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2007 Outback H6 LL Bean - Champagne Gold Opal
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Discussion Starter #1
If you've got experience or ideas as to why I should or should not attempt to replace my rear struts on my own, please speak up!

My list so far:

Pros:

*I'd save a TON of money in parts and especially labor.
*KYB GR2s! Most local shops stick to boring Monroe struts, if I did the install myself I could choose whatever brand I want to use.
*I'd gain some valuable mechanical/repair experience.
*There is a nice step-by-step guide at scoobymods that shows the process.
*I won't be left to wonder about the quality of service done by the shop.
*I could do the job on my own schedule, not worrying about leaving the car anywhere overnight/etc...

Cons:
*The brake-line runs through the strut assembly, requiring disconnection and subsequently a full-bleed process. Not something I am clear on doing nor something I am excited about messing around with.
*If I screw it up, I can't exactly just drive it to the shop and have them fix my errors.
*I don't have a spring compressor (though I think they can be rented).
*I don't know a thing about alignment with all the toe-in/camber etc stuff. I assume if I line things up the same as they were when I removed the old one, it should be close enough for me to drive it to a real shop for a proper alignment...but if not, I could potentially do some damage.


So, what are your thoughts?
Is bleeding the brakes a difficult/daunting task/something I should be afraid of? Do I really need to worry about the alignment issue?
 

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FMGreen said:
If you've got experience or ideas as to why I should or should not attempt to replace my rear struts on my own, please speak up!

My list so far:

Pros:

*I'd save a TON of money in parts and especially labor.
*KYB GR2s! Most local shops stick to boring Monroe struts, if I did the install myself I could choose whatever brand I want to use.
*I'd gain some valuable mechanical/repair experience.
*There is a nice step-by-step guide at scoobymods that shows the process.
*I won't be left to wonder about the quality of service done by the shop.
*I could do the job on my own schedule, not worrying about leaving the car anywhere overnight/etc...

Cons:
*The brake-line runs through the strut assembly, requiring disconnection and subsequently a full-bleed process. Not something I am clear on doing nor something I am excited about messing around with.
*If I screw it up, I can't exactly just drive it to the shop and have them fix my errors.
*I don't have a spring compressor (though I think they can be rented).
*I don't know a thing about alignment with all the toe-in/camber etc stuff. I assume if I line things up the same as they were when I removed the old one, it should be close enough for me to drive it to a real shop for a proper alignment...but if not, I could potentially do some damage.


So, what are your thoughts?
Is bleeding the brakes a difficult/daunting task/something I should be afraid of? Do I really need to worry about the alignment issue?
CR Turbo just did this and may have some fresh pointers. The 'tab' that the brake line runs through can be carefully 'hack sawed' through in such a way that a piece can bent down with pliers the release the line without disconnecting it. (Of course the caliper must be supported by a wire or something). Then the line could be zip tied to the new strut(either permanently or until a shop could replace them for you). I think, even if you assembleb something a little off, putting it back together enough to get it on a flat bed is unlikely to destroy anything.
You could also take this opportunity to install braided steel brake lines and 'speed bleeders' to help with one man brake bleeding. There is also a kit with a hose and check valve that is a 'one man' bleeding setup.

check this thread;

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=418&highlight=turbo

Carl
1 Lucky Texan
 

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Lord of ScoobyMods, ,
19' Impreza Sport 5 dr / 01' Forester S / 13' OB CVT / 10' Legacy 3.6R / 99 Mita MX-5
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It's not that hard, I've done about 4 sets so far:

http://www.scoobymods.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2666

http://www.scoobymods.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36

http://www.scoobymods.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=472&highlight=suspension

Those links should help.

If you take the lines off here is how to bleed the brakes:

http://www.scoobymods.com/forums/showthread.php?t=182&highlight=Brake+Bleeding

Speedbleeders are nice:

http://www.scoobymods.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3104

If you are only doing the rear, that has no adjustment for alignment (camber) but the front does.
 

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2007 Outback H6 LL Bean - Champagne Gold Opal
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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info so far.

I knew about the shortcut of cutting the strut so the brake line could be removed without disconnection, but I'm not totally thrilled about the idea of hacking into a brand new strut...but seeing as it would save me the trouble of bleeding the brakes (or the trouble of buying those speed bleeders and a bunch of new fluid), I'm starting to think that the cutting method is the best option.

Is there anything I should be concerned about with reattaching the brake line to the strut via a few zip ties? Keep in mind that I live in Rochester, where there are only 2 seasons, Wet and Snow. It gets pretty hot (90s) in the summer and the winter (6 months at least) is consistently in the teens. I'm afraid a few plastic zip ties won't hold up to those temperature changes, not to mention all the action they would be receiving holding on to a vibrating piece of (eventually rusty) metal.

Perhaps re-attaching with a different technique/tool would be a better idea?

Please keep the info coming, you're all the greatest people ever.
 

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Well, Peaty is your best bet on this stuff - fantastic website and resource.
You could, perhaps, just keep a close eye on the brake lines - or even adhere to a schedule of replacing the zip ties every few weeks. There MAY be a way to twist the tab a little, then use some 'cable clamps' with the proper sized big washers (fender ? washers) and some hardware to attach the brakeline more securely to the struts tab. Still probably require some supervision - just a little more secure than zip ties. I have seen zip ties with a metal strip insiide but it has been a long time ago.

Any severe camber (more negative) in the back can exacerbate understeer. There are special bolts (camber bolts) used to bring the rear back out a little. A heavier rear sway bar can counteract some increase in rear camber - this all depends on you handling performance goals for the vehicle. Note; increased camber without increased 'spirited' driving can lead to inside edge tire wear. Also, lowering a car can lead to some toe issues and they are the most likely to increase uneven wear. Alignment is definitely an issue with lowering - just depends on how much - shouldn;t be a problem with stock springs .
 

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Lord of ScoobyMods, ,
19' Impreza Sport 5 dr / 01' Forester S / 13' OB CVT / 10' Legacy 3.6R / 99 Mita MX-5
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Why would you need zip ties? I'm not sure how the OB is compared to my 99 RS or my 04 XT but for the XT there was a slot to remove the brake line w/o having to cut anything on the strut and with the RS I had to cut a tab but I could bend it back and replace the clip so there was no need for a zip tie.





As long as you only bend it once, down then back it will be OK, then install the retaining clip. I put some paint on there for good measure to keep it from rusting.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
:2:
!!!

I was under the impression that they couldn't be bent back after they were cut. I was wrong. I am happy I was wrong.
 

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Lord of ScoobyMods, ,
19' Impreza Sport 5 dr / 01' Forester S / 13' OB CVT / 10' Legacy 3.6R / 99 Mita MX-5
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You can bend it back but I think you can only do that a few times (I've done it twice to the same tab) before it will snap due to metal fatague. They got smart because on my 04 forester XT there is now a slot in the strut rather than a hole so you can remove brake line by taking out one 12mm bolt, no cutting :)

 

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I would say do it yourself. It's not that hard of a job. To address your cons:

Originally posted by FMGreen
Cons:
*The brake-line runs through the strut assembly, requiring disconnection and subsequently a full-bleed process. Not something I am clear on doing nor something I am excited about messing around with.
* Bleeding the brakes isn't that hard of a thing to do. Besides, depending on the age of your car, it's probably not a bad idea to flush the brakes anyway. I know my fluid was pretty disgusting. If you decide to pull the line, You'll need to disconnect it from the caliper, as that's the only way to get the line out through the strut. Now might be a good time to upgrade to stainless steel braided brake lines. :) It didn't really matter for me, as I was doing the lines anyway, but I too didn't like the idea of cutting on my struts. I probably would have pulled the lines anyway even if I didn't do stainless lines. And for brake fluid, Ford Motorcraft performance brake fluid is only $3 something/12 oz bottle, I got 2 and had more than plenty for a complete flush/bleed.
Originally posted by FMGreen
*If I screw it up, I can't exactly just drive it to the shop and have them fix my errors.
*True, but there's not really that much to screw up.

Originally posted by FMGreen
*I don't have a spring compressor (though I think they can be rented).
*You shouldn't need one for the back, the rear springs aren't under very much pressure. But as you said, they can be rented from most auto parts stores if you want them for the peace of mind.
Originally posted by FMGreen
*I don't know a thing about alignment with all the toe-in/camber etc stuff. I assume if I line things up the same as they were when I removed the old one, it should be close enough for me to drive it to a real shop for a proper alignment...but if not, I could potentially do some damage.
* There's not really much in the rear alignment wise to mess w/ in changing the strut. Even if you do slightly tweak something, you'll still be ok to drive it to the alignment shop.


Peaty's site is a good resource on doing this. A couple notes though since it's slightly different on a wagon.

To get to the rear strut tops, you have to loosen the side rear trim. This takes a Phillips screwdriver, a flat blade screwdriver to pop tabs out and a 10mm socket. There are a couple of Subaru's famous plastic pop-out tabs that hold things together, along with 2 screws right below the speaker grill, 1 below the rear window, and the rear hatch cover holding points to remove. Once that's all loosened, you should be able to gently pry the trim panel away to gain access to the strut tops. If you wanted, I could take some pictures of the locations of all the screws and such. Maybe I should anyway and see if Peaty will add it to the suspension page for differences in the wagon.

Other than that, it shouldn't be too difficult to do, I'd imagine it'd take around 4 hours at most to do it yourself w/ a buddy helping. Besides saving some $$ on the install, you'll learn something new and I think that's always worth it.

Let me know if you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer to them.


--Josh
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Re: Re: DIY Rear Strut Install...Pros/Cons...HELP!

CR_TurboGuy said:
* Bleeding the brakes isn't that hard of a thing to do. Besides, depending on the age of your car, it's probably not a bad idea to flush the brakes anyway. I know my fluid was pretty disgusting. If you decide to pull the line, You'll need to disconnect it from the caliper, as that's the only way to get the line out through the strut. Now might be a good time to upgrade to stainless steel braided brake lines. :) It didn't really matter for me, as I was doing the lines anyway, but I too didn't like the idea of cutting on my struts. I probably would have pulled the lines anyway even if I didn't do stainless lines. And for brake fluid, Ford Motorcraft performance brake fluid is only $3 something/12 oz bottle, I got 2 and had more than plenty for a complete flush/bleed.
Thanks for the info.
A question about brake fluid: I've read tons of times that you shouldn't mix old/new/different brands of fluid. If I decide to bleed the brakes...won't I end up having to mix fluids without doing a complete flush of the lines?
Is doing a complete flush a different, or more difficult, procedure?


CR_TurboGuy said:
*You shouldn't need one for the back, the rear springs aren't under very much pressure.
Cool, that's good to know!


CR_TurboGuy said:
* There's not really much in the rear alignment wise to mess w/ in changing the strut. Even if you do slightly tweak something, you'll still be ok to drive it to the alignment shop.
I don't anticipate causing any problems. The way I see it, if I carefully remove the old strut and set the brake/rotor/etc apparatus down without maliciously moving it around, I shouldn't change anything really.

CR_TurboGuy said:
Let me know if you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer to them.
Thanks, I'm sure I'll have more.

I will try to take pictures as I go along if I do end up doing it myself.
 

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Greeny, Dot 3 and 4 are compatible, but don't put synthetic or Dot 5 or higher without a complete flush. You can add/top off/completely evacuate both Dot 3 and 4 mixing any which way and still have no problem. Now, that is my recollection of brake fluid grades and mixing, if anyone has any more info please enlighten us. Brian
 

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Yup, just what I was about to say. One thing to note, DOT 5 is not compatible with DOT 3 or 4, but DOT 5.1 is. Confused yet? LOL

As far as flushing/bleeding, there's not really that much of a difference. I picked up a cheap turkey baster and used it to suck out as much brake fluid from the reservoir as I could, then top off with fresh fluid and start the bleeding.


--Josh

[edit] here's a link w/ some more information on the DOT 3/4/5/5.1 stuff: http://www.rpmnet.com/techart/fluid.shtml
 

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Discussion Starter #13
My new issue is that I have no idea what kind of fluid is in there now. Probably DOT 3 or 4.
So, let's say I decide to flush it completely.

Does this look like the correct plan of attack:

1) I suck out as much fluid from the reservoir as I can with a baster.
2) I refill the reservoir with new fluid.
3) I begin the bleed process at the pass. front. Assuming I purchase and install speed bleeders, this means I open the valve and get in the car to slowly pump the brake pedal until it doesn't rise up anymore. Then I go back to the bleeder and close the valve and go back to the pedal and pull it up all the way.
4) I repeat step 3 for driver rear, pass. rear, driver front. All the while, making sure my reservoir is full so I don't inadvertently suck in air instead of fluid.
5) I'm done, the system has been flushed and the new fluid is in place.

Eh? :27:
 

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I've read pass. rear 1st because it's the farthest from the MC. Probably not critical.
 

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1 Lucky Texan said:
I've read pass. rear 1st because it's the farthest from the MC. Probably not critical.
Actually, you should start w/ the passenger front first, according to the image from the brake bleeding thread listed above:
http://www.scoobymods.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=671 :)

As far as telling what you have in there now, I'd imagine it's DOT 3, but I'd check my owners manual and see what it calls for. Otherwise, you're steps look dead on.

On another note, how do the speed bleeders work, I've never quite understood that? Maybe I just need to see one in action sometime...


--Josh
 

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Discussion Starter #16


That's the animation from oakos.com. I imagine when you depress the brake, the little spring/ball gets depressed
by the pressure and the fluid escapes, and as you release the brake/pull it up, the spring pushes the ball back up
and essentially blocks the entry of air back into the line via a vacum type of effect. Such a simple design, I'm surprised
they aren't standard parts on all new cars.

How many pumps of the brake should I anticipate for each bleed point? I imagine the pumps would become fewer and fewer as I move through the process and more of the old fluid gets expelled...right?


Also, Rochester is so close to Canada that I often believe I'm part Canadian.
(Though, I know I'm pure Italian Stallion.)
So, "Eh" is a fairly common part of my vocabulary, but "Aboot" isn't!
 

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Hmm.. does it have to be in a certain position to bleed or is it always in 'bleed mode'?

As far as how many pumps, when we did mine, I pumped 3-4 times and then we cracked open the bleeder, and repeated that about 3-4 times per corner. You'll still need to pump about the same for each corner mainly to expell the old fluid, but the pedal should get a little firmer after the first corner.


--Josh
 

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Discussion Starter #18
http://www.oakos.com

According to them, you attach the drain tube and unscrew the bleeder 1/3 of a turn to put it into bleed mode. When you are finished, you simply remove the tube and retighten the bleeder.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Two of those links make it seem as though the "pump the brakes" method of bleeding is the worst possible thing I could do!
Now I don't know what to think! I'll probably still end up doing the pump method simply because it's cheaper.


Also, while I'm bothering to bleed the brakes, should I just go ahead and slap on new brake pads all around the car? Mine aren't completely shot, but I'm sure it couldn't hurt to put a new set on...and pads are relatively cheap, I'm not looking for any serious performance out of the brakes.
 
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