Jordan99

Crappy handbrake. Help!

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Hi all, I mentioned that my focus failed the mot on the handbrake and that I quoted a £30 fix, that turned into a £200+ which I kindly said no to. They told me I needed new wheel cylinders, drums, shoes and new brake fluid. After a second opinion they told me that the cylinders and drums are fine however the shoes are about dead. 

The problem I have is, shoes I have no problem doing myself, I did them yesterday and the whole thing went really smoothly BUT the handbrake is still crap! Holds the car, but I can still drive with the handbrake on. I've adjusted the handbrake under the gaiter near the lever. Is there anywhere else I can make adjustments? Or any other reasons why the handbrake is so bad? Thanks in advance everyone. 

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I hope somebody can shed some light on this cos mines although it holds it enough the car can be pushed and moves and drums/pads are perfect defo cable related and I was told my cable is at max lol 

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I've tightened my cable up all the way, it goes up about 7 clicks. A bit high I know but I could be a lot higher which in my mind rules out the cable? 

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based on my 2007 fiesta when I worked on it last year, I do not know if those focus brakes are the same.

Handbrake lever travel was getting higher and handbrake performance worse (I had done 146k miles in it)

I adjusted up the cable at the lever end which made the travel better but performance still poor.

That to me makes me think that the automatic adjusters in the drums are not adjusting up automatically (based on cars I have had in the past 35 years the auto adjusters often stop doing their job).

So I took the drums off. Adjusted the adjusters myself by turning with a screwdriver.

This made all the difference and handbrake fine.

With drums off you do the adjusters up as far as you can go without it stopping the drums sliding back on.

Fix drums back on , operate footbrake and footbrake in order to centre the shoes better. Then slide drums off again and see if you can adjust up a little more.

Reassemble. Put handbrake and footbrake on and off a few times, now check wheel spins freely without any brake binding. if it important you make sure the brakes aren't rubbing as that can cause excess heat and other problems.

The brake shoes were about half worn after 146k and still fine to use. There was no sign of fluid leaks from brake cylinders.

 

 

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19 minutes ago, isetta said:

based on my 2007 fiesta when I worked on it last year, I do not know if those focus brakes are the same.

Handbrake lever travel was getting higher and handbrake performance worse (I had done 146k miles in it)

I adjusted up the cable at the lever end which made the travel better but performance still poor.

That to me makes me think that the automatic adjusters in the drums are not adjusting up automatically (based on cars I have had in the past 35 years the auto adjusters often stop doing their job).

So I took the drums off. Adjusted the adjusters myself by turning with a screwdriver.

This made all the difference and handbrake fine.

With drums off you do the adjusters up as far as you can go without it stopping the drums sliding back on.

Fix drums back on , operate footbrake and footbrake in order to centre the shoes better. Then slide drums off again and see if you can adjust up a little more.

Reassemble. Put handbrake and footbrake on and off a few times, now check wheel spins freely without any brake binding. if it important you make sure the brakes aren't rubbing as that can cause excess heat and other problems.

The brake shoes were about half worn after 146k and still fine to use. There was no sign of fluid leaks from brake cylinders.

 

 

Great bit of info there, I've replaced all the springs in my drum. The adjuster works fine and the cylinder is in good nick. I've done my best to adjust them, i got it so close that I struggled to get the drum on. (once on spun freely). Then proceeded to sort the travel on the handbrake. I can't understand why the handbrake is still crap? I really don't want to pay a machanic cause it'll be something simple no doubt! But what?! 

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After replacement of the brake shoes it will take some time before the shoes are fully bedded in and obtain there full potential. Next to this the Focus MK2 is a heavy car for these relative small drum brakes. Even in perfect condition the drum brakes are not powerful enough to lock the wheels while moving off. 

If you want a powerful parking brake you have to retrofit the original rear disc brakes. Many European countries did have disc brakes as standard on all Focus MK2/MK2.5 versions. In these countries even the 80 HP 1.4 Duratec did have rear disc brakes as standard.

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33 minutes ago, JW1982 said:

After replacement of the brake shoes it will take some time before the shoes are fully bedded in and obtain there full potential. Next to this the Focus MK2 is a heavy car for these relative small drum brakes. Even in perfect condition the drum brakes are not powerful enough to lock the wheels while moving off. 

If you want a powerful parking brake you have to retrofit the original rear disc brakes. Many European countries did have disc brakes as standard on all Focus MK2/MK2.5 versions. In these countries even the 80 HP 1.4 Duratec did have rear disc brakes as standard.

I never knew that, I have been told in the past that they have to be given time to bed in, I don't have time haha mot is due at the end of the month. May have to find a friendly mot station :P

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whilst not affecting your vehicle, in 2013 there was an update to the MOT manual about increasing the hand brake performance requirements for vehicles made 2010 onwards. I assume that in 2010 there was a requirement that all new vehicles had to have better performing handbrakes , I assume on some cars they were found to be rubbish (by design,and not neccessarily faulty).

Difficult to make the shoes bed in quicker, I suppose every time you go down a hill you could do some moderate handbrake braking but be careful not to overheat the rear brakes. Obviously from a safety point of view you need to be careful as you will only have one hand on the wheel whilst doing this. Using footbrake won't make them bed in quickly as with footbrake the braking effort is designed to be more on the front brakes

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I think you need to go back and check out the self adjusters again. 

 

Excellent info from Isetta above. I'd maybe suggest a mobile mechanic, it'd be a 15 min job for them, not much money. Better to get it adjusted correctly. 

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12 hours ago, Jordan99 said:

Or any other reasons why the handbrake is so bad?

 

11 hours ago, F0CUE said:

rums/pads are perfect defo cable related

I have found the handbrake cables can dry out, and get very inefficient. Especially if the rubber sealing grommets at the wheel ends are missing / damaged.

After disconnecting the cable from the wheels, I have managed to pump quite a lot of grease into my cables, and it made a definite improvement. It may not be a permanent solution, but at least if it proves the cables are at fault, it is worth the hassle of replacing them. I think the exhaust & heat shields have to be removed to get at the middle of the cables.

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6 hours ago, Tdci-Peter said:

 

I have found the handbrake cables can dry out, and get very inefficient. Especially if the rubber sealing grommets at the wheel ends are missing / damaged.

After disconnecting the cable from the wheels, I have managed to pump quite a lot of grease into my cables, and it made a definite improvement. It may not be a permanent solution, but at least if it proves the cables are at fault, it is worth the hassle of replacing them. I think the exhaust & heat shields have to be removed to get at the middle of the cables.

Thanks will have a look. They don't make anything easy do they 😁 

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On the same fiesta I mention above (I don't know if cables are identical on focus), where the inner cable comes out of the outer near the drums, the plastic coating on the inners was all splitting and bulging due to corrosion under the plastic. I de-adjusted the cable so I could pull the inner out as much as possible and cut the plastic off with a Stanley knife. where the boundary is between the plastic left on and what you cut off you need to make a nice smooth edge so it does not catch and ruck up. I then cleaned up the cable and put copper grease on it. This enabled the cable to run more smoothly.

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Just an update: after changing the shoes, giving them time to bed in, the handbrake is not 💩 hot! Drivers side still needs slight adjustment but passed the mot with an advisory! Maybe in need of a new cable soon as I've adjusted mine all the way under the handbrake (on 7 clicks) 

Thanks everyone. Jord. 

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I feel I should point out that a com on mistake that people make is to Tighten the handbrake cable without realising that by doing this they will stop the self adjusters from operating. The handbrake cable should be loosened and then the self adjusters will operate. Once the self adjusters are correctly operated, the cable can be re connected and tensioned a during there is no binding of the drums.

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4 hours ago, Stoney871 said:

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Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk
 

You ain’t kidding!

Reading through though the OP mentioned 7 clicks. My mk2 holds ok on just 3 clicks. I think more than around 5 is excessive slack. 

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