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1996 Subaru Legacy Outback 2.2l Manual
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my handbrake is not functioning properly, the car is a 1996 Outback. Most common problem is to pull up on the handle with little to no resistance, no clicking sound and no actual brake function. When this occurs the button on the handle will be fully depressed and will not really return to its normal position. If I shake the handle laterally while in the downward position before pulling up to engage the handbrake I can sometimes manage to make it work and hold the car in place. I'm assuming the handbrake is operated with a cable, unsure if it manipulates the caliper or if there are separate handbrake shoes to hold the rear disk. Please let me know what may be at fault.
 

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Premium Member
(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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18,781 Posts
to me, it seems like the problem is in the mechanism right there under the console. you might find a diagram and some part numbers at www.opposedforces.com

the 'correct' way to adjust the brakes is with the 'star' adjusters on the rear hubs. But, the ratchet mechanism seem to be one of the problems you have.
 

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Super Moderator
2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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8,598 Posts
It sounds like the spring that holds the ratchet engaged on the console handle is weak or broken (button sometimes stays depressed). And it also sounds like the cable has got some functional issue, since you said there is at times no resistance and no brake function. The two issues would normally seem to me to be independent of one another, but your symptoms suggest they may be correlated.

In any case, do as Texan suggests and start with the console side to see what's going on there.
 

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1997 Outback 2.5 AT
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186 Posts
the mechanism is super easy to get to, i believe there's 2 screws under the "console lid" and then the whole plastic panel surrounding the lever pulls out. then everything is accessible right there...
 

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1996 Subaru Legacy Outback 2.2l Manual
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'll be starting with the spring mechanism below the handle, because with a little bit of a lateral wiggle I can manage to get the parking brake to hold the car solidly after a try or two. If that doesn't mend it, I'll just have to work my way backwards with the cable and finally the adjustment at the rear brake hubs. Thanks for the advice! Will update periodically.
 

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1996 Subaru Legacy Outback 2.2l Manual
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Finally got into the handbrake assembly, turns out it is in fact the internal handle button spring that manipulates the small black metal latch that goes up the quarter circle shaped toothed gear. Can someone please provide guidance on how to remove the handle and replace that spring. Thanks!
 

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Premium Member
(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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18,781 Posts
you may be served well by getting an assembly from a local wrecking yard.

if no one here has info for you, ask also at ultimatesubaru.org .


I once read of someone replacing the button with a modified ball point pen cap - if you could find that, maybe there's disassembly info also?
 

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1996 Subaru Legacy Outback 2.2l Manual
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If I were to replace the whole assembly, could you explain how to remove the whole thing? I don't mind removing the whole assembly to take a stab at just repairing the handle spring. I'm also looking to purchase a repair manual shortly, that will probably be beneficial. Does Bentley make a Subaru Legacy repair manual? Not a huge fan of Haynes manuals.
 

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2005 Outback 2.5i 4 inch ADF lift 215/70/16 BFG's Sparco Wheels
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87 Posts
I have the same problem. Mine is because the first owners dogs chewed the end up. I also have to thump mine up and down to get the spring to pop out.
I have to replace the actual handle. I don't think you can fix that inner spring
 

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Registered
1996 Subaru Legacy Outback 2.2l Manual
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have the same problem. Mine is because the first owners dogs chewed the end up. I also have to thump mine up and down to get the spring to pop out.
I have to replace the actual handle. I don't think you can fix that inner spring
I ordered a Haynes manual, hopefully it explains how to remove the whole handle. I'm just gonna go that way with it than try to fix the spring itself.
 
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