Subaru Outback Forums banner

1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Silver: 2009 Subaru Outback Limited Edition, 2.5 Liter EJ25, Automatic. Gem: 2002 Subaru Outback LL Bean Edition, 3.0 liter EZ30D, Automatic
Joined
·
207 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone.
I finished changing all four calipers last Sunday. I've had the rear ones on a week, the front ones about three weeks now.

The only problem that came up in the caliper change is that one of the rear pads in the rear passenger side seemed to not fit well. We got it in, but it seemed much tighter than the other pads. I wanted to file the ears down, but my friend said it would "work itself out". It made some noise for the first few days, but no grabbing, smoking or anything too alarming. The last few days the brakes seemed to quite down considerably. The brake pedal has felt fine and the brakes stop the car with no problem.

Yesterday I went to work at my weekend job which isn't far away and fortunately does not require me to go down the mountain. As I applied my brake to turn into the work driveway, my foot pushed it all the way down to the floor. It seemed to still have stopping power, but it felt quite alarming. I was able to maneuver in the parking lot and park, but the brake felt not at all right.

With the car off I was able to pump the brake up nice and firm, but as soon as I start the car it becomes super soft again. I drove it back home after work, giving it a lot of pumps every time I needed the brake, and only getting it up to a very half-hearted firmness. Still had stopping power, it seems, but brake feeling all wrong.

I did some research on this symptom. There are so many threads about cars' brakes going soft after caliper changes, for all different kinds of cars and I read through many different car forums. Unfortunately most of them were left unresolved, but what I learned does seem to indicate the master cylinder could be failing.

1. Older, weakened master cylinders can become over stressed by brake bleeding
2. One of the signs of a weakened master cylinder is discolored brake fluid, got that mine is brown.
3. There is no fluid loss. The brake lines are dry, no bulging. The reservoir hasn't lost a drop.

The brake master cylinder on this car has been the subject of recall for locking up the brake pedal in freezing cold conditions. I can say that I have experienced this with my car several times in severe cold, once while driving (which was rather scary to say the least).

My friend says Dodge had to do a recall on their ball joints, and that they have replaced ball joints for free two times on his Dodge vehicle, even though it is older and he is the 2nd owner.

I wonder if Subaru would replace my MC, especially since it's had recall symptoms.
SOA says it's been done before I owned the car, but mine has acted like the old ones.

Is there anything besides the MC that would cause the brakes to start to fail after a week?
If Subaru won't replace the MC under recall, and considering the problems this part has had, is there an aftermarket MC that would be an upgrade?

Thank you very much for reading this post and for sharing any knowledge of this that you may have.
 

·
Registered
Lawn ornament XT
Joined
·
14,368 Posts
Sounds like you had a fit problem that shifted to a different fit problem once you applied the brake hard enough. Get the wheels off and look around in there before you drive more. Something moved, and it might have moved very incorrectly to result in your current symptoms. You don't want it to get worse.
 

·
Registered
Silver: 2009 Subaru Outback Limited Edition, 2.5 Liter EJ25, Automatic. Gem: 2002 Subaru Outback LL Bean Edition, 3.0 liter EZ30D, Automatic
Joined
·
207 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I'll have to take a look at that rear passenger one. All of the other calipers seemed to have perfect fit. From what I can see outside of the wheel, the pad seems to be positioned normally now. It didn't make any noise going to work. The only incident was the pedal going down the the floor upon some soft, easy braking. I'm not quite sure how a brake pad could do that.
 

·
Registered
01 outback-5sp-UEL-wrx wheels
Joined
·
76 Posts
did you bleed the wheel farthest from the master first? which would have been the rear passenger. when you changed the calipers, did it come with new brackets that had the slide pins included? if not, were they pins moving freely and not frozen or hard to slide? though, if you are not losing fluid anywhere, its probably the master like you mentioned.
 

·
Registered
Silver: 2009 Subaru Outback Limited Edition, 2.5 Liter EJ25, Automatic. Gem: 2002 Subaru Outback LL Bean Edition, 3.0 liter EZ30D, Automatic
Joined
·
207 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
did you bleed the wheel farthest from the master first? which would have been the rear passenger. when you changed the calipers, did it come with new brackets that had the slide pins included? if not, were they pins moving freely and not frozen or hard to slide? though, if you are not losing fluid anywhere, its probably the master like you mentioned.
The calipers came well-lubricated and seemed to move with ease. Yes, these were calipers with brackets and the little sliders that go in for the pads to set on. All of them seemed to go on just fine, but the sliders didn't fit as well on the rear passenger side (they fell out at the first attempt at inserting the pad and didn't seem to want to sit perfectly somehow. The pads fit in tight at first, then the back one managed to drop in. The outer one was more stubborn and felt stuck when I got it in there. Also it seemed to be at a very slight angle.

My friend suggested letting it "work itself out" so we put the caliper on and went with it. When I first applied the brakes there was a kind of loud sound in that area, which was probably the caliper popping it straight. I got a bit of noise from this caliper for a couple of days, but only like what I hear after a garage services my brakes, and it was pretty much gone after three days. The brakes made no sounds on Sunday when the brake suddenly went soft as I got to work. I looked at the rear passenger caliper today with the wheel off. I didn't have the right things to get it off, but the pads look to be in the correct position and it looks like the slider has taken its form better. There's no signs of any leaks, the fluid is still at full.

I found a garage a county over that quoted me around $250 for the MC replacement and I've had good experiences dealing with them before. I'm planning on going there tomorrow via AAA to get a new Master Cylinder.
 

·
Registered
06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
Joined
·
5,936 Posts
I have had to sand many an outback brake pad backing plate. Many do not fit right due to the punch and die wearing and smearing the metal around instead of making a clean 'cut'.
 

·
Registered
2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited
Joined
·
181 Posts
I have heard in some cases (not specific to subaru) that your typical usage of the MC range is only a portion of the total range. The range used regularly stays clean and shiny while the rest of the range can become corroded or have imperfections. When you go and bleed the brakes, people often use the full range of the master cylinder as you pump the pedal to the floor repeatedly. If you did this, you may have damaged the MC or some seals in there and now it does not make a good seal - hence needing to pump the brakes.

Just an idea.

I know some projects go south but if you think something wasn't lined up right you are more than likely right. Don't let someone else tell you "it'll be fine" unless you are comfortable with it too. If I were you, I take it back apart, inspect your work and see if things go back together more smoothly this time. Where you put the little metal slider plates in, you may want to inspect the caliper for an imperfection that is making them hold the pad to tightly. If you find one just file it down a bit - even though it's new it could still have a blemish. I always have to file and clean these up when replacing pads to make sure things move smoothly but that is on a dirty sometimes corroded caliper - you said yours are new.

Good luck and ask questions if I wasn't clear.
 

·
Registered
Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
Joined
·
4,111 Posts
First thought I had was master cylinder - classic symptoms. The second was perhaps there was excessive heat created from the passenger rear (also the furthest from the MC) and it caused the brake fluid to overheat, maybe even boil, damaging the brake line, causing it to loose its ability to keep the fluid under pressure. Check that black rubber line. If you can pinch it and it stays collapsed when you let go, try replacing the line.
 

·
Registered
OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
Joined
·
12,390 Posts
sounds like a leak, air in the lines, or a pad fell out and a piston pushed out of the bore (creating a leak). the boot will fill with fluid before actually springing a visible leak.

when the system is completely empty they can be a beast to bleed - but clearly you've already driven on it. how long did you drive before experiencing issues?

Subaru master cylinder failure is rare and i wouldn't do it before inspecting the recent work. by replacing it - you may accidentally fix it if it also simply needed bleeding which is a necessity during MC replacement.

every "i replaced my MC" subaru i've seen - ended up being something else. i mean it clearly is a mechanical system and can happen but it's not often.

any time there's an issue after a recent maintenance/repair - it's very often that one of the parts replaced/installed/removed is the culprit. that's true far more often than the statistical prevalence of Subaru MC failure.
 

·
Registered
2012 OB , 2017 Impreza
Joined
·
3,348 Posts
..... any time there's an issue after a recent maintenance/repair - it's very often that one of the parts replaced/installed/removed is the culprit. that's true far more often than the statistical prevalence of Subaru MC failure.
FACT!! After 40 years being involved with maintenance/repair of all manner of mechanical-electrical devices. (Including software too) In a formal production-line environment, we ALWAYS have to perform a "root cause analyses" of anything which interrupted the production-line.

I can attest that most issues can be traced to recent changes.

Another good 'rule of thumb' when replacing parts is to always assume that "A NEW PART DOES NOT MEAN IT IS A GOOD PART".

In the case of hydraulic brakes - the first action should be to perform a complete bleeding of the system (including the master-cylinder and ABS pump)
 

·
Registered
Silver: 2009 Subaru Outback Limited Edition, 2.5 Liter EJ25, Automatic. Gem: 2002 Subaru Outback LL Bean Edition, 3.0 liter EZ30D, Automatic
Joined
·
207 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
First thought I had was master cylinder - classic symptoms. The second was perhaps there was excessive heat created from the passenger rear (also the furthest from the MC) and it caused the brake fluid to overheat, maybe even boil, damaging the brake line, causing it to loose its ability to keep the fluid under pressure. Check that black rubber line. If you can pinch it and it stays collapsed when you let go, try replacing the line.
The hoses look the same as they did before. I am not able to pinch them down. They are firm.
Thanks for the tip though. If that had happened it would be good to catch.
 

·
Registered
Silver: 2009 Subaru Outback Limited Edition, 2.5 Liter EJ25, Automatic. Gem: 2002 Subaru Outback LL Bean Edition, 3.0 liter EZ30D, Automatic
Joined
·
207 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
sounds like a leak, air in the lines, or a pad fell out and a piston pushed out of the bore (creating a leak). the boot will fill with fluid before actually springing a visible leak.
All brake pads are accounted for and in place. The fluid is right at the full level. The brakes were even "checked" by Mavis on Wednesday and given a clean bill of health.

when the system is completely empty they can be a beast to bleed - but clearly you've already driven on it. how long did you drive before experiencing issues?

I have been driving it 3 weeks since the front calipers were done and 1 week after doing the rear ones. The brakes were sounding better and working better and better every day until the pedal sinking on Sunday.

Subaru master cylinder failure is rare and i wouldn't do it before inspecting the recent work. by replacing it - you may accidentally fix it if it also simply needed bleeding which is a necessity during MC replacement.
Apparently it was a problem for my particular car. A recall was issued for it in 2002 because it would cause the brakes to seize up in extremely cold temperatures, a symptom which my car has had from time to time, and something I've never had with any other car that I have owned. I have actually been wanting to replace the master cylinder for awhile now, and with the winter coming it's probably a good time. So if it's fixed by getting air out of the lines in the process, I'm actually okay with that.
 

·
Registered
Silver: 2009 Subaru Outback Limited Edition, 2.5 Liter EJ25, Automatic. Gem: 2002 Subaru Outback LL Bean Edition, 3.0 liter EZ30D, Automatic
Joined
·
207 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I have had to sand many an outback brake pad backing plate. Many do not fit right due to the punch and die wearing and smearing the metal around instead of making a clean 'cut'.
Yes, now in hindsight I wish I had. My friend seemed quite concerned that sanding it would cause problems, but I think if I had to do it again I would sand. I'm going to bring up my concerns about those pads to the garage I'm going to tomorrow. (They're a bit out of the way, but have done right in the past.)

Right now the pads look okay and haven't made noise in the last 2 days of being driven.
 

·
On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
Joined
·
26,477 Posts
All brake pads are accounted for and in place. The fluid is right at the full level. The brakes were even "checked" by Mavis on Wednesday and given a clean bill of health.




I have been driving it 3 weeks since the front calipers were done and 1 week after doing the rear ones. The brakes were sounding better and working better and better every day until the pedal sinking on Sunday.



Apparently it was a problem for my particular car. A recall was issued for it in 2002 because it would cause the brakes to seize up in extremely cold temperatures, a symptom which my car has had from time to time, and something I've never had with any other car that I have owned. I have actually been wanting to replace the master cylinder for awhile now, and with the winter coming it's probably a good time. So if it's fixed by getting air out of the lines in the process, I'm actually okay with that.
I don't remember that recall. (but my H6 has a differenet master cylinder then your bean).

there is a aftermarket master cylinder back in the classified here somewhere.

_________

I had front pads put on my H6 last winter, (existing rotors were fine and cleaned up OK), the pads felt very very thick under foot for a while, and felt like the coating on the pads was a bit glass like. (Advance Wearever premium ceramic,...I did not pick them,...just one of my mechanic buddies trying to speed up).

I left foot braked and gave it gas one night for a few seconds off and on, and then drove a bit till it cooled, and then it felt better and maybe driving like that made things press into place better.

got rid of the hissing noise when I applied the brakes too,

I did not hear anything hanging up or sticking. (inside or outside the car when it rolled by with someone else driving).

______

if you look in the recent past for posts by @03LLBean he had questions about master cylinders, and I think all was well after a 2nd try at bleeding.

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...e-pedal-sinks-then-stops-master-cylinder.html

edit: or maybe his was just fine all along??
 

·
Registered
'03 L.L. Bean OBW 162,000 mi Dad: 2012 3.6 Limited 90,000 mi Mom- 2015 Impreza 5MT
Joined
·
1,209 Posts
Yes, it was fine all along. I think I was being dumb.
I discovered for the first time that, when you put hard, continuous pressure on the pedal while stopped and idling, the brake pedal continues sinking until it hits what feels like a positive stop. Bleeding had no effect.
Then I bought an old Toyota (It's a second, fun car, 1988 MR2), and discovered that it does the same thing. Then my dad and I met up in Ohio, and I discovered that his Outback does the same thing. And his 1986 MR2 does the same thing. And every other car I've tried does the same thing. I guess I just never thought to put all my weight on the brake pedal while stopped before. It seems wrong, but I highly doubt my dad's 2012 outback with original pads has a bad MC.

(He has almost 80,000 miles by the way, and the original pads all still have good life left. I checked.)

About sanding, when I installed Hawk HPS pads I had to do lots of it just to make them fit in the pad clips and not stick. The cheap Centric pads they replaced had fit perfectly.
 

·
Registered
Silver: 2009 Subaru Outback Limited Edition, 2.5 Liter EJ25, Automatic. Gem: 2002 Subaru Outback LL Bean Edition, 3.0 liter EZ30D, Automatic
Joined
·
207 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Hi again. Here is the conclusion of this brake matter (hopefully).

For any who are curious about the 2002 Subaru Outback master cylinder recall, here's a description: https://repairpal.com/recall/02V079000

Yesterday I had my brake master cylinder replaced. In the morning the brake pedal felt quite limp.

Triple A towed it to a garage, and the folks there changed the master cylinder. They bled all of the brakes,
took it out for a test drive, then put it up and bled the brakes again. One more test drive and I got my
car back.

The brake pedal now feels very firm and responsive.

I brought up my concerns about the long-eared pads in the rear passenger caliper, but it was examined
and found to be closing and releasing properly, so nothing was done with it.

The unsolved mystery here will be whether air in the lines could have hidden for a whole week of driving
and then caused the pedal to go soft on the 7th day. Maybe that's what happened, or maybe it isn't.
All I know is my brakes did very odd and rather dangerous things in freezing cold weather. I wasn't
very attached to that master cylinder to begin with. They put in an aftermarket one, but with two Subaru
MCs failing on this car, I'm ready to give someone else a chance.

Thank you to everyone who commented on this thread!
 

·
Premium Member
03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
Joined
·
17,814 Posts
there's a check-valve built into the booster's vacuum line. It can become moist and suffer from sticking in cold weather.
 

·
On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
Joined
·
26,477 Posts
there's a check-valve built into the booster's vacuum line. It can become moist and suffer from sticking in cold weather.
for the past week it has been 75-85 F here in the daytime, and 55 at night. little or no rain.

this is the last day of 80s though. (I live 75 or so miles from fisherella)
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 Lucky Texan

·
Premium Member
03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
Joined
·
17,814 Posts
oh, no question about that recall, and certainly it isn't cold for most of us now.

But I thought I'd mention it in case fish was referring to a past issue or for others that may read here with odd brake problems.
 

·
On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
Joined
·
26,477 Posts
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top