How to Adjust a Hand Brake in a Ford Escape

by Lee Sallings

The Ford Escape is equipped with either a traditional front disc/rear drum or a four-wheel disc with drum in hat parking brake function. Either system applies the parking brake by expanding a set of brake shoes against the friction surface of a drum. Adjusting the hand brake on your Ford Escape properly requires two steps. First, a brake shoe adjustment is necessary to ensure proper clearance between the brake shoes and drum, followed by a hand brake lever adjustment to adjust lever travel.

Step 1

Secure the front wheels by placing wheel chocks in front of and behind both front tires. Lift the rear of the Escape with a floor jack positioned under the center pivot of the rear suspension. Place jack stands under the rear control arms for safety. Remove the rear wheels with a lug wrench and set them aside.

Step 2

Slide the rear drums off the brake shoes. If your Escape is equipped with rear disc brakes, remove the two 14 mm caliper bracket bolts that attach the caliper to the spindle with a 14 mm socket and ratchet. Lift the caliper assembly off the rotor and slide the rotor off the parking brake shoes.

Step 3

Adjust the rear brake shoes on the drum brakes by prying out the adjustment cam on the equalizer located under the wheel cylinder. Pry out on the cam with a small screwdriver until the drum just slides onto the shoes with slight resistance. On disc brakes, adjust the parking brake shoes by turning the adjuster located between the parking brake shoes. Rotate the adjuster with a pair of pliers until the rotor creates a slight drag on the shoes when installed.

Step 4

Remount the wheels and test the parking brake. A properly functioning parking brake will fully apply the brake when the lever is raised four to six clicks by the ratcheting mechanism. If the hand brake requires more travel than this, adjust the lever freeplay.

Step 5

Adjust the hand brake lever freeplay by gently prying the dust cover away from the lever until you can see the adjusting nut located at the bottom of the lever. Turn the adjusting nut with a 10 mm socket on an extension and ratchet until the parking brake can be fully applied.

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