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I changed my front and rear pads and rotors today and stumbled upon a major annoyance in the process.

My 2002 Outback has the brake system from a 2001 Outback because it was manufactured in August of 2001.

When I originally purchased pads for a 2002 Outback, they didn't fit. I went back to the store with my old pads and matched them up to the pads for a 2001 and they were identical. So, it appears as though mine was one of the first 2002s to roll off the assembly line.

So take note of the manufacture date for your car before purchasing parts, and don't always simply rely on the model year.

The Manufacture date can be found printed on sticker on the bottom edge of the drivers door:




Does anyone know how the model year for a car is determined, or at which point things switch over at the factory?
 

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8/01 would be a 2001 model car.
When I worked at Ford a car was not considered the next model year until the month of September. So if your build date would be 9/01, then your car would be a 2002 model.
To my knowledge and experience, this has always been the case for any manufacture of vehicle I have ever worked on.
 

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Green, I have you beat.

My Outback is an '02 like yours, and my manufacture date is 6/01:p Anybody got an '02 older than that?

This is annoying for two reasons--

1. I have a set of brand new '02-compatible brake pads that are probably not going to fit when I get the wheels off tomorrow.

2. I probably have a much higher likelihood of head gasket failure. I guess I'll be taking it in to the dealer next month for that coolant flush & conditioner (I just hit 60k anyway).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
obsolete said:
...1. I have a set of brand new '02-compatible brake pads that are probably not going to fit when I get the wheels off tomorrow.

2. I probably have a much higher likelihood of head gasket failure. I guess I'll be taking it in to the dealer next month for that coolant flush & conditioner (I just hit 60k anyway).
1. Can't you return/exchange them? I highly doubt they will fit.

2. Yeah. I had the external "peeping" leak repaired about one year ago. Luckily I saw it coming and bought an extended warranty when I purchased the car used in July 2005, so I only paid for the timing belt/water pump/etc that I had them replace while they were in there.

3. Good luck!
 

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Yep, swapped 'em at the parts store this morning, same price. The '01 and '02 pads are very similar--the back plates on the '02s are just a little longer but have a little narrower tab. I don't think there's an appreciable difference in pad area or anything performance-wise.

Just for reference, the rears are the same between the '01 and '02. All four pads are now installed and working great!

I got Wagner QuickStop pads from my local Auto Value. They are a middle-of-the road sort of pad (made by Federal Mogul), and were only $33.39 a set, both front & rear. Not bad for decent stuff in stock at a local store. The fronts are organic and the rears are semi-metallic. After the initial bedding process, they are a nice performance improvement over the old worn ones, and are very quiet.
 

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while the model year can change, the production date will always be the same. i worked with bmw for many years. several times, an earlier production date car was titled as the next year. all the manufacturer has to do is notify dot that as of xxxxx vin, they are now xxxx model year. when the neon first came out, iirc, the cars were produced in like march, but the model year was the next year. the previous poster was also correct, production date starting the 9th month is the next year. so, technically, your car is an 01MY, and especially for parts purposes, you should tell them that. a dealer will not need your MY, they will ask for you vin, and that pinpoints exactly what the parts are. i can remember many times, if there was any question about the year, i would ask for a vin.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Marbleyard said:
I know everyone already knows the year of their car but, a quick way to check the model year of a vehicle by the VIN is the 10th digit. Other intresting facts and info on your car can be found too, Wikipedia VIN decoding
You mean the 10th character. Digits refer to numbers only.

If that's the case, then my VIN says my car is a 2002... yet still, 2001 brakes.
 

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Here's what I think I know about this:

As long as January 1 of the model year is in the production year, the manufacturers can do what they want. Ok, I put that badly. How 'bout an example instead?

If the model year of new Edsel is in production on Jan 1, 2009 and on no other Jan 1, it is a 2009 model. In other words, Ford could start 2009 Edsel production on Jan 2, 2008, and run it through Dec 31, 2009, and all the cars would be 2009s. Thus, 2009 Edsels would have a nearly 2-year run.

This is the most extreme example, of course, but things close to it have been known to happen. I believe the first Dodge Neon was introduced during the Super Bowl of the previous calendar year, and I'm pretty sure the rounded-looking Ford F-150 was introduced very early as well.

Typically, new models are introduced August - September, but there's no rule about this. One of my vehicles (can't recall which one at this instant) was a July build, and it is a following-January model.

But yes, it is always helpful to have the VIN, build date, and alleged model year of a vehicle when you shop for parts.

Hope that helps.


Edited for clarity.
 

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The dealer really needs to decode the last 8 to get the specific details like cloth or leather, two tone or one, cd palyer or changer and most everything else. The everyday person has little to no chance finding out what exactly will fit. Production date will mostly help with body styles more than anything.
 

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Mine is an '02. When I buy pads at an autoparts store I have to tell them it is an '03 because the '02 pads do not fit. I have to get the rotors from the dealer because the ones the autoparts stores say fit don't
F.Y.I. you can't tell the modle year from the date of manufactur. My '90 Legacy was made in April of 1989. There was no 1989 modle year Legacy. It was such an early Legacy that it was sometimes hard to get parts for. A Legacy O2 sensor would not fit, it was the same sensor as the Loyale.
 

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Two parts stores in a row have now tried to sell me a PCV valve for my '02 that clearly won't fit. The barb on the valve they keep trying to sell me is just way too big for my PCV hose.

Next time I go in I'm going to ask for an '01 PCV valve and see if it's any different, or if this is just usual parts store incompetence...
 

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haha yah I was just going through this with autozone. 2000 Outback. For front rotors they showed 10" and 11.5" or something, so I went with the 10" which are about 10.25". However the original rotors I have are 10.8" so neither of autozone's listings work. The smaller autozone rotors fit but it leaves like the outer 1/4 of the pad not touching the rotor.

When I called autozone, they said it was because I had the wrong pads. I said the pads are genuine pads from the dealer and they work with the rotors that were on there.
 

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DAS said:
Mine is an '02. When I buy pads at an autoparts store I have to tell them it is an '03 because the '02 pads do not fit. I have to get the rotors from the dealer because the ones the autoparts stores say fit don't
Same with my "02 Bean - had to get '03 pads. I was told that those manufactured after 6/01 got the '03 calipers...not sure why, but they fit. :)
 

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are you sure 06/01 and not 06/02? I work @ Advance Auto parts and would love to know the exact cut off point so I can help out customers who are having issues, since I live in the Land Of Subaru (the Outback is the UnOfficial car of VT according to the local commercials) it would be very helpful to know for sure. As it is most of the guys pass off anyone w/ a subaru to me when I'm working.



mattreis said:

Same with my "02 Bean - had to get '03 pads. I was told that those manufactured after 6/01 got the '03 calipers...not sure why, but they fit. :)
 

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Just catching up after a long hiatus....

I've run into similar problems with my '02 OBW. I first saw the car a few days after 9-11 (2001), but didn't close the deal until closer to the end of that month. Build date is 8/01, and the 10th digit in the VIN is '2', so it is indeed certified and registered as a 2002 model. I celebrated it's 9th anniversary a few months back, and it has around 84k today. Still looks like new inside & out!

There were a number of small interior and exterior modifications and improvements made for '02 that differentiated it from the '00-'01 cars, and other than a few 'hidden' items taken from the scrap bin, it sure looks like an '02.

I went thru the brake pad issue around 4 years back when I ordered from TireRack a set of front PowerSlot frozen rotors and Hawk HPS pads. The rotors worked fine, but the pads were way oversized for the carrier. At that time, TireRack had to get help from the mfg to sort it out, as the VIN indicated to them that the '02 pads were correct, and that I must be crazy. IIRC, I sent them side by side photos to 'help' them understand.

I was not happy with the replacement '01 pad that they sent, as they were narrower than the '02 pads, and the sharp bevel on the pad material resulted in a substantial decrease in contact area. They didn't have the bite I expected until they wore down substantially. I quickly realized that a "real '02" would have benefited from substantially better braking.

I also have the wrong PCV valve.

Biggest issue for me has been head gaskets! The first set failed at 15k miles (around 2+ years old), the second set at 65k. When they announced the cooling system conditioner and extended warranty, SOA told me that I was not covered, as by '02 this was a 'non-problem'. Very odd, as there were some VIN's in '02 that were included, yet my '01-and-a-half was not. I added it anyway, but still got the external leak. I got pushback on the second failure (over time & mileage) but with the dealers help they pushed it thru.

Despite this stuff, I still love the car.
 

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In South Africa you will not be given a part for a car without giving your VIN number. You can have the car parked outside the dealership and show it to the parts guy and he still insists on the VIN.

Generally speaking we get our new cars delivered to dealerships about 3 months after they were built in Japan.

My 06 Outback, however, was built in May 05, but only delivered in January 06.

We are still sitting with several 2010 spec cars on the floor, but they will be classified as 2011 as soon as they are sold, but will not have 2011 spec, like Blue Tooth for example.

We are able to sell them at a better price, however, so it is swings and roundabouts as to whether you are getting a great deal or not.
 

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To revive a relatively dead thread, what the heck brakes would my MY02 05/02 build date OBW VDC have? I'm assuming all the vdc got the bigger brakes to deal with.. well the vdc using them to control tire rotation rate.
 
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