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2002 Outback Brakes - not working when cold


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35 replies to this topic

#1 srs_49

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 08:45 AM

My wife's 2002 Outback's (LL Bean) brakes sometimes don't work when the car is started, either first thing in the morning when leaving for work or, less frequently, in the afternoon after a cold soak on the parking lot. First time it happened, ended up the neighbor across the street's driveway. Symptom is like the power assist has failed (no vacuum boost?). Car can be stopped by really standing on the brake pedal. Problem only shows up when outside temperature is below approx. 25 deg F. After 1 or 2 minutes of either idling or slow driving, problem clears up and car is fine for rest of drive. Also, through experimentation (it's been below freezing all week), found that pumping the brakes really hard several times when car is first started seems to get things working. Anyone else have similar probelms?

#2 unverviking

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 09:08 AM

Can't say that I've had this problem, but it does sound like a vacuum assist issue...

I would highly recommend, since it is soooooo cold, I would take it in to be serviced. Brakes especially, are nothing to mess around with.

keep us posted on the results...

#3 friendly_jacek

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 12:10 PM

I believe there was a recall on some fairly recent subarus with this same problem. MY 2000 was not affected so don't know specifics. Call a dealer or do a search.

#4 cannonball

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 12:23 PM

Sounds like your brake booster may be going bad although I don't know why it's related to temperature. I had a S-10 that had this problem. They had to replace the whole unit.

#5 friendly_jacek

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 01:20 PM

Here you go:
http://autorepair.ab...ecalls-086b.htm

It sound like only MY 2002 is affected.

#6 SevenSisters

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 08:53 PM

http://www.ultimates...highlight=guysk
This post sounds similar, but there was no resolution.
Could ice plug a vacuum line temporarily?

#7 bernie

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 05:43 PM

BUMP

My 2002 has started doing the same thing. Any other thoughts? Any resolution? i PM'd the original poster. of course my dealer can't 'recreate' it. :rolleyes:

-Bernie

#8 Subie Gal

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 07:13 PM

are the affected cars parked outside?

let's say....
there's any kind of moisture on the brakes when parked
(rain, snow water, etc)

then it gets very cold out.

moisture freezes onto rotor (sometimes appearing as little 'rust specs' )

thus there is a thin surface of "foreign material" on the rotors

it's going to take a couple of stops to sweep the rotors clear of the overnight deposits.

no real cure for this other than to do a couple of brake checks to clear the rotors up a bit....

Jamie Posted Image

#9 bernie

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 07:31 PM

moisture freezes onto rotor (sometimes appearing as little 'rust specs' )
thus there is a thin surface of "foreign material" on the rotors
it's going to take a couple of stops to sweep the rotors clear of the overnight deposits.


Thanks for the feedback, but I'm positive thats not whats happening. The pedal is ROCK SOLID except for maybe 1/4" of loose give. Just enough (I suspect) to kick the trigger to allow you to shift it out of park. Now (since this started happening), I never shift out of park unless the pedal goes a bit soft like normal. Ive delt with brake fade, stuck calipers, et cetera. this appears to be something that is affectign the entire brake circuit. vacuum assist? M/C? abs module? dunno.

If I go straight to drive with the pedal hard, the car moves forward at idle and it will NOT STOP. the pedal is rock hard. 5 or 6 panic pushes on the pedal and then it softens up a touch and the brakes engage.

its almost as of the ABS is stuck pulsing the brakes 'off'.

#10 nipper

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Posted 07 December 2005 - 07:38 PM

read the posts bernie.:banghead: ... scroll up it explains what it is and how to fix it..

nipper

#11 bernie

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 04:15 PM

The booster was definitely a suspect... not sure of your point.

Since the 'problem' was intermittent, I was looking for some diagnosis methodology or anecdotal stories to figure out the problem. The car was left out in the cold last night and the wrench was able to reproduce it. Regardless, there was a stuck check valve in a line to the booster. The line (w/check valve) and booster are going to be replaced under warranty.

-Bernie

#12 nipper

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 04:35 PM

AM i missing something :banghead: ? or does this not apply to you?


nipper
NHTSA Campaign ID: 02V079000
Component: Brakes: Hydraulic: Master Cylinder
Manufacturer: Subaru Of America, Inc.
Year:
2002
Make:
Subaru
Model:
Outback
Recall Date:
03/26/2002


Defect Summary:

The brake master cylinders may not function properly in ambient temperatures below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit and lower).

Consequence Summary:

In temperatures below freezing, the brakes may not release after being applied, even when your foot is no longer on the brake pedal. This can occur without prior warning, possibly resulting in a crash.

Corrective Summary:

Dealers will replace the master cylinders. Owner notification is expected to begin during April 2002. Owners who take their vehicles to an authorized dealer on an agreed upon service date and do not receive the free remedy within a reasonable time should contact Subaru at 1-800-782-2783.



#13 bernie

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 05:28 PM

AM i missing something :banghead: ? or does this not apply to you?


Yes. And yes. ;)

My symptoms were different than the problem caused by the faulty M/C. My brake pedal got hard and would not go 'in'. The faulty M/C results in brakes not releasing.

I had looked up the recall per the link and inquired with a follow up call to the dealer even though the symptoms didn't match. The recall did not apply to my vehicle. I suspect it was a bad 'batch' of M/C's and applied to a series of VIN numbers. The P.O. always had his vehicle serviced at a dealer and this likely would have gotten picked up there anyway.

I do all the work/service on my 911 and am familiar with screaming at 'noobs' on bbs' to use the search and actually read posts. So, I see where you're comin from. :)

-Bernie

#14 nipper

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 05:44 PM

ok just checking :)


DId you do the booster test?

with the car off, pump the brak pedal oh .. 10-15 times. With your foot on the brake pedal start the car, the pedal should go down. If it doesnt you have a bad booster.

If you think its the booster, and it sounds dangerous enough to risk the "throw money at the part" theory. i rarely advocate that, but if your 80% sure, ild risk it.

nipper

#15 bernie

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 09:22 PM

Booster test? Now that would have been helpful to know. :)

The car is under warranty.... booster is going to be replaced tomorrow. no charge. i'm not used to having a car under warranty. I'm more of a beater guy. :)

thanks,

bernie

#16 nipper

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Posted 08 December 2005 - 09:24 PM

FYI i never had one either :) Its hard to differntiate a bad booster vs a bad master cylinder as they have almost the same symptons. Thats the only way to tell sometimes.


nipper

#17 OutbacKaren

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 05:37 PM

My wife's 2002 Outback's (LL Bean) brakes sometimes don't work when the car is started, either first thing in the morning when leaving for work or, less frequently, in the afternoon after a cold soak on the parking lot. First time it happened, ended up the neighbor across the street's driveway. Symptom is like the power assist has failed (no vacuum boost?). Car can be stopped by really standing on the brake pedal. Problem only shows up when outside temperature is below approx. 25 deg F. After 1 or 2 minutes of either idling or slow driving, problem clears up and car is fine for rest of drive. Also, through experimentation (it's been below freezing all week), found that pumping the brakes really hard several times when car is first started seems to get things working. Anyone else have similar probelms?

Ha!!! You are not alone! I posted almost the exact same problem about a week ago. I also have a 2002 LL Bean, and the problem only occurs when it gets really cold. I also found that if I pump the brake a few times while still in park after warming the car up a couple minutes, I can avoid the "stuck" brake. I was also directed to the same recall, but I just haven't had time to get it into the shop. I really need to do this. Just wanted you to know there was someone else with the exact same problem!

To add: I will also check the boosters, now that I read the entire thread. Thanks to everyone for the advice.

#18 srs_49

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 04:58 PM

Thanks for all the comments. Mine sounds like the booster. Yes, if I let the car warm up and pump the brakes a few times over the course of a minute or so, I can feel the brake pedal "give" a bit and then the brakes are working.

BTW, I really don't care for my dealer, so that's why I won't take the car back there for servicing. They forgot to tighten the oil drain plug during one visit and my wife had to call them (she's 35 miles away) to pick the car up when she noticed a big pudle of oil under the car. Don't think there was any engine damage, but am keeping my fingures crossed. They want the car for most of the day just to change the oil and rotate the tires. Really poor service. If I hadn't bought a lifetime oil change/tire rotation package from them, they'd never see me again.

#19 ccrinc

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Posted 21 March 2006 - 02:33 PM

My '92 SVX does the same thing. Now I'm just careful about moving the car before all the fluids get circulating.
I had the booster replaced under warranty on an '86 Olds Delta 88 Royale Brougham that I used to drive. (God, those were THE most comfortable seats!) The symptoms were completely different. At this point, I'm not convinced my problem is the brake booster: I think it's hydraulic fluids not wanting to work properly until they get warmed up a bit.

Emily
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#20 nipper

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Posted 21 March 2006 - 03:19 PM

My '92 SVX does the same thing. Now I'm just careful about moving the car before all the fluids get circulating.
I had the booster replaced under warranty on an '86 Olds Delta 88 Royale Brougham that I used to drive. (God, those were THE most comfortable seats!) The symptoms were completely different. At this point, I'm not convinced my problem is the brake booster: I think it's hydraulic fluids not wanting to work properly until they get warmed up a bit.

Emily
http://www.ccrengines.com


Brake fluid does not warm up by the car just sitting there idling, not enough to make a differnce, unless you have a hydraulic booster. Its not like transmision fluid, PS fluid or engine oil. It is fool hearty to take a chance with something like brakes. There are several failure modes for brake booster and master cylinder failure, which can be very similar.
Have you done the brake booster test?

nipper

#21 srs_49

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 06:42 AM

Have not done the brake booster test yet. It's on my things-to-do list.

This is one of those problems that, when it shows up, the conditions are not very conducive to troubleshooting (20 deg in the morning). When the weather is more friendly, like in the spring and fall, the problem is not there.

#22 Audiophobe

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 07:25 AM

I have had the same exact problem with my '01 LL Bean OBW (new to me). It has happened twice after parked in very cold conditions in the parking lot after a long day. It freaked me out but went away quickly and I thought it must have been my imagination. But the '01 is not part of the recall!? I will follow this thread to see what the resolution is.

#23 srs_49

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 08:00 AM

I looked into the recall issue when the problem first surfaced. If memory serves me, the recall had to do with brakes not releasing when cold. This problem seems to be just the opposite.

#24 Audiophobe

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 08:48 AM

Correct.
When I was leaving the parking lot the brakes did not respond when approaching the street(which immediately caught my attention!).
But the problem went away, as quickly as it came, the next time I applied the brakes so I thought it was my error or "just one of those things". It happened one other time, just as briefly, again as I now recall in retrospect, while being in a cold winter CT parking lot for 12 hours sor so. The car is garaged when at home so it all makes sense now.

#25 ccrinc

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 11:14 AM

Brake fluid does not warm up by the car just sitting there idling, not enough to make a differnce, unless you have a hydraulic booster. Its not like transmision fluid, PS fluid or engine oil. It is fool hearty to take a chance with something like brakes. There are several failure modes for brake booster and master cylinder failure, which can be very similar.
Have you done the brake booster test?

nipper


Well, of course I know that! Warming up is driving and applying the brakes (cautiously) until they react properly. It only takes a few applications of the brake pedal to get everything moving properly.

Incidentally, when the brake booster failed in my old car, the symptoms were, IIRC, quite different.

Emily
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