After contemplating having a shop do my brakes and then doing some research online, especially on this forum, I decided to do it myself. It was actually way easier than I thought. I haven't seen too much on 2009 and up Forester brake jobs so I took some pics. BTW, I bought the vehicle new and have over 81,000 miles on it so the brakes lasted much longer than any other vehicle I have owned.
Car up on jackstands and the wheel off. Ready to get started.
First, I removed the 14 mm Caliper bolts. They were fairly easy to get off. The shiny wet area in the pic is where I sprayed PB Blaster on the caliper Support Bracket bolts.
The Caliper is now removed. I supported it out of the way with bungee cords.
Now for the tough part, removing the Caliper Support Bracket bolts (17 mm). I had read about these bolts having a tendency to break or snap off. I soaked them for a while with PB Blaster and then tried getting them out with a large 1/2" drive ratchet. Couldn't get either to budge. Then I grabbed my 25" breaker bar (1/2" drive) and then slowly put even pressure on the bolt and it finally gave way and started backing out. I thought this might be a better way to remove the bolt than hammering on the ratchet or breaker bar. I thought that would be too risky. It seemed to work as I got both bolts out without breaking anything. I also got both out on the other side too without breaking anything. The upper bolts were not as tough as the lower bolts.
Looking at one of the bottom Caliper Support Bracket bolts in the pic below, you can see where the corrosion and galled up threads are located. This is a pic after I tried to clean the bolt with brake cleaner and a wire brush. That is not dirt, it is corrosion. You can see the threads at the bottom are clean. These are the threads that screw into the outside of the caliper Support bracket. The part of the hub where the bolt goes through is smooth and not threaded so the bolt just passes through it (see the pic of the hub below). I believe this is where the bolt seizes up. The bolt corrodes inside the hub area and seizes up in that hole. I don't believe it seizes up in the threads as some people believe due to the threaded portion being clean. That would explain why the heads snap off instead of most bolts snapping off right where the bolt enters the threaded part of the Caliper Support bracket. I am sure others have their theories, this is just mine as to why the bolts are hard to get out.
The Caliper Support Bracket Bolt:
The hub showing the smooth non-threaded holes the Caliper Support Bracket bolts go through:
The Caliper Support Bracket showing the clean holes where the bolts thread into (shown with old pads still installed):
Ok, so once the Caliper Support Bracket is removed, the rotors came right off. I had two 8 mm bolts ready to thread into the rotor to force it off the hub, but both rotors came right off. Now that everything is apart, I cleaned the new rotor with brake cleaner and installed it (used a lug nut to keep it flush against the hub).
Then I put new hardware and the new brake pads in the Caliper Support bracket. I also removed the Caliper Guide Pins, cleaned them up, lubed them, and re-installed with new rubber boots.
The Caliper Support Bracket was then re-installed on the rotor/hub assembly. I did use anti-seize on the new bracket bolts and torqued them down accordingly. I also applied brake lube to the back of the pads.
Next, I removed the cover from the Master Cylinder and placed rags around the opening to catch any overflow (tt was close, but nothing overflowed). I used two 3" C-Clamps against an old brake pad to slowly press the caliper pistons back in. I slowly alternated tightening each one until both pistons were seated in the Caliper. The 3" C-Clamps barely fit, I had to fully loosen (expand them) to fit the Caliper prior to tightening. The 4" C-Clamps may be a better option, but the 3" size worked for me. I cleaned the faces of the Caliper pistons and lubed up the rubber part with brake lube prior to assembly onto the rotor.
The Caliper was then bolted back onto the Caliper Support Bracket.
Then I did the other side as shown below:
Wheel removed, ready to work this side
Caliper and Caliper Support Bracket removed showing the hub and brake shield
Caliper Support Bracket with old pads installed
Caliper Support Bracket with new hardware, pads, and rubber boots installed on the hub along with a new rotor assembly.
Caliper was re-installed and now ready to put the wheels back on. I did use a kitchen turkey baster to remove excess fluid from the Master Cylinder (bought one specifically for this purpose, not using the wife's). Note that I turned the car on and pumped the brakes a few times to check for leaks. Much easier than I thought and I have driven the car several times since and have no problems. Going to do the rear brakes next month.
Thanks to all who have posted on here about their brakes as it really helped me a whole lot.