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Discussion Starter #1
It seems that I've got a busted driver-side e-brake cable on 2002 Focus. I popped off the center console and saw only one cable attached to the handle, so I'm thinking it is the part that attached there that has failed but I'm not sure. Do you think I need the entire cable run to the rear wheel or is just the part that attaches to the cable and then onto the handle? Or, is the only way I'm going to be sure is to get under the car and take a look? Thanks.
 

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DTC P0606
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The cable is configured like this: --< (with the handle being on the left and the rear wheels on the right.)
A single cable from the handle pulls a metal bracket. The metal bracket holds two separate cables going to each rear wheel. If one cable brakes, it introduces enough slack into the system that the hand brake may become inoperative on both wheels.
It's more likely that the individual wheel cable has broken rather than the center pull piece simple because the center pull cable isn't exposed to the elements.
If the center pull cable broke, the hand brake handle would not pull on anything and the system would have no tension in it - lots of slack - when the handbrake is pulled.
If only a single rear brake cable broke, there should be a little resistance - only some slack - in the handbrake as the cable side that isn't broken would still operate.
As you've suggested, the only way to tell for sure is to inspect under the car. Some of the exhaust shielding will need to be removed.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info BC_ZX3. From the description I'm guessing that the cable on the driver-side broke because there is increased slack in the cable and the handle now pulls up a lot farther than before. Also, only the passenger-side "brakes" when I enable the e-brake. In regards to removing the exhaust shield, how will I go about it? Will I have to use snips to cut it out? Thanks.
 

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DTC P0606
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In regards to removing the exhaust shield, how will I go about it? Will I have to use snips to cut it out? Thanks.
No. It's a very thin, flexible shield on the top side of the exhaust between the exhaust piping and cabin floor. It's composed of several pieces, iirc. It's held on by cheap and nasty "wing" nuts to the floor. Unless they are corroded in place, the nuts tend to come off easily once you lubricate the threads. Once you see them, it'll be obvious.

The shielding is so flexible, you can bend it to maneuver it out. (Some people leave it off.) I seem to remember undoing the section by the handbrake metal bit, simply sliding it down towards the rear of the car, working on the cable end and then sliding it back. It doesn't necessarily need to come completely out. It's been a while since I did the job, but I don't recall it causing any problems.
 
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