Escort Upgrades - Brakes

The Escort uses a pretty standard set up of discs at the front and drums at the rear. It uses a dual circuit hydralic system which is diagonaly split across the wheel so that each part of the system operates one front caiper on one side of the car and a rear drum on the opposite. This is a safety feature so that if one system fails you still have braking on both sides of the car. This is achieved by using a dual master cylinder. This is basically two master cylinders sat in line in one body with each of the two parts plumbed into one front calliper and one rear drum.

Braided Brake Hoses
The other improvement is to the flexible brake hoses, they'll be a bit old and tired by now so replace them with a set of braided hoses. These have a metal braid outer sheath which prevents the hose from expanding like a balloon when brake pressure is applied. They are easily available from most stockists and are a direct replacement.

Front Brakes
One of the Series 2 RS Turbo's redeeming features is it's improved brakes. This area was the subject of much criticism for the Series1 so when the new car was being planned, Ford decided to address this problem. The new car featured bigger front discs enlarged from 239mm to 260mm diameter. This was achieved by lifting the front discs and callipers straight from the Sierra XR 4x4 which is exactly what I did.

What You Need:
Sierra XR4x4 or Escort Series 2 RS Turbo:
Front Callipers (make sure you include the sliders)
Series 2 RS Turbo Front Brake Discs
Series 2 RS Turbo Front Brake Pads

Calliper Overhaul Kit
I reconditioned the callipers before fitment by stripping, cleaning, checking for piston corrosion, painting and reassembling them with new seals. The new callipers and discs are a direct replacement so literally bolt straight on.


Rear Brakes
It is possible to fit rear disc brakes to the rear of the Excort mk 3 & 4 with the addition of adapter brackets and various components from the Ford parts bins.
I never actually got around to carrying out the conversion to my car.It is really more of a cosmetic modification as the rear brakes only produce a relatively small amount of the overall braking effort and disc brakes are notorious for poor parking brake performance. Once you have the parts however, it is I believe a simple case of removing the old (including back plates) and bolting up the new components.

Parts Needed:
Sierra XR4x4 or post '87 Granada Rear Callipers (including Carriers, see pic)
Sierra XR4x4 Rear Discs & Pads
Escort MK5/6 2.0ltr DOHC Hand Brake Cable
Lengthened Flexible Brake Hoses
Adaptor Brackets - The adaptor brackets are available through many of the specialists that advertise in the Ford enthusiast magazines.


Anti-lock Brake System
An ABS system appeared as an optional extra during the Mk4 Escorts production run. It was a purely mechanical system that only really provided true ABS on the front brakes.
The rear simply incorporated a variable pressure relief/reducing valve in line to each rear cylinder that was operated by the suspension travel. As the weight of the car moved forward under heavy braking and the rear suspension rose, the movement of the rear suspension arms would reduce the pressure going to the rear brakes as the weight on the rear wheels reduced thus hopefully preventing them from locking.
The front system comprised of mechanical maxaret units driven by belts from the inner CV joint of each drive shaft. The maxaret unit is basically an inertially operated pressure relief valve. Whilst the wheels, and so the driveshafts, are rotating; the centrifugal/inertial force holds a pressure relief valve closed. If a wheel locks up and the drive shaft suddenly stops rotating, the inertial force within the unit operates the pressure relief valve thus reducing the pressure at the brake calliper and so releasing the callipers grip on the brake disc. Well, that's the layman's terms of it anyway.
It could b retro-fitted if you can find a useable set but remember, brake fluid is hydroscopic (attracts and holds water) so if someone has been storing one in a box in there garage for the last ten years without it being properly sealed it will probably be corroded internally and not safe for road use.
However, a common upgrade for cars fitted with this system was to remove it and convert back to standard brakes. Apparently the pedal feel, which is pretty poor at best with a standard car, was even worse with the ABS system fitted.


The contents of this website are purely a reflection of my own experiences and knowledge gained whilst working on my various projects. Anything you do based on what you have read here is done so entirely at your own risk.
Personally I wouldn't trust some like me with a lawn mower! You have been warned! Flapper-bat!

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