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2002 Outback 2.5 Base ---- 2008 Outback 3.0 L. L. Bean
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Folks,

I have an 02 OB base model, 316k, built before 10/01. I need to change all of my brake pads, calipers, and rotors. The brakes have always felt crappy and worked the same, crappy. I want to upgrade everything to a better system, whatever that may be. When I look up performance style brake kits, only available for 10/01 & later models, they always refer to the build date "after 10/01" and since my sub is built before, they don't offer these performance parts.

What is the difference with the brakes before and after 10/01? I am happy to change proportion valve and master cylinder if need be, to change to an upgraded brake system. I have to look into the ABS side of this too.

Can some one point me in the right direction? I have read on the forum that these brake systems on 02 OB are not the greatest. What can I do? (side note: my 08 OB brakes are incredible, work great!)

Thanks!!!!

Camel
 

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Fresh Out of Outbacks!
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14,495 Posts
How old are the brakes on this car?

Even if you use stock parts or cheap local parts store stuff you'll get a big improvement. Don't forget bleeding new fluid into the lines, and think about hoses depending on what your inspection shows.

After that look into a master cylinder brace. The firewall flexes a lot in these cars. The bracket around the master cylinder reinforces the pedal a lot. Makes cheap brakes feel a lot more expensive :)
 

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Premium Member
(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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18,582 Posts
how do you use the car?

it does seem you want a better 'feel' so, above suggestions are good.

15 years and 300K miles, caliper hoses might be a good idea as mentioned.

what pads have you been running? semi-metallic sometimes bite a little better than ceramic....might be brand specific though. OEM, Centric - most any name-brand should be good but, stay with ceramic or semi-met.

make sure the pads are wearing evenly and there's no bad brake parts, sticking slide pins or cracked brackets....
 

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2002 OBW LL Bean
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55 Posts
I recently installed Wagner Quickstop ceramic pads on a Sonata and they seemed to stop the car much quicker than the original brakes the car came with. Bought them on Amazon.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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12,385 Posts
There's a rotor diameter increase and pad style change around 00-02, though I don't think the pad style is significantly worse or better. But subaru was a bit wonky with brakes around 99-2003 with various surprises I've seen over the years. Sometimes you never know until you get in there, though your 01 i'd expect the older smaller rotor variant.

Install the later 2003 H6 rotors and calipers (check first the model, there's some great threads outlining rotor size changes). I would buy low mileage used calipers from a western/southern state before aftermarket. I've seen aftermarket calipers rust quickly in the rust belt. Maybe it's surface rust but OEM calipers are so robust and fail so rarely I can't imagine aftermarket actually having lower failure rates honestly.

But before you do - your best improvements won't even come from what you're describing except by accident. Here's what I would do whether you want to get the current ones better than they've ever been or if you get new ones:

1. Replace your fluid - all of it.
2. Regrease the caliper slides with high quality Sil Glyde or equivalent - not regular caliper grease, particularly true if you live in the rust belt.
3. Replace all the brake caliper clips - RockAuto has great prices on those, I replace them like every 100,000 or 150,000 miles. They never fail but get bent, debris build up, or crusty from winter.

4. Get a master cylinder brace to stiffen up the feel.

Most people skip these really important items. If you replace calipers - you end up with...new fluid, new grease, and new clips...but only by accident and the everyone attributes they're awesome improvements to "XYZ caliper or rotor or pad" when in reality 90% of that improvement would have come from the more quantitative components i listed. Most of the "improvement" will be from those items, not the calipers at all...unless you're racing or towing or aggressive.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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27,048 Posts
my own 2002 H4 car was built in November 2001, and it has the early brakes on it.

I got it used, and at this point any car that old could have a mix of brake parts on it today. (like any shop working a a 2000-2002 subaru would need to play switcheroo trying to mate what is on there, vs. what comes new in the box from the part store and digging pins / clips out of the trash).

unless someone has put the bigger better brakes of a 2003-2004 H6 on. (a smart thought, that is typically found here).
 

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'03 outback limited, '01 Outback Limited, '01 Legacy L wagon, '96 Legacy Brighton wagon
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2,660 Posts
Replacing the rubber hoses with -3 braided line will stiffen that part of the system a lot.

"4. Get a master cylinder brace to stiffen up the feel." Where are they available?
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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18,582 Posts
boxer4racing may list some parts.

Perrin may have a brace

usual places, cusco, kartboy, etc.

goodridge is a SS brakeline maker.....


when I got SS lines on my WRX, I noticed no difference, but the car was still almost new - I'd expect, if older lines are ballooning a little, just fresh rubber ones would be an improvement for less $$ than stainless braided.
 

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2002 Outback 2.5 Base ---- 2008 Outback 3.0 L. L. Bean
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yup, lots of miles over the years. Lots of excellent information and I am grateful to all that have provided this info and their time!! By the way, we are the original owners so this vehicle is part of the family. I was using the sub for most of its life for long drives (2 hour each way) to work. Then for 2 years its been used for short trips to the stores, then the past couple of months I had been using for another job running about 100 miles a day and now it is for short trips again. I was in New York most of those years and now I am in rural Texas, which is making me look at other issues like suspension, which will be another thread.

The rear pads were down to nothing, doing most if not all the work to stop, partially because I have a frozen front left caliper and the right is ready to do the same (partially-frozen). I just threw a set of semi metallic rear pads in the back so that I will stop when I step on the pedal. I am doing the work myself since I worked as a mechanic for a number of years in the 80's (not a good decade). I do want to figure out what the most cost effective and best alternative is to get the best pedal possible along with dynamite stopping power.

Based on all the great info this is what I am thinking up to now, which I am sure will change.

The brake hoses are not bulging but look a little stiff though not cracking. I am sure they have never been changed. I think changing those would be good practice. The stainless hoses are affordable. I don't think it is necessary to replace the steel lines since I see no rust, kinks or problems with the lines.

The brake fluid has never been drained and flushed. I will definitely do that when I start this job. I noticed, almost all the auto parts store near me only have synthetic brake fluid. I guess I will use that.

I have been told that ceramic pads may not grab as well as semi-metallic. I think the ceramics last longer but it is hard to get best of both worlds. I will look into this more.

It makes sense that the rotor/caliper size changed pre/post 10/01, I have heard the same, though, I also heard the positioning of the caliper may have changed as well. So I am trying to find out if I can change out the rotors and calipers for the larger ones with little effort and expense. Will I have to change the front hubs (spindles, bearings, speed sensors too?) as well though. I don't think that would be much fun but doable.

I know the calipers on the front have been changed before I am checking about the rears. I am finding that Centric is a very reliable rebuilder to go with. Any caliper I get will be a rebuilt OEM caliper, yes? I understand that different companies rebuild differently from poor to exceeding OEM. I totally agree that cleanliness for brake parts and all the brake hardware being intact are paramount for brake pedal feel and braking. I will clean and use an anti seize lubricant and clean all the parts.

I will find a way to brace the master cylinder, I am still thinking about replacing it but I will do that last if I find the pedal is not how I like it.

Great point made on having a mish-mosh of brake components on my 02 from 00 to late 02.


My thinking is if I replace every brake component that the pedal will have to be different (better) but I want to be smart about this and not just throw money at parts replacing unnecessarily, want to be replacing responsibly.

How do I replace brake components on my 02 to 03-04 H6? Would I be able to just get the calipers from the parts store for 03 and bolt on?

Thanks for everyone's help!!

Camel
 

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Premium Member
2006 OutBean, 2005 LGTW
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Slow steering and poor brake feel are two of my biggest gripes with the car we put together. I hadn't heard that the firewall flexes in these cars and had no idea there was a brace to "fix" it. We just put new calipers, rotors, pads and fluid in this thing and I'm still disappointed..

I don't see anywhere to purchase a brake M/C brace specifically for the second gen Outback, but I do see this one, that's specified for the Baja

GrimmSpeed Master Cylinder Brace - All Impreza 1993-2007 / Legacy 1994-1999 / 2003-2008 Forester / Baja 2003-2006 | RalliTEK.com

Anyone think it'll work?
 

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2001 OBW VDC, 2004 WRX, 1999 LEGACY L (in a heap)
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1,302 Posts
How do I replace brake components on my 02 to 03-04 H6? Would I be able to just get the calipers from the parts store for 03 and bolt on?

Thanks for everyone's help!!

Camel
someone correct me, but I think you basically replace alot. It all should bolt in, but you need the mounting bracket and rotors for the H6, not just the caliper.

EDIT: and i think a dust shield needs cut up or discarded.
 

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01 Outback LL Bean
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2,451 Posts
You need the calipers, caliper brackets, rotors and pads. You will need new crush washers for the brake line banjo bolt. Calipers from an auto parts store should include them, but if you grab something from a junk yard you will need new ones. Dorman 484180 works well. You will need 2 per side.

You can bend the dust shield back if it is in the way.
 

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2002 Outback 2.5 Base ---- 2008 Outback 3.0 L. L. Bean
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12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Don't get me started on the steering, actually I like the steering better on my '02 better than my '08, though, I bet there is some clean up work that needs to be done in and out of all those components. After I fix my brakes I will delve into that.

Okay, now I am on board if I can upgrade to '03-'04 H6 by replacing banjo bolt and washers, brake line, caliper brackets, rotors and pads. They could all use replacing.

Questions will be:

1. Brake hose (flexible line) application will be for '02 and the banjo bolt (+washers) for '03?
2. Caliper Bracket from '03 will bolt on to my '02 front axle housing?
3. Rotor from '03 will fit onto my '02 hub?
4. Master Cylinder will stay the same?


  • If I do need to replace hub, then we get into - will my stock wheels fit...?
 
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