Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Subaru Outback/Legacy Brakes



  • meg4meg4 Posts: 5
    My 2005 Outback has 13k miles. Ever since I bought the car, the brakes make a clunking sound when applied...not all the time, but it's a concern. Three times the dealer said they could not duplicate the noise but last visit (6/25/07) the Svc Mgr said he heard it and wrote "tech confirmed a click in front when backing up and braking and foward and braking caused by PAD SHIFTING...not a safety issue.

    This is my 8th car and I NEVER heard of such a thing. HELP!
  • Congratulations, your brakes are now far better than the day you purchased your car. Subaru's without ABS are much safer that Subaru's with ABS. I disconnected my 1995 legacy ABS within a week of purchasing it. Several slow speed near death experiences coasting into intersections on Icy roads convinced me that ABS brakes are a death sentence. You won't notice the difference as much on dry pavement but on a slippery road, ABS virtually eliminates the deceleration that you expect from your brakes. Pull the emergency brake and you stop instantly. ABS brakes increase stopping distances on all surfaces. Its a fact.

    With the ABS relay removed, I enjoyed 12 years of braking perfection. Don't be concerned about the yellow light on your dash. Just pull out the ABS relay to complete the task that nature has started for you. For more info on ABS brakes, feel free to read the following post.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I'm going to have to disagree with you. While ABS is certain very limited situations may increase stopping distance, the fact that you can steer while braking is very very advantageous. Of course a 1995 ABS system is not the benchmark of a 2008 brake system. But even in my 1994 Legacy Racecar, we continue to keep the ABS engaged as it gives us a racing advantage!

    If you are following too closely and/or have poor tires, yeah ABS will be a detriment, but if you have distance to steer you'll be happy you had ABS because you can steer while full force braking.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • I own a 99 Subaru Outback with 111,000 miles on it. I bought it used 5 years ago with 60,000 miles on it. It's automatic. It's been a gem til last fall, when I started to notice that, when braking while descending a steep hill (I live in an area with a lot of mountain passes, and sometimes the freeway grades are 5-7%), the brakes would grab, and the car would downshift to a lower gear, and then stay 'stuck' in this lower gear for a while (minute or two?), even if I took my foot off the brake and began to accelerate. This, or course, caused the RPM's to rev up too. Someone suggested a transmission problem, so I took it to a transmission place who said my trans was filthy and they flushed it. Thereafter, the problem seemed to subside (though I was never convinced that the two were related... but what do I know about cars!!?!) Alas, 10 months later, and the problem is back again. My mechanic is baffled. Any ideas?
  • pilot1226pilot1226 Posts: 165
    I'd be curious as to whether or not your local tech filled the transmission fluid with the one Subaru says in the owner's manual rather than a generic one.
  • akgakg Posts: 85
    I have just noticed that when I put on the brakes going fast, particularly going fast downhill (50+mph or so), like when I need to brake getting off of the freeway or even on the freeway, my car shimmies...sometimes pretty bad. I just had my tires rotated, but I think I may have noticed it before that. I live very rurally, so before I haul the Subie (an automatic, by the way) the 70 miles to the dealership, I thought I'd ask one of you. Thanks!
  • pilot1226pilot1226 Posts: 165
    To me, this sounds like brake jutter.

    1. When did you last replace your brake pads? Did you replace the rotors, or refinish (cut/machine/etc) them?

    Rotors will warp if they get too hot which leads to an uneven braking surface - this is the jutter that you feel only when you step on the brakes. If you've machined your rotors - which I don't recommend - you're taking the rotor and making it thinner, which is not able to withstand as much heat. You'll also not get the same life span out of a machined rotor compared to the new ones.

    On my Honda, I got brakes at Meineke a few years ago and was asked if I wanted new rotors (40/axle) or to have them machined (30/axle). I recommend new, always.
  • akgakg Posts: 85
    Thank you so much for helping me with this! It was the rotors in the front and I had them dealt with. Thank you again!
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Rotors will warp if they get too hot which leads to an uneven braking surface - this is the jutter that you feel only when you step on the brakes. If you've machined your rotors - which I don't recommend - you're taking the rotor and making it thinner, which is not able to withstand as much heat. You'll also not get the same life span out of a machined rotor compared to the new ones.

    Very rarely do rotors warp on cars these days. They usually get pad material deposits in them and this causes a feeling of being warped. To clear them re-bed your brakes (several 60mph to 5mph runs and then let cool) and this should clear the pad material from the microcracks in the rotors.

    I agree never to have rotors machined, it's always better to replace the rotors.

  • eberglundeberglund Posts: 5
    I was recently given a 2000 Subaru Outback wagon by my father. I've had older subi's (80 and 92) and have had wonderful luck with them, however this one is having some issues. This car only has 65K miles on it and my dad has replaced the front brakes 2 times! He tried to figure out what the problem was since it was not usual to replace them at such low miles, but never determined the cause. The last time he replaced the brakes was about 5K miles ago and he used the most expensive ceramic brake pads he could buy, and now i don't recall if he turned the rotors or replaced them. What is happening now is a grinding sound (similar to when your brakes need to be replaced) every time I use the brakes. It seems i also hear some noise even when I'm not using the brakes. I've searched the internet and cannot seem to find anyone else with this problem. If anyone knows what could be causing this problem, please help!
  • grvdgrzgrvdgrz Posts: 3
    Since your front brakes are wearing out quickly it would appear that they are doing all the work of stopping the car. I would have a pro look at the rear brakes and check and see if they are performing. Especially the rear caliper pins and the brake hoses. The front hoses can and do fail causing the brakes to be applied slightly even with your foot off the brake pedal.Same with the back, only the effect is to reduce the amount of braking force applied in the rear thereby causing the fronts to wear more quickly. HTH.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Generally on subies now you go through pads every 30k miles and rotors ever 60-80k miles.

    With that said, you could have a siezed or not very well sliding front caliper pin and this is dragging a pad wearing it down. This is common, especially if your dad didn't drive it often.

  • eberglundeberglund Posts: 5
    Thankyou so much for the great info! That was far more than i learned from calling a local mechanic and subaru dealer. I will definitely find a good mechanic and pass this on. Thanks again, ekb
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Pads are so cheap, it shouldn't be a big concern. I think my dad got some for his Outback for $22 for the fronts, something like that. I put 'em on with my sister in an hour or so, bled the brakes, voila.

    Pads for my Miata cost just $17, LOL. :D
  • eberglundeberglund Posts: 5
    Revision to my original post #44. Thanks everyone for great suggestions! I did talk with my dad and get a little more info on the history of the brake problems on this subi. This car has 65K miles on it now (see posting #44).
    1. The first time my pops had problems (not sure mileage) one pad on one rear wheel was worn out, the other ok... and on the opposite side of car, one front pad was worn way more than its mate. He said he has always removed the pins, cleaned them and relubed them. However, they never seemed to be stuck so he could never explain the weird wear issues.
    2. At 43K miles the REAR brakes were replaced.
    3. At 61K miles the FRONT brakes were replaced and NEW rotors.
    4. Now at 65K miles the brakes are making a terrible grinding noise as if they are totally worn out. My hubby swears it is the rear DS brake making all the noise. It is really hard to tell inside the car as i thought it was the front drivers side.

    I will be taking this in to our mechanic next week but thought i'd revise this post in the meantime in case anyone has ever had weird issues like this. Not to mention hopefully steering the mechanic in a certain direction to save some $. Thankyou ahead of time for your replies!
  • pathtomaxpathtomax Posts: 215
    I had my front brakes fully replaced around 5,000 miles ago. They replaced the rotors, pads... pretty much everything considering I have 120k miles. They have been squeaking pretty much since they replaced them. I brought the car back and, of course, the technician heard nothing. My neighbors, friends and everyone else hears them, but never the technicians ;)

    It usually occurs RIGHT when I hit the brakes and as I push further in, it goes quiet.
    Any ideas? Is it OK that they squeak?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    They probably used cheap pads or didn't put the shims in properly. I use the Hawk HPs Pads and they come with a built in anti-squeel shim. Old shims re-used can also cause squeeling.

  • pathtomaxpathtomax Posts: 215
    Does this noise have any effect on the durability / rotor wear & tear?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Nope, it's just annoying.

  • Reply to my own posting #49:

    I had my mechanic check out my brakes and it turns out this grinding noise was from rust on the rear rotors (this car came from MN). He showed me the rust and it was substantial, and he verified the noise by spinning the rotor. He said not to do anything about it... drive until they need to be replaced and then do pads and rotors.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You may want to price them, they're not that expensive, especially if you do the labor yourself. Discs are easy to swap out, too.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    They can be easy. Although there are some tricks to the trade to make it easier.

    Big Breakers.
    10mm bolts to extract the rotors if they are frozen on.

  • Here is brake repair history: 84900 miles=Rotors and pads (April 2006)
    92371 Brake Fluid Flush
    95368 Resurfaced =Rotors on my complaint of extreme pulsating (2/1/207)
    105320 DS Front Caliper frozen, replaced and
    replaced Front Pads...(11/24/2007)

    Now...111.500 miles...extreme pulsating brakes---

    Special comments: I will not return to the shop who has done this work, they told me after turning the rotors they would not warranty these repairs again since he was sure I was doing something to cause this chronic issue.

    I think there is an underlying problem here, what do you guys think?


    vicki :confuse:
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Well let's see. 84k on the first set of rotors and pads is very good.
    92k brake flush- This should be done every 30k miles or 3 years whichever comes first, it's part of the 30k/60k/90k/120k etc. mile service required
    10k later the brakes are resurfaced due to pulsations- This can be due to the bad caliper that you had replaced at 105k or some other issue.
    6k later you have pulsing brakes, could be due to the stuck caliper damaging the rotor while stuck.

    On a side note you said this work was done at a "shop" was it a dealer using Subaru parts? Aftermarket Parts? Generic Parts? There are some very very cheaply made cheap rotors that a lot of shops will slap on your car, these rotors will warp/get pad deposits very quickly and are basically crap.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • madhtrmadhtr Posts: 5
    Well, i have 30k miles now, and the manual says I need to change the brake fluid. I've bled brake fluid before, but i've never actually changed it ... do i just bleed it as I pour new fluid in the cylinder or what? heh :)

    BTW the car has been running great with zero problems. although I already had to replace the windshield because of a pebble attack ;)
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Well, i have 30k miles now, and the manual says I need to change the brake fluid. I've bled brake fluid before, but i've never actually changed it ... do i just bleed it as I pour new fluid in the cylinder or what? heh

    Yes basically you bleed em til the fresh fluid starts to come out the bleeds.

    I alternate between ATE Superblue and Gold so that I know when I've fully flushed each line.

    The proper flush/bleed method is to have 2 people.

    One pumps up the brakes.
    The other cracks the bleeder (with a tube on it to catch the fluid).
    The person in the car says "Floor" and holds the pedal to the floor.
    The Cracker says "Closed" after the bleeder is closed.
    The Pumper then pumps up the brakes and says "Hard".
    Cracker opens the bleeder again.

    Repeat this til the tube shows that there is fresh fluid coming out. Make sure to refill the resivoir along the way.

    On subies you start at the drivers front -> Pass Front ->Driver Rear ->Pass Rear.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • That bleed order is incorrect. Subies have the brake lines crossed so that the front left and rear right are on the same channel and vis-versa. The correct order is:

    1) Passenger front
    2) Driver rear
    3) Driver front
    4) Passenger rear.

    Then bleed the 2 slave cylinders.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I've done it the other way on 200+ subies and no issues, even on our race cars.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • That may be... just telling you that is what the Subaru service manual says to do.
  • jawajawa Posts: 1
    I am planning on replacing my brake rotors because they are warped and the pads are done. So I am going to do a complete change. I was wondering what you guys would recommend for rotors. I want so good high quality rotors that will not warp (as easily). I have a 2000 Subaru Outback Sedan Limited. It is has 115,000 miles. I bought it with 86,000 miles 2 years ago. I have not done much to the brakes aside from getting them turned once about a year ago. It did not fix the problem but it made it a little more bearable. I was just wondering if it is better to get cross drilled or slotted brake rotors, or both?
This discussion has been closed.