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Second generation of the Ford Focus.

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Removing the 4 13 mm bolts on the rear brake drums

I am doing the rear brakes on my 05 focus. I found the 4 bolts that hold the hub on and don't ya know that when i went to remove them I had one snap off. I used some spray but these are rusted and very tight. What is the best way to remove the other 7 bolts without breaking them off like i did the first one.

Rich in Utica

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Hi Rich. Removing nuts and bolts associated with brake systems can be a real pain.

I use one of two methods to loosen frozen bolts, depending on the situation and how much of a hurry I'm in.

  • The first method is to spray a penetrating oil such as PBlaster (available at any auto parts store, or maybe even big boxes like Wal-Mart). Liberally spray around the head of the bolt so the lubricant can seep down into the threads. This can take quite some time, and involves the process of: 1) spray, 2) wait, 3) try to remove, 4) repeat. Depending on the amount of rust involved, this process can take hours. OR, it can work in a matter of minutes. It just depends.
  • The other option is to alternate between heating with a propane torch and hitting it with with a hammer. The material expansion associated with the vibrations from the hammer impacts can break the rust bond. This is something of a brute-force approach, and can yield mixed results if you're not careful.

Once you get the drums off, hopefully you have a good pair of vice-grips to get the broken bolt out. I've been where you are. You have my sympathy! Good luck and let us know how it goes.

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OH! one more thing... if you use penetrating oil to break the bolts loose, ensure you thoroughly clean the interior brake drum surfaces with aerosol brake cleaner. You don't want any lubricant on the surface contacted by the brake shoes! Sorry for omitting that before.


Greg R, Thank you for your response . I will follow your steps and get this done, I hope. This should be a step in the right direction. Again Thank You.


MAPP gas is much hotter and faster and has the same availability as a propane torch. It may even eliminate the need to use a hammer. The heating and cooling expansion alone can break the bolt loose enough for removal.


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Rich will be eternally grateful.
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