After three years, two brake drum rebuilds, and $1000 (well, that includes
replacing the front struts which
were misdiagnosed as causing a severe wobbling after one of the rear brake drum
rebuilds), I have finally
solved the problem which caused the parking brake to not hold and therefore the
inspection sticker to be denied
(here in TX).
I am posting the solution here for posterity.
On this style of brake there is a horizontal bar "self adjuster strut" which has
a grooved cam and post that
provides a wedging action self-adjustment. There is a spring on the bar. The
spring was missing (on both rear
wheels). Among three mechanics and several parts stores no one recognized this.
Even once I realized this there was still tribulation to get it solved. The
spring is not part of the standard
drum hardware kit. The Haynes manual shows a spring on the bar but it is a
different style which hooks in a
hole in the bar. My bar had no hole, which caused some confusion on the part of
my mechanic. The Ford parts
explosion diagram (for Contour/Mystique 1996) shows a completely different style
of adjuster. The 2000 Focus
shows this type of adjuster however, and the assembly numbers listed are the
same for both (2K286). Indeed is
the correct part, so the '96 diagram is just obsolete. Also note there is a
left and right strut (yes, this
bit me as well because one of the two parts arrived "unpackaged" and turned out
to be the same side as the
packaged one!). The part numbers are F5RZ*2L511*
A and F5RZ*2L512*
With what I know now, were I to be faced with missing springs again, I would
just get a couple of them from a
I hope this helps some googler in the future...