Never the greatest stoppers even when new, the Escort Cosworth’s braking system comprised regular Ford floating calipers with 278mm discs up front and 273mm discs at the back – although at least the rears were ventilated, unlike even the current Focus RS…
With good-quality pads the brakes are adequate for a standard Cossie, although they’re prone to wearing heavily: juddering from the pedal and clicking from the pads are the usual results, generally caused by contaminated discs – but make sure broken suspension components aren’t to blame.
The pedal should feel firm yet communicative, and the car should stop in a straight line. If not, suspect a sticking caliper.
Rear calipers are prone to seizing on the handbrake mechanism, either in the on or off position; jack up the car to find out.
The standard Teves ABS is relatively trouble-free, although faults are pricey to fix. If the ABS warning lamp is glowing, it could be due to anything from a dirty wheel sensor to failed ABS pump, while broken wiring, fuses and fluid level sensors may also be to blame.