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Brakes, suspension & tyres Ford Fiesta 2002 - 2008 Petrol 1.3

OnDemand step-by-step maintenance & repair BETA

Ford Fiesta 2002 - 2008  | 1.3 Brakes, suspension & tyres

  • time 20 minutes
  • difficulty 3
Start with the front wheels
With the wheel off the ground, check for wear in the wheel hub bearings by grasping the wheel and trying to rock it. Very slight play is OK, but if the movement is appreciable, you should seek further advice
Now remove the wheel
Check condition of the brake discs. Some light scoring is normal on the area in contact with the brake pads, but if heavy scoring and/or cracks are found on the disc or around the wheel bolt holes, the disc must be renewed. ALWAYS replace both front discs & pads
Now locate the brake pads, there are two, one on each side of the disc. Locate the brake pad's wearing surface, it's the wear material that is pressed against the brake disc to slow the vehicle when the brake pedal is applied
Using a ruler, measure the approximate thickness of the remaining wear material on the brake pad. If it is less than 2.0mm, all front pads need replacement. If you need to replace the front pads, click below
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Front brake pads replacement

1 Apply the handbrake. Loosen the front wheel nuts, then jack up the front of the car and support it on axle stands. Remove the front wheels. Work on one brake assembly at a time, using the assembled brake for reference if necessary.
2 Using a flat-bladed screwdriver, prise the outer brake pad retaining clip from the caliper (see illustration) . Hold the clip with a pair of pliers as this is done, to avoid personal injury.
Prise the pad retaining clip from the caliper
3 Prise the plastic covers from the ends of the two guide pins then, using a 7 mm Allen key, unscrew the guide bolts securing the caliper to the carrier bracket (see illustrations) .
Prise the covers off to locate the caliper guide bolts . . .
. . . then slacken and remove the bolts
4 Withdraw the caliper from the disc (see illustration) , and support it on an axle stand to avoid straining the hydraulic hose.
Withdraw the caliper, complete with brake pads
5 Pull the inner pad from the piston in the caliper, then remove the outer pad from the caliper by sliding the pad out of the caliper with its securing clip, noting their fitted positions (see illustrations) .
Unclip the inner pad from the piston . . .
. . . then unclip the outer pad from the caliper
6 Brush all dust and dirt from the caliper, pads and disc, but do not inhale it, as it may be harmful to health. Scrape any corrosion from the edge of the disc, taking care not to damage the friction surface.
7 Inspect the front brake disc for scoring and cracks. Measure the thickness of the brake pad friction material. If any pad is worn down to 1.5 mm or less, all 4 front brake pads must be renewed.
8 The caliper piston must be pushed back into the caliper to make room for the new pads – this may require considerable effort. Either use a G-clamp, sliding-jaw (water pump) pliers, or suitable pieces of wood as levers.
Caution: Pushing back the piston causes a reverse-flow of brake fluid, which has been known to ‘flip’ the master cylinder rubber seals, resulting in a total loss of braking. To avoid this, clamp the caliper flexible hose and open the bleed screw – as the piston is pushed back, the fluid can be directed into a suitable container using a hose attached to the bleed screw. Close the screw just before the piston is pushed fully back, to ensure no air enters the system.
9 If the recommended method of opening a bleed screw before pushing back the piston is not used, the fluid level in the reservoir will rise, and possibly overflow. Make sure that there is sufficient space in the brake fluid reservoir to accept the displaced fluid, and if necessary, syphon some off first. Any brake fluid spilt on paintwork should be washed off with clean water, without delay – brake fluid is also a highly-effective paint-stripper.
10 Fit the new pads using a reversal of the removal procedure, and tighten the guide bolts to 30 Nm (22 Ibf ft).
11 On completion, firmly depress the brake pedal a few times, to bring the pads to their normal working position. Check the level of the brake fluid in the reservoir, and top-up if necessary.
12 Refit the roadwheels and tighten the nuts to 90 Nm (66 Ibf ft).
13 Give the car a short road test, to make sure that the brakes are functioning correctly, and to bed-in the new linings to the contours of the disc. New linings will not provide maximum braking efficiency until they have bedded-in; avoid heavy braking as far as possible for the first hundred miles or so.
TIP! - Virtually all cars have this inspection window in the brake caliper body, you can usually see the brake pad thickness from here
Now quickly check all the brake pipes for condition, check for any leaks, also inspect the rubber gaitors for integrity. Should the front strut need to be replaced, click below
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Front suspension strut replacement


1 Working in the engine compartment, loosen the three suspension strut top mounting nuts by three turns each, on the side concerned. Do not loosen the centre nut.
2 Slacken the relevant front wheel nuts, then jack up the front of the car, and support securely on axle stands. Remove the roadwheel.
3 Working under the wheel arch, slide out the retaining clip below the brake flexible hose support bracket on the suspension strut, and detach the brake hose.
4 Unscrew the nut securing the anti-roll bar drop link to the suspension strut. If necessary, counterhold the drop link pin using a 5 mm Allen key (see illustrations) .
Unscrew the drop-link nut, using an Allen key to stop the pin turning . . .
. . . and separate the top of the drop link from the strut
5 Unscrew the bolts securing the brake caliper carrier bracket to the swivel hub, then slide the caliper/bracket assembly from the swivel hub and brake disc (there is no need to remove the brake pads). Suspend the caliper/bracket assembly using wire or string – do not allow the caliper to hang on the brake hose (see illustration) .
Hang the brake caliper up from a suitable point to avoid straining the brake hose
6 Mark the brake disc in relation to the hub (assuming it is to be refitted), then remove any retaining clips or washers holding it in place, and withdraw it from the hub.
7 Unscrew the pinch-nut and bolt securing the swivel hub to the lower arm balljoint. Push the end of the lower arm down to free the balljoint from the swivel hub. If the balljoint is very tight, it may be necessary to lever down using a large screwdriver, or similar tool, but take care not to damage the balljoint rubber seal. Recover the heat shield from the balljoint (see illustrations) .
Loosen the lower arm balljoint clamp bolt nut (hold the bolt with a second spanner/socket...
...then remove the bolt, noting that it fits from the back
Home-made method of releasing the lower arm - wood block, long pole and length of chain
Unclip and remove the balljoint heat shield
8 Unscrew and remove the strut-to-hub pinch-bolt (noting that it is fitted from in front), then tap the hub downwards to free it from the base of the strut. Once the base of the strut has been separated from it, hook the hub back onto the lower arm balljoint to support it (see illustration) .
Lift the hub back onto the lower arm balljoint for now
9 Support the strut from under the wheel arch then, working in the engine compartment, unscrew the suspension strut top mounting nuts. Lower the strut out, and remove it under the wheel arch (see illustrations) .
Fully unscrew the three upper mounting nuts . . .
. . . then remove the strut from under the wheel arch


10 Refitting is a reversal of removal, bearing in mind the following points:
  1. When refitting the strut into the swivel hub, align the lug on the strut with the slot in the hub.
  2. Make sure that the slot for the pinch-bolt in the strut aligns with the corresponding holes in the swivel hub.
  3. Tighten all fixings to the specified torque.
Anti-roll bar drip link nuts 48 Nm (35 Ibf ft)
Lower arm balljoint pinch bolt and nut 48 Nm (35 Ibf ft)
Roadwheel nuts 90 Nm (66 Ibf ft)
Suspension strut top mounting nuts 30 Nm (22 Ibf ft)
Swivel hub-to-suspension strut pinch bolt 85 Nm (63 Ibf ft)
It is a similar procedure with the rear wheels. Check for wheel bearing movement, then remove the wheel
This model has drum brakes. Should the front brake pads need replacement, the rear drums should be checked for condition. The minimum brake shoe wear thickness is 1.0mm If you need to replace the rear shoes, click below
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Rear brake shoes replacement

1 Chock the front wheels, release the handbrake and engage 1st gear. Loosen the relevant wheel nuts, jack up the rear of the car and support it on axle stands. Remove the rear wheels.
HINT: Work on one brake assembly at a time, using the assembled brake for reference if necessary.
2 Where applicable, unscrew the single bolt securing the ABS sensor to the brake backplate.
3 Remove the rear brake drum and hub assembly by unscrewing the four bolts at the rear of the hub assembly (see illustrations) . This is to prevent any damage to the wheel bearings on removal of the drum.
Undo the four bolts . . .
. . . and remove the hub/drum assembly
4 Note the fitted position of the springs and the brake shoes, then clean the components with brake cleaner, and allow to dry (see illustration) . Position a tray beneath the backplate, to catch the fluid and residue.
Note the position of the springs
5 Remove the two shoe hold-down springs, use a pair of pliers to depress the ends so that they can be withdrawn off the pins. Remove the hold-down pins from the backplate (see illustrations) .
Unclip the brake shoe hold-down springs . . .
. . . and pull out the pins from the backplate
6 Disconnect the top ends of the shoes from the wheel cylinder, taking care not to damage the rubber boots.
7 To prevent the wheel cylinder pistons from being accidentally ejected, fit a suitable elastic band or wire lengthways over the cylinder/pistons. DO NOT press the brake pedal while the shoes are removed.
8 Pull the bottom end of the brake shoes from the bottom anchor (see illustration) (use pliers or an adjustable spanner over the edge of the shoe to lever it away, if required).
Pull brake shoe from the bottom anchor
9 Pull the handbrake cable spring back from the operating lever on the rear of the trailing shoe. Unhook the cable end from the cut-out in the lever, and remove the brake shoes (see illustration) .
Use pliers to disengage cable from lever
10 Working on a clean bench, move the bottom ends of the brake shoes together, and unhook the lower return spring from the shoes, noting the location holes.
11 Pull the leading shoe from the strut and brake shoe adjuster (see illustration) , unhook the upper return spring from the shoes, noting the location holes.
Disengage the leading brake shoe
12 Pull the adjustment strut to release from the trailing brake shoe, and remove the strut support spring (see illustration) .
Disengage the adjustment strut
13 If the wheel cylinder shows signs of fluid leakage, or if there is any reason to suspect it of being defective, inspect it now.
14 Clean the backplate, and apply small amounts of high-melting-point brake grease to the brake shoe contact points. Be careful not to get grease on any friction surfaces (see illustration) .
Grease the brake shoe contact points on the backplate
15 Lubricate the sliding components of the brake shoe adjuster with a little high-melting-point brake grease, but leave the serrations on the eccentric cam clean.
16 Fit the new brake shoes using a reversal of the removal procedure, but set the eccentric cam at its lowest position before assembling it to the trailing shoe.
17 Carry out the renewal procedures on the remaining rear brake.
18 Before refitting the drum, check its condition.
19 With the drum in position and all the securing bolts tightened to 70 Nm (52 Ibf ft), refit the wheel.
20 Lower the car to the ground, and tighten the wheel nuts to 90 Nm (66 Ibf ft).
21 Depress the brake pedal several times, in order to operate the self-adjusting mechanism and set the shoes at their normal operating position.
22 Make several forward and reverse stops, and operate the handbrake fully two or three times. Give the car a road test, to make sure that the brakes are functioning correctly, and to bed-in the new shoes to the contours of the drum. Remember that the new shoes will not give full braking efficiency until they have bedded-in.
Take a good look around brake system and the suspension arm, check for any leaks. Should the rear shock absorber need to be replaced, click below
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Rear shock absorber replacement


1 Slacken the relevant rear wheel nuts. Chock the front wheels, select 1st gear, then jack up the rear of the car, and support securely on axle stands. Remove the rear roadwheel.
2 Remove the plastic wheel arch liner for access to the shock absorber upper mounting bolts. The liner is secured by a combination of screws and clips (five altogether) (see illustration) .
A typical wheel arch liner clip – unlike earlier types, this is not unscrewed – prise it off
3 Support the ‘trailing arm’ section of the beam axle using a trolley jack, then unscrew the shock absorber lower mounting nut and bolt. Counterhold the bolt using a second spanner as the nut is unscrewed. Withdraw (or tap out) the bolt, then lower the jack supporting the trailing arm. Slide the bottom end of the shock absorber out of its mounting (see illustrations) .
With the ‘trailing arm’ supported, unscrew and remove the lower bolt . . .
. . . and free the lower end of the shock absorber
4 Support the shock absorber, remove the two upper mounting bolts inside the wheel arch, and remove the unit (see illustration) .
Undo the two upper mounting bolts, and remove the shock absorber


5 Refitting is a reversal of removal, noting the following points:
  1. Fit the upper mounting bolts first, and tighten them to 25 Nm (18 Ibf ft).
  2. The lower mounting nut and bolt should be fitted hand-tight only, then tightened fully to 115 Nm (85 Ibf ft) once the wheel has been refitted and the car is back on the ground.
  3. Tighten the roadwheel nuts to 90 Nm (66 Ibf ft).
Check rubber exhaust mountings
Before refitting the tyres, take a look at the tyre tread, there is a UK legal requirement to have a minimum of 1.6mm remaining tread depth. Also check sidewalls for any kerb damage
Finally, check the condition of the spare wheel / emergency tyre repair system
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