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Failed Inspection: Brake Balance *Ford Focus*

Old 10/21/09, 12:42 PM
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Failed Inspection: Brake Balance *Ford Focus*

Hey all, I didn't know where to post this, but I figured this section of the forum sounded good.

I own a 2007 Ford Focus SES (aka) ZX5 hatchback, with about 54,000 miles on it. I took it to NJ state inspection thinking I'd pass with flying colors since this car is bone stock and i take care of this car. I come out and I have a big red fat rejection sticker on my windshiled and paper work telling me that I have a brake balance issue in the rear. The car is equipped with ABS front disc brakes and drums in the rear.

what would cause a brake balance issue in rear drums and what would be the fix on this issue??
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Old 10/21/09, 12:47 PM
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Moving to 'Other Fords,' but will leave a link for a few hours . . . .
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Old 10/21/09, 01:42 PM
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If someone is going to tell you something is wrong with your car.... they should tell you how to fix it.. I think thats only fair...
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Old 10/21/09, 05:35 PM
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I wonder if a scanner would show any codes? Take it to autozone and have them throw their scanner on it. I would think is an abs sensor was bad your abs light would be on in your dash. have you done any brake work on it since you have owned it?

Last edited by Glenn; 10/21/09 at 05:40 PM.
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Old 10/21/09, 07:33 PM
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Sounds like the rear brakes are either over applying or under applying. You might just need to replace your rear brakes. Maybe something it hung up or just not working right. Even taking them apart and making sure they are clean, adjusted correctly and lubed up in the right places so they work like butter could fix all of your problems.

Also, Ford has a tendency to use a weight adjusted proportioning valve. If you rarely have people or weight in the back seat they can freeze up. I had this happen to my 99 Taurus.
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Old 10/22/09, 05:03 AM
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the rear brakes have never been replaced since I bought the car. the first time I went in for brakes at 40k, they said I had 50% life left on the rears.

I tried to pull the drum off yesterday, but boy is that thing on there. whacking at it with a rubber mallot didn't even budge it. it sure got a lot of the brake dust from out of the drum though. probably gonna have to take it into the dealer today to see what the problem is
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Old 10/22/09, 06:06 AM
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I am assuming that they found this problem when they hooked into your on board computer?
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Old 10/22/09, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Glenn View Post
I am assuming that they found this problem when they hooked into your on board computer?
nope, there was no code or anything in the ECU. NJ inspections have this new machine that they roll the car up on, 2 wheels at a time and the press the brakes and this machine monitors the balance in the brakes to determine if all 4 wheels brakes are being distributed enough pressure. it's a new "safety" point inspection
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Old 10/22/09, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by MaverickMLFD371 View Post
nope, there was no code or anything in the ECU. NJ inspections have this new machine that they roll the car up on, 2 wheels at a time and the press the brakes and this machine monitors the balance in the brakes to determine if all 4 wheels brakes are being distributed enough pressure. it's a new "safety" point inspection
thats absolutely retarded.

if we had these tests in Indiana.. I bet about half of the cars on the road right now would fail.. seems like a waste of taxpayers money to me.

Last edited by codeman94; 10/22/09 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 10/22/09, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by codeman94 View Post
thats absolutely retarded.

if we had these tests in Indiana.. I bet about half of the cars on the road right now would fail.. seems like a waste of taxpayers money to me.
Lets see. They fail half the cars for brake imbalance. Which in turn sends them to the mechanic thus generating tax revenue. Then back to the inspection station thus generating another round of fees. Seems like a win for the bureaucrats. Mooooo while your being milked.
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Old 10/22/09, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Cusp View Post
Lets see. They fail half the cars for brake imbalance. Which in turn sends them to the mechanic thus generating tax revenue. Then back to the inspection station thus generating another round of fees. Seems like a win for the bureaucrats. Mooooo while your being milked.

If they were smart.. they'd have an on site mechanic hired by the state to fix all of your cars problems before they pass it....

Its actually a good idea... but it would get abused.
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Old 10/23/09, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by codeman94 View Post
If they were smart.. they'd have an on site mechanic hired by the state to fix all of your cars problems before they pass it....

Its actually a good idea... but it would get abused.

haha good luck with that especially in NJ. you'd be lucky enough to get a "nice" person who works there, but all of them always give you attitude and crap for bringing in a failed car. its almost as if we are waisting their time. seriously if you don't like your job, then quit, don't make out days worse because you don't like working at the DMV.

anyways, took it to the ford dealer and $75 later, the drum brake works. apparently there was a lot of brake dust buildup between the shoe pad and the backing plate, which was causing the pad to not move or compress up against the drum at all. they cleaned the whole assembly and chipped away at the brake dust buildup, tested it, and they were nice enough to drive the car to the inspection station which was 1 mile down the road and they passed my car, didn't even charge me for it. very pleased with their service
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Old 10/23/09, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by MaverickMLFD371 View Post
haha good luck with that especially in NJ. you'd be lucky enough to get a "nice" person who works there, but all of them always give you attitude and crap for bringing in a failed car. its almost as if we are waisting their time. seriously if you don't like your job, then quit, don't make out days worse because you don't like working at the DMV.

anyways, took it to the ford dealer and $75 later, the drum brake works. apparently there was a lot of brake dust buildup between the shoe pad and the backing plate, which was causing the pad to not move or compress up against the drum at all. they cleaned the whole assembly and chipped away at the brake dust buildup, tested it, and they were nice enough to drive the car to the inspection station which was 1 mile down the road and they passed my car, didn't even charge me for it. very pleased with their service
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Old 10/23/09, 06:01 AM
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yea thats pretty aesome service taking it to get tested for you.
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Old 10/24/09, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Glenn View Post
yea thats pretty aesome service taking it to get tested for you.
+1. Totally unexpected result. Made my day to know there are a few good businesses/people left in the world.
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Old 10/24/09, 11:06 AM
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except in NJ the inspections are free.


Originally Posted by Cusp View Post
Lets see. They fail half the cars for brake imbalance. Which in turn sends them to the mechanic thus generating tax revenue. Then back to the inspection station thus generating another round of fees. Seems like a win for the bureaucrats. Mooooo while your being milked.
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Old 10/24/09, 11:07 AM
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excellent. What ford dealer was it??

Originally Posted by MaverickMLFD371 View Post
haha good luck with that especially in NJ. you'd be lucky enough to get a "nice" person who works there, but all of them always give you attitude and crap for bringing in a failed car. its almost as if we are waisting their time. seriously if you don't like your job, then quit, don't make out days worse because you don't like working at the DMV.

anyways, took it to the ford dealer and $75 later, the drum brake works. apparently there was a lot of brake dust buildup between the shoe pad and the backing plate, which was causing the pad to not move or compress up against the drum at all. they cleaned the whole assembly and chipped away at the brake dust buildup, tested it, and they were nice enough to drive the car to the inspection station which was 1 mile down the road and they passed my car, didn't even charge me for it. very pleased with their service
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Old 10/25/09, 08:50 PM
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Just want to clarify the facts. So you're saying the test worked and uncovered a problem with your brakes? What I'm reading is that the inspection, while a pita to be sure, uncovered a problem of which you were unaware and now results in a safer situation for you and the drivers around you. Wow, nice to know government isn't always to be mistrusted.
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Old 10/27/09, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by smitty View Post
Just want to clarify the facts. So you're saying the test worked and uncovered a problem with your brakes? What I'm reading is that the inspection, while a pita to be sure, uncovered a problem of which you were unaware and now results in a safer situation for you and the drivers around you. Wow, nice to know government isn't always to be mistrusted.
True that...

however... was it really a safety issue? I don't know. I need by brakes replaced in my Taurus.. I know that... but I'm glad the government isn't mandating I do it. My brakes still stop my car... I don't think its dangerous.
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Old 10/27/09, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by codeman94 View Post
True that...

however... was it really a safety issue? I don't know. I need by brakes replaced in my Taurus.. I know that... but I'm glad the government isn't mandating I do it. My brakes still stop my car... I don't think its dangerous.
Ok. But if it comes down to it, I'm going to trust a scientifically established way of measuring braking performance over what you think is or isn't dangerous. You may be compensating for your taurus' lack of braking performance with your driving style, but what about an emergency maneuver? What if you hurt somebody and with better brakes, you could have stopped? Nothing personal, just asking...
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