Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Prescott, AZ
Car Year: 2001
Car Model: Forester
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Bleeding Forester Brakes?
I just replaced all the brake pads on our 2001 Forester with 76,000 miles. Rotors were just slightly worn from original specs but had them machined and used Akebono "Proact" pads. Using Subaru's Repair Service Manual, I went through the brake bleeding sequence 3 times. That's going right front, left rear, left front, right rear. After all that the car still has spongy brakes with excessive pedal travel. (Note: I kept getting a LOT of air bubbles from the left rear bleeder before they stopped. Question: Is it possible for calipers to "suck air" even though they're not leaking?)
I have read and researched and then read some more about Forester "soft pedal or brake bleeding problems". Some suggest that the soft pedal is just the nature of the Forester. Others recommend replacing the OEM brake hoses with stiffer ones to get a more solid pedal feel. But very simply, from my experience I am sure that there's still air left in the system that's not being removed.
I found the following on a "Motor" website:
"This is a dual diagonal braking system, with one front brake sharing half of the master cylinder with a rear brake on the opposite side of the car. It's also a four-channel ABS system, which means each brake can be applied or released, according to need. Bleeding must occur in the proper sequence. And to completely remove all of the air from the system, it's necessary to open and close various valves in the ABS unit at the proper times.
Subaru techs use the Select Monitor to open the ABS valves during brake bleeding. This is an OBD II-compliant vehicle, so if you don't have a Select Monitor, you should also be able to access the brake system via the data link connector (DLC) and an aftermarket scan tool equipped with the appropriate software."
The "data link connector" and "scan tool" are Greek to me, so now I'm thinking (in spite of Subaru's Repair Service Manual), that the only way to get the brakes properly bled is to take them to a dealer or other shop with the right equipment.
Can anyone clarify this for me, and provide the rock solid, real deal answer to the Forester brake bleeding mystery?