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post #1 of 103 (permalink) Old 11-27-2017, 05:57 AM Thread Starter
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Cool How To: Brembos on an SJ Forester XT

Edit: UPDATE: Other users have found an easier way to do this project. Please read the entire thread before deciding how to tackle this project. My solution is not one that I'd use.

The following thread serves to document the process on how I installed front and rear Brembos on my 2015 XT.

DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT ADVOCATE OR ADVISE ANY MODIFICATION TO YOUR BRAKING SYSTEM. ANY MODIFICATION IS AT YOUR OWN RISK, AND I TAKE ZERO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY ATTEMPT TO PERFORM THE FOLLOWING MODIFICATION. DO AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!

Ok, now that that's out of the way, here's the basics on what you'll need.

1. A complete set of STI Brembos from 2008 - 2016 with all pins and hardware (Black with STI lettering. I have not confirmed fitment of the 04-07 Gold Brembos or the 2018 Green Brembos)
2. Front and rear brake rotors (More on this in a minute)
3. Front and rear brake pads for Brembos
3. STI caliper bolts (Part #s 901120103 (Front) and 901000326 (Rear) - 4 of each)
4. Extended studs with compatible lug nuts (HIGHLY recomended)
5. Brake lines - Stainless Steel recommended, for Brembos
6. Brake Fluid
7. 5mm Hubcentric spacers (more on this later)
8. Wheels that clear Brembos!
9. Jack and jack stands
10. A trusted machine shop
11. Various tools, including a socket set (14mm, 17mm, and 32mm stick out here), metal grinder/cutters, a 10mm flar nut wrench (super important), a C clamp, etc etc
12. A fridge stocked with cold beers for you and the friends you rope into helping you.

To start, youíll want to get your XT up on jack stands. Make sure the car is level, as itíll be better when youíre all done and need to bleed all the brakes. Use the proper jack points and jack stand positions, shown here:



And remove your wheels to gain access to your brakes. The removal of your stock brakes is pretty straight forward, so I wonít get into that. Just keep in mind that when you remove your brake line from the stock calipers, fluid WILL leak out, so try not to make a mess. Youíll need that 10mm flare nut wrench to remove the brake line from the hard line. Donít try this with a normal wrench, or youíll hate yourself in about 5 minutes when you strip the crap out of the connector. Work smarter, not harder. You can go ahead and connect your new lines now if youíd like. Just tuck them aside until later. I used Goodridge lines, part # 24219-CL.

Now that youíve got the stock brakes out of the way, youíre ready to start getting those shiny new parts on. Weíll start with the front, as itís much easier. Personally, I used DBA rotors for the front, specifically part # DBA654S-10**. You could also use STI rotors, but youíll have to get them re-drilled to 5x100.



Now is the time to add those extended studs. Donít do what I did, and get everything all together, only to realize that youíve only got about 5 turns on your lug nuts. Safety first, get extended studs. You can hammer out the studs without removing the hubs, by bending the shield slightly out of the way. If you want to hold onto the stock studs, make sure you use an old lug nut and hit that, NOT the stud, as youíll mushroom the stud by hitting it directly. Take out the old studs, and add in your new ones. I used ARP studs, as their quality is well known. Part # 100-7716. Once the new studs are in, make sure they are properly seated using an impact gun.



Once the studs are on, go ahead and grab your rotor. Clean the braking surfaces with brake cleaner, and put them in place. Take a look at the dust shield, making sure yours isnít touching the rotor. If it does, gently persuade it not to with a hammer. With that in place, itís time to add your caliper. Make sure youíve depressed the pistons back into the caliper prior to this, as itís a lot easier to do BEFORE itís on the car. This will make it easier to slide the pads in after itís mounted. Also keep in mind that the bleeder should be facing UP, not down. Use the caliper bolts (Part # 901120103) to attach the calipers to your stock mounting points. The SJ bolts WILL NOT work, as the thread pitch is different. Tighten them to 80 ft/lbs. DO NOT overtighten these bolts. They tend to break, getting stuck inside the caliper. Save yourself the trouble later by using a torque wrench. Once the caliper is mounted, slide in you brake pads, and put the pins and plates in place. Attach the brake line to the caliper, ensuring you are adding new washers as well. These come in the Goodridge kit. After that, youíll all done!



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post #2 of 103 (permalink) Old 11-27-2017, 05:57 AM Thread Starter
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Now comes the part I think most of you came here for. How do the rears work?!? Well, itís going to take some work. I want to extend my thanks to forum member @Moreuseful for the assistance with measurements and such to get this to work. Unfortunately, our rear brakes are a bit of an anomaly in the Subaru world, as we have a 5x100 bolt pattern and a 170mm parking brake, while all other modern Subarus are using a 190mm parking brake. Thankfully, DBA makes a custom rotor for this: a rotor specifically made for swapping Brembos to a 5x100 car with a 170mm parking brake. Easy, right? WRONG. While this rotor will help a 02-07 WRX and bolt right up, thatís not the case for our cars. Want to know what itís like to figure this out after 4 hours of trying? It looks kind of like this:



So, this rotor doesnít work as is. The rotorís outer diameter is too large, and the spacing of the rotor is also wrong. When you try to bolt it up, it really does look like itís going to work, but it doesnít. You will have to trim the dust shield to make everything fit. At minimum, youíll need to cut off the lip on the outside edge, and also the area around the caliper mounting points, like this:



I ended up completely removing the dust shield during the first attempt at installing hese rotors, so Iím unsure if you need to do so or not. Iíd operate under the old stand-by ďyou can always remove material, but not add some backĒ method for these shields.

So, the rotor. The one I used was the DBA 2657S** rotor. This rotor has the following specs, per DBA:





This is where the machine shop comes in. As these rotors are not the right size, theyíll need to be machined down in 2 places to work on the SJ XT. The 316mm outer diameter is too large, and needs to be reduced to 306mm. This will ensure that the rotor doesnít hit the inside of the caliper, but will also give the pads enough surface area to completely contact the rotor. During my research 304mm was the number being used, but I can confirm that 306mm works better. I can clearly see a mm or two of rotor area that isnít being grabbed by the top of the pads, and that makes me feel better. So, with this machined down, the rotor will fit into the caliper. All good, right? Nope! Youíll also need to get the outer diameter of the drum machined down from the 202mm diameter to 195mm. If you donít, the bottom of the front side of the caliper will hit this, and obviously that wonít work. 195mm gives you a mm or so of clearance here. Thankfully, these particular DBA rotors have a rather large amount of material here, due to the 170mm parking brake, so I felt comfortable with 195mm. A professional machine shop is ideal here. As youíre dealing with rotational parts, grinding these down with an angle grinder in your garage is a horrible idea. When youíve got them machined, they look something like this:



I went ahead and re-painted the machined surface on the hub to prevent future issues with rust. Now that youíve got your shiny new rotors machined, weíre ready to install, right? NOPE! If you try to bolt them up, youíll see that youíve got two problems. First, the inside lip of the rotor drum hits the assembly, and the inside edge of the rotor face contacts the inside of the caliper. The spacing is wrong, and thatís where the spacer comes in. I used a 5mm machined spacer between the hub and the rotor to move the caliper outward, which solves these issues. Measuring everything out, I think a 4mm spacer might be better, but 5mm is a lot easier to find. With this spacer in place, the rotor clears everything just fine, and youíre good to go. Obviously, those extended studs come into play here as well, so go ahead and install them BEFORE you bolt everything up.

The install of extended studs in the rear is a bit trickier than up front. Youíll need to remove the hub from the assembly to get to them. This is where that 32mm socket comes in handy. Youíll need to break loose the large nut in the center of the hub first. This is MUCH easier to do while the rotor is still on, and the parking brake works. Use an impact gun. If you donít, youíll need to bend that tab that holds the nut. Take a close look at the nut and youíll see what I mean. With an impact gun, it should come right off. Once off, take the rotor off (Pro-tip: release the parking brake, so you donít look dumb) and locate the 4 bolts on the back side of the assembly that hold the hub in place. Remove those bolts, and use a 3-arm puller to easily pull the hub off the axle. Knock out the studs like you did up front, and add in your extended studs, same as the front. Install is the opposite of removal.


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Last edited by Raz007; 11-27-2017 at 06:05 AM.
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post #3 of 103 (permalink) Old 11-27-2017, 05:58 AM Thread Starter
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Now that youíve got your extended studs in, you can bolt everything up. The spacer comes first, followed by the rotor. Bolt up your rear calipers using the caliper bolts. Use part # 901000326 NOT #901120102 . The second part # is for the GOLD Brembos, and is a lot shorter. These are the ones suggested in a few threads, but DO NOT order those. The 90100326 are a lot longer, and will thread all the way through the caliper. The shorter bolts arenít long enough to safely hold the calipers. Remember that your bleeders need to point upwards. Once itís bolted up, go ahead and attach your brake line, again making sure you add the supplied washers. And your rears are ON!



Now that youíve got everything on, you need to make sure you bleed the brakes. Use a speed bleeder or a friend to do this. Remember to do BOTH sides of each caliper. Inside first, and then the outside. The proper order for bleeding our cars is:



Make sure you get all the air out of the system. Once youíre all done, stand back and marvel at your accomplishment. Youíve got Brembos on your Forester! Get your wheels on, and torque your lugs to spec on your fancy extended studs. Confirm that your parking brake is working, and adjust as necessary. Check your brake pedal, and make sure if feels right. Take a test drive (CAREFULLY) and confirm that everything is working as intended, and the pedal feels good. If so, youíre all set! Follow your chosen manufacturerís instructions on bedding your new brakes, (CAREFULLY) to get the best performance and longest life out of your new setup. Then go take some pictures!







I hope this post helps those that are interested in doing this swap. It was quite the journey, and I invested a lot of time and effort into researching how exactly to make this work. I hope that this write-up makes it easier for the next person doing it. Iíve also been in contact with the engineers at DBA, so perhaps one day theyíll offer a rotor for this application, which should reduce both the effort involved, and the cost.

Speaking of cost, Iíll try to answer that question before the question is asked. Admittedly, this aspect can vary greatly depending on the price of the calipers, parts availability, and machining prices. Iíd estimate that youíre looking at somewhere between $2,000 and $3,000 to complete this project, if your wheels already clear Brembos. No, your stock wheels wonít clear the front calipers. Youíd need a ridiculously large spacer to make that work.

On to the feel. After completing the swap, I can say that I feel immensely more confident in the braking ability of my SJ. Under normal driving, I donít feel a huge difference, which is nice. However, when you need to stop in a hurry, it STOPS. I didnít compare braking distances before and after, however I can say that it is markedly shorter. The pedal is firm, linear, and I havenít felt an ounce of fade, even after repeated hard stops once the pads and rotors were properly bedded. Itís definitely an upgrade for our Foresters.

I'll also add that I do have Eyesight on my XT. Obviously, I'm not going to speed towards a brick wall to test the functionality, but I did conduct a test of the adaptive cruise control while pacing the wifey in her Impreza. The system kept the correct distance while slowing down, and worked the same way it did before in stop and go situations.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!

DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT ADVOCATE OR ADVISE ANY MODIFICATION TO YOUR BRAKING SYSTEM. ANY MODIFICATION IS AT YOUR OWN RISK, AND I TAKE ZERO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY ATTEMPT TO PERFORM THE FOLLOWING MODIFICATION. DO AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!

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post #4 of 103 (permalink) Old 11-27-2017, 06:06 AM Thread Starter
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post #5 of 103 (permalink) Old 11-27-2017, 08:58 AM
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Well ******. I am really hoping someone finds the parts that make this a bit easier. I was with you till you had to use spacers on the rear.

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post #6 of 103 (permalink) Old 11-27-2017, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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It's not a matter of finding the parts @aggie113 , it's that nobody makes a rotor with the correct specs. The only other way you'd possibly be able to do this would be to figure out if a different rear assembly could be used. I briefly researched into that, but you'd probably get into needing different axles, which might need a different differential, etc etc. I wasn't in love with the spacer idea either, but with the extended studs, a hubcentric spacer, and the entirety of the hub face flat against the spacer, I don't foresee any issues. If I was going to be tracking the car often, I'd think more about heat transfer, but as a daily driver, I'm not expecting issues. Enter in the disclaimer. I'm doing it at my own risk, and I've accepted that. The improvement in braking is worth it to me.
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post #7 of 103 (permalink) Old 11-27-2017, 09:26 AM
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very nice write up man.
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post #8 of 103 (permalink) Old 11-27-2017, 09:35 AM
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hot damn that's awesome!! Huge props to being the guinea pig on this one
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post #9 of 103 (permalink) Old 11-27-2017, 12:58 PM
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Raz, this is an excellent thread in every way... detail, composition, and documentation. The work is excellent.

This post in no way besmirches your excellent and appreciated effort, but I have to ask why? To have the STi badge? Cool bling, as you've noted? Or were you intent on upgrading an already race-ready build and needed better brakes?

With the SJ FXT's large and competent brakes, for the package and its intents, these brakes are already more than enough for a daily driver. It would take a lot of serious chassis modifications to prepare one for track duty, but there again I have to ask why... like in maybe it's the wrong platform for that. But even then, with everything else all done and brakes the limiting system... everyone knows that even in the lighter and more competent STi the OEM brakes are inadequate for the track. No matter what you do. Better fluids to reduce the onset of heat issues, proper bleeding and master cylinder brace to optimize feel, and more aggressive pads for bite and durability only go so far at the track, on even a lightly modded STi driven hard.

On a DD those same easy changes will take the already excellent FXT brakes to a performance level all will appreciate but few will ever benefit from,,, and their effects would produce essentially the same results as the STi Brembos without the time, effort, and money entry-level Brembos, like the STi's, (apparently) entail.

There has NEVER been a time or hint that my FXT's brakes were less than excellent... although I started its journey with proper maintenance and a MCB (I like the OEM pads). More importantly, EyeSight likes them. Subaru has bet the farm on these brakes. As far as I know, they still have the farm.

All that yada yada aside, your work and writeup are above reproach.
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post #10 of 103 (permalink) Old 11-27-2017, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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@Fate I can understand your question, for sure. I'll admit, yes, part of it was the look factor, of seeing those nice STI Brembos peeking out from behind the wheels. Secondly, from the very beginning, I wanted to create an XT that wasn't quite an XT, but more like a WRX with more room. And lastly, my trip to the Tail of the Dragon last May showed that I could really benefit from a better braking setup. Swapping cars with @FL Fozzy showed me that while I had more power, his Stoptech pads and rotors elevated the confidence I had in the brakes during a hard run through that amazing stretch of corners. Could I have done the same? Sure. Would it have cost a lot less? For sure! But part of the fun I've had with this Forester is doing something different. When I found a great deal on a set of Brembos, I went for it knowing that if I wanted to run them on all 4 corners it'd be a project. And a project it was! But now that it's done, I look back at the entire process and smile. I've got a great Subaru community around me here, and I had a lot of fun hanging in the garage with Subaru friends trying to figure all of this out. I feel that the braking system now better matches the power output of the vehicle, and while I more than likely won't be carving up the track every weekend, I feel that I could take a few hot laps and have a great time.

At the end of the day, I think I take a bit of pride in saying "I wanted to do it, and it's done." I'm the first to admit that just about every single thing I've done to my Forester didn't NEED changing. However, everything I have done, I personally enjoy, and it makes me smile whenever I slide behind the wheel.

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Really enjoyed the write up. I would love to see that thing in person. Raz I again applaud your dedication to your build. Great job man


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post #12 of 103 (permalink) Old 11-27-2017, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
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@Mack_White-XT I'm sure I'll see you at Mega Meet on Saturday in Lakeland, right?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raz007 View Post
It's not a matter of finding the parts @aggie113 , it's that nobody makes a rotor with the correct specs. The only other way you'd possibly be able to do this would be to figure out if a different rear assembly could be used. I briefly researched into that, but you'd probably get into needing different axles, which might need a different differential, etc etc. I wasn't in love with the spacer idea either, but with the extended studs, a hubcentric spacer, and the entirety of the hub face flat against the spacer, I don't foresee any issues. If I was going to be tracking the car often, I'd think more about heat transfer, but as a daily driver, I'm not expecting issues. Enter in the disclaimer. I'm doing it at my own risk, and I've accepted that. The improvement in braking is worth it to me.
Guess I'm still hoping we can get the bits that come from the actual Forester TS. At this point is it only the rear rotors that would be needed from that model?
If we have accurate measurements, maybe we should just look at a group order of custom made rear rotors from a shop?

Moo cow.
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post #14 of 103 (permalink) Old 11-27-2017, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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@aggie113 I was never able to confirm the specs of the Forester tS rear rotor, nor whether it still uses a 170mm parking brake or the more widely used 190mm brake. The part number is ST26700YS001 according to a thread here. So far I haven't seen a firm price, or even a company that would import them here, so I did this instead.

As far as a group buy, I can tell you that I contacted 2 different vendors that produce custom rotors, and I was looking at over $1,000 for one set of rotors. Obviously, I wasn't doing that either. Since I already had the DBA rotors, and couldn't return them, I went for it. I did send the specs to DBA, so perhaps they'll make a rotor for this application. If they do, I'll be first in line.
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@Raz007 .....dude....that is an awesome job and great work regardless of the motive you had behind wanting to do this project (even if it was just for the BLING factor....AND having better braking as a very nice side effect)..... beautiful build man....keep up the good work!
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