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Old 11-06-2012, 03:11 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by karmakc View Post
So essentially, I should have already changed my brake fluid. How does one bleed the brake(s) fluid?

In your previous post you recommended two other brands for shoes and pads - which combination would be better vs Centric?

So the SS lines would definitely feel different but more or less the same modulation would be required over time?

If you've never had the experience of bleeding your brakes you might want to hold off doing a brake job yourself. Brake bleeding is not complicated but it has to be done precisely to make sure that no air is left in the system. It is a safety issue afterall and no lace for screw ups. I believe there are some "how to's" in the New Member Read First section at the top of this page. If, however, you are going to do a brake job, it makes no sense to bleed the brakes before doing so. It should be the last thing done after the brake job is completed.

The two pad/shoe alternatives I recommended are for performance street use. They're good for street use, autocrossing, and limited lapping sessions. They're the only performance matched front/rear sets (using the same high performance compounds) I'm aware off. The Centric pads and shoes would be best for a daily driver (no motorsports, limited aggressive driving, etc.). There also a lot of other pad/shoe combinations available for daily drivers where high performance use is not a concern.

With regards to you statement about SS lines you are correct. As with anything, they feel different and some people like them, some will not. If other people frequently drive your car you may just want to go with new OE lines as they will be less intimidating to others. As I said, they do take some getting used to, it just takes some time.
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Old 11-07-2012, 04:05 AM   #12
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I too rode high performance disc brake motorcycles for many, many years. The guy before me (elizabeth) apparently never ran into certain brake pad/rotor combinations which take brake pad material and embed it into rotor surface, the harder you brake the more it does it. The only way to get back to even stock braking then is to resurface rotor provided enough material left on it to do so. You can even still use same pad.

I do not ever recut rotors on hardly anything but on standard Focus with stock Ford pads that is probably a big fat mistake. Around 70K-80K they will experience a huge drop off in all out emergency braking, with the car not able to even think about locking up the fronts even if you BEND the brake pedal trying to, don't ask me how I know that. Panic stops at that time will give you heart attacks since the car will barely even slow down. Two of the cars taught me so. Simply changing pads alone does nothing to correct it. After cutting rotors most of the braking came back and then brakes could be locked up again with much less effort. Before, you could not brake hard, car actually felt like brakes had gone out but nothing wrong with them hydraulically at all. You could look closely at the rotor surface, there were blotchy darker areas where the pad material was welded and smeared into surface, even heavy sandpaper would help the braking at that time, but a lot of work.

Never saw that issue before on any other car. Of course that means literally nothing, because these damn sure do it.

My two are not SVT but I do observe enough to know that even ONE very hard panic stop on these can overheat a front disc enough to make it act like warped, you will feel the out of round bump at a slow roll until the disc cools back off. Then it goes back to running smoothly. Nice.

The scratch wear is not important unless very, very heavy, most discs scratch up good enough to freak out people in about two weeks or so. They will still work fine then and for much, much longer. In the old days there was no need to cut discs at all, the pad material had asbestos in it which did not wear rotor hardly at all. The switch nowadays to semi-metallic pad to make up for the loss of asbestos has made modern discs wear at virtually same rate as pads, i.e., you will replace them generally more than recut them. I've seen .100"+ of wear in only 2 years, in the '60s and '70s there was not that much wear in 20 years.

I also discovered long ago how to recover any pad that had brake fluid, WD40, or oil contamination on it to work again like new. I've never dumped pads for contamination at all, simply clean them and reinstall and use.
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Old 11-07-2012, 11:23 AM   #13
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I’m going to chime back in for fun with some more of my opinions, supported only by me driving around really fast in parking lots for that past 4 years.

I’ll agree that the focus rotor is on the limit of thermal sizing for continual hard braking use. Half way through the tail of the dragon, and I get the high spot drag that AMC mentions above. I also remember on my old car with stock brakes, I got to the point where I could lock up the front tires (non-abs) car with sticky autox tires. Given the price (pretty reasonable IMO) of focus front rotors, I don’t see a reason to turn the rotors again with new pads, but that’s just me.

As for doing your own brakes, it’s a doable job, I follow geezer’s advice of keeping everything nice and clean. It’s just easier. Everyone should own two cans of brakeclean! Apparently there is some super-secret method of getting oil out of brake pads, guess we’ll never know….

Oh, and all the silliness that goes along with drum brakes, takes some time to figure it out. For replacing, you must only do one side at a time! Your FLAPS (friendly local auto parts store) will sell a “hardware kit” that has all the springs needed to rebuild the brake assembly, I got one for my autox car, fixed a shoe that was dragging in the rear. (FYI I use the Centric drums and shoes in the rear on the autox car and they are acceptable) You may or may not need this, depends on age, condition, etc. Still, doing the brakes on the focus is a DIY job… but… it is a safety critical feature, so you want to be confident with your skills.
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:11 AM   #14
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So the recommendations are:
a) Get Mintex Front Pads and Rear Shoes
b) Get Centric Rotors and Drums
c) Get Stainless Steel Brake Lines
d) Bleed the brake fluid

Did I miss anything?

Would the new shoes and drums help resolve the squeaky rear brakes in the wet?

And when does one know when it's time to make changes? My brakes aren't bad, as far as I can tell, but I don't want to deal with a drastic drop in performance per se...like an emergency stop gone wrong...
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:20 AM   #15
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Also, every time I get on or off the brake pedal, a squeak-like sound emanates from, what I think is, the rear of the car...it's been like that for ages...any ideas on how to get it to stop?
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:57 AM   #16
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^^ most likely its the contact points of the shoes on the brake backing plate. When you install the new shoes, clean off that plate with the afore mentioned brake clean and get all the dust out of there. Now you'll take a bit of hi temp grease and apply it in the specific locations. Do some searching, you should find an example.
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:38 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karmakc View Post
Would the new shoes and drums help resolve the squeaky rear brakes in the wet?

And when does one know when it's time to make changes? My brakes aren't bad, as far as I can tell, but I don't want to deal with a drastic drop in performance per se...like an emergency stop gone wrong...

Most front pads have built in wear indicators that are designed to rub on the rotor and cause a high pitched squeak when they start getting low. This may be what you are hearing. Secondly, pad friction material is readily visible through the caliper. Rule of thumb is if it's less than 1/8 th inch thick it's time to replace them. Rear shoes are harder to inspect but "tend" to last about twice as long as the pads (they only do about 30% of the braking). Only an actual inspection (removing the drum) will confirm this. In the old days they had a nice little inspection port in the backing plate that made this so much easier.
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:45 AM   #18
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WRC's correct on properly lubing the backing plate where the shoes touch them. This was a very common complaint/problem on early Foci even when they were new. Ford issued a service bulletin showing the exact places to lube the backing plat. I'm pretty sure its in the "how to's" someplace. Only a very little grease is needed!
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Old 11-09-2012, 02:00 AM   #19
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WRC Geezer, thank you for your inputs.

I will apply them shortly!

WRC - are you running around with the stock brakes too or for AutoX did you upgrade them?
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Old 11-09-2012, 02:24 AM   #20
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Lubing the backing plate only lasts for a while, maybe 6 months to a year. You can grind the right angle end of shoe material to a radius and it will stop it forever. Did it to both my Focus after getting tired of relubing the backing plates. This is for squeal in a slow roll type traffic jam, when brake is barely on. It used to drive me crazy. Hasn't done it in years now and shoe material or brand doesn't matter.

With light brake pressure the right angle corner digs in and then snaps loose at high frequency, the backing plate is really a bit too thin and rings easily like a bell. Lubing rub points kills the vibration transfer to the backing plate to ring, but wears off with added brake dust. Knock the shoe end corner off and shoe cannot dig in anymore to vibrate. Don't even need to do all 4, just the bottom of back shoe and top of the front.
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