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What's your favorite brake pads that don't break the bank?


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16 replies to this topic

#1 porcupine73

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 11:15 AM

I'm guessing this has been covered...but what's everyone's favorite brake pads for the Subaru?

I need to do the fronts on my '96 and '94. Want something with excellent bite and fade resistant. Not as concerned with how long they last, noise, or how much rotor they eat. Could care less how much dust they make.

Looking around, some people seem to say the EBC 'Ultimax' OEM replacement pads have these characteristics?

I have some Autozone silver pads on the '96 now, and unknown type on the '94. Both of them will stop reasonably well if you step on the pedal hard enough, but they will often smoke. Neither of them can I step hard enough to lock the wheels ('96 has no ABS), or make the ABS kick in ('94).

#2 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 11:45 AM

the OEM pads were fine on both my vehicles. The worst pads I tried were Wagner on the wife's outback.

So far, VERY pleased with Centric PosiQuiet Ceramic on the Outback - as good or better than OEM, fine intial bite cold - fine modulation - never noticed fade but that car doesn't get any 'performance' use. No noise and doesn't seem to dust any worse than OEM.

Running Stoptech Street Performance on the WRX (fronts right now) and they are awesome. They do dust more than OEM. I WILL continue with them.

none of those were 'expensive' and I see no reason to change to anything else. got 'em from KNS online.

#3 porcupine73

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 12:11 PM

Thanks for the input. Hm yes the genuine Subaru pads.....price is on par with 'premium' offerings from other sources. I have used those successfully in the past.

#4 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 12:23 PM

Thanks for the input. Hm yes the genuine Subaru pads.....price is on par with 'premium' offerings from other sources. I have used those successfully in the past.



Unless you are running high/max performance tires, I think the Stoptech SP pads might be a waste for daily drivers.

Try the Centric PQ Ceramic. they are very grippy.

Tires stop your car - brakes stop your wheels.

#5 grossgary

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 12:24 PM

can't get the wheels to lock up or ABS to work sounds like more than a brake pad issue? that seems odd.

brake pads are a flooded market, i was surprised at all the options and opinions out there when i was trying to learn about better pads. i don't know much more now than i did before trying to find a good set of pads. i went with an expensive set and had no "wow" factor with them at all, i noticed no difference, but they performed fine.

i generally avoid the least expensive stuff and lean towards ceramics currently. i haven't seen much difference though. would love to see some real world tests or something.

#6 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 12:27 PM

yep, least expensive is definitely most frightening!

#7 porcupine73

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 12:54 PM

I've ordered the genuine pads. I have some new unused rotors for the front.

The '96 and '94 seem OK during normal driving and light braking, but if you have to stop fast you have to absolutely stand on the pedal, then they will smoke a little bit from the front when you do get stopped. In other cars I've had stepping on the brakes that hard will either lock the wheels or activate the ABS usually, but not in these two.

They do stop but take longer than I want. If I could get the wheels to lock or ABS to activate I would at least then know it wasn't my brakes that were the limiting factor anymore.

So I'll start with front pads and rotors and see how that works. The existing rotors are pretty rusty from sitting, and the pads I know are not the best on there.

Of course the '96 has rear drums which probably doesn't help, plus they both have the single piston front calipers.

I'm just worried someone is going to pull out in front of me and these weak brakes are going to be a major problem suddenly.

#8 grossgary

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 01:01 PM

hopefully that cleans them all up, that is unnerving having weak brakes. good luck knocking it out.

#9 hohieu

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 01:17 PM

the OEM pads were fine on both my vehicles. The worst pads I tried were Wagner on the wife's outback.


Do you remember which Wagner pads you used? I bought a set of semi-metallic Thermoquiets for my F150, which uses Akebono calipers like our Subarus, and they came with the caliper hardware. But I saw that Wagner's Thermoquiet line for Subarus uses organic friction material for the front pads which may be why they didn't perform so well.

I am currently running Akebono ProAct ceramic pads, front & rear, on my '99 Forester. They don't seem any better or worse than OEM pads, which I think are ceramic. Dusting and noise seem about the same as well.

I'll probably go back to semi-metallic pads on the Subaru for better heat dissipation.

#10 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 01:52 PM

I've ordered the genuine pads. I have some new unused rotors for the front.

The '96 and '94 seem OK during normal driving and light braking, but if you have to stop fast you have to absolutely stand on the pedal, then they will smoke a little bit from the front when you do get stopped. In other cars I've had stepping on the brakes that hard will either lock the wheels or activate the ABS usually, but not in these two.

They do stop but take longer than I want. If I could get the wheels to lock or ABS to activate I would at least then know it wasn't my brakes that were the limiting factor anymore.

So I'll start with front pads and rotors and see how that works. The existing rotors are pretty rusty from sitting, and the pads I know are not the best on there.

Of course the '96 has rear drums which probably doesn't help, plus they both have the single piston front calipers.

I'm just worried someone is going to pull out in front of me and these weak brakes are going to be a major problem suddenly.



When was the last time the fluid was replaced? maybe time for new fluid too.

#11 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 01:57 PM

Do you remember which Wagner pads you used? I bought a set of semi-metallic Thermoquiets for my F150, which uses Akebono calipers like our Subarus, and they came with the caliper hardware. But I saw that Wagner's Thermoquiet line for Subarus uses organic friction material for the front pads which may be why they didn't perform so well.

I am currently running Akebono ProAct ceramic pads, front & rear, on my '99 Forester. They don't seem any better or worse than OEM pads, which I think are ceramic. Dusting and noise seem about the same as well.

I'll probably go back to semi-metallic pads on the Subaru for better heat dissipation.



The wagner's were on sale at RockAuto. I don't recall any name like ThermoQuiet on the box or any other. They DID seem to be long-lasting(they probably had half their life left when I tossed them), but they were were MUCH less grippy than either the stockers or the Centrics on there now.

#12 hohieu

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 02:26 PM

Ok, then they were probably not the organics, which tend to wear much faster.

#13 Fairtax4me

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 07:04 PM

EBC Red Stuff. Best pads you can buy IMO. A bit expensive, but they will stop on a dime all day long with NO fade. I put 15k miles on a set with slotted rotors and I couldn't tell they had worn at all. The rotors were crap IMO (EBC Ultimax slotted), but the pads were friggin awesome.
The "Bed-in" material they put on the pads makes for some awful screaching and very touchy brakes for the first 50 miles or so, but goes away for the most part after that. They did squeal from time to time on my Lincoln, but that went away after about 5k miles.

#14 Rooster2

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 10:34 PM

I have done well with Advance Auto Parts (their house brand) ceramic pads. Seem to wear well, stop well, and don't cost much. Get 20% off if you buy at their website, then pick up at their store.

#15 the3rsss

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 10:58 PM

I always went with cheap pads. Figured they wouldn't wear the rotors. I put a set of akebono pads on and honestly, I didn't notice a difference. A lot less dust, that was about it. What REALLY made a difference in brake feel was adj the pedal freeplay. Much better feel!

#16 Bluestone

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 06:36 AM

PBR/Axxis Ultimate pads....they're kevlar ceramic, offer superb braking power and fade resistance. They're available for $50 front and $40 rear.
I also put DBA slotted rotors on the front with the PBR/Axxis pads front and rear...incredibly good system.
The PBR/Axxis Ultimate pads don't last quite as long as some of the pricier pads but their performance is second to none. Truly outstanding!

#17 porcupine73

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 06:21 PM

Originally I posted about the weak braking on my '94 and '96 Legacies. I think it was just a combination of having very rusty rotors combined with 'soft' pads that simply won't/can't cut through heavy rust.

So I've replaced the front rotors and pads on both, the pads I used were Advance Auto silver pads, about $20/set. They seem to work pretty well. They are semi-metallic. I don't know, for typical daily driving, I like those almost the best of any brake pads I've tried. I have them on all three soobs now. They have a nice initial bite, not much fade. They do eat the rotors a bit, and they make a lot of dust, and don't seem to have a super long life (though I think they have a lifetime warranty and a pad slap only takes a few minutes).

Today on the way home in the '96 I was on a highway going about 60mph and i saw a police car coming out of the corner of my eye flying down a side road and he wasn't going to stop. I punched the binders and near the end of the stop all four wheels locked up. So I'm pretty happy the brakes are finally strong enough to do that (though the rears are drums on this '96).




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