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2002 Forester
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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2002 Subaru Forester which has new rotors up front (the most expensive I could get from my local tire shop) but older pads. My tire guys (whom I trust -- they've always done me right) tell me I need new pads up front only.

They want $159 for what they call 2-year warranty pads (cheapo ceramics, I suspect), but I know this is a simple repair with some basic tools and some time to learn. I was going to try it myself and expand beyond just doing synthetic oil changes every 5000 miles with Advance Auto stuff.

Is it absolutely required to turn/replace the rotors when replacing pads? If so, what local auto parts stores will turn the rotors for you? AutoZone? Advance Auto? NAPA?

Thanks,
IronChefMoto
 

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1998 Cayenne GTS 6speed
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Turning rotor is a good idea but not necessarily a requirement, especially if they are nearly new and in good condition (if you see grooves or uneven were - do resurface them). Re-bed the new pads (search for detailed procedure) once you've replaced them.

Replacement is trivial, ~1 hour per side without prior experience; only need basic socket tool set + some wire or rope + calipers spreader + wire brush(es) + spray cleaner + some rags + a bit of brake grease.

Many autoparts stores (call them) will turn the rotors for you for ~$15-20 a piece (usually by sending them to some local machine shop - so you can bypass the store and call shops directly to safe a few bucks).
 

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2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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A few miles of consciously gentle use of the brakes will conform the new pads to the surface of the rotors.
 

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2010 Forester
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217 Posts
When I replace pads without replacing rotors, I will pull the rotors and use a 120 grit wet/dry sandpaper (with water) with a small sanding block and sand in a circular motion around both sides of the rotor. Then I thoroughly clean the rotors b/4 re-installing. BTW, my wife tells me that I'm a PITA perfectionist and most of my friends agree.

BBB's recommendation works also and I've done exactly that on other cars -- I guess it depends on how much of a project you want to make out of this!!

Regards,
paul...
 

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2004 Forester 4EAT
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New pads w/o turning rotors is referred to as a "pad slap" If your rotors are still flat, (no warping), then pad slap and call it a day. The biggest risk here is ending up with squeaky brakes. It will now affect drivability even if this does happen. If you're worried about that, just rough up the surface of the rotor with emory cloth. A better question is why do you have newer rotors and lod pads? I would NEVER replace rotors w/o replacing pads too.

If you do this yourself, stop by the parts store and pick up a haynes manual. They are invaluable. Also, try to go when they are not too busy. Look for the one behind the counter with big, dirty, bent up fingers. He's been working on cars for a long time. Pick his brain about little tricks to make things easier. (I can do a front wheel pad slap in ~ 30minutes including cleaning tools and putting away jackstands. It's not a big job.
 

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1998 Cayenne GTS 6speed
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Please note that "gentle use" of the brakes during initial miles is not necessarily a good idea. Aggressive break-in will "conform" the pad a lot quicker and more evenly - but make sure you do it right, search the forum for brake re-bedding procedure description.
 

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2000 Forester
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75 Posts
Not all pads are the same. Read up on the ones you get and see if they have their own break-in procedure (or none at all in some cases). I've gone against package instructions before when first started driving. Did the aggressive break-in as many forum posters advised to do. After awhile, I could smell scorched pads and saw hot spots on my rotors.

If you'd like to be absolutely sure while still doing it yourself, give the manufacturer a call. Remember, many new brake pads will have reduced initial stopping power (takes longer distance/more pedal pressure to stop the car than you're used to) at first so be careful of that.

Haynes should have specs for every nut/bolt you undo so you might as well rent a torque wrench. (Or invest in your own since only god knows what rentals go through) That way you can properly tighten fastners when putting everything back together. Face it, they're brakes. You don't want them to be loose or stripped.

Hope it all works out!
 

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2002 Forester
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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the tips, folks.

My tire guys that have replaced my brakes before probably didn't change the pads at my request to keep the repair on the cheap. I won't do that again. It causes way too much confusion for me, and I feel like my front and rear brakes have been out of synch in terms of maintenance for 2+ years.

That said, I'll keep the nice rotors up front that I got last year and get new pads -- I was thinking just the Subaru front pad kit from one of the online vendors (SubaruPartsforYou or SubaruGenuineParts) that I've seen here. It's about $80. I'm not lookin' for performance -- just -- stopping. Quiet stopping. Anytime I haven't used Subaru pads, I've had noise.

As for the rotors -- I'm still trying to find a place to turn 'em near where I hope to do the repair (friend's house -- trading beer for tools, I think).

IronChefMorimoto
 

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2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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The online vendors are simply dealers with an online presence. Neither of those you mentioned has signed up here as a supporting vendor, so we would like to steer you in the direction of a dealer who does make financial contribution to the operation of this forum. They are Annapolis Subaru, Grayson Subaru, and SubaruOnlineParts.com (the Web name of a dealer in New York).

Annapolis Subaru gives a nice price break to members of this forum. I don't know what the policy of the two others might be. You can reach any of them through the forum's Private Message facility.
 

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2017 VW Golf SportWagen 5MT
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It costs $25/rotor to turn them around here. When I did my pads last time, I did not turn the rotors. I broke in the new pads (Hawk HPS) using the suggested method, which required a few panic stops. I've had no issues so far, I have almost 60K on these stock rotors and maybe 25K on current pads.

Stan
 

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2002 Forester
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Discussion Starter #11
The online vendors are simply dealers with an online presence. Neither of those you mentioned has signed up here as a supporting vendor, so we would like to steer you in the direction of a dealer who does make financial contribution to the operation of this forum. They are Annapolis Subaru, Grayson Subaru, and SubaruOnlineParts.com (the Web name of a dealer in New York).

Annapolis Subaru gives a nice price break to members of this forum. I don't know what the policy of the two others might be. You can reach any of them through the forum's Private Message facility.
/me facepalms. Why have I not been here until my Subaru has nearly 140K miles on it?

Thanks!

IronChefMorimoto
 

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02 Forester L (sold) Manual
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I have never turned rotors when installing new pads. I'm sure there will be those who disagree with my method. If the rotors are really so bad they need turned, I throw them away. I've had too many problems with rotor warpage on other cars to ever bother turning them, wasting that money only to find they warp and I replace them anyway. Unless they have really nasty grooves in them they can be re-used. It's worked fine for me for over 20 years.
 

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Here are the bedding instructions that came with my EBC Green Stuff pads:
  1. Drive the vehicle carefully and with caution for the first few miles after brake replacement and on a legal low traffic road. Accelerate the vehicle to 40 miles per hour and gently bring the vehicle to a rest.
  2. Repeat this procedure five times at one minute intervals, applying gradually increasing brake pedal pressure and assess brake performance.
  3. If performance is not satisfactory, repeat bedding stops until you are satisfied that the vehicle's brakes are functioning properly.
As for turning the rotors, they only recommend it "... with evidence of wear or surface scoring which can cause extended bed in times and/or lack of brake effect."
 

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2002 Forester
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Discussion Starter #14
I've been a little busy with work and haven't been able to try this. The issue is finding a friend with a level driveway who is close enough to a tire joint / machine shop that I can get the rotors turned on the weekend.

My front pads are probably nearly gone, but I'm not driving the vehicle much except for 25 miles round trip commute. When I slow from 65mph on the interstate, I AM getting some vibration during braking. Is is possible to get the pads and maybe still do the bedding of the pads WITHOUT turning the rotors? Or is turning/replacing them a foregone conclusion at this point?
 

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2002 Forester
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Discussion Starter #15
My parts for this repair arrive today. I'm probably going to have a buy a jack and jack stands at Sears, though, as I gave my set away years ago thinking I'd never use it.

Are the jack points on the ScoobyMods website (sans the adapters, which I'm not going to bother buying) still valid for an '02 Forester S?

Thanks,
IronChefMorimoto
 

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2011 Forester X AT
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Hey, I also have a 2002 S and just changed mine. Jack points are just back from the front wheel well.

So if you're are getting vibration, I would definitely turn them. Since it has taken you this long to get to actually messing with the brakes, I sounds like you dont have oodles of time to go back and mess with it (like me) if it starts vibrating again. Actually, if it were me I would just dump the rotors and buy a pair of autozone rotors and be done. They're only like $35 new.

I think you're having vibration problems because you used new rotors with old pads. It's all about the way pad material gets deposited on the rotor and you're safest if you start new surface to new surface.
 

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2002 Forester
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Discussion Starter #17
Yeah -- my time the past month has been awful for working on this stuff. I'm pretty sure the front rotors were replaced 2 years ago (maybe less) with the Napa ultra premium rotors that sell for about $60. I'll check my local NAPA tomorrow.

IronChefMorimoto
 

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^
dang. i've inquired at a few shops that were selling Brembo blanks from $50 to $60 ea and then thinking that was a bit high. i think i just might get them, now.
 

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2002 Forester
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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks to those who chimed in on this post. I successfully completed my front brake rotor and pad maintenance 2 nights ago. It took me 3 hours, but it was done. Things I'd recommend to noobs doing this (like me):

  • PB Blaster is your friend, esp. with the 17mm bolts to remove the caliper support
  • Don't do this in your garage; brake cleaner stinks to high hell
  • Don't do this in a confined space; 16" rims and tires are big
  • Don't forget to remove the coat hanger you used to hang the caliper off the spring (you'll end up repeating the maintenance wondering what the noise was when you test drove the car)
I got my socket wrenches, torque wrench and brake pad compression tool from Sears. $30 rotors from NAPA. $70+ brake pad/shim set from SubaruOnlineParts.

IronChefMorimoto
 
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