Braking setups

From the dawn of time, Fords have not been known for their excellent stopping power, and the Fiesta is no exception. Thankfully, things have improved with superb braking fitted to the Focus RS in the form Brembo 4 pot callipers and 330mm discs and second to none ABS systems.

There is much that can be done to make your Fiesta stop a lot better catering for all budgets. The Si came with 240mm vented discs at the front and either 180mm or 203mm drums at the back, depending on whether the car came equipped with abs or not. Although this set up stops the car ok, if you’re driving hard, or have plans to tune the car for more power then upgrading the standard stoppers is a good plan. It’s all well and good having a 300bhp Zetec Turbo built for it if the cars brakes fade the instant you brake for a corner!

The first step could be to keep your normal setup, but replace the standard discs, pads and brake fluid for high performance ones. EBC, Black Diamond and Ferodo are all brands to look out for when purchasing. Brakes pads will be made of a different compound of materials so they can stand more heat so when you’re driving hard, the brakes will not fade as quickly thanks to the higher temperature tolerances. Changing the discs for grooved items will help with the dissipation of heat and excess brake dust, allowing the discs to remain cooler, again, reducing fade. The groove also wear the pad faster, keeping the surface area of the pad clean and free from contamination and smoother to allow for maximum surface contact. Drilled discs are available and reduce the revolving mass of the disc, and also allow the heat to escape through the holes. These are typically found on high-end performance cars and involve a tricky manufacturing process. To finish off, use some DOT 5.1 brake fluid, and possibly fit new hoses as the old ones flex and perish. This will have your Si stopping a little better.


Following on from this, you could change the callipers for some larger ones and fit larger discs too. Fords tend to have parts interchangeable with other models, so it’s been found that many of Ford original equipment can be used to upgrade the brakes on the Fiesta.

Sierra Cosworth brakes is a very popular upgrade to the somewhat unsubstantial brakes on the Si. The set up uses 280mm vented discs, single pot callipers and greater stopping power, and if it’s good enough to put on a 220bhp Cosworth, which is pretty heavy, then surely its good enough for a Fiesta? The ones to get are the 4 wheel drive discs and callipers. Earlier Sierras had a 4 pot design but these seem to be harder to fit that the 4wd ones and still provide more than enough power. The brakes essentially just bolt straight on, but the hub needs its threads to be re-done to allow for the use of 12mm bolts as opposed to the 8mm usually fitted. It’s also to be noted that due to the larger size of the callipers and discs, that the minimum size of wheel need to fit the Cossie brakes is 15″, and even with 15″s, sometimes some grinding and experimentation may be needed to get them to fit depending on your particular car and wheels.

An alternative to the Cossie set up is the one used on the RS2000 92-96 Escort. Its 260mm, vented, single pot design bolts straight onto the Fiesta without any problems and allows for a good upgrade. A set up like this would cost around the £100 figure for callipers, discs and pads, but like everything; the price varies.

With Ford realising that brakes matter in a car, the new ST sports range across its models have spot on brakes for standard cars. The two set ups that have been widely used are the ones found on the new Fiesta ST150 and the Focus ST170.


Putting the ST150 brakes on your Fiesta can be done without too much hassle but there are various things that need to be done. It’s a similar deal to fitting the cossie brakes. The hole in the hubs must be enlarged to accept a 12mm bolt as opposed to the 10mm ones, and spacers may be required to allow the wheel to clear the callipers. A minimum of a 15” wheel would also be needed.

Big name manufacturers produce HUGE disc conversions offering unrivalled braking power. Companies like Brembo, Willwood and AP Racing. Get in contact with your local supplier for tips and choosing these.

On a front wheel drive car the rear brakes only do around 10% of the braking, and therefore, which a decent upgrade to the front brakes, a rear upgrade is virtually nonessential. However, it’s still nice to have a bit more power and certainly looks the part with discs all round under your massive alloys.

As with the front, Fords being Ford, loads of stuff is interchangeable so let’s have a look at what’s on offer.

Rears set ups known to fit are Escort RS2000, Sierra Cosworth 2wd/4wd, Focus ST170 and Fiesta ST150. When fitting the ST170/ST150 braking systems, the rear beam from a Focus is required as this allows the discs to correctly affix to the beam. With the others it may be possible to just fit them on. However most of the conversions aren’t straightforward so no Fiesta, bar the new ST150, was fitted with rear discs as standard.


The Fiesta Centre offers a rear disc conversion in kit form with everything needed to affix it to your car. I believe it’s a standard disc and calliper from a base model fiesta, with sold discs reconditioned and altered to fix onto the back. Details for the Fiesta Centre at the bottom of the page. Pumaspeed also offer a kit in much the same way available from X-Factor.

Considerations for altering the rear braking are, a bias valve might be required to adjust the bias between the front and rear of the car, the master cylinder may have to swapped for a larger one, and finally the handbrake situation must be dealt with. It is required your handbrake is operated by a cable, so this must be looked and resolved. This problem should be resolved using OEM Ford parts, but varies depending on what you’re doing.