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2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #101 · (Edited)
I recently bought a new power bleeder, so I was excited to try it out! Here is the cap adapter that I used. This should fit the OEM MC as well, I think...


Put some Teflon on the brass fitting.


Now, instead of filling the can with brake fluid, I just used air pressure and refilled the reservoir as needed. In my opinion, doing it the other way is dumb, and potentially way too messy.


Filled the reservoir, pumped it up to check for any air leaks. Turns out I've got a tiny, slow leak around the actual pressure gauge. But, it still hold pressure well enough.


Put the car on jacks, and used my brake bleeder kit from Autozone.


This thing is perfect!!! Loosen the bleeder screw on one caliper at a time and the fluid just flows out. Even saw a bunch of bubbles come through - as is expected when replacing a master cylinder.

After thoroughly bleeding all 4 calipers in the proper order, it is time to test things out.

First thing I noticed when pressing on the brake pedal is how crazy firm it is!! So I started her up, and immediately the pedal drops about halfway down. ****. I forgot to adjust the pedal and the booster!

For this, you have two options.

First, and probably the best, you can adjust the threaded rod that comes out of the booster and into the master cylinder. This guy...


Second, (and what I did) is that you can adjust the threaded rod on the backside of the booster which attaches to the pedal bracket. I turned it so that the bracket sticks out further, more on the distal end of the threaded rod. This essentially pushes the rod into the booster, and you actually lose some stroke length in trade for less dead pedal travel. I did this because I didn't want to remove the MC again (ie I am lazy).

Here's how it ended up after adjustment.


Took her on another test drive and HOT ****. The brakes feel SO much better!!!

Before doing this the brakes always felt spongy, despite replacing the master cylinder twice, replacing all hoses and all calipers, replacing pads and rotors, and bleeding it SEVERAL times. This did the trick.

Why? You may ask. I'm pretty sure it's because of the piston size on the WRX master cylinder. It is a 1 1/16" piston, where as the OEM is only 15/16". A larger piston moves more fluid more quickly, resulting in a firmer feel at the expense of leverage, or pressure. This pressure difference is insignificant only because of the brake booster, which more than makes up for it.

Now my braking feels SO much better. It grabs WAY better, stops quicker, and ultimately is MUCH safer than before, and more confidence inspiring. Now I actually trust my brakes!

Anyway, I hope this helps anyone who decides to tackle this on their own!

Thanks for looking.

Outback 2.0XT, Audi TTq, Ducati M750
333 Posts
Awesome thread, might have to do this with the brake refresh next month
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2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #105 ·
Okay, this wasn't as bad as I was anticipating. Things went smoothly, though I could have done it faster if not for some simple mistakes.

Let's get right into it.

Starting on the passenger side, for no reason at all, first step is to jack up the car and remove the wheel. Next, I removed my axle nut...


After this I decided to remove the ABS/Speed sensor....


Next up, remove the brake caliper, caliper mounting bracket, and brake disc. Then I hung my caliper as I was gonna be doing a lot of moving/hitting/articulating here. Take a look....


Almost ready to start pounding. First step is to loosen the axle from the bearing, so I took a punch and just gave it a couple bonks to back it out a little bit...


Next I removed all 4 of the bearing mounting bolts. I forgot to snap pictures of it (though you can see I had already removed one in the above picture). With the axle loosened from the bearing it makes it a little easier to access said bolts. They're not too bad to loosen, but the axle end certainly likes to get in the way. After this, I started pounding the crap out of the hub. Mercifully, after just a few hits I noticed it starting to give! Take a look.


I hit that hub again and again with my sledgehammer and it eventually came out. I only have a 2lb sledgehammer, so this was a very pleasant surprise. It really didn't take very long, luckily. Here it is removed...


So, I wasn't sure which to remove next, so I kind of started to remove the lower control arm, but then went for the axle. That said, I popped off the lower ball joint from the spindle. Though, in hindsight, I should have just removed the entire ball joint from the spindle as the new lower control arms already had new ball joints installed. Anyway, used the old jack and wrench method - which has worked well for me every time in the past, and this time was no different.


Anyway, I finally just decided to remove the axle. I could've removed the lower control arm first, then the axle, but in the end it doesn't really matter. Anyway, first step is to uncouple the axle from the transmission/differential. I've always used a large flathead screwdriver to sort of pry it out. Though, you need to be careful when doing this, as you could damage the axle seal housing. This one came out nice and easy...


Next you just pull that bad boy out. Watch out for leaking transmission fluid! Hah.

Below is a comparison of the old vs new axle. I went with the HD Axles found on Rockauto. Take a look....


The new one looks shorter, right? Well, it is shorter, but it's also longer! The thick portion of the shaft has a mechanism which allows the axle to sort of telescope in and out. Thus, this is effectively a variable length axle. The idea is to allow for more articulation when off-roading. I figure this is an excellent pick since my car is lifted as well. Anyway, time to install the new axle. First I applied a coat of gear oil on the end of the shaft, then lined everything up by hand while underneath the car. Once it's all lined up, and partially inserted, I get out and sit right in front of the wheel well, grab the axle, line it up so it's level with the insertion point on the transmission, and then just shove it in HARD. Popped right in. (though sometimes it takes a few tries).



2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #106 · (Edited)
....And one more shot of the axle plugged in (yet still more stuff to do!)


Next I decided to finish taking off the lower control arm. Start by removing the sway bar end link as shown...


Then begin removing the lower control arm chassis attachment points... 17mm required on this guy...


And a 19mm required on this one (sorry for the blurry image)....


The LCA comes right out after this. Easy peezy.


Now, since I had initially forgotten that the new control arms came with ball joints, and I hadn't removed mine from the spindle, I had to get that thing out. This took me a while as I resorted to some pretty primitive methods.... Remove that pinch bolt, stick a flathead screwdriver to drive it apart, then use a big hammer, boxed end wrench, and a lot of pounding. This is a dumb way to do it. It's better to let the force of the suspension do all the work for you. Silly me...




Now with the balljoint finally out, I could focus on install the new lower control arm. Took a little bit of effort to get things lined up (probably due to the stiffer bushings, and my car being lifted), but it all worked out great.




2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #107 · (Edited)
Okay, so next up, prep that mating surface for the new bearing... Used sandpaper to clean it all off, then applied anti-seize.



After..... (have not applied anti-seize yet)


Put in the bearing.....but I forgot something..... Can you guess what it is?


Next up I had to get the lower ball joint in. This is a bit of a process, as with my car being lifted, the control arms like to be up a little higher than where the hub/spindle assembly is. So you really gotta get some leverage to push the control arm down to get things lined up....



After this, I had realized that I totally forgot to install the shield along with the bearing! Had to pull the bearing back off (easy), slide the shield on, then reinstall. Not too big a deal.


Finally, install the disc, caliper, and torque down those nuts and bolts.


Make sure you dimple that axle nut! (though i've found it's not a big deal. had a previous car i took to autocross all the time with axle nuts that weren't dimpled, it never lost its tightness)

Anyway, after learning a thing or two, I went to the other side and got things done a bit faster. And if you're a fool like me who has no impact gun, this is how I loosen (and tighten) the axle nuts....

Bicycle tire Crankset Automotive tire Bicycle chain Vehicle brake

Anyway, I got things done quite a bit quicker this time around. EXCEPT for the wheel bearing, this one required much more of a beating to remove it! But I pushed through and hammered the crap out of that guy....


Success! Haha.


2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #108 · (Edited)
Now putting the finishing touches on. That is, torqued and dimpled axle nut, and anti-seize on those fresh new threads!


And a final shot of the underbody. I guess you don't really notice the new aluminum lower control arms very much, nor can you appreciate those sweet axles... Hahah. Still, I'm proud of my work. Also, I kept the control arm-to-chassis bolts loosened until I took the car off jack stands. I then tightened them with the car settled and resting with its full weight on the suspension. I figured this would keep the bushings sort of set in their resting point so it wouldn't put extra load on them.


Results/Thoughts: So after driving around with the new hardware I certainly noticed a difference. First, the front end feels more stable, firm, and responsive. I assume this is due to the stiffer bushings (that and my old ones were pretty beat up). Also, the front end sounds quieter too. My old bearings, while not horrible, were definitely beginning to make noise. These ones are smooth as butter! Finally - the HD axles solved my vibration/wobbling issue!!! Previously, when I floored it in 1st or 2nd, the gear shifter, steering wheel, and whole car sort of wobbled and shook. Now with the new axles everything is SMOOTH. I can floor it in any gear with any shaking or wobble. I bet these axles would solve the vibration/shaking problems that the auto tranny guys run into while waiting at a stop light? I am very pleased with these axles.

Speaking of the axles, here they are, just for reference... Well worth every penny IMO.


Anyway, thanks for looking! I'm thinking next week I'll replace those rear bearings too. Hopefully they go as smooth as the fronts did.

Premium Member
2009 Outback 3.0R Ltd RIP 2006 Baja Turbo
385 Posts
As always, thanks for the detailed write up.
How many miles are on those rust free rotors?

2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #111 ·
Finished the rear bearings today. Wasn't too bad! Very similar to replacing the front bearings, but in my case it was even easier because I didn't have to do the axles or control arms along with it.

First step, loosen the lugnuts, jack up the car, and remove the wheel. Next, reverse the dimple on the axle nut.


After this, loosen the axle nut....



Next, remove the caliper mounting bracket, and hang the caliper on the sway bar.


Now, pull off the rotor and remove the ABS sensor (just in case)...


Now, remove all 4 14mm bolts that hold the bearing onto the spindle...


Give that axle a little love tap with a big punch and your sledgehammer. Really shouldn't take much to get it loose...


Finally, you're ready to start pounding. I hit a few heavy smacks from the top, then a few on each side, then from the bottom (as best I can). This one actually came out pretty nicely - I was expecting for it to put up for more of a fight.


Now, to separate the bearing from the parking brake backing plate, just give the bearing face a few solid smacks while holding onto the backing plate...



2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #112 ·
Now to clean up the mounting/mating surfaces. I just used a steel bristle brush and some sandpaper...


When completed, I applied some copper based anti-seize onto said surfaces... (Don't forget the backing plate as well as the axle grooves)



Now you're ready to plug the new bearing in. Line it all up and get those bolts back on!


While the rotor is off, I figured I'd adjust the brake shoes a little bit to get more out of the parking brake. Then I put the rotor back on, mounted the caliper, reinstalled the ABS sensor. Torque everything down to spec, then apply some anti-seize to those shiny new lug bolts. I decided to just keep my original axle nuts, as I figure I'll replace them if/when I need to replace the rear axles as well.

Wheel Tire Automotive tire Motor vehicle Tread

And here we are, all done! Ready to put the wheels back on...


Did the same treatment to the other side and things went smoothly. I'm feeling pretty dang grateful to have been able to get those old bearings out without too much fuss. Nice!

Anyway, hope this helps someone who wants to do the same thing. Thanks for looking!

2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #114 ·
Found some time to get some more work done last night after putting the kids to bed.

@Duncan Heinz recommended that I replace the sway bar end links, as mine are still original and are looking a bit beat up. I think this is an excellent idea. So, I ordered some Moog replacements from RockAuto, along with OEM bushings. I'm not interesting in firmer bushings for the sway bar, nor do I like polyurethane bushings in general (they deform too much after moderate use, and they're squeaky), and the OEM bushings are so dang cheap so the decision was an easy one for me.

I went after the front end links first. First step, loosen and remove the nuts.



Next, in order to get the sway bar bushings off, you need to unbolt the subframe support plate, as seen here... Remove the 3 14mm bolts first, then you can unbolt and remove the bushing bracket.




Since my car is lifted, there is a moderate amount of pressure the sway bar exerts on the lower control arms when the car is on jacks, so in order to get the end links off, you need to unbolt both sway bar bushings/brackets to relieve that pressure by allowing the sway bar to just kind of hang there. So, do the same treatment on the other side before removing the end links. Once that's done, they come out, but still need a little bit of persuasion... (Other side pictured)


Now you can remove the bushings. They have a split in them so you can just pop them right off...



And here is a comparison of new vs old....



As you can see, the split on the new bushings is in a different spot than the old ones. Also, I forgot to take a picture of the new end links sitting next to the old ones for comparison (I swear I did though). Anyway, the new ones are a lot thicker, and they have zerk fittings to grease them. Honestly, I think it's overkill, but they were cheaper than OEM so I went for it.


2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #115 ·
Before reinstalling the bushings and brackets, put on the end links. They took a lot of persuasion to get lined up. To make things easier you can lower the car back into the ground to bring the control arms up a bit - makes lining them up MUCH easier (which is what I should have done).



Those endlinks are thick. Lol.

Anyway, once they're in you can install the new bushings (I already did in the above pictures), and put on the brackets, then the subframe support brackets as well.


Then tighten and torque down your new endlinks. The Moog's use an 18mm open ended wrench at the base of the stud, and a 15mm nut. It's easier to do than the OEM units, in my opinion.


Torque specs, according to the FSM...

14mm subframe bracket bolts: 44.3 ft-lbs
12mm sway bar bushings bracket bolts: 18.1 ft-lbs
Sway bar end links nuts: 33.2 ft-lbs

And here is a look at everything completed on the front...



Now for the rears...

I decided to do the rear with the car on the ground, though I think it would have been easier with the car jacked up and the wheels removed. It can be a bit tedious trying to get to the necessary nuts and bolts due to the control arms being in the way, along with the muffler(s).

First step, just like on the front, loosen the sway bar end links...



Then it comes right out, nice and easy...


Unbolt your sway bar bushings bracket.



2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #116 ·
Repeat the same steps on the other side.

Here's a comparison of new vs old...


Again, just like with the fronts, the new end links are overbuilt along with zerk fittings.


Reinstallation is the reverse of removal. And here is the passenger side all buttoned up. I just did the same torque specs as the front.



Next on my list are new, performance brake pads. Also, I've got a small leak in the rear passenger caliper hose, right where it attaches to the caliper body via banjo bolt. I've also noticed some slight oil stains around the caliper pistons. I think those piston seals are leaking ever so slightly, which is a major bummer since I bought these remanned units just a few months ago. I will inspect them more closely and then go from there. If I need to fix them, I'm debating whether or not to just buy new calipers, or just rebuild the pistons myself with OEM seals.

Either way, thanks for looking!

2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #118 ·
Inspected all of my brake lines, including the hardlines, for leaking. No leaks found on the hardlines, nor did I find any rust on the hardlines themselves (thankfully!)

I fixed the small leak around the passenger rear caliper hose banjo bolt by replacing the banjo bolt itself and the copper o-rings with new OEM units. The OEM hardware certainly looks nicer than what came with the rebuilt calipers, and evidently it works better too.

Anyway, found another small leak around the banjo bolt on the front driver's side caliper, ALSO it looks like there is some oozing of brake fluid from the caliper pistons on all of my rebuilt calipers. These are only about 7 months old. This is disappointing.

Ordered NEW brake calipers because I HATE rebuilding calipers. The new ones have a lifetime warranty. I figured while I'm at it, I'd also get some SS braided brake lines - so I ordered some StopTech lines. Excited to put all of these in.

Lastly, my performance brake pads came in!


See you guys after the calipers and brake lines come in.

2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #119 ·
Finally got some time to install my new calipers. I decided to paint them yellow, just for fun.

Here they are... I've only got 3 (both front calipers, and rear drivers side) because my rear passenger side is brand new, as the previous one was leaking. Come to find out, the other 3 are leaking (slightly) as well. They are rebuild units, and the new units have a lifetime warranty. Since they're still inexpensive, I decided to replace them with new.

Automotive exterior Fish Gas Motor vehicle Box

Sprayed down with brake cleaner and taped...

Luggage and bags Bag Wall Font Bedrock


Motor vehicle Automotive tire Automotive design Automotive exterior Automotive wheel system

Base coat....

Yellow Engineering Fashion accessory Font Machine

Also added clear coat (all types of paint I used are specifically for brake calipers)... I gave it a few hours then threw them in the oven to help cure.

Food Kitchen appliance Ingredient Recipe Cuisine

Finished. They look and feel pretty dang nice!

Motor vehicle Vehicle Yellow Toy Gas

When I had more time, and wasn't using my car to drive to work, I pulled off the passenger rear caliper to give it the same treatment.

Wood Fixture Gas Door handle Art

Automotive tire Wood Gas Motor vehicle Automotive exterior

Rectangle Kitchen appliance Recipe Gas Wood

Product Motor vehicle Vehicle Yellow Gas

Ready to install!

2006 Outback 2.5i manual
278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #120 ·
Now, the exciting part. SS braided lines and performance brake pads!

For the lines I went with StopTech. They have them for the 05-09 Legacy GT, which is the same chassis as the 2.5i that I have. For the pads I used DBA XP650 pads, which can be found kns brakes dot com. Those guys are awesome, and they have a huge selection of performance pads for Subaru's, and several other makes for that matter.

Caliper mounts and new pads installed..

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Motor vehicle Hood

For the SS lines I used new OEM washers, but I kept the banjo bolts that came with the new lines, as they're pretty dang nice and are less restrictive than stock.

Hand Automotive tire Tire Tread Finger

Rear SS line installed...

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Yellow Gas Engineering

The forward SS lines turned out to be too short/tight because of my 2" lift, so I had to get creative. I ended up using a brake extension bracket for the 2010+ Subaru's found on simple solutions' website. They aren't designed for our cars, BUT, they do work.

This is how I worked it out...

Automotive tire Automotive exterior Bumper Automotive wheel system Gas


Automotive tire Gas Motor vehicle Automotive wheel system Automotive fuel system

As you can see I put the bracket on the lower hardline mount. You have to gently bend the hardline, but it's really not bad at all. This gives me plenty of slack to install the SS line. Also, I zip tied a rubber hose to the SS line where I contacts the chassis - just for good measure.

Next, i installed the fronts. Unlike the rear, the front is super straightforward and easy.

Wheel Automotive tire Tire Vehicle brake Motor vehicle

Bled the system and put the wheels back on.

Tire Wheel Vehicle Car Automotive tire

Tire Wheel Car Automotive parking light Vehicle

Automotive parking light Wheel Car Tire Land vehicle

Not too bad! I think they turned out pretty good, and the color works well with black in my opinion.

Also, these pads are PERFECT. The DBA pads have MUCH better bite than the Raybestos pads. So far they have not made any noise, either. Also, the new lines, surprisingly, give the pedal an easily noticeable increase in firmness. I'm finally happy with the brakes on this car!!! For the longest time they were too spongy with too much pedal travel. All it took was an STi MC, BB. SS lines, new calipers, and DBA XP pads. Haha.

Thanks for looking!
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