling.
Jeeze everything about those
brakes just sucks.

TORQUE FIGURES:

lower ball joint - 55 ft lbs
upper ball joint - 55 ft lbs
Tie Rod end - 38 ft lbs
3 bolts caliper to spindle - 125 lb-ft confirmed

It's very important you get these right. Too
much torque on the ball joint castle nuts can
lead to breakage.



BeerHat
Dodge Dakota
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3/14/2018
11:38:42

RE: Dan's Beer Budget Front Brake Upgrade
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Message:
Some sizing differences..

Vehicle year: 2001
Vehicle Make: DODGE
Vehicle Model: DAKOTA-4 WHEEL DRIVE
Outside rotor diameter: 287mm
Rotor height: 64mm
Rotor thickness: 24mm

=========

Vehicle year: 2003
Vehicle Make: DODGE
Vehicle Model: DAKOTA-4 WHEEL DRIVE
Outside rotor diameter: 308mm
Rotor height: 62.9mm
Rotor thickness: 26mm

=========

Vehicle year: 2003
Vehicle Make: DODGE
Vehicle Model: DURANGO
Outside rotor diameter: 308mm
Rotor height: 61.1mm
Rotor thickness: 28.1mm



DART_VADR
Dodge Dakota
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4/13/2019
11:54:52

RE: Dan's Beer Budget Front Brake Upgrade
IP: Logged

Message:
@BeerHat et al,

I found a copy of "Dan's Beer Budget Dakota BIG
Brake Upgrade" on my computer circa 9/22/13. I
don't have any of the pics (they were linked to
the original website within a Word document),
but the text is below. Hope this helps
someone...

Dan's Beer Budget Dakota BIG Brake Upgrade
(a'la Durango)

PROJECT VEHICLE: 2001 Dodge Dakota 4.7L SLT 4x4

I started this project as a result of an
epiphany really. And I'll have to say, baring
just a few complications (which this document
will assist with), it has come together quite
nicely.

If there was one thing about my truck that
scared the hell out of me on pretty much a
weekly basis, it was the braking system. And
yes, I did install cross-drilled rotors and
some nice ceramic whizbang pads a few years
back which helped a little; but I'm sorry, you
just can't make up for sheer size with
strategically drilled holes. I'm not sure how
a car company's engineering team could believe
that a single piston caliper clamping against
puney 11.3" rotors is going to stop a 5500lb
truck adequately at 80mph. I've owned far less
expensive BMWs with bigger factory brakes that
weighed half of what this truck does. Don't
even get me started on payload and towing
expectations with this factory Dakota setup.

Bottom line is, the ensuing project could
potentially save a life.

GREAT. SO LET'S FIX IT!
- First off, the project requires 16" wheels.
- Secondly, this covers the 4WD Dakota only.
2WD trucks have an entirely different
suspension setup (coil springs).

Our Dakotas, depending on the setup are rated
at a maximum towing capacity of 6200lbs. The
2003 Durango is rated for around 7800lbs,
mainly due to it's increase in weight over the
Dakota. And because of this increase, the
fscking retards in Michigan knew they needed to
beef up not only the chassis, but also the
braking systems in these SUVs. And THAT, they
did. Since sales (not public safety) are
everything, this was probably done more to
compete with the other auto industries stellar
tow rating performance measures.

They installed a redesigned larger dual piston
floating caliper, clamping down on a more beefy
12.1" rotor. To compare, the mounting holes
for the Durango calipers to spindle are 6"
apart, whereas the Dakotas are about 4.25" with
MUCH smaller mounting bolts (pins). Given that
difference, the calipers are proportionally
larger. There's just a heck of a lot more
surface area covered with these new binders.

These are what even the earliest Dakotas should
have left the factory wearing. Damn you
Chrysler for cheaping out!

Don't let anyone kid you, the braking systems
in the 03 Dakotas ARE DIFFERENT from the
spindle --> outward than those in the 03
Durango (yes even of the same year). And this
is where it gets really interesting.
Everything inboard of the spindle shares the
same part numbers with the Dakota. They're
both basically the same truck upfront. Brake
booster, master cylinder, control arms, hubs,
ball joints... you name it. Everything is the
same.

Therefore, it would seem logical that you
should just be able to bolt these brakes on,
right? Well, for the most part, yep.

PARTS LIST

BONEYARD - 03 Durango 2 front factory rotors -
20.00
BONEYARD - 03 Durango 2 front spindles and
backplate - 30.00
NAPA - rotor resurfacing - 20.00
NAPA - remanufactured front calipers NAPA P/N
242-3184 & 242-3185 - 160.00
NAPA - cotter pins for castle nut - 5.00
DEALER - 4 main caliper to spindle bolts 16.00
DEALER - 2 Durango (fine thread) brake line
bolts - 10.00
INTERNET - Hawk High Performance brake pads -
88.00 shipped
COSTCO - 1 case of Big Hole headstrong Pale Ale
- 21.00
TOTAL COST: $370.00

THE SPINDLES

These are pretty much the same on both trucks.
Except of course the caliper stantions and
mounting points, which are 6" apart on the
Durango versus 4" on the Dakota.

One nifty thing I found is that Chrysler has
redesigned their backplates a bit. The 03
Durango backplate protects the back of the
brake rotor from the ball joint, which can
transfer grease to the disc surface and cooling
jackets on earlier Dakota versions. See the
comparison picture below. You might not think
this would be a big deal, but when you lube the
joints the vehicle is usually raised or at a
different suspension angle. Once you set the
vehicle back down it pushes a decent glob of
grease out, typically from the top of the boot.
This was a real problem for my truck being that
it had crossdrilled rotors, which tended to
hold in the grease preventing adequate cooling,
and also throwing the balance off -- apparently
quite a bit! My thoughts are that this (and not
warpage) is causing all of the judder that
people are reporting in the Dakota braking
systems. And yes, technically turning the
rotors would temporarily resolve the problem,
until more grease gets transferred. My brakes
felt VERY warped, but a straight-edge revealed
they were still true from any angle I attacked
them at. It's funny how one developmental
oversight has cost us so much time/money. A
stupid backplate. Jeeze everything about those
old Dakota brakes just sucks huh!

THE ROTORS

Normally I would have bought new slotted
rotors, but I got lucky in that the Durango I
stole parts from had given up its ghost with
very low mileage (under 10k according to the
yard). And hey for 10 bucks each, I just
couldn't pass up those nearly new factory
rotors. The Durango had sat in the junkyard
for quite some time, so there was a nice thick
coating of rust on everything. A trip to NAPA
for some rotor machining and the rotors looked
new again. I hit the vent areas and center hub
of the rotors with a black semi-gloss Rustoleum
prior to taking them in. So as you can see
above, they looked really nice when I picked
them up. The guy who did the machining said
the rust wasn't very deep at all. He just
cleaned them up removing very little material.
After the machining process, feel around the
outer edge and check for any noticeable burring
or sharp edges. If there are, VERY LIGHTLY run
a mild flat file at about a 20 degree angle
diagonally along the outer edge if there is any
noticeable burring.

THE CALIPERS

These were not available from the donor
vehicle. It seems like Dakotas and Durangos
are fairly plentiful here, but Montana just
doesn't have many of these trucks in the
boneyards yet. Which to me, is quite suprising
as it's often necessary to 'negotiate' with big
wildlife a few times a year on slippery roads,
but I digress. I was able to buy the calipers
at Napa for a reasonable price after core.
They actually gave me full core for the Dakota
calipers I returned, knowing full well they
were actually Dakota calipers. The calipers
came with a 'hardware kit', which is actually
quite rediculous. It consists of the 2 shims
you need to install your pads; and well that's
great, but it also comes with 2 extra (shorter)
caliper bracket guide bolts. I would have
expected the kit to include the big caliper to
spindle bolts, but it doesn't. Be sure and use
the shorter bolts provided in the bag. The
longer bolts that came pre-installed ended up
destroying the backs of my freshly turned
rotors once the wheel was torqued and I first
backed down the driveway. I was livid. I
could find zero purpose for the longer bolts,
for ANY application these calipers were
intended for. What retards! A complete waste
of bolts!

VERY IMPORTANT: although the brake lines will
retrofit between the two vehicles, the brake
line to caliper bolt is different. It's a fine
thread on the Durango versus a more coarse
thread on the Dakota. It may appear that the
bolt fits, but don't even try it or you'll be
down one set of nice calipers.

One other interesting lil' tidbit: the 03
Durango and some full-size Ram and Ford F-150's
share the same basic caliper design and size
(though mounting points seem to differ). If
this gives you any indication on how well this
setup works on our lighter trucks...
yyyeaaa...

Brake pads: This is up to you really. Total
preference thing. I like Hawk, you may not.
But whatever you decide, make sure you hit the
steel plate backings with a few healthy coats
of Permatex "Blue Brake Quiet" spray. It will
tack up in about 15 minutes in the heat of the
sun, and will definitely shut those brakes up.
Bed in brakes according to pad specification.

Also, now is definitely an excellent time to
inspect your ball joints. People have made
horror stories out of the upper ball joint
project, but it's really very easy when you're
in this deep. If you have some good earplugs,
a San Francisco Giant's ballcap, and a dia-
grinder. Do yourself a favor, spend the extra
80 bucks and get some quality Moogs and just
knock it out if they're loose. A trick I came
up with to getting the grease boots on the
uppers (they've got a steel ring) was to find a
small scrap of a 2x4, maybe a foot or so in
length, and bore a hole into it using a hole
saw that is just big enough for the boot to
slip into -- but small enough so it catches the
steel lip of the boot. With this 'tool', you
should have enough leverage and even-pressure
to push it onto the ball joint fairly easily.
Don't forget to grease'm up with a quality
synthetic grease (I always recommend AMSOIL
grease). Oh yeah. In case you were wondering,
the ballcap is for preventing accidental hair
combustion when grinding those factory rivets
out. (Don't ask)

TORQUE FIGURES

Lower Ball Joint - 75 ft lbs
Upper Ball Joint - 55 ft lbs
Tie Rod End - 38 ft lbs
2 caliper bracket bolts - 40 ft lbs
2 caliper main bolts - 125 ft lbs
3 bolts hub to spindle - 175 ft lbs
2 Brake Line to Caliper bolts - 28 N-m (250
in.lbs)
It's very important you get these in the
vicinity of right. Too much torque on the ball
joint castle nuts can lead to breakage under
shock.

COMPLETION

LEGAL DISCLAIMER:
This document is for informational purposes
only. Under no circumstances shall I, Dan
Keller, be liable for any direct, indirect,
incidental, special, consequential or punitive
damages caused by immitation of the actions
illustrated and depicted in this document.



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