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Update. Had a phone call from Transport Canada today, I logged the issue in their database (and NHTSA for good measure) yesterday so they must be on their game. Fellow I talked to was really good, listened to everything all over again, says they might send a team out to take a further look at the car. Talked to the dealer, they've called everyone in the company it seems and are still hearing back from various parties, want to keep the car overnight again. I told them they can keep it until they figure out what's wrong with it, or at least what probably needs to be changed to prevent the problem from happening again (the suggestion above about changing the brake control system seems like a good one to me), my guess is it'll be another few days before anything gets figured out. I'm glad they're taking it seriously and I'm not just being written off as a crackpot. I'll post an update if I hear anything.

I appreciate the comments above, this really is a great forum for sharing problems, ideas, and getting a little sympathy now and then. Thanks to all for your input and comments.

Depending on the outcome, I might start a new thread as a summary since the name of this one isn't really accurate to my problem, and I feel a little guilty for hijacking the original intent.

FWIW, this is what it looks like when you run into the back of a gravel truck at about 1 mph (pics attached if I did this right).
 

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2016 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited, 2001 Mercedes Benz SLK320
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...Don't know much about the electronics in new cars, is a brake failure the kind of thing that should leave a code somewhere in the system to diagnose? Haven't found any other reports of anything like this anywhere on the web yet, other than the OP's notes which are not exactly the same case. Hope it's just a part that failed somewhere, glad it didn't happen on the highway home last night.
I'll share an experience that I had with our 1988 MB 560 last year, that sounds eerily the same. Not once, but twice, we were driving along and the brakes did exactly what you said, straight down to the floor with almost zero braking. After the first incident, we turned the car off and checked, we found nothing. When we restarted the car, the brakes were back to normal! Mechanic could find nothing wrong. Two months later, happened again. This time, towed to MB dealership. Turns out, my right front rotor was seized up, applying brake continuously. This caused my rotor to become red hot, as in you couldn't even touch the aluminum wheel without burning your hand. The service advisor said what was happening was, the brake fluid was actually boiling and causing it to have no stopping power! Once it cooled down, it resumed normal braking. I know it's not likely, but I have 40+ years of driving experience and had never heard of anything like this, so if there's any chance that it helps you (or someone else), then it was worth it to share my experience.

Good luck with your issue!
 

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Yup, the good old stuck rotor has caught me off guard before too. Boiling fluid is as good as having air in the lines. After pulling off the road a quick sniff test pointed me to the culprit.
 

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2011 OB 2.5i Prem CVT HK/AWP, Ruby Red Pearl
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That’s a pretty serious malfunction.
Problem with dealers/cars nowadays is they want a code before they do anything. Yah, I intentionally rear ended a dump truck at 1mph to put a dent on my new car.
But talk is cheap. Tell your service advisor you’ll be looking for paper of what was done to it (labor/time/material was expended, so it’s on record). Brake systems are really fundamental designs, hopefully they catch it.
Good you’re okay, and thanks for posting.
 

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Yup really curious to hear what it was. It seems like the more recent cars with the fancy systems like Eye sight and such could have added mechanical aspects to whats been a pretty basic and standard brake system used for a long time. I wonder if there are added valves or mechanical aspects that could create a potential point in the system where pressure is prevented from being generated when you step on the pedal? The typical older systems were fairly simple with two stages which made total failures pretty rare. The cooked fluid with a stuck caliper for sure is a possibility but that tech on the end of the system is pretty standard and hasn't really seen any changes for decades. Which case if that were the case you'd think the shop would ID that pretty quick if that were the issue.

Very curious to hear what the verdict is
 

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.....yeah. A stuck caliper should be quite apparent just by looking at the rotor (overheating will generally cause some level of discoloration IME). I just replaced a set of pads on the wife’s Forester due to a sticking caliper pin.

I have experienced brake fade a few times in the past but that was clearly a result of the way the vehicle was being driven. Brake fade is typically attributed to either the pad & rotor surface becoming so hot that there is reduced/no friction (due to gasses that build between the two surfaces) and/or by overheating of the fluid causing it to boil. Overheated fluid will typically give a spongy feel to the pedal (possibly allowing it to go to the floor) while the pad/rotor scenario might result in a firm pedal but with limited (or no) braking ability. I’ve had the latter happen to me on a few occasions and the first time can be a really weird experience (downright scary actually). I had pressure (like normal) but even with both feet on the pedal the car wouldn’t stop. Allowing them to cool eventually restored braking.

I also boiled the fluid before but unlike the other type of fade, I still had some braking after pumping the pedal a few times. ….boiling fluid produces gasses in the system and gasses compress (leading to the spongy feel). As with the overheated pad example, allowing the fluid to cool restored normal braking although the fluid at that point required replacement. Once fluid has been overheated, its boiling point is compromised.

In either case, I’m really curious about TLej’s problem as well. I hope it gets sorted asap.
 

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I know that the manual transmission is standard in Canada. But why would you fuly depress the clutch when coasting in neutral since the gears are already disengaged? Is is possible that you hit the clutch instead of the brake? You had no further brake issues when you drove the car after the accident.
 

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I have a 2015 3.6 also and have noticed lack of brake responsiveness first thing in the morning, when I go half a block to the first stop sign on my morning commute. I wish I had read this thread earlier in the week because I just brought the car in for annual state inspection. The dealer's bogus multi-point inspection didn't pick up anything.
 

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Strange braake issues

I have a 2015 outback 2.5i 15K miles

So far I have not noticed anything unusual with the brakes. Another man at our church has a 2.5i also and he has not noticed anything unusual. He had alignment problem with rear wheels but no brake problem.
I will check more closely after reading about your problems.:wink2:
 

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2016 Subaru Outback 3.6R Twilight Blue/Black leather with Eyesight and other options
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Can't comment on the brake issue, but the owner's manual mentions multiple times that when first starting the car after it's been off for awhile (e.g. overnight) that the engine will "race" on purpose to warm up quickly so that it is more efficient during driving. I read it in at least 2 separate place in the manual. (I'm not near my car now--manual is in the glove box--so I can't reference the exact page.)
 

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I would also read the ABS section under Brakes. Mentions not to ever "feather" the brakes or the ABS won't kick in. Doesn't sound like your exact issue, but wanted to pipe in while the thought crosse my mind.
 

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Neighbor Just had his brake pedal go to the floor in his 2003 4runner with a buzzer going off and dash lights. Took two tries before the dealer could sort out what was going on ABS module failed which is a bizzarro thing never heard of that happening. **** thing is $1800 part and nearly as much in labor to fix. Just talked with my neighbor last night he's trying to sort out what to do given the truck is only worth about 7K to start with.

Sounds very similar to your experience with the brake pedal just going soft and having nearly zero stopping power.
 

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2016 Outback Touring 6-spd manual
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I know that the manual transmission is standard in Canada. But why would you fuly depress the clutch when coasting in neutral since the gears are already disengaged? Is is possible that you hit the clutch instead of the brake? You had no further brake issues when you drove the car after the accident.
Update: dealer had the car for 3 days and did everything they could think of. Paperwork from the dealer states: "Tech and shop foreman test drove vehicle to check brake/ABS operation, brake application/stopping distance is normal and ABS is functioning properly. Checked e-brake operation, e-brake also working normally... Checked brakre fluid level and condition, both are good. Scanned brake/ABS system for any codes, none in memory (the hydraulic control unit will set codes if any issues). Checked brake calipers and pads for proper movement, were fine on inspection -- no signs of calipers sticking. Inspect brake booster (vacuum) and master cylinder operation, checked that the floor mat in drivers area did not slip up behind brake pedal causing interference with the pedal travel -- all OK on inspection. Test drove 4 more times to check brake operation, all OK on test drives. Contacted Subaru tech line, quality control dept and regional warranty rep to see if any other dealers across Canada have had same type concern, no other reported cases have been found. Unable to duplicate any issues with brake system, no fault found with systems on inspection."

So at the end of the day, as far as they're concerned the car is tip-top. As far as I'm concerned, there is an issue that is intemittent but potentially serious, however I have absolutely no way to prove it. I realise my story sounds implausible, and I'm sure that many of you will have doubts. I myself have wondered if it is something I did wrong, however I have tried to fit two feet on the clutch (impossible to do without also depressing brake), and my right foot on the clutch with my left on the dead pedal (so incredibly awkward that you could not mistake doing that for the normal pedal operation, angles are all wrong). I can not come up with a way to duplicate the results without a mechanical or electronic failure -- not saying it's not possible, just that I haven't figured out a way to make a mistake that feels the same as what happened that morning.

As a result, I'm going to trade the car in for a 2016. While I have grave doubts about this particular car, in no way do I feel it is an issue endemic to all Subarus, Outbacks, or even the specific sub-set of 2.5 6MT 2015 Outbacks. Personally, my feeling is it is an electronic glitch of some sort (hence the restored braking function post-collision), however I have no technical or mechanical background that qualifies me to make that claim-- call it a gut feel.

At any rate, given the lengths they went to to try and diagnose the issue, I'm not sure what more could reasonably be expected of Subaru on the diagnostic side. I would be unable to sell the car privately with a clear conscience, so it seemed trade-in was my only option. I'm not happy about the bath I'm going to take to trade in a basically new car with 15,000 km (but now an accident on the Car Proof report), and have written a letter to Subaru Canada with the faint hope that they might offer an additional discount on the price of the new vehicle, however I'm not expecting much to come of it.

Personally, if Subaru was my company I would want the car back to have my engineers tear it apart and look for any potential failure mode that could result in the symptoms I have described. If there is some possibility that what I say actually happened, did happen, I would probably err on the side of caution. Give me a new car, have me pay a couple thousand for the year of use I got out of my '15, and write it off as R&D and customer goodwill. Of course, I don't know how many other crazy claims they get every day/month/year and I wouldn't want to set a precedent (make crazy claim to Subaru about safety feature X failing, get new car!), which is why I'm not optimistic about anything happening.

At any rate, sorry for the novel but I thought I would provide a final update on the outcome of this incident. Current car goes in for body damage repair on the 26th, new one is already at the dealer (2016 2.5 6MT in white), so in about a week I'll turn the page on this chapter and move on. It may seem strange to return to the same car that I had such a scary experience with, but I still feel that one-off issues notwithstanding, Subaru makes the safest cars on the road and I would rather have my family in one than pretty much anything else.

Thanks for reading.
 

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2015 Legacy 3.6R ES, 2014 Forester Touring ES, 2005 Jeep Liberty Limited
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Good Luck. Happy you are not soured on Subarus. Enjoy you 2016 and don't look back.

Sent from my SPH-L900 using Tapatalk
 

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Have a 2013 3.6r. With 61k miles. Brake peddle has excessive travel. I may need new pads and rotors turned down. Do you know when in 2013 the booster problem was apparent? Any service buliten on this? Thanks
 

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Well, isn't that just typical---and maddening.

I have owned a number of cars (and brands) over the years, and I can count on half a hand the number of times a dealership has either found or even acknowledged the existence of any unusual or 'tricky' problem that I've brought a car in for. If it isn't something so simple a backyard handyman/woman could likely fix it, they haven't got a clue. Having worked in a related industry a while, I discovered how incompetent many (not all) dealership technicians actually are, despite the public's assuming dealership techs must be much smarter / more knowledgeable than a 'general' mechanic at a neighbourhood shop. Thankfully all of my unfixed problems have been of the 'really annoying' or 'breakdown harmlessly' kind. I can't imagine what's been going through your head since your experience.

First off, judging by the way you communicate on here, you're obviously both intelligent and thorough in how you approach problems. I can't imagine anyone not believing you, but there are all kinds.

Secondly, when I read the first instalments of your difficulties, I figured there would be about a 90% chance that the dealership would be quickly rendered clueless. I also doubt your very serious issue was escalated very far up the Subaru Canada corporate ladder (only my hunch, based on experience), and I further doubt that anyone 'important' at Subaru was even made aware of this. When one observes the scandals of long term negligence in the world of big car companies that have tragically played out lately, it is obvious that until people---correction, many people---are actually killed as a result of a car defect, nothing is done. Even then it is only done out of absolute necessity, either to save what they believe is their reputation, or because of legislative or civil prosecution. Your car is a 2015 model---very new. If this is happening to others, it will just lately be being reported to dealers. And you can bet if it is / has been, no one from dealers to the manufacturer will be telling you!

Thirdly, besides the obvious 'solution' that you feel forced into going with, I would, at minimum, figure out how to tell everyone in the cybersphere about your experience. Facebook, Twitter...whatever means there are (besides posting here, obviously:29:) to make as big a deal of this as possible. (Ask some kids. They'll know how to get the word out!) It wouldn't hurt to try the local Edmonton media to see if any of them would be interested. Not likely, but one never knows.

What's truly frightening about your experience is when might it happen again, not just in a Subaru, but in any other late model vehicle. If the cause is never found and corrected, it's a roulette wheel scenario as to when and where others will experience it, most probably with outcomes much more serious than your 1km/h incident.
 

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My Aussie (JDM) 2012 3.6R was subject to a recall in late 2012 where we had our brake master cylinders replaced. Were US vehicles effected?
 

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Well, isn't that just typical---and maddening.
...
I also doubt your very serious issue was escalated very far up the Subaru Canada corporate ladder (only my hunch, based on experience), and I further doubt that anyone 'important' at Subaru was even made aware of this...
Thank you for your comments. I must say that of all the things that I've dealt with through this situation, by far the most disappointing (other than the initial failure) has been a complete kack of response and follow-up from Subaru Canada. I read comments on this forum about how SOA has gone above and beyond, like replacing windshields under warranty, sending out small packages of seatback protector clips, etc. and it seems to be an excellent company to deal with in the States. As for me, I have phoned (never got through to anyone and my callback request never resulted in a call back), snail-mailed (no acknowledgement of receipt or response), and left feedback using the online form on their website (again, no acknowledgement of receipt or response) to Subaru Canada, all in vain. Although I like their products, my impression of the company as a whole (in Canada at least) is one of very poor, in fact non-existent, communication. Perhaps if I lived in Toronto and drove out to their offices... But then again, probably not.

As for communicating a message about how Subaru 'done me wrong', others have advised me in a similar way but I feel that without it being repeatable, and with not having a witness to the incident, all I have is a dubious-sounding claim and it would be unfair of me to make it into something larger. I will continue to tell people the truth of what happened when asked why I am replacing a new car with the exact same new car (rough guess would be 50-70 or so based on dealer, co-workers, friends and family, their co-workers, police officer, Transport Canada guy, body shop staff, insurance folks, rental car people, etc.) and let them form their own opinions of the likelihood of the story being true based on their evaluation of my character, and of Subaru as a company based on Subaru's response to my claim. I am also keeping an interested eye on posts to this forum (the guy whose wife dropped the front end of her Outback off the edge of a parking lot despite being certain the car was in reverse and her foot was on the brake, for one) and if it seems anyone else has had a similar issue I will be sure to share my experience, but I don't think a single isolated case and an unresponsive company is a sign of conspiracy or cover-up and worthy of talking to media or using the Facepage/Twittergram to stir up Internet Outrage. Ten cases or a fatality... well, I am keeping the hard copy of all my records, just in case it ever comes in handy. The VIN on my car says it is #2424XX (XX are numbers, just not sure if I should post them), which if I understand the VIN correctly says it is in the first 42,500 to be built in 2015. If there is actually an issue, rare but repeatable, I would think the sample size would need to be quite a bit bigger before seeing it again even though it happened with less than 16,000km on my car. If there is no recurrence, then I was simply unlucky and Subaru shouldn't necessarily be called on the carpet for an isolated incident.

I just wish they would have responded and talked to me. Perhaps they still will.
 

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Went to start the car, push button start, and brake pedal was very soft and went to the floor. No error lights. Started the car and brakes worked fine. Never noticed this before. Will watch, if a problem then to the dealer next week.
 

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I have a 2015 Outback 3.6 I am experiencing the same exact brake pedal fad issue. The dealer has it now for the second day. AT the end of the first day he said he couldn't fins anything wrong. Sound familiar. I plan on making a complaint to NHSTB, send a letter to corporate Subaru USA. I'm thinking about picketing the dealership with a sign that says ' Faulty Subaru brakes.
 
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