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I worked on my 2000 Focus Wagon's rear brakes for about 4 hours tonight. It had a leaking LR wheel cylinder, so I replaced both sides wheel cylinders and brake shoes.
The adjusters on these rear brakes is one of the dumbest set-ups I've ever seen. It's located directly Below the wheel cylinder and you can't adjust the brakes without taking the drum off.
I took my time and thought all was well, till after I got back from the test drive. the LR drum is extremely tight and the right side is fairly loose. I replaced and adjusted the automatic adjusters as reccomended. What would have caused this? I have no idea how I'm going to get the rear drum off the L. side now, it's that tight and it was not that way when I put it all back together.
If anyone can help me, i'd very much appreciate it. The car only has 30K and was my grandpas. I'm stumped and stuck without a car. Needless to say, this is VERY frustrating for me. I have a fair amount of mechanical experience, but not with these types of adjusters.
Thanks in advance for any advice anyone can offer. I'm at my whits end with this.
I also wanted to add that when I installed the rear brakes, I set the adjustment/drag about where it should be. For some reason, the right side is tightening up on me and I'm not sure why at this point. I'll have to look into this further.
Any help or suggestions by anyone who has experience with the Focus rear drum brakes and adjusters would be appreciated.
It sounds like you have the adjusters on the wrong wheels. Adjusters are side spacific. If you have the boxes they came in, they should have different part numbers on them. Although they look almost identical, the threads are different on the adjusters for each side, one is standard thread and the other will be reverse threads. If you put them on the wrong sides, they will operate backwards (really tight on one side and really loose on the other). The adjusters adjust only when you are moving and applying the brakes. On my Falcon, the one with reverse threads was the passenger side. Im not sure for the focus. If you contact your parts supplier, they should be able to tell you. So one is for passengers side and one is for the drivers side. If you take them apart again, switch the adjusters from one side to the other and it should be correct. If contact your parts supplier and they should be able to tell you which number is passenger side and the driver side.
I wanted to post a quick reply and advise I got the problem corrected. The "automtic adjusters" on the Focus drum brakes S**K. You cannot adjust them with the drums on. I did not have them backwards as I only took one side apart at a time.
Apparently I had the right side too tight initially when I put it back together and the left side never "automatically adjusted" the way it is supposed to.
I ended up re-doing the left side and moving the adjuster all the way in, then when I applied the brakes, it self-adjusted correctly this time. I took the right side apart, re-set that one and then had to manually adjust the right side a click out on the adjuster at a time until I got both wheels with somewhat equal drag.
These brakes do NOT have a "star" adjuster as most older drum brakes do, they have a geared cam adjuster, which again, works, but you cannot make adjustments with the drum in place, which I think is redicolous.
The good news is that I got it corrected and I double-checked everything yesterday afternoon after driving it for a few days and all is how I had it when I corrected everything.
I will caution anyone doing focus brakes that if you have to manually adjust one side tighter, do so only one click (notch) at a time, because if you go TOO TIGHT, then due to the design of the brakes, you have to take the springs off to relax the tension on the automatic adjuster to move it back "in".
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