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2009 Forester XT
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121 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys!
I'm a large man — 6'0" and 295lbs. I love my Forester, but one thing pains me is the parking brake lever. It jabs against my right thigh when on long cross-country road trips and starts my leg to aching.

I have tried all kinds of ways to reduce the contact by raising the seat to maximum height with only minimal relief. I have put cushions over the lever, but the pressure is still too much to bear after 600 miles of all-day driving.

I have considered buying a center console made for Japanese or Aussie highways so that the lever will be on the opposite side, but have no clue how to go about finding it and if my current brake lever will easily swap to the other side.

I have also thought about installing an electric solenoid-actuated parking brake kit, but again don't even know if such things exist. My brother says his 2012 Outback has no brake lever at all and all he does is push a button or maybe he puts the transmission in park and the brakes are set automatically.

Anyone have any ideas or comments on how best to do this?
 

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Premium Member
2015 XC diesel CVT
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4,053 Posts
RHD models are same but opposite. You can bend the lever and it's mounting bracket slightly to move the handle parallel with the car's centreline. Mine's a 6sp manual so too far and the handle would touch the shifter, but it moves far enough to make the difference...
 

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2009 Forester XT
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121 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Unless Subaru ditches that parking brake handle for an auto-setting one, I am done with them. I drive my Fozzie on long road trips and it is really a pain having that blasted lever wedged hard against my right thigh. For the amount of money we pay, Subaru can do it if Honda can!
 

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2015 Forester I-Premium 6MT
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2,362 Posts
I love the manual lever. so much more useful than the auto ebrake.

I suggest you buy a different car with the Ebrake.

I have both and much prefer the manual lever.

If Subaru removes the manual ebrake that would be a strike against them to me.
 

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2009 Forester XT
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121 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I love the manual lever. so much more useful than the auto ebrake.

I suggest you buy a different car with the Ebrake.

I have both and much prefer the manual lever.

If Subaru removes the manual ebrake that would be a strike against them to me.
Oh, come now. I don't think a $36K purchase is a very viable option. My parking brake lever is useful at times, I admit like holding the line on long stop lights, but I'll give that up anytime for one that does that automatically, like Honda. Problem is, that CR-V is gutless. I know...I had one. It is possible, if I can just figure out how to buy it, to find an RHD Fozzie and steal his center console and brake lever so it whole thing is on the pass side.

I can't understand why they have no lever in the the Outback, but can't do it for the Fozzie. So, it's not like they don't have to systems. I'd buy an Outback in a heartbeat if it had a T model.

By the way, all cars have ebrakes. E stands for emergency, not electric.
 

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2016 Forester XT
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579 Posts
I'd expect the next generation Forester to have an electronic emergency brake like the current Outbacks. Subaru introduces new features in the Outback/Legacy line first. Then they trickle down to the Impreza/Crosstrek/Forester line. Subaru changes technology in evolution, not revaluation, so thing happen slower compared to say Honda, etc

If you don't want to change vehicles, I'd do the RHD console swap, or drop some weight 😉

Edit: I checked my 2016 seat and brake lever position on the way to work today. I have my seat about 80% of the way up, and the brake lever, when in the down and driving position, is at or below the seat cushion height. So, you might be better off in a 2014-2018 model than your model. Might be worth a test drive.
 

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2015 Forester Premium
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569 Posts
Maybe try a cheap seat wedge. Geometry.
If you are lifted an inch or 2 it might change how things line up. Fold up a couple towels and try.
 

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2014 Forester 2.5i Tourin CVT
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17 Posts
I feel your pain, that sucks. This is exactly why I didn't end up buying a XV Crosstrek. I actually went to the dealership convinced a I wanted a 2015 XV Crosstrek but found the parking brake was in a horrible position for me. Within a couple of minutes of the test drive I was so irritated by it. I ended up getting a 2014 Forester and the parking brake is still right next to me but it just grazes my thigh. Maybe the newer models are roomier? I don't have any solutions to fix the problem, just here to commiserate.
 

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'21 ISM Crosstrek Limited
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1,177 Posts
I had an Electronic Parking Brake on my '16 WRX and liked many things about it... a better cleaner and more useful center console, more seating room because there was no handle there, as well as the other things it enabled, like a fully automatic EyeSight that needed no driver intervention. It also brought a great hill holder function that was very useful here.

But I also realized it was an electronic system, which I always view with a jaundiced eye, especially for a failsafe function like emergency braking. The FXT's manual lever is more appreciated by me than the functionalities I lost with the manual e-brake.

The EPB is a VERY involved system, requiring different rear brakes and ECU capabilities, as well as interior, mechanical and hydraulic differences. I can't imagine it being retrofitted into your FXT.
 
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2011 Forester
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14 Posts
Alternate Solution

Have you visited a good upholstery shop and asked about modifying the seat cushion? Or installing Recaro or other seats so that you are positioned in a better location?
 

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2013 2.5X Premium 5-Speed Manual
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3 Posts
Could not duplicate the problem

I'm 5'10", 204 pounds, have large thighs from bicycle riding and rowing and have had my 2013 Forester since August 2012. I make a minimum of 2 one hour drives each week and have never even thought about this issue (since there obviously is none for me) until I received this forum posting in the newsletter. I actually just walked out to the garage, got in the car and found that my leg cleared the brake handle by 2 fingers when seated. The seat was all the way back, all the way up and changing the front/back seat tilt did not appreciably change the clearance. The brake handle centerline points in a line to exactly midway between the right inside edge of the ~1/2" thick console left wall and the left side of the cigarette lighter opening when down (released). I would compare my brake handle geometry with yours to see if possibly the brake handle mounting somehow got screwed up or the handle has been bent. Other than that - diet and exercise???

I would NEVER buy a car with either a "left-foot push to engage/pull handle to disengage" or electric engage/disengage (which is, I assume on/off only) since having the ability to control the brake pressure gives the driver much more control. It used to be called an "emergency brake" when I grew up, and having it be electric means it is just one more piece of electo-mechanical equipment to fail.
 

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2015 Forester I-Premium 6MT
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2,362 Posts
It also brought a great hill holder function that was very useful here.


That is separate both my 2011 and 2015 foresters had hill holder and no electric e-brake.

and it wasnt the rod actuated kind on the earlier models that was problematic.


So the newer version of hill holder doesnt require electric e-brake.. would be my take on it.
 

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2011 2.5X Premium PZEV 4EAT
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1,054 Posts
I'm 5'10", 204 pounds, have large thighs from bicycle riding and rowing...
The above follows the title, "Could not duplicate the problem". When it comes to body comfort, or how well a person fits a chair/seat, merely comparing height and weight falls short (sorry). It's the body's proportions, especially sitting height compared to standing height, that can make a big difference between two otherwise same height/weight persons. I'll take the OP's word that his problem is real.
 

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2009 Forester XT
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121 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The above follows the title, "Could not duplicate the problem". When it comes to body comfort, or how well a person fits a chair/seat, merely comparing height and weight falls short (sorry). It's the body's proportions, especially sitting height compared to standing height, that can make a big difference between two otherwise same height/weight persons. I'll take the OP's word that his problem is real.
FINALLY! Someone with some brains! Thanks a lot! I need my seat as close to the floor as it can go to keep my line of sight proper and below a flipped down sun visor I often need when driving into the sun. I just wish they had the lever on the passenger side. Thank you for saving me from leaving this Subaru forum. No one knows my physical disabilities yet assume they can dispense rude and presumptive advice.
 

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2010 Forester 2.5 XPremium 4EAT
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863 Posts
As someone who used to drive for a living, I can offer this.

A big part of the problem is that you're sat in the drivers' seat too long. 600 miles in one day is a lot for anyone, arguably far too long. Very few if any people I know or have worked with were able to maintain sufficient mental alertness over those distances. 400 miles, max, with breaks, is usually the limit for pro drivers.

Try driving for half that distance in a day. Then, have 15 min breaks every 100 miles or so. It's what the rest of the world does and it works.

I have also had the handbrake digging into my thighs over extended driving periods - maybe Subaru placed it like that deliberately to make us take more breaks ? ;)
 

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2009 Forester XT
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121 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
As someone who used to drive for a living, I can offer this.

A big part of the problem is that you're sat in the drivers' seat too long. 600 miles in one day is a lot for anyone, arguably far too long. Very few if any people I know or have worked with were able to maintain sufficient mental alertness over those distances. 400 miles, max, with breaks, is usually the limit for pro drivers.

Try driving for half that distance in a day. Then, have 15 min breaks every 100 miles or so. It's what the rest of the world does and it works.

I have also had the handbrake digging into my thighs over extended driving periods - maybe Subaru placed it like that deliberately to make us take more breaks ? ;)
Have you ever driven western desert highways? They are straight for hundreds or miles and little traffic except in metropolitan areas. Six hundred miles is a piece of cake and little to no strain on the nerves or brain. Breaks? Of course we take breaks, lunch and pee stops, and a walk around the rest stops.

My on the east coast it is more of a strain. To be clear, it doesn't take 600 miles for it to begin to be a pain. Raising the seat to max height does give some relief, but my head is way too high then above my normal sight line and close to the top of the door frame.

I don't drive a big rig unless you count my Fifth wheel towing, but in a light, nimble Subaru its not a drain.
 
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