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I live in New England, and have had my 04 Focus SVT for about 4 months now. It's been great except for one thing that's pretty scary.

When it rains, my brakes seem to stop working properly.

Basically, in cold rain like yesterday driving at 30MPH for about a minute after just using my brakes, the brakes seem to FREEZE and I need to apply HEAVY pressure to get them to start working, which usually gets them to gri after they seem to slip for a bit, which causes the body to roll. In the snow turned to rain yesterday, my tail actually ended up sliding out a few times. Even when it's not cold, but is rainy, the problem still persists. I've never had a car where the brakes don't work when it's wet out. When it is dry out, the brakes react as soon as I touch the brake pedal....

Also, just to clarify, it's not an issue of traction either. Downshifting will slow me down just fine.

What could be the issues here? The rotors have a very minor warp to them but the pads still have plenty of tread left.

What should I do?
 

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SVT brake syndrome. Unfortunately, it's not just your car. I don't know if anyone ever figured out why they do this or not. Since I never heard of a real fix for the problem, I just prepare for it. In heavy rain, I'll occasionally ride the brakes alittle just to make sure they operate properly. But still, it is rather annoying.
 

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Bunneh Fanatic
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This might be stupid, but do you think the TCS or ABS is somehow interfering with your braking? I've never had any braking problems with my ZX3, but maybe that's because of the different layout of the rear drums. Occasionally the brakes do vibrate a little before coming to a complete stop (almost like an ABS pulsating sensation), but it's not specific to weather conditions or anything.
 

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You didn't mention whether you have aftermarket or stock pads , but regardless, many brakes don't work optimally in wet conditions. If you have anti lock brakes don't be afraid to stomp on them and hold your foot there. Let the system do what it is designed to do. Pumping the brakes with anti locks defeats their purpose. For old farts like me who were taught to pump brakes its really hard to get used to it but it really works not to do it. If you don't have anti locks I suggest firm short pumping of the brakes just short of inducing a skid. This will allow evacution of water and the warming of the brakes. Brake temperature and getting them up to optimum operating temps is the key to good braking. That's why its important to use a brake pad with wide operating temps for the street. You want them to bite the first time everytime. Its unlikely the "lack" of brakes caused the rear end to come around. Its actually caused by too much braking. Any braking while the car is turning or out of balance can easily cause the rear to come around (oversteer) in slippery conditions. The first thing they will teach you to do in a winter driving school is to never brake in a corner or while turning the car (even little side to side adjustments) as this is what upsets the balance of the car and induces oversteer.
 

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Cashed in my chips
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I have this issue, as well...

The "official" answer I've received from a ford person on one of the forums is that the SVT, due in part to the larger brakes, doesn't have a "splash shield" that most vehicles have which protects the brakes from water. I believe that this issue affects some models of the corvette for the same reason.

At any rate, I get the same symptoms if I am driving on wet roads (slushy, rainy) for 5-10 minutes without touching my brakes. When I do hit the brakes, there's no response for the first 1/2 second...just long enough to cause the "Oh Shit!" response which makes you stomp on the brakes. I've gotten to expect this behavior, and like BMXer said, I just make sure I'm prepared for it.

I haven't yet heard of a solution.
 

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my 02 svt does the same thing after driving in the rain for awile and then using the brakes. my svt contour did the exact same thing too.
 
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