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Subaru Outback/Legacy Brakes



  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I'm pretty much a brake guru for subies, having done 1000s of brakes and race my subaru regularly. Slotted or drilled are a waste of money.

    Mountain Rotors if you can find them are great quality. For pads I really like the Hawk HPs pads on the street. Also make sure to flush your brakes every 2 years.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • I'm looking at a 2000 Legacy Wagon and the brakes feel pretty soft. The dealer is telling me that this is normal for this model, does that make sense?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,444
    No, I don't think it is. Can you more fully describe the experience that resulted in the decision of "pretty soft?"
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Thank you for replying. I drove the car and the brake pedal just feels really soft. They are saying that that is a characteristic of a 2000 Legacy. It stopped fine and didn't get substantially stiffer if I pumped the brake, so it seems possible, but I've never heard that before. My frame of reference is a Volvo XC90 and a 2007 Civic, so I'm wondering if I just got used to a newer, higher pedal. They've agreed to turn the rotors and bleed them, hopefully that helps.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,444
    Yeah, I have to say that I never felt my Subaru brake pedals felt "soft" at all, at least not compared to any other make/model I have driven (and that is quite a few!). My guess is that the lines need to be bled or the pads are very low. Even if the pads were low, though, that might result in more pedal travel, but once the brakes connect, the pedal should feel firm.

    You might test it on a gravel road to try locking up the brakes (engaging the ABS), just to see how the whole system behaves.

    The original brake fluid on this car may never have been replaced, and at that age, it is certainly due.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I have a 2000 Legacy Outback wagon and definitely have noticed the brakes feel very soft or spongy compared to my previous 92 Subi legacy wagon. It was incredibly noticeable at first, to the point of being concerned I would not be able to stop in time if i needed to. I even had my mechanic check them out. He did find a substantial amount of rust on the rotors which were causing some noise, however he didn't think that would cause them to feel spongy. Maybe this is normal for this model...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I believe they use a dual-stage brake booster, which allows for smoother stops (as opposed to sudden, jerky stops) but does cause some people to complain about a spongy feel.

    Have them bled to make sure there is no air in the lines, and you should be fine.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Brakes should be fully flushed every 2-3 years.

    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • My year 2000 Legacy AWD had a bit of a brake moment this morning, light snow fall on the local roads and when I hit the brakes all they did was whistle at me which was most un-nerving. There are no indications that the ABS is faulty, and when I tried them out on a downward slope a bit further along the road all seemed fine and dandy.

    Has anyone else had any similar problems? I have browsed the web and have come across ice related abs problems but nothing conclusive.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,444
    Were there *any* other symptoms? No differences with pedal feel, etc? Did the brakes pulsate at all, indicating that ABS engaged?

    What were the temperatures at the time? Far colder than normal?

    I wonder, perhaps, if old brake fluid is the culprit here....
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Yes the pedal feel was different, usually the brakes are quite 'spongy' unless the ABS is active, this morning however when this incident occurred there was a really solid feel to them, and no the ABS didn't kick in.

    The ABS had been working as it had activated when I slowed up turning out of our road on a slight down slope in the snow and the ABS also activated moments afterwards when I tested them on a snow covered downhill slope, also checked again numerous time this evening.

    The temperature this morning was actually slightly warmer than it has been for the last few days, around freezing, the outside temperature gauge on the Subaru said 0 C.

    This car is a new one for me, only about 2 months old, so I don't know the state of any of it's fluids, when I've got some spare cash I'll propbably take it to a Subaru dealer for a complete service.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,444
    Yes, I would gauge by your description of a "really solid feel" that it is likely a problem with your fluid being old (probably original). Brake fluid is hydroscopic, meaning that it likes to imbibe water, so old fluid will have a higher water content than new. If it has enough water in it, ice can form in the lines, and ice in the right place can cause a line blockage. I experienced this many times on my '96 Outback, but replacing the fluid cleared up the problem immediately. The only problem was finding a place warm enough to change it.... :D

    Usually, I found that if I let off the brakes, tapped the pedal a few times, then pressed real hard again, it would let loose and go back to normal operation. Quite disconcerting when it happened though. The hand brake comes in... handy... during those moments.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Excellent, as you say just need to find somewhere warm, or give it to a man who has somewhere warm to do it!
  • Have an 05 Legacy GT. Car shaking on braking. Dealer cut rotors under warranty. Happens again 3K miles later. Dealer recuts. Happens again. Dealer replaces under warranty. Now less than 20K miles later, guess what. Happening again. Is it possible that I have some other problem that is causing the rotors to have issues? Any thoughts appreciated.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I thought rotors could only be resurfaced once.

    I'd just replace them at this point, they're probably too thin anyway.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,444
    It may have as much to do with braking habits as with the rotors themselves.

    However, given the recurrence of the warp, I expect the stock rotors are insufficient for your application. I agree with AJ - you should consider replacing the rotors with something aftermarket that can handle the added heat.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • mwmossermwmosser Posts: 11
    I am pretty sure my wife's 2005 Legacy 2.5i Limited Wagon needs new brakes. The pedal is shuddering pretty good when she hits the brakes; does the same for me so it's not just her driving. What I don't know is if she only needs new pads or whether she might also need new rotors too. She has almost 50,000 miles on the car, and still original pads/rotors. With the stop-and-go Austin driving I think they're just wearing out faster.

    Question - my research online shows that this car has 293.5 mm rotors in the front and 289.7mm in the rear. Looks like you can get 255mm rear discs also, but I think the larger ones also fit.are these the right size rotors? My understanding when we got the car was that the Limited model wagon got a bit bigger rotors than the standard 2.5i model. But now I can't find that piece of info anywhere.

    Thanks -

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I would measure them to be sure.

    If the rotors are bigger than most likely the mounting brackets would be different. I doubt they'd be interchangeable.
  • andydgandydg Posts: 2
    Going to change the Brake Fluid. Is this the way to go with it?

    Bleed each brake cylinder starting with front right, rear left, front left, rear right. Keeping main reservoir topped up and keep bleeding till new fluid comes out of nipple.

    Is that it?
  • I am having the same problem with my 99 Legacy GT, 100k. But it doesn't take a steep grade. A moderate grade will cause it, as will simple deceleration. ( I know when it's supposed to downshift and when it's not, and this is not normal.) I haven't tried to fix it yet because it hasn't been a big issue. Thanks.
  • Well, I braked pretty hard for the deer in middle of the road. Did not hit him. But the brake, abs and battery lights came on. Also, the temp oil light blinked off and on.
    While driving back home the headlights slowly dimmed and the steering became difficult. Just made it before the car died. So, there is one, lucky deer and one dead Subaru. The pads and rotors were worked on recently. However, the brakes on this car have never been great.
    Is there anyone that can shed some light on this. What is hard to believe that so much commotion came from stepping on your brakes.
  • check this link and know to never buy a subaru again as i have
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, because we all know no BMW 325is has ever had any problems with reliability, ever.

    Where is the rolleyes emotorcon? :D
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,444
    No kidding. I put 220,000 miles on my first Subaru (1996 Outback) and replaced the pads once on the fronts, once on the rears. I never turned the rotors, never had warping issues, and never had poor brake response. Not once, and I live in the most extreme climate in the US.

    But hey, I learned my lesson about owning a Subaru.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • About to put the first set of replacement brake pads on our 2006 Outback at 84,000 miles, and the dealer wants $550. I can get ceramic pads put on elsewhere for $450, any reason to go with factory replacement pads? The brakes have no issues, just started to squeek about a month ago when the pads finally got thin enough. I'm willing to spend the extra $100 if it's worth it, but hate to make the donation to the dealer if the same product is found elsewhere. Are Subaru OEM pads better? Thanks for any input!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 12,444
    $550 for a new set of pads?! That's insane! You could do this job yourself in about 45 minutes including setting up and cleaning up afterward. Pads cost around $120 or so for a front set.

    I see no reason to go to the dealer for that service.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think the pads cost even less.

    I don't recall what I paid for the front brake pads on my Forester, but for my 93 Miata they cost $17. Both sides, front axle.

    No kidding.
  • I have an 01 ll bean outback with 125k miles. Had all 4 rotors and pads replaced (not resurfaced) five years ago at 80k miles by local repair shop. Brought into my Subaru dealer 2 years ago for 105k tune-up and they told me all 4 rotors and pads had to be replaced again (not resurfaced), so I had the work done by them figuring my local shop screwed-up. Now I've just been told by someone who put snowtires on my car that the rear two rotors are bad - one might be able to be resurfaced but the other is too "pockmarked" and needs to be replaced. Front rotors are better but not great.

    What is going on with my brakes??? Haven't driven the car hard - mix of city/highway. Is there some kind of chronic problem with this model's brake system? No way am I going to pay anyone to do any brake work unless they can pinpoint why 4 rotors fail first after 25k miles and 1 or 2 again after 20k miles.... I'm first going to bring the car back to the same Subaru dealer since I would think they'd have the most experience with this model, but the problem isn't under warranty, and I find that repairmen look for the quickest fix, and don't know how to look deeper for systemic problems, unless you tell them where to look.... So would appreciate anyone's thoughts and advice. Thanks!!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Are the shops using OE quality replacements? I wonder if they're just using the cheapest parts they can possibly find, perhaps?
  • blemberblember Posts: 1
    Subie#1: 133k, drove from pacific northwest thru canada
    Subie#2: 210k, drove from queensland to western australia, thru tasmania
    Subie#3: 230k, drove from alberta to baja california
    Subie#4: 120k, drove from oregon to louisiana and back, twice

    A Subaru has never failed me on the road.
This discussion has been closed.