Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - peanut

Hello.

The brakes on the fiesta are 'adequate' (that spelling looks wrong) rather than reassuring. There are various suppliers of 'our brakes work better than standard' on offer, have people found that these are worth the extra money?

I asked a local garage how much they would charge to change the brakes at the next service, where the brake fluid is due to be changed anyway, if I suplied the new brakes (just front discs/pads: I assume the rear drums get minimal wear) £105 (labour) for the brakes, £40 for fluid change. This seems steep. Does anyone know how long/much this should be?

Many thanks

Peanut

Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - bathtub tom

If you kick the brake pedal really hard, do the wheels lock/ does the ABS operate?

If so, then there's absolutely nothing wrong. If not, then you need to get the fault repaired.

I suspect the manufacturers don't spend millions on development for no reason, unless of course the individual knows better?

Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - peanut

If you kick the brake pedal really hard, do the wheels lock/ does the ABS operate?

If so, then there's absolutely nothing wrong. If not, then you need to get the fault repaired.

I suspect the manufacturers don't spend millions on development for no reason, unless of course the individual knows better?

I'm not questioning whether the brakes work as intended. Nor do I dispute that Ford spends money on development. My point is how well they work, and could they be better? And Ford is there to make money: it will provide cars with adequate systems. Not outstanding systems. It will err on the side of saving money provided safety isn't compromised.

Presumably braking systems have some kind of scale of measurement, just as engines have PS/bhp. Different set-ups will convert energy to heat at different rates. So, how much difference to this rate does 'uprated' brakes make?

Its not an unreasonable question.

Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - SteveLee
Since the banning of asbestos, brake pad material has become harder so discs wear quicker, "sport" or "fast road" compound pads are usually harder still, they will give you more braking power than the standard pads but disc wear will increase, manufacturer's discs (on everyday cars) are pretty naff in terms of quality so don't worry about "cheap" aftermarket discs they are invariably just as good if from a reputable motor factor..

What's worth testing is the rear brake shoe adjusters, take the handbrake off, press the brake pedal lightly then reapply the hand brake, if the pedal sinks excessively then the rear shoes are not auto adjusting properly leading to a "soggy" brake pedal, in extreme cases you can run out of brake pedal travel reducing potential braking performance drastically.
Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - SteveLee
PS I suspect they are charging roughly an hour per side labour for the disc and pad change - yes that is a rather pedestrian pace - most DIYers would do it quicker! An hour to bleed the brakes is a little excessive too. You're not being ripped off it's just they're not exactly cheap rates, nor are they BMW/Mercedes expensive!
Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - gordonbennet
Peanut, the brakes that taste better than anyone else's are not competition/fast road types are they with drilled or grooved discs.

The problem with some of these competition type pads is that they need to heat up before working well, so in general use you might find them not as good as the ones you currently have and/or they might need a mighty pedal pressure before coming into their own, i'd be looking for good quality straight aftermarket replacements.

Good point from SL about the rear brakes and adjustmet etc, if they are not up to spec then by increasing front end braking by concentrating on that you can cause imbalance, i've had that before when i successfully improved the 'feel' and performance of a Golf by fitting standard replacement Ferodo pads to the front, the improvement was so great i ended up getting the same make rear shoes to equalise the overall braking again, in absolute terms the brakes were no better but the Ferodo being a softer pad bit well and the car required substantailly less pedal effort to stop.

Forget drilled and grooved discs if that's what you are thinking of they are aimed at a different market, my own MB with good quality aftermarket smooth discs and pads from a good factor (GSF or Europarts in my case) will put you through the screen if you don't belt up from any speed.

If you want to change pads and discs then by all means do, but good quality items from a good factor are perfectly good , in no particular order Lockheed Delphi, Ferodo, Mintex, Textar (now in bed with Mintex you will find are OE on MB and BMW's) are just some of many names that are excellent.

Just don't be surprised if you find you might end up getting new rear shoes too.

As for cost, discs and pads and shoes from a good factor are very reasonable, and on your Fiesta why not get hold of a Haynes manual and do it yourself, buy a Gunsons Easibleed kit and bleed the brakes yourself too, the first time you use it you will break (brake..;) sorry) even and from then on your are in pocket, takes minutes and you it's a one man job easy.
Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - peanut

SL, GB, thank you very much - useful info to take on board. The instances where my heart has missed a beat when braking is rapid deceleration from speed (eg stationary cars on Mway): I'm sure the brakes were designed with the shopping run in mind, not losing a lot of energy fast.

I'll post what I do, and what difference it (hopefully) makes.

Peanut

Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - madf

If you upgrade the barkes without tyre changes, you are wasting your money. It's tyre contact areas that matter...

Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - peanut

madf, not sure I understand that. Surely, tyres grip under braking up to the point where too much is being asked of them and they start to skid. Up to that point, all that is happening is that the brakes are converting energy into heat, at whatever rate the brakes are set up to do. Are you saying that for a given set of brakes, different tyres will produce different braking effects?

peanut

Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - bathtub tom

Peanut. Please don't start playing around with brakes unless you've got a very high level of understanding how they work.

An eye-opener for me was what happens if the rears lock up before the fronts. Basically, you swap ends. If you don't believe me, put a model car on an inclined plane and somehow lock the back wheels (sellotape will do).

The brakes on my current driver feel a little spongy, but after bleeding, dismantling and inspection, I decided everything was working AS IT WAS DESIGNED TO DO and left well alone. The ABS kicks in, I've also got EBA (Electronic Brake Assist) and EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution). I can't tell if the latter are working properly, but as I've got no warning lamps lit and when I tried a hard stop from 60MPH on a dry road (there was no-one else around and I won't do it again unless necessary) I couldn't believe the pain, I presume they are.

Fools and their money are soon parted!

Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - madf

Peanut

Tyres affect braking in major ways..

May I politely suggest that your answers portray you as someone who should not work on your car braking ystem. Period. Until at least you understand some more of how cars work .

Bigger forn t brakes upset braking balance. Overload front tyres and can lead to disaster in emergencies in extreme conditions...

EG your brakes overload the tyres so much the ABS comes on in any hard stop so stopping distances increase...

Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - kohaine
Can you tell more about baning of using asbestos in brake pads?
Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - Avant

There's been a complaint to the mods about the tone of some of the comments on this thread, so can we keep it polite please? (I realise that the comments were triggered by concerns about safety.)

The trouble is that some jobs that could have been done on a car 50 years ago by a reasonably competent mechanic can't be done any more because of assorted electronics. A shame in a way, but brakes, for example, are a lot better than they were 50 years ago - as they need to be, given that cars are that much faster.

Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - dereckr

I suspect that for most drivers their perception of how good their brakes are is judged solely by how little pedal effort is required to slow the car, which is more a measure of how much brake assist is provided by the servo. If I were running a small Ford I would stick with the Ford pads and shoes, if they are reasonably priced. All the third party “improve your braking pads” tend to be harder compounds for reducing fade problems under competition use.

For the record I’ve just replaced the discs and pads all round on my Citroen with EBC standard units. They stop as well as the original PSA compounds that were replaced. I was very impressed with the machining quality of the discs, but sadly, I have been getting squeal from the rear pads, something I never got with the PSA pads.

If you do a forum search, there are a number of threads about how good modern brakes are with a contributor called number cruncher trying to put right the misconceptions most of us have about the physics involved. That thread got a bit heated too.

Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - SteveLee
For the past two decades I've always replaced discs and pads on my own cars, the newest cars are no different to old ones, yes they may have electronic wizardry but you don't have to touch that stuff replacing consumables. If anything, pad and disc changes have never been easier as modern designs are more mechanic friendly. A friend's Pug 205 suffered squeaky brakes ever since the main dealer replaced all the disks and pads, a couple of years later when it came up to change time again I did the job for him (budget GSF stuff) I soon realised that the main dealer had fitted the pads incorrectly, 205 pads have offset friction material and so are sided, they put a mixture of left and right pads on both sides - so much for leaving it to the professionals...

As for more powerful front brakes upsetting the stability/brake balance of the car, better friction coefficient will mean less brake line pressure for more stopping power, if anything this will make the car more stable as the rear brakes will be doing less work for the given line pressure. Overall stopping distances may increase as you're taking "work" away from the rear brakes but I reckon the effect would be marginal to the point of irrelevance. ABS sorts out locked wheels so stability whilst braking isn't much of an issue these days anyway.

dereckr, dunno what Citroën you've got but C5s often suffer with squeaky rear brakes on o/e pads, it's usually when the pad has worn sufficiently for the leading edge chamfer to wear away. I actually steer clear of o/e pads to avoid the squealing!
Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - dereckr

Steve,

A Xsara Estate.

From memory the OE pads had a thin coating on the reverse side that must form a bond with the piston and prevent rattle. The replacement EBC pads were plain.

Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - SteveLee
I see, C5 pads have separate anti-squeal shims, in the case where there's no anti-squeal pad like on your o/e pads a light smear of copper grease on the rear of the pad can have the same affect. Getting the angle grinder out and chamfering the leading edge of the pad can help too if there's not one there already.
Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - bathtub tom

>>As for more powerful front brakes upsetting the stability/brake balance of the car, better friction coefficient will mean less brake line pressure for more stopping power, if anything this will make the car more stable as the rear brakes will be doing less work

And the back end may overtake the front!

Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - SteveLee

And the back end may overtake the front!

No it won't, ignoring worn tyres on the rear causing aquaplaning in the wet of the lighter rear (the most likely cause for this) too much rear brake bias will cause the rear to overtake the front - not the other way round, while the rear wheels are still rotating they are "steering" the road wheels in a straight line, the rear end will stay put, a locked/locking wheel offers no/reduced grip, this is when the rear will overtake the front as there's no forward influence to counter the poler inertia.

Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - Dutchie

Replacling disc and pads on a car is't rocket science,but it means jacking up cars and this is all very well in a garage with the right equipment and know how what to do.I used to do this on the side of the road to save money.I am glad those days are over.In your case with the Fiesta I would use the standard ie disc and pads for your car.Just my opinion.Regarding cost replacing pads and shoes you problaby get it cheaper if you check around.

Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - tdc

Has peanut done the brakes yet?!

My Fiesta had new reputable pattern replacement discs&pads 2 years,15,000 miles ago,a doddle to fit but discs are wearing quicker than originals.Car is not thrashed.Just fitted new rear shoes,they work very well although there`s a long pedal now but it passed the MOT.Removed lip on drum,fitted new wheel cylinders,flexi&steel pipes,DOT4.Bled myself,no assistant or auto-bleed trickery so maybe a little air left in system but I like the theory earlier in this thread regarding auto-adjusters not working properly.You would think they`d sorted that issue by now.Remember the days when you had to adjust the brakes through the back-plate...were Reliant the last do use them?...and then along came auto-adjusters which still needed a helping hand in some cases to start with.

Removing badly seized and corroded front caliper bleed screws without shearing them off was the job which took the time.Perfected that technique now!

Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - Dutchie

The VW Beetle had the same brake adjusting through the backplate,also on the VW Beetle no oilfilter only a gauge .I believe the Renault 4 had no oilfilter both good little cars.

Ford Fiesta - Some brake questions...... - tdc

Talking of the air-cooled vee dub engines,bought a 3 year old Transporter in `94.Motorway maintenance owners hadn`t bothered to check the oil so seized engine.Got it so cheap that I could afford to put a £600 service exchange engine in it....I say I,but actually paid a mate to bung it in....so lazy!Never got to strip old motor down so how does the lube system get rid of its particulate contaminants?Does it have a centrifuge.Didn`t know the Renault 4 had no oil filter also?If that`s the one with the gearbox in front of the engine then did work on one of those in the mid seventies.Did it have a centrifuge sludge trap?

Will I get told off for deviation,not much related to Fiesta brakes now?!

 

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