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Certified Minivan Freak
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The 5.2L would have the 44RE transmission. The 3.9L came with the 42RE, and the 5.9L had the 46RE.

Here's a pic from a thread on www.dakota-durango.com that shows the pits (though it's not a super-good picture).

 

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I got to drive my van in the slippery light snow tonight and the ABS and traction control both worked fine with the 4th gen brakes. Actually I can't really see any difference compared to the original 3rd gen brakes.

I still think this was money well spent.
 

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I can see the improvement with the 4th-gen brake parts, however I've never had an issue with the braking performance of my 97 Grand Caravan... Granted, it's from the southwest with not a spec of rust to bind anything up, etc. I flushed the brake system when I bought it in '07 and "tested" the braking performance and was able to activate ABS on pavement, both front and rear. Recently I replaced the front pads and flushed the brake fluid again, went for a test drive once again and managed to get most of the junk from the rear of the van to the front in less than a second! Just last week I had a panic stop in traffic and chirped all 4 with ABS once again. I only have 88k on it so maybe performance will deteriorate more with age as things get worn...

Thanks for posting pictures and parts lists, will make the conversion easy if I ever choose to do it. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #24
I've never had an issue with the braking performance of my 97 Grand Caravan... ... Just last week I had a panic stop in traffic and chirped all 4 with ABS once again.
In that case, leave well enough alone, for sure! Your van is in that select group of 3rd gen vans on this forum that can stop on a dime in its original form, so no need to mess with a good thing! The rest of us (I dare say the vast majority) have little good to say about the original brake setup, even with careful maintenance. Have a look at my "Any help for crappy brakes?" thread, if you want a chuckle :).
 

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Man. Mopar. Minivan.
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I spoke with a close friend at my hometown dealer back in CT yesterday. [This is a fellow that talks to me as a friend, and not a "customer."] He said he would never, EVER, think putting the 4th generation brake setup on the 3rd generation vans would have a high probability of working. For one thing he said that my van has a front disc/rear drum setup: The 4G all-disc setup tended to be on AWD vans, which have totally different rear axle setups- thus what everything "bolts to" would be different.

Then he said that even if you could get all the parts bolted on, the car would have to have ABS for it to function properly. ABS is managed by the computer. And on my van, the computer manages ABS that is trained for front disc/rear drum. If you were to migrate to 4-wheel disc, who knows what the computer consequences would be, and even if ABS would continue to work. Now perhaps going from a 3G all-disc van to a 4G all-disc brake setup, it might not cause an issue, but he basically said that by the time you made all the necessary changes to put a all-disc 4G system in a 3G disc/drum, you might as well convert it over to an AWD van while you're at it. :eekkkk:

Obviously, we know people have done it- but I'm really disappointed now as it seems like it's FAR too much trouble for people who aren't ASE certified to even consider doing it. (Which I had, given I need to replace the brake lines, the master cylinder and who knows what else.)
 

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The abs is not programmed for the type of brakes, it only knows to pump them when one slips.

This swap really wouldn't be too bad as everything bolts on. No fabricating is nice, but it is a bit expensive of a mod.
 

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It's all bolt on. As for the statement that 4 wheel discs are only on AWD vans, that is not the case for the 4th gen. It was optional on FWD 4th gens. My brothers 02 T & C is not AWD and does have 4 wheel disc. from the factory.. The van my rear discs can from was not AWD either.

So many people talk about ABS as if each is designed solely for each vehicle. There are differences in the units but you can change brake sizes quite a bit without effecting the function. Actually, before I did the conversion my ABS was worthless. It didn't work on anything but ice and wet roads when i pushed the pedal as hard as I could. Now it works like other cars I have driven with ABS. It didn't effect the traction control this last winter either. It worked just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #28 (Edited)
Chrysler1924, with all due respect to your friend, I have to question his understanding of automotive brake systems. The ABS is not programmed differently for discs or drums; it just senses if the wheel is turning or not. Also, AWD or FWD has nothing to do with the rear brakes. I used the rear axle from a 4th gen AWD in my 3rd gen FWD, and the AWD did not come into play at all. All you need from the donor axle are the brackets that hold the calipers, which are the same regardless of whether you have axles going through them (AWD) or stubs (FWD). You keep whatever you had (FWD or AWD). So the comment of "might as well convert it to AWD" is just plain wrong.

I would always suggest that people who mess with cars respect two systems the most - steering and brakes. So obviously when you start messing with brakes, especially swapping them from different model and year vehicles, you have to you watch what you do. But it's also not rocket science, this swap was a true bolt-on. I would trust my life to it, which I obviously do since I take myself and my family out in this van all the time.

As far as time involved, I did the rear brake swap (drums to disc) in an afternoon. So the time involved was very short. The front brake swap, which was disc to disc, took much longer, and the benefits were nowhere as significant as from the rear drum to disc swap. My point is that the rear drum to disc swap, which is what your friend was addressing, is easy, and has tremendous results.

All I can say is that since the swap, I have had a couple of really close calls where I was sure that with my old setup, I would have either been in an accident or been extremely close to one, whereas with the current setup, it was a spirited but by no means white-knuckled panic stop. I would do this swap again in a heartbeat.
 

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Discussion Starter #29

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Will the chrome wheels from the '00 Limited work without spacers? If not... perfect excuse to go with the 9-spoke wheels from Gen 4! ;-)
 

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3rd gen > all others
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No, but the chrome Limited rims only need a 1/4" spacer to clear. I did this mod and am running the chrome rims, and I love it!
 

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Stuck with a 3rd Gen
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Is it possible that the mods and the OP work together to get the pics back online in the first two posts?

That would help people a lot!

Thanks!
 

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Stuck with a 3rd Gen
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The pictures in the first two post should be back now.
Indeed, they are!

Great service to the community! (y)

Only blemish is one pic in the first post which is supposed to show the swapped parts from a 3rd gen strut to 4th gen. Instead, it is a double of the previous pic.

Maybe, it is a mere oversight on your part. :)

I've decided to do this swap on my 99 TC Limited as well--actually along with the rear drum to disc conversion. The reason is that there is a tremendous amount of noise in the front suspension. You could hear it clearly when the vehicle drives by a retaining wall or a barrier that bounces off the noise. I cannot pinpoint the source of that noise with me in the van. I hope I can solve that problem by swapping in the 4th gen front braking system.

I will be starting my own thread on this.

Before I quit, I find that Lyonkster used a brand new aftermarket 4th gen strut. I have been thinking about grabbing a junkyard 4th gen strut. Which option is better? Is a junkyard strut reliable? Judging from the posts, I guess Lyonkster re-used his 3rd gen springs. But don't springs also have a life span?

Thanks to the op and GeorgeF for the great work!
 

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...Only blemish is one pic in the first post which is supposed to show the swapped parts from a 3rd gen strut to 4th gen. Instead, it is a double of the previous pic.

Maybe, it is a mere oversight on your part. :)...
Yup, that was my mistake, should be fixed now.

...Thanks to the op and GeorgeF for the great work!
You're welcome.
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Before I quit, I find that Lyonkster used a brand new aftermarket 4th gen strut. I have been thinking about grabbing a junkyard 4th gen strut. Which option is better? Is a junkyard strut reliable? Judging from the posts, I guess Lyonkster re-used his 3rd gen springs. But don't springs also have a life span?
At the time I did this, 4th Gen struts were hard to come by at the Pick Your Part yards. The brand new ones weren't too expensive, so I splurged. I probably should have gotten new springs too (i.e. complete struts), but I had JUST replaced the top mounts, so it bothered me to just throw them out. I reused the top mounts, and the springs, because the springs were fairly low mileage (about 100K).

Thanks to the op and GeorgeF for the great work!
Indeed, thanks GeorgeF!
 

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Stuck with a 3rd Gen
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At the time I did this, 4th Gen struts were hard to come by at the Pick Your Part yards. The brand new ones weren't too expensive, so I splurged. I probably should have gotten new springs too (i.e. complete struts), but I had JUST replaced the top mounts, so it bothered me to just throw them out. I reused the top mounts, and the springs, because the springs were fairly low mileage (about 100K).
I just took a look at Rockauto. A pair of springs(Moog brand) can be had for $92 something. One KYB GR 2/Excel G strut can be had for about $30. That's cheaper than I thought, or not outrageously expensive.

Of course, you have to have the top mounts and the bellows or dust shields. Don't know if anything else is required for the struts. I'm not terribly well versed in them.

One thing about the springs is that all the three available brands mark them as for AWD. My 99 TC Limited is FWD. Can those springs be used on my vehicle?

Another question I have is the fitment. If you buy the aftermarket struts, control arms, do you run into nightmares in installing, if you find them slightly or terribly out of spec?

I've had terrible experience with motor mounts not fitting the vehicle!

I still have a lot of questions, but I'll save them for my own thread on this swap. :)

Thanks very much again, Lyonkster and GeorgeF, for the pics. They will help the noobs a lot!
 

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3rd Gen Plebeian
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Dodge lists 19 different part numbers for springs on the 3rd gen, depending on trim and equipment.

You do not want to use Rock Auto Springs, and you do not want to use "Quick-Struts". Always reuse the old ones.
 
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