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2017 Outback 2.5i
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96 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is anybody else experiencing brake fade after stop/go traffic??

This has happened to be a handful of times, not always on hot days like today(100F). First couple of times the brake pedal would become noticibly unresponsive(had to push hard to stop). But today I passed a slow truck, had to really slow down to make the turn on to a side street, then I noticed the ABS system was pumping after approaching a stop sign. I stopped at a restaurant and ordered some food. Came out and my brakes are working good as new again. This has me thinking either the brakes are undersized for a car like this or there's a problem with my ABS system.

Could it be the rotors themselves be the problem? The standard 17" wheels look like they give little room for the rotors to breathe. Could going with aftermarket ceramic pads help(i assume stock pads are metallic)??

12500 miles on the car and no load in the back. If this is normal I should have gotten a toyota. Hopefully my ABS system isn't acting up...
 

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2017 Outback, 2.5L, Auto; 2018 Forester, 2.5L, Auto (for Mama); 2005 Baja, 2.5 Turbo, Manual
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795 Posts
If the ABS is pumping the brakes are working and your issue is tire traction. Might be as simple as some loose sand blown across the pavement.
If brakes were fading, they wouldn't grab hard enough to trigger ABS.
 

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2017 Outback 2.5i
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96 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No sand. Roads were dry and clear. The pedal just sinks to the ground and starts pulsating.

I ended up taking the car back out after parked for an hour, brakes work fine. Slammed on them from 40-0mph then 35-0mph. Second time the brake pedal was firmer than the first. Is this normal? Like the brake system is prepping for emergency stopping or do I have air in the system?? Never had this happen in my other Subarus
 

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2015 Outback 2.5i Limited, Ice Silver/Black
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2,421 Posts
Maybe brake booster? At any rate, not at all normal. Better get it checked before something really bad happens.
 

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2014 Impreza SP CVT
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385 Posts
First couple of times the brake pedal would become noticibly unresponsive(had to push hard to stop). ... Came out and my brakes are working good as new again.
Classic symptom of brake fade caused by overheated brakes. This can lead to glazed pads/rotors reducing their coefficient of friction which then requires more pedal effort generating even more heat.
Since this is a new vehicle, a number of things can be ruled out (like wrong pads, sticking calipers, etc). A few things though come to mind such as two-footing the pedals (resting left foot on the brake pedal), riding the brakes when descending a grade, throttle not fully closing on decel.
The pedal just sinks to the ground and starts pulsating.
Air in the lines as a result of boiled fluid. OTOH, there may be so much fade requiring so much pedal effort that the low pedal is the result of firewall flex.
I ended up taking the car back out after parked for an hour, brakes work fine. Slammed on them from 40-0mph then 35-0mph. Second time the brake pedal was firmer than the first. Is this normal? Like the brake system is prepping for emergency stopping or do I have air in the system??
A firmer pedal on the second application can have a number of causes one of which air in the system.

I'd flush the brake fluid and service the pads/rotors if glazed. Then, if necessary, review driving habits.
 

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2012 OB , 2017 Impreza
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3,560 Posts
I have given up on using "ceramic" based pads due to this and other issues.

The metallic pads are MUCH more powerful and actually get stronger as they heat up. (you actually have to put LESS pressure on the peadal as you brake down a long hill for example.) As a bonus, here in Vermont, the metallic pads tend to reduce the rust build-up on the braking-surface of the rotors. (ceramic pads are soooo gentle on the rotors that they do not remove rust.)

Full disclosure: The metallic pads make more black-dust than ceramic pads.
 

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2016 2.5i Outback, 2002 Audi S4 Avant, 1980 CB750F Supersport, 1985 Carrera 3.2
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568 Posts
I've had the same issue, but I didn't notice it occurring until after I bled the brakes. Thinking I might have a pocket of air in the system somewhere or the fluid I replaced it with (ATE 200) didn't fill the system completely and it's acting inconsistent, however it does feel like the ABS is kicking in a bit. As stated earlier, if it was brake fade you probably wouldn't have ABS kicking in and I haven't noticed my braking distances decrease much because of it. Seems more of a hydraulic issue somewhere. I'll try to bleed mine this week again and see if that helps.
 

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2017 Outback 2.5i
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96 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ok I brought it to the dealer to have my fuel level sensor replaced, they also looked at the brakes and didn't find anything(probably because its not hot out, and the car was parked to get worked on. They did document it for future references though.
 

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2017 Outback 2.5i
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96 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I brought my car in and they said everything is within spec(car was parked for 2 hours, everything was cold - duh). No ABS codes in the system or any obvious signs of brake failure. They test drove it and didn't find anything, so nothing could really be done.

Starting to think it was because the brakes overheated. Got 18" STI wheels for it, hopefully the bigger rim allows for more air flow.
 

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2015 Carbide Gray Outback 3.6R with EyeSight
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176 Posts
I brought my car in and they said everything is within spec(car was parked for 2 hours, everything was cold - duh). No ABS codes in the system or any obvious signs of brake failure. They test drove it and didn't find anything, so nothing could really be done.

Starting to think it was because the brakes overheated. Got 18" STI wheels for it, hopefully the bigger rim allows for more air flow.
I would have them bleed the brakes, or, if you are comfortable, you can do it yourself. At 30K miles I was also feeling that the brake pedal was a bit softer than I would like, so I bought an OEM Brake bleeder kit from Autozone ($8), a 32oz Valvoline DOT3&4 synthetic brake fluid (also around $8) and completely flushed the brake fluid - took a total of about 30 minutes, and didn't have to remove the wheels. There is a nice DIY guide on a Gen 4 forum for this: http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...id-flush-bleed-one-person-wheels-vehicle.html. Front left seemed to have a bit of air in the line. On a short test drive brake pedal seemed to have a better, more controlled feel.
 

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Reviving an old post. I have 2019 3.6R and I've been experiencing the same symptoms. When I first started to drive in the morning, brake feels to have really nice bites. After few hours of driving, stopping at various speeds, the brakes does not have as much good bites and at some point I have to press alot harder and further for more bites. I changed my tires to General Altimax so I'm sure tires are not the issue. 22k miles on the clock.

Have you guys have any further updates?
 
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