('06-'08) Mediocre Brakes - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-05-2012, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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Mediocre Brakes

This is my 5th Subaru, so I know my way around them quite well even if my expertise lies in heavy diesel mechanics. To be honest I've never been all that impressed with the brake system in all of the Subys I've owned (even in our legacy GT). But I'm just curious if my foz's brake are SO mediocre that there is something wrong.

When we first bought it, I noticed the standard numb brakes. After a while I just got annoyed. If I pumped the brakes coming to a stop, the pedal got a tiny bit firmer, so I did a full brake job. I didn't need to replace the pads or rotors because they were basically brand new, but I went through and inspected everything. Lines, hoses, did TWO full flushes the old fashioned way, and still not much better.

The pedal doesn't sink, and the car does stop just fine, but the pedal is just not as firm as I would like it. It's not mushy to the point where I would suspect air in the lines, but it's just not very responsive. Is this how EVERY 06 foz is? Am I the only one that finds it just not very satisfying?
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-06-2012, 02:29 AM
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I always recommend adjusting brake pedal free play first.
http://www.scoobymods.com/showthread...lay-7436.html?
The setting from factory are just provide too much free play.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-06-2012, 03:04 AM
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Subaru front calipers have a tendency towards partial seizing. I recently replaced my "rubbish" 2 pots with a set of four pots and discovered the front piston on each caliper was completely seized. This doesn't reduce the efficiency by 50%, I think it's probably more than that. There are a few fellas over here who race Imprezas (mostly short tracks) with the OEM 2 pots up front but when I mentioned this, some of them agreed and had rebuilt the calipers with SS pistons and are using track pads. The other thing about Subaru brakes is that they don't seem to have as much servo assistance as many other brands and so feel poor.

Often when we get into a brake system to sort out mush or lack of action, the fluid and brake lines are where most of us go, the pistons in the calipers tend to be forgotten. One of my rear calipers used to seize on a regular basis until I replaced it.

Scruffy 99 S Turbo. TD04-19T hybrid. DeCat. JGM.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-06-2012, 10:16 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. I was going to adjust the free play this morning, but I hadn't even thought about one of the pistons seizing. I'll look into that. Thank you.

Last edited by kfergiez; 12-06-2012 at 10:28 AM.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-06-2012, 10:54 AM
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My fozzy brakes every bit as good as my impreza (ie. rather well), which is a 300+hp car(not that tjat means much)

Do a PROPER bedding of the pads and seasoning of the rotors and see what you get back...

Hit up Baer brakes tech section for the PROPER procedure.. do it and i bet things change..

Sent from the other side using mind bullets...(YapaTalk)
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-06-2012, 08:09 PM
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People also rave about how big an improvement swapping an STi brake booster and master cylinder onto a Fozzie can be. They can be found used pretty cheap ($150 together), so you might want to look into that. It's definitely on my list of brake work for the spring.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-08-2012, 05:03 AM
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oh yeah, the best brake upgrade you can make is better tires...

Good brakes mean nothing on **** tires...
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-08-2012, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
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The brakes actually operate just fine, I'm just not that happy with the pedal feel.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-09-2012, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Holy crap. I don't know if you guys care, but it turns out that I had about 5cm... that's right... CENTIMETERS of free play before the brakes actually pressurized. Considering that spec is 0.5-2 MILLIMETERS... That's a hell of a difference.

I think I found the problem
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 02:38 AM
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I need to check this on my car, too. The brakes have been serviced but the pedal goes way toward the floor before really digging in.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kfergiez View Post
Holy crap. I don't know if you guys care, but it turns out that I had about 5cm... that's right... CENTIMETERS of free play before the brakes actually pressurized. Considering that spec is 0.5-2 MILLIMETERS... That's a hell of a difference.

I think I found the problem
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 02:57 AM
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The OEM brakes pipes are a bit spongy, like many cars but the bulkhead on the Forester seems to be a bit too "flexible". I fitted a brake stopper (Tegiwa, 40 on fleabay) and this made a massive difference to feel and actual stopping power, I think (although that might be because I am getting a quicker reaction from the pedal). The brake stopper is easier to fit than SS brake pipes but I have been told that fitting both will make the anchors "on or off"/lots of face planting into the steering wheel, so I'll leave the stopper where it is for now and sell the Goodrige SS hoses I also bought. The brake stopper is adjustable too, if that's of interest.

It's the blue bracketed device attached to the strut tower, behind the catch can. Fitting is 2 bolts, one you can just see and the other requires the brake master cylinder bracket to be lifted from the tower, which is a bit of a PITA.


Scruffy 99 S Turbo. TD04-19T hybrid. DeCat. JGM.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 04:56 PM
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the brake booster/cylinder stopper is on my list of things to do. some designs look better than others - that one looks pretty good, both cosmetic and functional. i remember seeing pictures of some that looked clunky or flexy (less effective).

almost every other car I have driven made in the last 15 years - small, med, large, truck - has better feeling brakes than the subaru, although i don't feel they are unsafe or dangerous.

the stainless lines look great but I have yet to see a spec on what kind of core they have. if they really improve the feel they must have a stronger core. stock "rubber" lines actually have a steel core. rubber itself would not hold the pressure at all. and they don't make a stainless line kit for cars with rear drums and it's not worth it to me to order a custom set.

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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 05:08 PM
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I tried adjusting the freeplay on my brake pedal tonight but nothing seemed to help. It is not clear on an SG when the freeplay range has been passed, and the brakes begin to drag. No amount of adjustment gave me a firmer brake pedal, so I put it back to about where it was.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frodo View Post
People also rave about how big an improvement swapping an STi brake booster and master cylinder onto a Fozzie can be. They can be found used pretty cheap ($150 together), so you might want to look into that. It's definitely on my list of brake work for the spring.

Considering putting a STI master cylinder in my fozzy but would like to keep the stock booster assuming in theory this would result in better brake feel.
thoughts?
I just rebuild I set of 4 pots and installed them with Hawk HPS and brembo blanks, after the break in period, I was a little disappointed but they are beginning to grow on me.
I still have the stock rear calipers which I pushed the piston in a bit because it seemed to be seized, seems to operate okay with the hps pad and rear brembo blanks.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sequoia14 View Post
I tried adjusting the freeplay on my brake pedal tonight but nothing seemed to help. It is not clear on an SG when the freeplay range has been passed, and the brakes begin to drag. No amount of adjustment gave me a firmer brake pedal, so I put it back to about where it was.
Turn the car off, and pump the pedal a few times (just do 15, which is more than enough). You will feel 3 "stages" of the pedal. 1-Linkage slop, this can't be adjusted and is from tolerances on the linkage. Generally it is a 1/10 a MM or something small like that. 2-Free play. With 2lbs of force, after getting past the first stage, you should feel very little travel. If not tighten it up. As long as there is a bit of free play (not just the linkage freeplay) there should be no dragging brakes. 3. Actual braking pedal stroke.

Are you guys adjusting your brake lights too..?! When changing free play you need to adjust the sensor that turns on the brake lights so that when you hit the brakes, you actually have brake lights showing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by njdriver04 View Post
Considering putting a STI master cylinder in my fozzy but would like to keep the stock booster assuming in theory this would result in better brake feel.
thoughts?
I just rebuild I set of 4 pots and installed them with Hawk HPS and brembo blanks, after the break in period, I was a little disappointed but they are beginning to grow on me.
I still have the stock rear calipers which I pushed the piston in a bit because it seemed to be seized, seems to operate okay with the hps pad and rear brembo blanks.
It'll make a difference. The biggest thing about the brake booster is that it is a single stage booster, and thus is "less boosted" than the forester brake booster. More resistance and more feel from using it.
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