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- How We Kicked Brake And Exhaust Corrosion To The Curb On Our 2005 Dodge Power Wagon
How We Kicked Brake And Exhaust Corrosion To The Curb On Our 2005 Dodge Power Wagon
We put an end to the corrosion explosion.
Our 2005 Dodge Power Wagon was brand spankin' new when it arrived at our office. The exterior was shiny and unblemished, and the interior had that new truck smell. That was way back in 2005. Since that day, our 2005 Dodge Power Wagon has been a faithful workhorse. The truck has carried us over some of the most popular trails around Moab, Utah, as well on trails in a number of states including Wisconsin, Illinois, South Carolina, Florida, and California. It has towed everything from other 4x4s, to a travel trailer, a gooseneck horse trailer, and more. It has served as a test mule for countless tires and products, and it has hauled everything imaginable. During its life, the truck has lived on both coasts of the U.S. and it has been subjected to a number of winters in the Midwest.
Incredibly Reliable Truck
Our Power Wagon now has a few ticks over 90,000 miles on the odometer, and so far it has been incredibly reliable. As a matter of fact, other than a rusted brake line the truck has had no major parts failures. Up until recently, the truck was still running the factory brakes and exhaust. We say "was" because the old truck notified us it was finally time change out these wear items.
Showing Its Age
While the truck was on the lift in the shop having its brake line replaced, the technician noted that the hangers on the muffler were rotten. That was no surprise considering the truck's age and the fact it spent some time in the Midwest, where road salt is common. We were also hearing squeaking from the driver-side front brake when the brake pedal wasn't applied, so we knew the brakes also needed work.
We Chose Duralast Pads and Rotors
For brake parts, we chose to go with Duralast. Duralast offers parts that are designed to meet or exceed OE quality, durability, and performance. It's important to note that the Duralast portfolio contains a broad range of parts. Whether you're changing the engine oil in your 4x4 or rebuilding the engine, Duralast probably has what you need. We've had firsthand, positive experiences with Duralast, including when we used a number of the company's parts on our "Week To Wheelin'" vintage Ford Bronco build.
New Exhaust from The Catalytic Converter Rearward
Due to the age of the truck, we chose to replace the exhaust system from the catalytic converter back. For this, we contacted AutoZone. You know AutoZone; there's probably one close to you. Everything we needed was in stock and ready to bolt in. No drama at all.
On the Lift at George's Offroad Design
The work was performed at George's Offroad Design in Inverness, Florida. This busy shop is in an area that is a bit of a hotbed of wheeling, in part due to nearby state forests that are crisscrossed with trails. George's Offroad Design is owned by George Hein, and it's a full service shop with showroom. George's is known for LS swaps, axle swaps, suspension lifts, wheel and tire installs, and more. There's even a custom fabrication shop. In addition, George's has a wide array of machines that contribute to it being a one-stop-shop, including the ability to mount and balance tires and perform alignments.
George's made short work of disassembling the offending parts on our truck and getting the new parts installed. Here's some highlights of the installation of the new parts and some of what we faced when working on our older truck that spent some time in the Rustbelt.
All of the Duralast brake parts we needed—pads and rotors for both axles—were in stock, so procuring them was a painless affair. Our brake pads were getting thin on our old truck, but the bigger issue was the annoying squeak from the driver-side front brake when the brakes weren't applied.
We briefly entertained the thought of going with slotted rotors and high-end pads, but the factory brakes have served us well over the past 90,000-plus miles, and the Duralast parts are said to meet or exceed OE specs, so we anticipate the Duralast parts should serve us well and last a good long time.
There were no surprises during disassembly of the front brakes. George's Offroad Design technician Josh Hogue, who has a long history in wrenching professionally including on heavy trucks, is one of four technicians who work at the shop.
Our 2005 Dodge Power Wagon has seen some Midwest road salt, so a few things needed to be cleaned up prior to reassembly. Hogue cleaned the surface rust off each caliper bracket prior to reassembly and included anti-seize on each caliper bracket's contact surfaces. As expected, Hogue found that all the brake caliper slide pins were corroded. This was causing the pads to drag, and in the case of the driver-side front, squeak. He simply cleaned up and lubed each pin prior to reassembly.
Here's the passenger-side front assembly with new parts installed. The Duralast Gold brake pads we used at all four corners feature a semi-metallic friction material that is designed to deliver smooth, long-lasting stopping power, they use custom shims to neutralize vibrations and eliminate noise, and they have an exclusive protective coating that's formulated to prevent corrosion.
Out back we found what we expected: thin pads and rusty parts that included sticking slide pins. On the upside, everything came apart easily. Interestingly, none of the truck's rotors were warped.
Here's the passenger-side rear brake assembly with new parts installed. It's important to note that the Duralast rotors we used at all four corners of our truck are made from a high-strength alloy that contributes to long life and resistance to warping. They're also balanced for smooth stopping, and they're engineered to reduce brake noise.
All of our brake calipers appeared to be functioning correctly, but during a test drive after installing the new brakes, we found that the driver-side rear caliper wasn't releasing correctly. It was Duralast to the rescue again, this time with a new caliper. The remanufactured caliper was in stock, it fit like a glove, and it included everything we needed to quickly swap it onto our truck.
We considered several options to replace our factory exhaust. We've installed performance exhaust systems, or variants thereof, on many of our 4x4s, but for our Power Wagon we decided to go with what basically is a stock replacement system. We like a quiet exhaust for this workhorse, we're happy with the Hemi's power, and the price was budget friendly. AutoZone had the three pieces in stock that we needed to replace the system from the catalytic converter rearward.
Two things Hogue did to ease disassembly of the stock exhaust system: spray some WD-40 on the hangers to help ease removal and cut four reliefs in the pipe that connects to the catalytic converter so the pipe could be easily removed.
In the end, the stock exhaust system was removed from the truck in one piece.
Overall, the 15-year-old factory exhaust was in surprisingly good shape with the exception of the hangers on the muffler, as you can see here. We wanted to replace it under our terms—not have it fall off on the trail.
In no time, our new exhaust was installed and ready for years of use. Everything fit perfectly. We used a combination of U-bolt-style and flat band exhaust clamps from AutoZone to mate the three pieces firmly together. We're happy knowing that our exhaust is now strong, and we like that exhaust noise is at stock levels.
George's Offroad Design
352/637-2955, Facebook George's Offroad Design @GeorgesOffroadDesign