Ford Motor Co. introduced the Focus as its new entry-level small car in 2000. The Focus comes standard with front disc brakes, and depending on the model year and trim level, either rear drum or disc brakes. The drum brake design adopted by Ford for the Focus is somewhat different than many other vehicles. In particular, removal of the drum assembly is more complicated than on many other small cars. Armed with a little knowledge and a little perseverance, the amateur mechanic can remove the drum and perform his own drum brake service.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Wheel blocks
- Lug nut wrench
- Car jack
- Safety stand
- Socket wrench set with ratchet handles, swivel adaptor, extensions and large breaker bar
- Penetrating oil
Park the vehicle on a firm and level surface. Put automatic transmissions in park and put manual transmissions in first or reverse gear. Do not set the emergency brake. Securely block the front wheels to prevent movement of the car. Loosen the lug nuts on the rear wheel one full turn and then jack the car up. Place the car securely on an axle stand. Completely remove the lug nuts and pull the wheel off.
Remove the four retaining bolts that secure the drum and hub assembly. The bolts are accessed from the rear of the brake, and can be best reached with a socket wrench, swivel adaptor and extension. If you do not have a swivel adaptor, then remove the retaining bolt that secures the lower end of the strut and swing the strut out of the way to give clear access to the drum assembly retaining bolts. If the vehicle is equipped with ABS brakes, then disconnect the ABS wire by pulling the plug out of the receptacle on the brake backing plate. Pull the drum and hub off the axle spindle. If the drum is difficult to remove, first be sure the parking brake is fully disengaged. Firmly tap the outside shoulder of the drum with a rubber or plastic mallet to loosen the drum. This is the drum-removal procedure as recommended in the Focus shop manual.
An alternative drum-removal procedure is to remove the hub nut that holds the drum to the hub and then pull the drum straight off the hub. To access the hub nut, first pry off the hub nut cap. Be careful not to damage the cap so that it can be reused during reassembly. Use a large socket and breaker bar to remove the hub nut. If the drum is difficult to remove, first be sure the parking brake is fully disengaged. Firmly tap the outside shoulder of the drum with rubber or plastic mallet to loosen the drum.
Tips and warnings
- The choice of drum-removal procedure depends on the tools available and the reason that the drum is being removed. If the intention is to replace the drum, then it is easier to remove the hub nut, because this will have to be done anyway to separate the hub from the drum. If the intention is to service the brake shoes and associated parts, then removing the four rear retaining bolts will allow the hub to be removed along with the drum, giving easier access to the brake shoes, springs and adjuster.
- When working on brakes it is a good idea to soak all nuts and bolts to be removed with penetrating oil the night before you do the work, and again at least 15 minutes before you try to remove the bolt. This gives the penetrating oil time to work on the rust and corrosion.
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