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2003 Forester 4 cylinder
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I am, new to the forus and hope someone can help. I have a 2003 Forester with 119,000 miles. I know the gasket lid? needs to be replaced, so I am trying to save up for it. However in the mean time this week the brakes have sounded horrible, metal grinding sounds. I was going to try to replace them tomorrow.
When I got home from work, I did my usual parallel parking and as
I rolled into the space the breaks sounded really loud and then all of a sudden.
I had no breaks. Since the sound seemed worse on the R front I went over to have a look. lying in the rim of the wheel was a piece of metal. Stupidly I pick it up and it was very hot. From the picutures I found on the internet, I believe it is a break pad. Can I still install the breaks myself or should I have some else do it?
 

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Administrator
2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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40,586 Posts
I see this is your first forum post, so welcome to the forum from Oregon! :biggrin:

If you had metal to metal contact & the brake pad fell off, you might be to the point where you'd be better off having a shop do the work? :confused:

Bobby...

['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
 

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2014 2.5i Premium 6MT
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82 Posts
I encourage you to learn how to fix your own car.

You need to invest some effort and time in to the learning and you will need an experienced guide. You will need to invest in tools and learn how to use them safely--early on some jobs will require spending more on tools than you save doing the job yourself. Most of all you need a a friend or two who are willing to help you learn and benefit from their experience and maybe even lend you tools. While many DIY jobs can be done with two hands, often an extra pair of hands makes things much easier, faster, and safer.

What I'm getting it as the *social* component of being a DIY car guy--forums like this one help, as do some of the great DIY video series on YouTube (Eric the Car Guy comes to mind), but you need to hang out with folks who like automotive DIY. Be a willing and humble helper. Pitch in to the pizza/beer kitty. If the old experienced guy next door who has forgotten more about cars than you will ever know has a bad back, take advantage of a snow storm to shovel his driveway. You have many, many years of learning ahead of you. If you're so inclined, take a course at a local community college.

I've been fortunate to be on both sides of this social equation since I was a teenager; it has enriched my life as much as it has saved me money. It has also made me confident in taking on home repair jobs, including electrical and plumbing, which also saves money.

Some jobs are best left to a shop that has the space and equipment, and every DIY guy has his limits. I don't attempt jobs that really should be done with a lift or that require too much time on my back on a cold garage floor (OK, I'm old). I have never opened a transmission of any kind. There was a time when I would pull and rebuild an engine, but not anymore except maybe for a simple and older hobby car. I'd like to be as familiar with ECU tuning as my generation is with carburetors and points, but I'm lazy about that and prefer to leave it to the younger, digital generation.

It sounds like right now you need not just new pads but probably rotors as well. This is actually a pretty easy job, but you'll need a proper jack, jack stands, assorted wrenches (sockets and a torque wrench you understand how to use), etc. Two of the most useful tools in my garage are a sturdy old recycling bin I flip over to use as a stool and a forehead-mounted miner-style flashlight. If your buddy has a set of calipers you can assess whether or not the rotors need replacing (though the heat may likely have warped the one on the problem wheel). Local and chain auto supply stores often have internet coupons that can keep your costs down.

Good luck. This problem may not be the one you start on, but you should definitely change your oil and filter the next time it's due. Rotate the tires while you're at it.
 

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2014 Forester 6 speed manual
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201 Posts
Yep...brake pieces falling off is BAD news...it happened to me many moons ago (while driving home from college...at a stoplight!), and it was my second big car-repair job; I was eighteen at the time (my first was a timing chain job on the same car, a '76 corolla). Having minimal tools to do the job and thankfully, my dad to guide me, I pulled the old rotors out and replaced everything in one day...since then I have never had anyone touch my brakes on any of my cars (or my wife's)
 

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2007 none auto
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64 Posts
Brakes are some of the easiest to do on a car, so give it a shot!!

If you need help, ask here or watch some youtube vids...

Dang it... come to think of it, I have to change the rear brakes on the wife Odyssey... I'm just hoping I don't have to get new rotors... I hate doing rotors because they're usually rusted on pretty good...
 

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2005 Impreza RS 4EAT (sob)
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431 Posts
Ah, also, if your car has a lot of rust, WATCH OUT FOR THAT! Seriously, we changed the front rotors on the Forester in the summer (we were going to do the rear brakes too but now the car's gone so), and then we tried to bleed the brakes after that... Let's just say that that wasn't happening. I think three of the bleeding screws were so rusted out we couldn't do anything. The Forester also sat in the garage for a week at that time because one of the other bolts related to the brakes (can't remember which one it was) seized and snapped off, so that had to be dealt with as well.

Keep a lot of WD-40 on hand, is what I'm saying. :p
 

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2006 Forester X Prem 4EAT
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593 Posts
Keep a lot of WD-40 on hand
WD-40 isn't really a penetrant, PB Blaster or Loctite Freeze & Release (one of the best I've used) will work better. Also buying a small MAPP torch may be worthwhile...
 

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admin
2019 3.6R & 98 Forester Atlanta, GA
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7,240 Posts
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WD-40 is great for removing left over label residue. It is probably the last thing I would grab when doing a brake job. PB Blaster is my favorite penetrant.
 

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2005 Impreza RS 4EAT (sob)
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431 Posts
Oh, good to know, thanks! My dad uses WD-40, but yeah if those are better than use those. :p I don't think I've ever seen either of those in our garage, so maybe I'll ask my dad about that :eek:
 

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Super Moderator
2018 X3 M40i / 2016 X3 xDrive35i
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1,631 Posts
Brakes are surprisingly easy to do.

Unbolt calipers, compress piston (open brake master cylinder first), take out old pads, clean up calipers, throw some grease on the moving parts, clip in new pads, unscrew rotors, put on new rotors, bolt caliper back up, top off brake fluid if needed, recommend bleeding.
 
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