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'03 L.L. Bean OBW 162,000 mi Dad: 2012 3.6 Limited 90,000 mi Mom- 2015 Impreza 5MT
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1,205 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,
Back in December I did brakes all around on my Outback. I then bled the fluid. The pedal felt nice and firm, and I had no issues for a while.

Now I'm noticing that, although the car is still stopping fine, the pedal doesn't feel right. While I'm stopped at a light, if I put my weight on the brake pedal, it sinks, then hits a very positive stop. I can hear it hitting the positive stop. It sounds like it's hitting a travel limiter.

I will try flushing the fluid tonight, hopefully that will fix it, but I would think I would have problems stopping if there was a lot of air in the lines. The brakes feel normal until I'm stopped and put higher than normal force on them.

I'll post back once I've changed the fluid.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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26,843 Posts
what is the level in the reservoir under the hood? (keep a bottle with you to top off if need be)

look for someplace where you are loosing fluid and it is not getting on the ground,

or a weak rubber brake line.
 

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'03 L.L. Bean OBW 162,000 mi Dad: 2012 3.6 Limited 90,000 mi Mom- 2015 Impreza 5MT
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1,205 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The level of fluid is fine. All the convenient auto parts stores closed before I had a chance to buy fluid, so I'll be flushing tomorrow.
 

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'03 L.L. Bean OBW 162,000 mi Dad: 2012 3.6 Limited 90,000 mi Mom- 2015 Impreza 5MT
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1,205 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, I changed the fluid and no affect. Not losing any so I guess it's the master cylinder.
How often do these just fail from wear and tear? How probable is it that my assistant when I did brakes in December pushed the pedal down too far, causing slow failure over the next several months?
 

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Premium Member
(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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18,329 Posts
it's a rare enough failure that a MC from a junkyard is a viable option.

but , from what I have read, the bench bleeding replacement in general is tricky.

I don't think it's common, but I have read warnings against using full travel to bleed because seals can be compromised - seems like it wouldn't be months to present a problem though.

hear any odd hissing noises? wonder if the booster is bad?
 

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'03 outback limited, '01 Outback Limited, '01 Legacy L wagon, '96 Legacy Brighton wagon
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2,544 Posts
If you are losing fluid, it is a small leak somewhere - one drop after the other while you are pressing the pedal. Not good, obviously, and needs to be found and fixed. You say the level is "fine", but does that mean that it looked the same after only a couple sinkings, or after many - it may take many applications of sinking to the floor for you to really notice a change in level.

If you are not losing fluid, it is the MC for sure.
 

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'03 L.L. Bean OBW 162,000 mi Dad: 2012 3.6 Limited 90,000 mi Mom- 2015 Impreza 5MT
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1,205 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes, I heard that getting all the air out is hard. I might just go to a mechanic for this one. Are Cardone remans good? If not what about new Centric?

I did tell my assistant to not push the pedal to the floor, she says she put her foot under it. Sound like she probably pushed it too far anyway.
 

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'03 L.L. Bean OBW 162,000 mi Dad: 2012 3.6 Limited 90,000 mi Mom- 2015 Impreza 5MT
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1,205 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Replacing master cylinder- how hard?

Hello all,
When my engine is running, if I stand on my brake pedal, it slowly sinks to what feels like a travel limiter. Bleeding the brakes did not make a difference. I have been told in another thread that I probably need a new master cylinder.

What brand replacement should I get? Are Cardone remans good? Are new Centrics good? Are either of these a viable alternative to the $151 OEM master cylinder?

How hard is this job? I've heard that when you're connecting the lines and introducing air to the system so high up, getting it all out can be difficult. Is this something a relative novice can handle?

Any more diagnostic checks I can try? I'd hate to go to all the effort only to find the problem is something else. The brake pedal feels ok with the car off, I can't get it to slowly sink until I turn the car on. I've heard that bleeding with the engine running can help?
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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26,843 Posts
merged threads and updated title, this adds to the background of the issue, vs. making 6 threads on the same car with the same problem.

some of what was asked was answered before. getting a master cylinder out of a wreck or a rust bucket is a good idea = as they rarely are discussed on this board as something that fails.

______

did you get a professional opinion? subaru braking systems on things like a 2003 Bean are plain, nothing special that any old mechanic could look at and fix.

 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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18,329 Posts
you could try this to eliminate a booster problem;
 

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'03 L.L. Bean OBW 162,000 mi Dad: 2012 3.6 Limited 90,000 mi Mom- 2015 Impreza 5MT
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1,205 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Before I order parts, is it possible that I'm being a hypochondriac and this is just normal operation? The brake pedal feels the same as ever during normal use. I just don't remember it being able to sink a few inches, and don't remember ever feeling such a positive stop at the end of travel. If the MC is really going out, why is the car still stopping normally? It just hasn't yet worn too badly, and can still hold pressure under normal conditions?
And it only happens with the car on. Maybe I can't get enough pressure to force fluid past the seal without the assist? Or, maybe it is a booster problem.
 

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'03 L.L. Bean OBW 162,000 mi Dad: 2012 3.6 Limited 90,000 mi Mom- 2015 Impreza 5MT
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1,205 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Overdue update, I think I was just being paranoid. Dad came to visit, and I tried the pedal in his 2012. It felt exactly the same as mine. Sorry about that!
 

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Fresh Out of Outbacks!
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14,475 Posts
Nobody likes the pedal-feel of Subaru brakes.

They work well, quite durable and safe, but they never feel great. It's been that way at least 20 years with Subarus.
 

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2001 VDC Wagon - White pearl - 302,000 km
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466 Posts
Hello all,
Back in December I did brakes all around on my Outback. I then bled the fluid. The pedal felt nice and firm, and I had no issues for a while.

Now I'm noticing that, although the car is still stopping fine, the pedal doesn't feel right. While I'm stopped at a light, if I put my weight on the brake pedal, it sinks, then hits a very positive stop. I can hear it hitting the positive stop. It sounds like it's hitting a travel limiter.
Did you step hard on the brakes right after they were done, or did you just discover this pedal travel out of curiosity sometime later?
 

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Registered
'03 L.L. Bean OBW 162,000 mi Dad: 2012 3.6 Limited 90,000 mi Mom- 2015 Impreza 5MT
Joined
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1,205 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I discovered it later. I think the pedal's always been that way, and I just never noticed. My dad's 2012 does the same thing, and an 80s Toyota I tried does the same thing. Again, sorry to make a big deal out of nothing.
 
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