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Subaru Outback/Legacy Brakes

I have a 93 Subaru Legacy. I bought after it had sat for 2 years and just needed a battery. I put the battery in and it runs great, Changed the oil and checked all the other major fluids. I have only found a few problems I am hoping I can fix myself. The first is yesterday I was driving I applied the breaks and when I released them the car would not move forward I had to give it a lot of gas and I could smell the breaks smoking. I parked the car let it sit for about 2 hours then pumped the breaks and they seemed to release. I can feel them sticking a bit. also the Speedometer does not work and the rear hatch release is broken. Sorry for the long post but wanted to get all the information out there. Any help would be appreciated.
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Comments

  • vpekulasvpekulas Posts: 14
    I'd like to have the front rotors on my 2001 Outback H6 turned since they need it badly by now. I was told by a mechanic not to do that and buy new. The reason was that it's a composite material so the rotors would not last longer then 3 month.

    Is it true ? Thanks.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not true, you can absolutely have them turned. They're not ceramic or anything like that, those cost as much as the whole car!

    Ask for a shop that uses an on-car lathe, those get the truest surface. And be easy on them at first, you have to break them in again.

    -juice
  • k2101k2101 Posts: 2
    I have a 03 legacy sedan, with 56k. I had the front brake pads done at 32500 and was told that the rear brake pads should last me twice as long. I took my car in about 2 weeks ago with 56k and I had to have both the front and rear brake pads and rotors replaced. I was also told that when I had the front brakes done at 32500 that they did the rear brakes as well. By the way this was all done at the Subaru dealership were I purchased the car with 7 miles on it. I am concerned because I was able to go 32500 with my first set of pads and them resurfacing the rotors the first time and I was only ably togo a third of the milage that I did previously and the had to replace the rotors????? Does this sound right?

    I was also told that my T Belt Tensioner knocks when cold and that the fan belts are starting to crack.???

    Can anyone recommend a mechanic in Colorado, Denver area?

    I also had to update the computer in the car??? Re-Flash, Hardstart??? I really need help!!
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Well basically, when you resurface your rotors you take away material to make them smooth, this will decrease their lifespan. So getting only 1/3 more life out of them is not uncommon.

    For the most part Front rotors last about 30-60k and rears about 50-80k. I never suggest resurfacing them. Pads usually last 20-40k on the Front and 40-80k on the rears.

    It all depends on your driving style, traffic, etc.

    -mike
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Yeah, I am certainly not going to comment on the pads/rotors ( :D ), but for the belts, replace them. With that mileage and age, you are going to end up with a broken belt in the not-so-distant future. If you are not opposed to replacing them yourself, it is an inexpensive and simple job. I typically replace mine every 3rd year, which is about 50-60K miles. I never had one break on the '96 Subaru, but they were always full of little lateral cracks on the groove side after the first winter due to the extreme cold. Cracking on the back (smooth) side or splitting/cracking down the length of the belt is bad. If you lose the alternator belt, you also lose power steering, which makes the car a beast to drive (to put it mildly!). Without a spare on hand and the ability to change it, your drive time is limited to the amount of stored battery power on hand... maybe 30 miles? Consider belts cheap maintenance. ;)
  • k2101k2101 Posts: 2
    I live in Colorado and wanted to know if anyone can recommend a goof mechanic for a subaru????? Please help. I need to take the legacy in soon for the T Belt tensioner that is knocking>>>>
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Hahahaha.... I am not sure I would want a "goof mechanic" working on my car, but if the price is right..... :P
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I'd say you need to rebuild the calipers or at the least get them off and re-grease the sliders so that they retract.

    -mike
  • Thanks Mike,

    Do you think I could take it to my Mechanic and ask him to grease the sliders without sounding like an idiot? Any recomendations would be great.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Yeah he should know exactly what you mean when you ask him to grease the sliders, if he doesn't, never return to that mechanic!

    -mike
  • I am taking it over tomorrow. Do you know anything about the Speedometer or the rear hatch. I think if I can get the hatch open I should be able to replace the handle. As for the speedometer, The previous owner said he never had and issue. Could sitting for 2 years have caused this?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Not sure on the speedo, sitting for years could have siezed up the cable for the speedo, as it needs to move to be lubricated.

    -mike
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    Could also be a master cylinder / vacuum booster issue. Had that once on a Ford truck. Did the pedal stay low after you pressed it? I used to have to pull mine up with my toe to get the brakes to release.

    Steve
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    It's possible, but more likely after sitting the sliders are not lubricated.

    -mike
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    Agree. Just gave him somewhere else to look first before taking it in for service. You had already covered the most likely, I gave him a secondary item to check. Tag team diagnosis...

    Steve
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Excellent! Another thing you should do regardless is fully flush the brake system as the fluid is hydroscopic and only has a 2 year life span whether it is being used or sitting. It will absorb moisture and be very mushy.

    -mike
  • lucien2lucien2 Posts: 2,984
    +1 on that recommendation. And upgrade to DOT 4 fluid while you're at it.

    And please, pretty please OP, they are called "brakes," not "breaks."
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    Ah, give him a brake, oops, I mean break!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yes, flush the fluid, too. Just do a general brake service.

    -juice
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    No, though I will say that I had a similar problem with my '96 Subaru, intermittently, for the last 3 winters. The fluid did not seem to be the problem, as I changed it out after the first winter of problems and it had the same problems the next winter. It only showed up during temperatures colder than -15 to -20F (which are relatively common here), but was rather unnerving because there was no predictability or warning. You just approach a stop situation, go to depress the pedal, and it is locked up tight as a drum. I would press on it and press on it to no avail, but then it would usually "release" and work perfectly fine after that.

    If you do find a solution, please pass it on!
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Frozen line would be my diagnosis. 14 months is a short time but it could have absorbed moisture and frozen. By standing on the pedal you broke up the frozen section. I'd have the brakes flushed.

    Also I hate to break it to you but my guess is that when you had then "flushed" 14 months ago, the place that did it only bled them and didn't flush em. 95% of the places don't flush, they bleed which doesn't help much.

    -mike
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    Sounds scary.... IIRC, there was a service advisory or maybe limited recall for something like this back in the mid/late '90's. I think it was related to a bad batch of valves in the vacuum booster freezing up and not channeling pressure properly to aid the pedal action. Leg pressure then goes up 3-4x in order to get the same stopping power. Being close to the engine, it warms up quickly and releases.

    You are not the first one to report a situation like this. It appeared on this board some time past. And someone who used to work in my building told me this happened to him one cold morning when he drove his son's '00 or '01 OBW. If I can figure out who it was, I'll try and contact him for details.

    Steve
  • We've had two cold mornings in Wash DC, with the temperature about 9 F when I try to leave for work.

    On both days, my brake pedal wouldn't respond for the first few minutes of operation. I would stand on it, and it wouldn't budge. The sensation was different from a loss of power steering - when that happens, standing on the pedal eventually engages the brake. On both occasions, the problem cleared about 1 minute after I noticed it.

    I've had the brake fluid replaced as per Subaru maintenance schedule, and the fluid that is in the car now is 14 months old.

    If there were water in the brake line that froze, it seems like that this problem wouldn't clear in 1 minute.

    The dealer wasn't particularly helpful. "Bring it in and we'll look at it, anything might be wrong". 10F mornings are a rarity in Wash DC, so I doubt an average quality inspection would reveal much.

    Any ideas?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My Forester was affected by that recall, so they swapped out my brake master cylinder.

    Thing is, it was only an issue at something like 55 degrees F below the freezing mark. I did it anyway, though.

    -juice
  • I was told that due to the configuration of the brake system on the Subarus, that turning the rotors could become a serious safety problem as it would change the configuration. I would check the owners manual or call a certified Subaru Tech. I changed mine myself and had no problems, only with the price of the new rotors.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Whoever told you that was not well informed. Subaru dealers turn rotors all the time. On of my friends who works at SoA was even telling me the story about how they trained her on how to use an on-car lathe.

    So you can absolutely have Subaru rotors turned, in fact any Subaru dealer will gladly do the job for you.

    -juice
  • Just be aware that not all Subaru dealers use the on the wheel lathe. I know mine does not.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Turning rotors removes material. By removing material you remove heat-sink ability of the rotors and therfore they will likely warp quicker after having them turned. Generally I never suggest turning rotors as it's a waste of time and money, you are better off buying a set of Mountain Rotors and putting them on as a complete replacement rather than turning the ones on the car.

    -mike
  • truckinpctruckinpc Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 Outback Wagon, LL Bean edition. It currently has 119,000 miles and just this past weekend the ABS light comes on and does not go off when driving. According to the Owners manual we still have conventional brakes but have not been in a situation to prove it. Any suggestions on how to check or fix this ABS light?
    Thanks.
    :)
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Could be several issues causing the ABS light to go on. Most common on that era of Subarus is a bad sensor or more likely a bad tone-ring on one of your hubs. Depending on how badly you think you need ABS will determine how much you want to spend to fix it. It's usually fairly expensive to track down and fix such problems on 100k+ car it may not be worth it.

    -mike
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