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Well amc49 you did help me here too. Thanks.

My problem is little different but the explanation of the corner bias of the brake systems and the bleeder ports in the MC explained to me why I've been having troubles with those two corners.

What I'm really discovering here however, is the brake system on the older Focus was moronic. But, there have been worse.

Share with us what type of problem you've been having with your brakes - symptoms, and what's been done to correct the problem. Thanks.
 

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Howdy,
The old Focus had to stop fast once a few weeks ago due to sudden critters in the road. At that point the brake system gave up somewhere. We were on the way to town so we did what we needed to do and the secondary system was doing fine for the rest of the day. Well, I was busy with classes in school and so I didn't get around immediately to looking at it. My wife drove it for a while longer and I needed to drive it some myself and the secondary was fine for what little we needed it. BTW- we live way out in the country on a farm about two miles off the beaten path on gravel.

Anyway, last week I had my finals so my time freed up but the weather turned really sour and has pretty much stayed that way. In the meantime the secondary system has also seemed to quit working. I did look under the car expecting to see a puddle or wet tires or something but I couldn't find the problem without getting under it and I'm just a tad big to slither under the tin can. I can barely get my head under it.

Anyway, since I've already made a short story long the problem is; I don't see any fluid anywhere, which means nothing other than I didn't see any. Second, even when the secondary system was working the pedal was about 1/2" from the floor. Refilling and looking still didn't allow me to see the leak, so at this point I don't if or where a hard line failed. [scratch]

There is, as of the 1st, absolutely no resistance to the peddle other than the return springs.

So, I'm not, nor have I ever been very good with hydraulic brakes since my experience is with air brakes. If the booster is broken, I don't know, it's way under the electrical box hanging on the firewall I guess, at any rate, I couldn't see it from up above yesterday. I'm pretty sure it's still there but no guarantees.

I've had brakes break on me before, and I've fixed them but the symptoms were much clearer than what this car presents. Maybe both circuits corroded through since the second one was overworked after the first broke? [???:)] This one has me stumped.
 

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Master cylinders can give up & leak into the booster, from your initial failure symptoms I'm quite sure you've got a brake line failure to deal with.

Using it for a while after the initial failure has likely resulted in air getting into the whole system - e.g. the "good" side eventually leaked into the bad side thru the master & now there's air in that circuit as well.

To repair you'll need to get it jacked up on stands so you can remove all the wheels, bleed the system 'till there's enough fluid in there to find where it's leaking out, repair that & resume bleeding until all air is out of the system.

This is an unusual situation, uncommon because repairs are usually made much sooner after the initial failure.

IMHO there's so much air in the system it's 'air locked" and you can't pump enough fluid into the system to make the leak obvious. Opening bleeder screws should release enough air to let fluid get to your leak making it easier to find.

Rusted lines are a PITA, you'll find the issue this way & once found it can be repaired.

Luck!
 

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Hi Guys,
Yup, I'm good at doing things slowly...it doesn't help any however and usually makes things worse. But I've been in college for the past three years since I was laid off from my 'day' job of 23 years and as a result I'm nearly as broke as a bag-lady. Repairs can only happen when there is enough money to effect a repair. For now we are driving the Dodge 2500. But I will be getting my living expense check soon which will allow me to get the parts I need to fix this thing. The other snag is after 25 years on this farm I have no shop or garage to work inside of. No solid pad either, just a gravel drive.

That wasn't a problem for me when I was working because I was a foreman at a construction company, had a company truck, and full use of the all the shop facilities. It was a sweet deal. I built my mud truck in the shop over the course of six months. It was fully stocked with welders, steam cleaner, press, lathe, metal saws and drill presses, sand blaster, air and hand tools up to one inch drive, etc. It was nice.

But now my condition has changed.


Sailor, In all my years I've never known a m/c to leak into a booster but I have heard they could, it just wasn't high on my suspect list. This was basically a catastrophic failure one night. Turned off our gravel road, got up to speed going over the first hill and wouldn't ya know it critters in the road right over the top. Panic brake and instant pedal failure. I braked very firmly but the anti-lock never engaged and tires never slipped (I am a better driver than that LOL!) SOOOO, that has happened to me plenty of times in the past so I expected to find a puddle of fluid under the car when we came out of the store in town. Nothing. drove it home and there was half the system left so no biggy, I've waited to replace hard-lines before. It's just on those they were trucks with quality materials involved. I had fix the rear line on my Dodge 2500 this past summer for the same reason. It just rusted through.

But apparently this wasn't a simple line failure due to the secondary system also going out within two weeks. We live about 9 miles from the nearest side of town, once the car leaves the driveway it seldom has to stop more than three times until we get to where we are going. We don't live in an urban area with stop and go driving nor is there a lot of traffic. So, the car is stuck and troubled now. The pickup gets 9mpg so it's getting really impractical to drive on a daily basis to get my wife to work.

[dunno] I was expecting to have to throw money at it, just not as much as it's looking like. [screwy]

Thanks for everyone trying to help. Since I''m just an old guy that uses this car for basic transportation I don't show here too often. But it is a great resource! Thanks everyone that has contributed for that!
 

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I was responding more to sxydvl's comment that it could leak into the booster than to you're original issue - it was a "while anything can happen, check more obvious possibilities first" kind of thing.

While the gravel drive makes things tougher, I'm sure you're familiar with putting a board under the jack/jackstands to compensate. Old rug to crawl on for underneath. Don't have a smooth, solid floor to work on myself - we do the best we can...

Wish I had a simple guess for ya, looking at the lines like on the Dodge still seems like the first step to me.

Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 · (Edited)
Yes, I'm back. Now have over 265,000 miles on my car!
The brake problem returned!
Really weird how it went away for a good bit of time after all the items replaced and brake lines bled of air! When problem returned the first thing I did was to let Firestone drain and replace all the fluid along with bleeding the brakes. When I drove it afterwards - NO problem!! Woo Hoo!!
About 3 or 4 months later the problem has returned!!!
I commute 25 miles one way to work, it's mainly interstate driving. Once on the interstate I kinda tap/pump the brakes and I rarely have any brake problem then.
To be honest I had totally forgotten about the response from amc49 -

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Look here, you can change change boosters all you want and I 100% guarantee it will not affect a dragging caliper. Ditto on the booster check valve. Change the booster and you may make the problem much worse though. Your repair shop guy quoted there is incompetent or a ripoff 'artiste', not the booster at all rather the setting of the shaft coming out of it and no need for new part at all. The shaft if not set right pushes M/C out slightly to block compensation port(s)............You reset that every time the booster is changed, the adjuster is self locking but some loosen with use and re-set and loctite and fixed. That kind of knowledge disappeared with the onset of ADD in schools. $25 job but you're a stupid mech if you don't get $200 for booster instead and another $50 in profit there. Glory be..........that was hard. There is a vent check inside the booster that could be bad as well but so rare that I don't even consider it, suffice to say the booster would be brake full on all the time if bad. Not the case here.

You need to check the M/C for the lineup of those two compensation port holes, one could be clear at full retract of the piston and one might not be depending on the M/C casting quality. Holes may be corrosion clogged and common. The holes vent fluid when brake is full off to make up for temperature changes. If blocked, whichever one is will begin to pressure buildup until brake begins to stay on, that makes more heat and worse. A vicious cycle there. After that I ALWAYS (never ignore it!) check that shaft setting if booster is changed, you need slight looseness there to guarantee full retract on the M/C piston so that it comes back to clear the compensation ports. I use like .030" clearance there. You have to pull booster and M/C to set that clearance.

Diagonally split brakes here, one front and opposite rear are tied together and the opposite pair the same. Meaning any M/C issue like comp port can appear to be a single front only even though one front and one rear in same hydraulic system. The rear brakes take more motion to activate to let them come on later than fronts. So if a compensation port blocked it will show only in a front, not a rear. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

THAT was the best explanation for why only one front side would be affected!
Now the questions - why does problem go away then return? Could the adjuster nut being tightening and loosening?
If it's trash blocking a compensation port, how to make it go away and stay clear?

I'm really stuck on what to do! I appreciate any and ALL suggestions!
 

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holy thread revive (blinks) your still having issues 3 years later???
 

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The adjuster nut on MC rod can move, they are friction only fit and some get loose. I set and use loctite to hold them in place but the removeable type so later the part comes loose if I want to set it again.

If brake not seeming to work on front on one side can be a bad brake line at the rubber part. Can be slight fluid leak on pads too. If it seems to have too MUCH brake then consider that it may actually be that the other side has too LITTLE. Can be caliper issue too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
The way my brake problem showed up was that the front right pad would drag, get hotter - causing my braking - - repeat and grow, repeat and grow. Pumping brake pedal might loosen the brake so it didn't drag. As far as plain ol' braking concerns go - the car braked fine! No under or over pressure etc.
A good while back I replaced everything, including rubber brake hose. Still had problem till I had brakes bled at a shop. Then I was fine for a long time.
It came back. First thing I did was to have brake fluid drained and replaced. Then it was fine- for 3 or 4 months then it came back. Replacing pads and rotors made absolutely no difference.

So - I'm down to adjustor on MC rod or booster.

Could you point me to a video where a guy addressed the adustor on MC rod? Seems I saw one where guy took MC (&booster) off and worked on them from a tabletop.

Any help is MOST appreciated!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Hey, Do you have a link to a How To adjust the piston you write of?
Yes, I know! I should have followed your advice the very first time you wrote about it! :(
It's getting warm here and the problem is showing up again. THIS time I WILL adjust like you suggest!
Much thanks for your time!!
Lloyd
 

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If that adjustment doesn't fix your problem I will say I've had issues with every right front caliper I've had. I put a new one on, its good for 8ish months, then once it drags I take it back for warranty and continue the cycle. SVT calipers are different then the ZX3s, but I figured I'd mention this. Could just be a caliper problem but it sounds more like that adjustment issue.
 

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'Seems I saw one where guy took MC (&booster) off and worked on them from a tabletop.'

What I do since the parts are off anyway. Easier to get a feel for the amount of play.

Geographics play such a big role in the calipers sticking. Here in Texas I have never once had a caliper stick in 40+ years. Didn't see it much when in parts either. That may change though since they finally began to use salt on the ice here a couple years ago.
 

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The seal will pop off of the piston and it doesn't take long after that for it to start sticking. On the first one I pushed the piston almost all the way out, cleaned it up and forced the seal back on. Within the week the seal was back off and it was dragging again.
 

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Why don't you figure out a way to keep the seal in place? I once glued using epoxy on some MII disc caliper dust seals that were contrary like that, they never ever came off again. Kinda a pain getting the metal clean enough to make the glue stick well though, but I did it.

Assuming you are referring to the outside dust seal, not the piston one that seals the fluid.

I've safety wired them carefully when the band came off too and that worked as well.
 

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I bought my 2007 Focus SES ZX3 last fall and soon figured out that it was a lemon. Looks like it got sandwiched once or twice and someone attempted to fix it, but that's all just appearance stuff. Drivability was hampered by this same "brake-creep" issue.

Through the fall and winter, when the temps reached 60, she would start showing the vibrations after 10 minutes at 70 MPH, but they would go away. I found it had a leaky right front caliper, so I put a rebuilt one on there and threw in a nice set of ceramic pads from RockAuto as well. But the problem persisted of course, because despite what most mechanics would say, it ain't just a bad hose or bad rebuilt caliper, it's a Ford!

So I decided I'd buy the parts and attempt it myself, or worst case, I'd take it to a mechanic I know who will put on customer parts at decent rates. Well, after fighting other rediculous problems with it -(ever pull the charcoal canister and purge canister solenoid from one of these hatchbacks? The whole subframe has to come down to detach it)- I looked at the booster and instructions and thought I'd better take it to the shop. I printed out this entire thread and highlighted everything that pertained to my symptoms and brought it with the new power brake booster (which also had installation and ADJUSTMENT instructions) to the shop and talked them ino trying the adjustment for me - no guarantees, I agreed.

They tested the OEM booster and it passed ( I had verified that earlier as well), so they detached the master cylinder ran the nut down 4 turns and thread locked it and put the MC back on. They told me how they could see how that was happening and felt that the pedal had nice free play now. When the temps were hot, the pedal had only about 1/4" of travel.

Now she is super nice. I did notice a little mini vibration when braking only, and replaced the rotors- not surprising that all that heat would have consequences. I put on a set of those electro-coated cross-cut rotors from RockAuto and now I say "Smooth" with Kane and Towes every time I pull off the interstate. I returned the brake booster to the local Advance Auto Parts which covered almost all the bill from the mechanic.

It's just a shame that Ford would produce such poor designs. The mechanics, including my dad, a retired Buick and fleet mechanic, had never heard of this kind of issue. I had stopped by the Ford dealer by work and talked to them about it before I got it fixed, hoping they might take on the job and stand by it, but even though they took my name, they never called. They told me that they had never seen this on Focus's, only Edges or Flexes.

Thanks amc-49, for all the critical info! Couldn't have solved this without you.
 

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Hi, bamakodaker. I was just wondering if you solved your issue. I have a 2007 ford focus se with the same issue. I can't find a adjustable brake load sensor proportioning valve which leads me to believe it doesn't exist for this car because of the diagonal configuration for the split braking system. So I wondered if it was something else like corroded ports on the m/c or power brake booster.
 
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