My wife can't cope with the automatic handbrake on her C Max Ghia and has difficulty using it for hill starts She wants to change the car even though she loves everything except the handbrake. Does anybody know if I can change the brake to manual by disconnecting the electrics, fitting a "normal" handbrake lever and changing the centre console -hopefully from the dismantlers. It seems a better option than changing a very good car. Thanks.Mike
Firstly, I would double check that the EPB is working properly - EPBs on early C-Maxes appear to have been troublesome if the focus forums are to be believed.
Anyhow, I think the EPB on the C-Max is basically a motor replacing your hand, tugging on the cable for you, so it might be possible, but the ECU will need to be told that it's no longer got an EPB, which probably means a Ford dealer doing it. I very much doubt a Ford dealer will have done this, so there's a good chance they'll be learning on the job themselves, and for their usual hourly labour rate.
I think you might be better off posting this in a dedicated Focus website for more expert opinions (there are at least 3), but my instinct is that this could be a painful and expensive process. I've never driven a car with an EPB so don't know how different/difficult it is, but I think realistically your cheapest option is to set aside half a day to practice hill starts or whatever's needed to break the back of the problem..., the next cheapest is probably going to be trade the car in and buy something similar with no EPB.
I'm not familiar with these systems but is there no failsafe mechanism? How would the brake be applied if there was a loss of electrical power? Suppose your battery went flat overnight and you had to push the car out of a garage. Presumably you wouldn't be able to apply the parking brake? Contrast with an HGV system where air pressure holds the secondary/parking brakes OFF and loss of air pressure applies the brakes automatically via springs. The little valve on the steering column applies them in a controlled fashion when parking. I don't like the sound of these EPB's at all.
I did test drive a Scenic with electric handbrake a while back, I really liked it - especially when pulling away from a 'T' junction on a hill, no faffing about trying to release the handbrake and then steer. As a bangernomics driver I shall try and avoid them for as long as possible though, yet another simple mechanism made complicated.
Thanks for the comments I hadnt thought of the possible ECU implications.
I dont have any problem with the brake , its my domestic Goodess who does.
The system is quite good -but C.maxes seem to munch rear brake pads (and front tyres.) Unlike the Renault system though the EPB is either on or off - no hill-hold function which I believe the Scenic has.I will try the Focus/C Max websites-I would like to sort it- thanks again. Mike
Electric parking brake in C - max doesn't have DAR function - driving away function so you have to be a little cunning. When driving away you releasea clutch pedal and ading some gas then you push the button of electric parking brake down and system release rear disk brakes and you drive away without any probles in selected direction
ADVANTAGES of the electric hand brake:
1. You also have dinamic braking function - when driving and some bootle rolls under brake pedal or driver get spasm attack and you would like to brake the car you could not make it with your foot. Simply pill up and hold the button and the ABS will intervene (at speed up to 4km/h) and car will brake to fully stop in a matter of seconds which you could not make with the mechanical handbrake lever in terms of stability of the car
2. The Electric Parking Brake will apply automatically when the key is removed from the ignition (depending on country) - wait for at least one second with the key in position O.
To prevent the electric parking brake being applied automatically when the key is removed from the ignition, press and hold down the handbrake switch while the ignition key is switched off or removing the key from the ignition.
3. System of electric hand brake supervision the car when it is parked and retension the parking brake automaticaly without intervention of the driver.
Driver are not familiar with the system so they have to used to on the new system.
They canceled the EPB in the C max in 2006 - i don't know the officialy reason.
A lot of vehicles has the same unit but the system worked relatively ok.
Do you have any information why did this cancelation happened?
There were reports that the EPB was unreliable and could cause premature rear disc wear.
I imagine they removed it simply for cost reasons - it must be more expensive than a traditional handbrake. The newer C-Max has a few other things removed I imagine for cost cutting reasons that were standard on the previous models - the dashboard compartment lid for instance, which I find very useful for storing maps and other documents.