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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone, got another question for the '00-'04 generation.

When you apply the brakes, is it normal for the pedal to travel roughly halfway with light resistance until you feel a firmer area where the brakes are really applied? We used to have an '09 Forester with more responsive brakes, so we're wondering if this is just how the Outback is, or if we might have an issue that requires attention.

Thanks!
 

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I believe the shop manual tells you exactly how much travel should occur as measured between the forward-edge of the bottom of the steering wheel to the brake pedal pad. Then, when there is some weight applied against the pedal (110 pounds rings a bell, or thereabout), the pedal should move no further than a specified distance.

After I replaced all the brakes in our '05, we were well within those specs. The pedal is firmer and more responsive than it has ever been, including the day we bought the car brand-new.

I also flushed all the OEM DOT 3 Fluid with Castrol Synthetic DOT 4 Fluid, which is backwards-compatible with DOT 3.
 

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Sounds like you need to bleed the brakes, as there may be air in the lines. For sure at this age, you need to flush out the old brake fluid and install fresh, and then bleed each wheel.

Its a straight forward job for a DIYer, and certainly not rocket science.
 

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I believe the shop manual tells you exactly how much travel should occur as measured between the forward-edge of the bottom of the steering wheel to the brake pedal pad. Then, when there is some weight applied against the pedal (110 pounds rings a bell, or thereabout), the pedal should move no further than a specified distance.

After I replaced all the brakes in our '05, we were well within those specs.
I can't seem to find tests and specs along those lines. (There are others related to pedal height and free play.) Any chance you can provide the location in the service manual?
 

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Is the shop manual available online as a .PDF, or would I have to buy a copy somewhere?

Thanks!
There are occasionally "copies" available on the Internet (e.g. e-Bay). There's a thread here that had some links but I'm not sure if they are still working. Look for a thread with the words Free service manual in the title. (Some have reported that these unofficial copies are sometimes incomplete, or for the wrong year, etc.)

If you will be doing a lot of your own work, I would recommend buying a 72 hour subscription to the Subaru of America techinfo website, where you can download the most up-to-date and complete factory service model for your particular car. There's a lot of individual pdf files to retrieve, and it's limited to 50 per hour, but it's doable. See: Subaru Technical Information System - Welcome
 

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I got a one-year subscription to:
ALLDATAdiy.com Leading Source of Factory Automotive Repair Information

I signed up, went through the whole process to the point where I had to enter my credit card payment info, at which time I stopped. It was $29.95 for one year. I wanted to sleep on it.:eek:

The next morning, I get an email from them telling me they were sorry that my transaction did not work out. Then they offered me a one-time credit of $10, making the total $19.95.:)

As soon as I saw that, I immediately purchased the year!:D:17:
In fact, I was so impressed, I also got a year for my work truck which, with discount was something like $14 for the second vehicle.

The manual looks just like the manual that was an FTP file I saw on here not long ago. I believe they are OEM Factory Shop Manuals!

I cannot honestly copy pages and pictures from that manual to post elsewhere. That would be copyright infringement.

IIRC, you can try the site out for free for a very limited time only. I think they allowed one hour to browse the manual for your year, make and style of vehicle. You only can work with one of their manuals at one time. During your subscription, you can only change the vehicle one time. Any more than that requires a new subscription.

There was a PDF manual I saw on this site which had identical pages to the ones I have subscribed to.
 

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Bleed the brakes - new fluid - if this does not change the brake pedal. Good chance that your first stage in the master cylinder has failed and what your experiencing is the second stage of the master cylinder applying the brake pressure.

Master cylinders are two stages for a reason ;-) redundancy in braking systems lessen the chances of total brake failure.
 

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Flush the brake system. Check the front of the brake booster for evidence of brake fluid leaking from the master cylinder. You may also want to check the actual wear of the brake pads. Then, if all that is good, check the pedal adjustment, below.


Deflection of brake and clutch pedal:
Service limit 5.0 mm (0.197 inch) or less

Check position of pedal pad. Pedal height: L
AT: 158 mm(6.22 inch)
MT: 153 mm (6.02 inch)
Brake pedal free play: A 1 - 3 mm (0.04 - 0.12 inch) [Depress brake pedal pad with a force of less than 10 N (1 kgf, 2 lb) .]

If it is not in specified value, adjust it by adjusting brake booster operating rod length.


See attached.

And I got subscriptions to both AllData Pro and Mitchell Ondmand5. Don't waste your money on something you may not use daily. I keep both open all day long.

.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the replies guys! I'll have to download the manual from Subaru since this is my family's car and we're hoping to get another 5-6 years out of it, at least. I may have our mechanic do the brake flush since I'd find some way to screw that up; I'm not great with critical systems like that besides changing pads. Our guy isn't the kind of mechanic who sprinkles sand in the power steering reservoir, either. Best to make sure it gets done the right way the first time.

Second stage of the master cylinder sounds about right since the brakes are very competent once they do engage. My first car needed its master cylinder replaced and that ran about $300, so I'd imagine it's a similar story here.
 
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