Engine or brakes?

Had one of those scary moments owners of old trucks sometimes have :)
For those of you who don't know me, I own a 2001 Dodge Dakota SLT 4x4, v8, 4.7l. I'm not a mechanic, but I'm trying to learn, not to do stuff
myself, but so I can talk to my trusty mechanic intelligently :)
It's a soggy day. Truck's been behaving fine. This happened so fast I may not have the details exactly right but here's what I remember:
Most of the way home - 20 or so minutes into my commute. I'm on the highway, slowed down at the light - but not stopped, then speeded up. Something wasn't right! Engine sounded "wrong" - revving too high? Truck felt... like it was going over small pea gravel? Odd, anyway. I thought maybe I'd shifted into the wrong gear at first, and downshifted to 4th, still felt weird, but as I slowed it seemed better. Then I smelled something burning! Oil? Brakes? Not sure. So far maybe 10, 15 seconds had passed. Pulled over, put it in park, left engine running.
Hmm. No red lights on dash. All gauges within limits. Popped the hood, engine sounded fine. Still smelled something, but that quickly faded. Nothing seemed to be dripping anywhere.
So I got into the truck, pulled back into traffic and... perfectly normal. No problems at all. Checked for codes, got p done and nothing else (whew!)
So what the hell happened? I'm inclined to think the brakes locked (I don't remember feeling it pull one way or the other - could it have been rear brakes?). Earlier this year I'd had two incidents where the brake stuck when I tried to move out from park, but the front brake pads and rotors were replaced in July; they looked over the system really well then. I don't think they found anything else except the worn pads and rusty rotors, and I haven't had any issues since then.
Was this just "one of those things" that happen to older vehicles or do I have a problem?
jmc
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Sounds like a brake sticking
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Could have been a stuck caliper or maybe something was caught between the pad and rotor.
Like maybe a CCC!!! <VBG>
Roy
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Suddenly, without warning, Roy exclaimed (11/12/2009 7:41 PM):

Gads, you and those CCCs. Pinin' for them, are ya? :) A've got better things to do with them then throw them underneath my truck! <vbg>
If that's the case (sticking caliper), then getting new brakes and rotors and a thorough going-over didn't fix this problem. Is it just something an old truck will do when the weather sucks, or is it something I can get the mechanic to fix?
If the caliber sticks when I'm on the road and unable to pull over (most of my commute pulling over is suicidal, no shoulders, I was lucky today), are there any tricks to get it to unstick without getting rear-ended or otherwise causing chaos during rush hour?
jmc
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wrote:

IIRC the calipers are designed to stick when the piston seals start to go. Rebuilt calipers aren't that expensive, $30 - $40 each. Could be more, its been a while since I replaced mine.
beekeep
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my guess would be, water on clutch causing slippage allowing the motor to rev producing nasty smelling steam off the clutch. or moisture causing sludge to coagulate in the brake lines. the buildup of sludge can form a (one way valve) allowing fluid to freely travel unrestrected one direction, (to the caliper) and restrict the returning flow of fluid back to the master cylinder causing your brakes to hang. . if the brake pedal feels a bit slow in returning then bleed the brakes,.. i hate working in the rain so i would find a sale on brake bleeding and have them also inspect the rubber flex lines that go to each wheel for restrictions.. dodge brake flex lines are junk. so don,t hesitate to replace them..
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If it happens again, go and (carefully) feel each wheel... If one is noticably hot, bingo: that brake is probably the one hung (not to say you don't have to replace both on the axle!)
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I think you plunged on the throttle, and had the right rear tire (yep 1 rear tire) spinning. If your account is even close that this all happened in 20 seconds... I just don't think the brakes would act up like this, fast enough, but it could I guess...
acceleration from 0-60 is like close to 7 seconds probably in a v8 dak, if you aren't trying too awful hard, with good traction. ( BTW, I have the same truck with 5speed manual). you said put it in park I think that means AUTO trans. The transmissions are a soft-spot on these trucks! I hunted for any trucks in the 120k miles range, never met an owner that did NOT say or try to hide that the tranny was out, or NOT say the tranny had been fixed though.
Anyway, with the 4.7 --> empty bed pickup (light)--> Auto 4speed --> rolling start --> WET pavement and a plausible lead foot, I would bet you scalded the right rear tire. you can roast tires in the rain easy, especially if it has just started to rain, because cars leak oil grease all the time, if you were where cars come to rest waiting for light to change, this is even more likely, as crazy stuff is even more abundant. When you got out, if you smelled rubber that was the tire I bet. you might not have noticed the speedo reading anywhere from 5-30 miles per hour faster than you were going. if you didn't LIFT off the gas, and downshifted you didn't stop the tire from spinning, in fact you might have prolonged it.
now, if you had posi or limited slip like I do, you COULD have possibly lost control or not quite spun the single tire as easily. When both rear wheels start spinning they seem to do the "rock paper scissors instantly and decide which side of the truck they are going to go pass the front set of tires.
We 'Kids' do this all the time in wet, if they don't go by us old timers rules, "take it easy, when it rains" because water alone decreases traction by some 15% I believe, more if you hydroplane and more when there is the early-rain, greasy-oily-mixture that hasn't run off to the curbs.
In California, it is a semi known fact that the 1st 10 minutes of a "shower" is good for about 10,000 accidents, 10% of those will be injuries, because they don't know how to drive in the rain, it hardly ever does rain! So if you are in Southern CA, and it is going to rain, stay off the freaking freeways until about 15 minutes after the 1st drop falls! Once the accidents happen, & traffic is backed up for 20 friggin miles, usually everyone else makes it home safe, (BECAUSE THEY CANT GO MORE THAN 2 MPH in the clogged and backed up freeways, due to the accidents every friggin where, LOL)!!!

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Suddenly, without warning, PlowBoy exclaimed (11/13/2009 4:53 PM):

Nope. I don't "plunge the throttle" (or, well, yea, I can, but only sometimes and never when it's wet). Hard to do in heavy traffic without rearending someone anyway, but I'm a very cautious driver (not to tempt fate, but I've never had an accident, ever, and I've been driving for going on three decades). I hadn't even come to a complete stop, was slowing with traffic.
Calipers have seized twice before during heavy rain, but the other two times it was parked and they didn't immediately release when I tried to drive off. this is the first time it's happened while I was moving.

My mistake. Didn't mean put it in park, meant parked it (stopped, put it in neutral, and put the emergency brake on) It's a 5 speed stick. Truck may be older but has only a bit over 70k miles on it, long way from 120k.

Again, no lead foot. I am very careful when moving from a stop (and remember I was NOT at a complete stop before this happened), because on wet pavement, the back tires slip easily. These tires are newer and not as bad as the OEM tires, but it still happens, especially when it hasn't rained hard enough to wash the oil off the road.
And, you don't think I'd notice if I'd spun out?

FWIW I do have limited slip but of course I've already said I know I wasn't burnin' no rubber :)

Similar here in DC if someone even whispers the 4-letter S word. I grew up in Upstate NY so the little snows we get here don't scare me none.
Thanks for your comments but I really think it was the brake calipers. Darn. Seems like every time I'm close to an oil change (synthetic, so not as often as you might be thinking), something else has to be fixed at the same time.
jmc
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I think you're right. But lets look at the bright side - ITS STOPPED RAINING!
beekeep
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Suddenly, without warning, beekeep exclaimed (11/14/2009 6:52 AM):

Sorta, kinda. Wet out on the deck this morning, so it did sumpin'.
jmc
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wrote:

I may have spoke too soon but the sun is out this morning!
beekeep
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Suddenly, without warning, beekeep exclaimed (11/15/2009 7:42 AM):

Oh, it's a gorgeous day today. Left the truck parked, and went for a 10 mile bike ride. Pretty sure my knees will be complaining soon, but it was a glorious day and I enjoyed the ride!
jmc
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well darn, hoped to solve the mystery without $. I am 40+ never heard of the brake hang-up thingy, thank god for the newsgroups... but I don't have a lot of mileage in "Dodge" vehicles unless you count the minivans... the pacifier (Pacifica) doesn't have but 40k on it. the old "dodge" I had, was actually built by Mitsubishi.

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