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2015 Forester Ltd cvt
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362 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can the brake fluid be changed by simply by simply adding fluid/pumping/bleeding fluid like the old days or does the ABS system need special techniques? Is it ok to use a suction device to skip the pumping buddy?
 

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2001 Forester S, 4EAT
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I vacuum bleed at all wheels by loosening the nipple. Never been an issue for all 4 of my vehicles (3 x cages and 1 MC).
 

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2018 Forester XT Limited CVT
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912 Posts
When I looked into this I found that there were 2 kinds of ABS. One has the ABS pump inline with your normal brake lines. Bleeding normally will change the fluid through this kind of ABS. But the other kind has the ABS pump in parallel with brake lines, and you have to either use OBD to activate the ABS pump or do some sort of external thing like a bunch of skids on gravel to activate ABS, to change the fluid in these systems.

I haven't figured out which type is in the cars my family has, but it is time to change the fluid. :(

Online if you watch YouTube channels like South Main Auto Repair, it seems like that guy has tons of different code readers and he always seems to have the correct one for the car he's working on, and he just goes into the menu system to activate the ABS for the car he's working on.
 

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On my older model there is a particular sequence for bleeding the brakes (you may need to change the sequence for a left-hand drive depending on the location of part #2):
554226
 

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2015 Forester Ltd cvt
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362 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
My understanding has always been to start at the wheel farthest from the reservoir and successively work toward the reservoir working through the others.
It would seem that most of the line has been cleaned of old fluid in the first shot that way.
 

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2015 Forester Ltd cvt
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I vacuum bleed at all wheels by loosening the nipple. Never been an issue for all 4 of my vehicles (3 x cages and 1 MC).
I have done all the bikes that way for 50 years but then again I don't buy bikes with ABS.
The day that I've lost the riding know how is the day to stop riding. And then there is the added weight of the system.
 

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2015 Forester Ltd cvt
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
When I looked into this I found that there were 2 kinds of ABS. One has the ABS pump inline with your normal brake lines. Bleeding normally will change the fluid through this kind of ABS. But the other kind has the ABS pump in parallel with brake lines, and you have to either use OBD to activate the ABS pump or do some sort of external thing like a bunch of skids on gravel to activate ABS, to change the fluid in these systems.

I haven't figured out which type is in the cars my family has, but it is time to change the fluid. :(

Online if you watch YouTube channels like South Main Auto Repair, it seems like that guy has tons of different code readers and he always seems to have the correct one for the car he's working on, and he just goes into the menu system to activate the ABS for the car he's working on.
And that would be the reason that I asked.
 

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2001 Forester S, 4EAT
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I have done all the bikes that way for 50 years but then again I don't buy bikes with ABS.
The day that I've lost the riding know how is the day to stop riding. And then there is the added weight of the system.
LOL, my 2010 BMW R1200RT has ABS. I don't see any issues with bleeding that MC. The other vehicles are are I have are 2014 ML 350 Bluetec, 2001 Forester, 2013 Nissan Leaf.

@Snap The Subaru does not use the parallel ABS, it uses the inline ABS and therefore does not require OBDII device to trigger the ABS pump.
 

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2017 XT Limited + Tech
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402 Posts
I recently changed mine by pump and bleed one-person method. I did suck up and replace the fluid from the reservoir first and ignore the sequence.
 

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2017 XT Limited + Tech
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Don't see the point in bleeding in specific sequence if all you want to do is just to clear out the old fluid. If you have air in your system, then, that's a different situation.
 

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2015 ; 2.5i ; 15,000 Miles (I drive a lot less than I used to !!!!)
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144 Posts
When I looked into this I found that there were 2 kinds of ABS. One has the ABS pump inline with your normal brake lines. Bleeding normally will change the fluid through this kind of ABS. But the other kind has the ABS pump in parallel with brake lines, and you have to either use OBD to activate the ABS pump or do some sort of external thing like a bunch of skids on gravel to activate ABS, to change the fluid in these systems.

I haven't figured out which type is in the cars my family has, but it is time to change the fluid. :(

Online if you watch YouTube channels like South Main Auto Repair, it seems like that guy has tons of different code readers and he always seems to have the correct one for the car he's working on, and he just goes into the menu system to activate the ABS for the car he's working on.
For Parallel-Type ABS, you can spend hundreds on code readers ; or $5-$10 extra on a little more brake fluid, and change it a little more often, and allow the operating down-the-road-system to just mix the old & new more often : all depends on how "religious" you want to be about fluid change-over and purity vs. "contamination" principles. On my cars before I had my SUbaru, I only changed the fluid when I had to due to wheel-cylinder/brake-line-replacements, etc. Only once in over 50-years did I replace the fluid otherwise ... and that was because nothing went wrong for so long that the brake fluid got to be almost as ugly as lawn-mower engine oil !!!!
 

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2003 Forester 2.5 X. 128,000 miles and counting
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I used to change fluid every few years with a pressure bleeder, (wonderful invention) but the huge flux of vehicles through my garage made it impossible to keep up with master cylinder pressure caps

So I’m back to vacuum bleeding. How do you vacuum mavens do it? Reason I went to pressure bleeding was that I got so many bubbles from leaks around the bleeder bolt that I thought I was making things worse
 

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2015 Forester Ltd cvt
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well according to my official Subaru Forester workshop manual your understanding may not be correct :)
Good to know. Maybe it's a matter of plumbing.
 

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2001 Forester S, 4EAT
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So I’m back to vacuum bleeding. How do you vacuum mavens do it? Reason I went to pressure bleeding was that I got so many bubbles from leaks around the bleeder bolt that I thought I was making things worse
The bubbles you are seeing are normal. They are leaks between the bleeder bolt and the boot from the vacuum bleeding device not providing a 100% seal. Air is leaking past the boot. I have vacuum bled all 4 of my vehicles without any issues.
 

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2015 ; 2.5i ; 15,000 Miles (I drive a lot less than I used to !!!!)
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The bubbles you are seeing are normal. They are leaks between the bleeder bolt and the boot from the vacuum bleeding device not providing a 100% seal. Air is leaking past the boot. I have vacuum bled all 4 of my vehicles without any issues.
If "air" can get past the seals (even though it is going in "the-wrong-direction"), then dirt may also get in : lighten-up on the vacuum & slow down your process ! That air entrainment can also lead to diminished braking function, aka, "soft-pedal" : this is definately NOT ( !! ) a good thing ; especially if it is different from wheel to wheel.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5i Limited CVT
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I had a seal problem at the bleeders. They were corroded. I then purchased 4 Stahlbus one way valve bleeders and it was one and done. Worked like a charm. Nickel plated. Made in Germany.

I was getting air bubbles no matter what I did. Also, there is a sequence for each vehicle. Not always intuitive. My 2015 starts with the right front.

see
 
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