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2001 Focus Rear Breaks Problems


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2001 Ford Focus 1.8 T.D.C.I

Ok guys,

I got a problem with my rear brakes. I recently changed the front brake discs and pads and the rear brake shoes. Overall the brakes are working fine but I was tightening up the handbrake as the car is up for M.O.T on Monday and there is a serious imbalance on the rear. When I use the foot brake all seems fine and after adjusting the 10mm nut at the handbrake inside the car I get it perfect on one side the other side is locked.

Ok, so I then took off the drums and checked the auto adjusters and there are no teeth missing and they both looked ok. Now on the passenger rear there was about 3 drops off liquid that I can only imagine is brake fluid but was not all over the place, so I'm guessing this aint good at anytime but was wondering would this be enough to cos the imbalance and also would the brake shoe already be compromised due to contamination on the brake shoe from the drops off fluid?

I was going to go to the motor factors tomorrow and have a list off things I was going to get to repair them myself:

1. 2 Rear cylinders (May as well do the both)

2. New rear shoes (Due to contamination)

3. Brake fluid

4. Self brake bleeder (Will be doing the job on my own)

5. 10mm Flare nut wrench

6. Brake cleaner (To clean the hubs)

Was wondering is the flare nut wrench the right size for this model?

Any help would be greatly appreciated guys. Head is done in this day….lol.

P.S. Still driving the car and the brakes are brilliant just the hand brake thats crap :(

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Cheers for the replies guys. I got talking to a friend this evening and he said apart from replacing the cylinder the cylinder does not actually affect the imbalance on the hand brake, he said the burst cylinder would certinally throw the foot brake off balance as the rear passenger side that has the damaged cylinder would not lock properly or else lock and not release.

So his conclusion was the auto adjuster might not be auto adjusting and said to:

A. Slacken the hand brake totally

B. Get the adjuster and prise it towards me a few teeth on each side and said I might need to mess about with them a while to get the hub back on.

C. Pump the foot brake a few times until its tight.

D. Pull hand brake up about 3 clicks, tighen the 10mm bolt inside at the hand brake until it takes the slack.

E. Release hand brake and pull up a few times.

F. Release hand brake and check wheels are turning free.

G. Pull Hand brake up about 4 clicks and adjust the 10mm bolt until shoes are slightly rubbing and that should be it.

So I will try this tomorrow when I get the new bits on and see how it goes, the only problem is, when I done this first time around with the adjuster I couldn't get the hub back on and thats why I completely slackened it off.

Oh well, I'll see how I get on tomorrow. Its as well I took a week off work to sort the car, seems like its not gonna be time wasted:-)

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I would have thought if the auto-adjuster wasn't working you'd notice an increase in brake pedal travel.

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You may be suffering from a cable that is not pulling evenly on each side as well. to test this, once all the adjustment is done is with the wheels on, pull the handbrake on 1 click at a time and check the level of resistance is the same each side.

Make sure your adjusters are fully lubricated, some WD to loosen right up and a litte LM grease on the slide.

The trick I find with adjusting the back drums and getting them adjusted evenly is make sure they are fully centered inside the drum and then adjusting them right up manually as the self adjusters are never the best at balancing themselves up.

You're pals steps sound about right, when you go to put the back drums on, make sure you click the self adjusters up the same number of clicks on each side, until you feel resistance when turning the drums by hand, the same resistance on each side, this is done with the handbrake cable adjuster just at the point it feels loose in the handbrake mechanism, again as your pal suggests, a little resistance when turning by hand is ok as the shoes will bed themselves in pretty quickly and loosen themselves up.

This may take a few tries taking the drums on and off till they're equal. take up the slack in the cable and then pump the foot brake and then ajust handbrake to 4/5 clicks. One to remember is as the new shoes bed in and fully centre, you may have to repeat the adjustment after a few days/weeks depending on usage.



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  • 3 weeks later...

Ok guys, after messing with these brakes for a week I ended up leaving it into the garage. It failed MOT on the back brake pipes and the brakes were not very good and hand brake failed completely. The examiner at the test centre was really good and cannot fault him for failing.

Anyway, the guy at garage replaced the pipes and set the brakes as best he could. He said the brake test had just about passed on his equipment and said if it fails again the adjusters, hubs, bearings, cylinders and all cables would have to be replaced but lucky for me it passed on the re-test. So being a bit dubious about driving with poor breaks I asked the mechinic after the test would it still be a good idea to replaces those items and he said the brakes will improve once the shoes have wore in and probably just need the hand brake adjusted next time.

Good news is I'm set for another 12 months and will worry about it next year, just as long as the brakes are safe enough and roadworthy I'm happy enough.

Thanks for all your help guys, much appreciated:-)

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