Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Chicago 'burbs
What I Drive: 2001 Twilight Blue ZTS
FF Reputation: 1
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0
My SVT Brake Swap (w/Rear Discs) is Done!
Well, after posting about it forever ago, I finally got my SVT brake swap put onto my 2001 ZTS, and its awesome. Now, mind you, I got a good deal after scouring the internet and eBay for almost a year; I paid $600 for the complete swap, which included all the front (steering knuckles, calipers, new pads, new cross-drilled/vented rotors) and rear (spindles, calipers, rotors, e-brake cables) hardware. This swap was basically a bolt-in, as the parts came from a wrecked SVT Focus. The assemblies had been unbolted from the heap as the four full assemblies, not as scattered parts in a big box, which made my life a lot easier.
I began with the passenger rear, then drivers rear, then passenger front, and then finally the drivers front (start with the brake farthest from the master cylinder). I only ran into a few problems during the swap, which were the following: 1) Focuses w/drums do not use the same spindle as the discs, so once I got everything else off, I found the drum spindle was attached with two rivets; I drilled those out using a metal bit and some oil, and then could bolt on the new spindles (really the whole assembly) onto the plate that is already there using the existing bolt holes. 2) The second problem, at least on my sedan, is that the e-brake cables for drums have a different attachment point and type than do the calipers; this is the only part I have not yet completed, because the cables connect under the exhaust/heatshield, and plan to swap these either by dropping the stock exhaust (unbolt from flex) or when I put on a new system. Although the lengths might be the same of both cables when doing this swap on a ZX3, the cables would still need to be switched, so keep that in mind; I can live with this for a little while, because I still have my slushbox. 3) The last problem I had, because the parts were from a wrecked car, was my front bearings were bad on both assemblies, so I had to get new bearings pressed in, which brought the total up to ~$750 (~$75 per side for the bearings). The bearings are not the same as regular Focus bearings, and whether or not you have ABS also makes a difference, so if you do a swap, make sure you get the right stuff.
I did this swap sitting on the ground using only a jack and jackstands, as well as normal tools; the only specialty tool you need is a ball joint fork to separate the lower control arms from the steering knuckles. This tool costs only about $25, and most mechanics and big car buffs have one of these already; if not, you can find one at any good auto store.
I'm very glad I did this swap, as well as very lucky with what I found; for $50 less (or $200, depending on bearing condition), I not only got a front brake upgrade, but also a full rear disc swap. The idea of a rear disc swap seems to be in at least 2-3 posts per week, so hopefully this post will help those folks as well; aftermarket suppliers, like Stainless Steel Brake Corp., make a rear disc conversion, but with a little hunting (and patience, lol) you can almost definetly do it for less using either SVT parts or parts off a few of the non-SVT Focuses w/rear discs. About the only other thing I am thinking of doing to my brakes are stainless braided lines, and maybe an SVT master cylinder; if I do end up getting those two things, I'll post about those as well. Really, the only direction for me to go with my brakes is to a full-race system; for less then the price of an aftermarket disc conversion, I now have brakes that will keep up with my mods for a long time. Any questions or comments are welcome, and I will try to answer any questions people have about this swap.
EDIT: I accidently posted this in the Zetec Forum as well, sorry about that
Full SVT brake swap, indiglo gauges