Can I use a brake rotor from a different year and engine size

Tiny
STACYLYNN7
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 DODGE DURANGO
  • 5.9L
  • V8
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 172,240 MILES
I had somebody changed my brake pads and they broke the brake bleeder off in the coupler so I had to replace that, so while I was at it I replace the rotor while at the store they gave me a rotor for a 2002 Dodge Durango 4.7 liter and mine is a 2003 5.9L will that make a difference?
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Friday, October 21st, 2016 AT 5:09 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You can look up the part numbers for each application on any auto parts store's web site to see if they are the same. I use the Rock Auto site for this every day. In this case the part numbers are different. The only difference that is listed is the diameter. One is listed as 308 mm and one is 288 mm.
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Friday, October 21st, 2016 AT 8:53 PM
Tiny
STACYLYNN7
  • MEMBER
Okay, will that have any effect on my trucks driving or braking, or will it cause any issues at all?
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Friday, October 21st, 2016 AT 9:59 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Assuming you are able to install the wrong rotor, not all of the brake pads' friction material will make contact so that wheel will not have full stopping power. As a word of warning, you can be sure if someone else runs a red light and causes a crash, his lawyer or insurance investigator will find the wrong rotor and use it to convince a jury that you were partly at fault because you were less-able to avoid the crash, and he will be right. The same goes for lowered cars and raised trucks.

It is unlikely you will be able to install the larger rotor in place of the smaller one without it rubbing or interfering with the caliper. I would measure the diameter and the thickness to see if you actually got the correct rotor.

Also be aware we had a problem show up in the mid 1990's that we never saw before where a truck would stop just fine in a perfectly straight line, until after five or six successive hard stops, then the rotors and pads reached a certain temperature at which the coefficient of friction changed. When that change did not occur at exactly the same time on both sides, you would get surprised by a sudden and unexpected seriously-hard brake pull to one side. You could instantly end up in the ditch or in oncoming traffic with no warning. The problem was traced to recent brake jobs where everything was done perfectly fine, but the two rotors were machined to slightly different thicknesses. We normally only machine them as little as necessary to true them up. Any more material removal shortens their life expectancy. I have had cars with as much as 1/8" thickness difference in the rotors and never had a problem, but that was in the 1970's and 1980's. These trucks had as little as.007" and.020" difference. .007" is the thickness of two sheets of paper, and that is on rotors that are 1 1/8" thick.

That problem was on larger full-size trucks, particularly those with diesel engines because they are heavier and the brakes have to work harder, but it bares including here when you suspect your rotors are not matched.
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Friday, October 21st, 2016 AT 10:41 PM
Tiny
STACYLYNN7
  • MEMBER
Thank you very much. I do have a pull on that side which was changed. Would you suggest I change the other side to match or put right Rotor and parts on?
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Saturday, October 22nd, 2016 AT 7:11 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
No mechanic would suggest putting on a second wrong part to offset the first one. Assuming you have degraded braking power on one side, you do not want to do the same thing on the other side.

Also, be aware that manufacturers put a huge effort into research and development to insure the front and rear brakes apply with balanced stopping power. Aftermarket manufacturers that make replacement brake pads and shoes have to insure their products match the originals in that respect. To avoid potential lawsuits, we have to be on constant watch that we do not do anything that compromises stopping power or alters the design or function of any safety system. Installing the wrong brake rotor goes way beyond what an unscrupulous mechanic would try to get away with. You certainly would not knowingly accept such a job if it was done by a professional.
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Saturday, October 22nd, 2016 AT 5:57 PM

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