The Ford Transit Connect posted record sales in 2009 and 2010. Based on the Focus platform, the Transit Connect is a cross between a delivery vehicle and a minivan. With a load capacity of more than 1,700 pounds and small car fuel economy, it replaced a lot of pickup trucks.
As brake jobs go, the Transit Connect is a walk in the park. It is the usual single piston floating caliper in the front and drums in the rear. There are no special tools or procedures needed to replace rotors and pads.
For replacement pads and rotors, always use high-quality replacements because the ABS and Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) system are counting on it. If the front pad or rear shoes are not the right formulation, they could be the root cause of premature wear and potentially stability control problems.
Electronic Brake Force Distribution
Instead of mechanical/hydraulic height-sensing valves attached to the rear axle, the Transit Connect uses the ABS modulator to regulate rear brake pressures. This is done to prevent rear wheel lock up during stops and also to add stability during all stops. This EBD system is always active.
The system uses inputs from the steering angle sensor, yaw/accelerometer and wheel speed inputs. Once the vehicle deceleration exceeds a certain threshold, the ABS module closes the appropriate solenoid valves in the HCU (hydraulic control unit) to hold the rear brake pressure constant while allowing the front brake pressure to build. This creates a balanced braking condition between the front and rear wheels and minimizes the chance of rear wheel lockup during hard braking. As the vehicle decelerates, the valves are opened to increase the rear brake pressure in proportion to the front brake pressure. This lessens the nosedive during a stop.
Ford issued TSB 11-7-14 in 2011 concerning premature front brake pad wear on 2010 and certain 2011 vehicles. When the engineers at Ford “Americanized” the Transit, they left the brake calibrations alone, but changed to a non-asbestos organic (NAO) pad that had less noise. The solution was new front brake pads and a reprogramming of the ABS module on the AdvanceTrac vehicle.
If there is a DTC in the ABS module specifically for the HCU, or if there are two or more wheel speed sensor DTCs, the EBD will be disabled. When the EBD is disabled, the ABS warning indicator, the red brake warning indicator and the sliding car icon will be illuminated.
The number one complaint by Transit Connect drivers is brake pad and shoe life. Most of these complaints can be traced back to two sources. First, ABS system problems that disable the EBD and cause the system to go into a failsafe mode that does not adjust brake bias like it should. Second, inexpensive pads and shoes that do not work well together. This can cause either the front or rear to work harder.