2000 Ford Focus Wagon, Replaced rear brakes, but problems persist, please help! - Focus Fanatics
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Old 11-25-2010, 07:07 AM   #1
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2000 Ford Focus Wagon, Replaced rear brakes, but problems persist, please help!

Hi y'all!

I'm a new member here and I'm hoping someone out there has some suggestions for me. I come from a mechanical background, but even this one has me stumped.

I bought my 00 Focus wagon from my grandpa. It had very low miles on it when I purchased it, just under 26K, now it has just under 30k.

I like the car, but this brake problem is driving me nuts.

It had a leaking LR wheel cylinder, so I replaced both rear wheel cylinders (boy was that a TREAT with how Ford stuffed them in there). I also replaced the rear brake shoes.

I never worked with the ford "automatic" adjusters before but I don't care for them one bit, I really struggled until I figured out how they work and how to set them to get the drums back on.

I had the forward piston of the WC pop out on me on the L side, but I was able to just push it back in so it was not a big deal, or so I hope.

After driving the car, the LR drum has gotten VERY tight and the RR seems to be loose. I have no clue why this is happening either. I only took one side apart at a time and took my time. I reusued the factory springs b/c i figured at that mileage they should Be OK and I wouldn't think that would cause one side to get WAY tight on me.

Can anyone help me with this please? this car is my main driver and i need it back!

Something else I noted, I did not have the car running when I blead the rear brakes with my wife's assistance. Then when I started the car the pedal moved more than it had before. I still have a solid, good pedal, but that was strange. I was going to try bleeding with the car running to see if I have air trapped?

Please help if you can!

Thanks,
Greg


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Old 11-25-2010, 03:58 PM   #2
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I replaced my rear drums with discs...I hated them that bad :)...They are a PITA..Drums on a nice modern car is shameful...However, the adjusters, isn't one a mirror image of one another? as in threaded backwards??? I'm goin off memory here and I work on lotsa cars so I may be wrong. But could that be your tightness problem?

and its normal for the vaccuum to effect the pedal a little once you start car, but you may still have a little air in there.

try driving the car backwards and nailing the brakes a few times. It helped with the old ones :)
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Old 11-25-2010, 03:58 PM   #3
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even a Mod can double post!!! oopsie
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Old 11-27-2010, 07:20 AM   #4
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Hi Vinnie,

I apprecaiate your response. I think I may have the problem fixed! I took the left (drivers) side apart again on Thursday morning before going to my Mom's for Thanksgiving (Yes, this bothered me THAT bad! LOL).

I re-set the adjuster to it's lowest setting again, then put the drum back on and let it "self adjust." This time, it seems to be OK, I dove the car again yesterday and I'm going to jack the back end again and spin the wheel to see if the brake still has the correct amount of drag.

On the Right side, to get it close to the amount the left "self adjusted" I ended up letting that side self adjust, then pulling the drum and going out manually one or two "clicks" on the adjuster.

Hopefully I have it squared away this time. I have a pretty fair amount of mechanical experience and background and this issue had me upset initially because I've never had this issue in the past and I've done LOTS of rear drum brake jobs.

Unfortunately, the 2008 Focus my wife and I bought appear to have the same crappy rear drum brakes so at some point, I'll be doing this again. (LOL). At least I have some experience with it now. the "Star adjuster" type on GM and Dodge drum brakes is much easier to adjust/work on.

Literally, if you have to "manually adjust" one side out a bit further to get both sides with equal drag, if you go just ONE click too far, you have to take the springs off to relax the tension on the self adjuster to move it back the other way.......DUMB DESIGN.

I do like this Focus though and if you stuck me, I'd bleed FORD BLUE, so I'll have to either deal with it or covert to discs at some point!

I agree though, these cars (especially the 2008) should have factory discs.

Thanks for responding again Vinnie.

Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving. Sorry for the long post, but wanted to share what I found in case it can help someone else down the line.

-Greg
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Old 11-27-2010, 09:28 AM   #5
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Thanks for responding again Vinnie.
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Sorry for the long post, but wanted to share what I found in case it can help someone else down the line.

-Greg
Hopefully it will. I'm going to chime in and give you the short rundown of junkyard parts to go looking for brake conversions. The 00-04 Focis had horribly small front brakes resulting in stopping distances that had more in common with my dad's old Honda than any of my Fords. I consider that to be a "problem" so I'll add a bit on those in here as well.

Front brakes: You need to look for an 05 or SVT in the junkyard. I'm not sure if 06-07 (same body style different suspension) will work because I don't know what the difference between the suspensions is. You want the steering knuckles, this will give you the right gear for the later style calipers. Then you can purchase either SVT or 05 calipers for your vehicle (or get the used ones), and appropriate rotors. Don't get me wrong- these are 2 different sized brakes 11" and 12" basically. The knuckle is the same, and the caliper mount holes are what makes up the difference. You might also need the flexible brake lines to match the caliper style. Once you have this knuckle, you can swap to larger front brakes by switching calipers, pads, and rotors. The 11" brakes will fit inside all Focus wheels, but the larger SVT size brakes need 16 or 17". You won't need a different master cylinder.

Rear brakes: 05-07 ST or SVT rear brakes are rear disc. Sometimes you can find dealer or owner converted rear disc brakes in junkyards. First off, you'll need the rear hub to mount the rotors to. You'll need the E-brake cable, and the section of flexible brake line that goes to the hard line above the trailing arm. I think there's a bolt there that you need that goes across the mount bracket, but I can't remember. I know there is a bracket that holds the flexible brake line that you'll have to have.

Now that I think about it- you should be able to just rob the whole trailing arm regardless of the body style of the vehicle. The difference between wagon and other body styles are in the springs, shocks, and control blades. That would be a whole lot easier than disassembling everything.

Ford also sells 4 conversions: There is a rear disc only conversion, then 3 4 wheel conversions. The cheapest one gives you the 05+ front brakes, then there's the SVT brake conversion, and finally a pro kit that requires 18" wheels which is ridiculously expensive.
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