Jump to content


Welcome to Ultimate Subaru Message Board, my lurker friend!

Welcome to Ultimate Subaru Message Board, an unparalleled Subaru community full of the greatest Subaru gurus and modders on the planet! We offer technical information and discussion about all things Subaru, the best and most popular all wheel drive vehicles ever created.

We offer all this information for free to everyone, even lurkers like you! All we ask in return is that you sign up and give back some of what you get out - without our awesome registered users none of this would be possible! Plus, you get way more great stuff as a member! Lurk to lose, participate to WIN*!
  • Say hello and join the conversation
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get automatic updates
  • Get your own profile and make new friends
  • Classifieds with all sorts of Subaru goodies
  • Photo hosting in our gallery
  • Meet other cool people with cool cars
Seriously, what are you waiting for? Make your life more fulfilling and join today! You and your Subaru won't regret it, we guarantee** it.

* The joy of participation and being generally awesome constitutes winning
** Not an actual guarantee, but seriously, you probably won't regret it!

Serving the Subaru Community since May 18th, 1998!

Guest Message by DevFuse
 

Photo
- - - - -

Need Rotors and Pads


  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 DiscoStu

DiscoStu

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 58 posts
  • Grand Rapids

Posted 08 August 2008 - 08:02 AM

99 Legacy OBW.

My subie needs new brakes.
Is there a do-it-yourself guide that someone can point me to?
Are there any gotchas I should worry about? Special tools I would need?

Seems like it should be simple, right?

Steps:
Jack up a corner and stabilize the car.
Remove tire
Remove caliper
Remove Rotor
Put on new rotor
put new pads in caliper
put on caliper
put on tire

Repeat for 3 other corners.
Sound reasonable?


I've never done this before, the first shop I called wanted $500 per axle to do brakes. I figure I should be able to get 4 rotors and 8 pads for about $250-300. Does that sound right? Where do you get them?
Thanks in advance.

#2 yohy

yohy

    USMB is life!

  • Members
  • 221 posts
  • The Great State of Maine

Posted 08 August 2008 - 08:17 AM

You got it, fairly straight forward but would recommend buying a manual for the information, although you can find most info on this site. Now for the gotchas:

1) Rotors have a tendency to become one with the hub, especially in the north where they salt the roads. Most rotors have two threaded holes in the “hat” of the rotor; you can use those holes to thread in 8mm bolts to force them off.
2) The two bolts that hold the caliper mount also have a tendency to rust bind in the backing plate. Lots of penetrating oil will help this.

From there, I would highly recommend replacing your brake fluid as long as you’re at it.

Now I have attached the brake service procedure (front/rear) from the FSM for my ’97, your ’99 should be very similar if not the same.

#3 grossgary

grossgary

    Elite Master of the Subaru

  • Members
  • 19,677 posts
  • WV

Posted 08 August 2008 - 08:34 AM

are you sure you need new rotors?

if you don't have vibration when braking (warped rotors), i would recommend considering keeping your rotors. if they are madly damaged or gouged and shedding metal that's one thing, but this GREATLY simplifies the job and works just fine. to replace the rotors you need to remove the caliper and bracket, not just the caliper.

if the rotors have worked fine for the past year and stop fine, your braking will only be better if you get new pads. i recommend ceramics.

to replace the pads you'll need to swing the caliper up. the caliper doesn't necessarily need removed. it is connected to the bracket with with two bolts or a bolt and a pin. there are a couple different styles, but they're all basically the same. on my Legacy's all it takes is one bolt - a 14mm and the caliper swings up on the other side which is pinned. on others you need to remove two bolts to get the caliper off.

with the arm swung up (or removed if you have to remove two bolts), look at how the old pads are installed and arrange your new ones so you know how they are to be installed (one usually has a metal tab, so orient that properly).

now compress your pistons, you'll need to push them back to make room for the new and thicker pads. to do this - first open the master cylinder cap. that's the reservoir where you add fluid. open the cap to let the pressure release when you press the pistons in. if you don't that fluid pressure has nowhere to go and things (the master cylinder) will break. also - when you press the pistons in the level of fluid in the reservoir will increase - i use an oversized eyedropper to remove fluid or papertowels to soak some up if i don't have that handy.

you'll notice rubber boots at both caliper contact points - whether it's a pin and a bolt or two bolts. i either remove the pins inside them or slide the caliper off the pin (depending which style)...bascially just get access to those rubber boots to regrease them. use CALIPER grease ONLY. do not use any other kind of grease. buy it at any auto parts store and i'd buy a bottle, not those tiny packets they have at the counter, those aren't nearly enough to have.

if you end up doing the rotors...be prepared for two very difficult to remove bolts. sometimes they come right off, sometimes they are a real beast. i had the toughest one i've ever seen yesterday. sprayed it with penetrating oil (PB Blaster), hit the surrounding area with a torch and needed a 2 foot pipe as an extension for it to come off.

if you decide to do the rotor - the small holes to help remove the rotor are 10x1.25mm threaded holes. stop by lowes or home depot and buy two bolts that are 10x1.25 mm threads....or just steal one off the car somewhere - all subaru's have a zillion 1.25 thread pitch bolts on them, you'll just need one that's 10mm. being your first time it would be nice to have one ready.

thread those into the hole to help loosen the rotor.

good luck!

#4 DiscoStu

DiscoStu

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 58 posts
  • Grand Rapids

Posted 08 August 2008 - 08:45 AM

I definitely need rotors (at least on the rear). They are gouged and make a hell of a racket every time I brake.

What is a reasonable cost to have a local shop do all 4 brakes for me?
I feel confident I could do it, but it may take me all weekend, and I don't
have that kind of time. Plus if I break something, I would probably have to have it towed for someone to repair it.

#5 DiscoStu

DiscoStu

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 58 posts
  • Grand Rapids

Posted 08 August 2008 - 09:29 AM

Got another quote from AutoLab for $554 for the job.
That sounds in the ballpark. I'm gonna call around some more.

#6 McDave

McDave

    Subaru Fanatic!

  • Members
  • 477 posts
  • Highland Lakes, Texas

Posted 08 August 2008 - 09:37 AM

are you sure you need new rotors?

if you don't have vibration when braking (warped rotors), i would recommend considering keeping your rotors. if they are madly damaged or gouged and shedding metal that's one thing, but this GREATLY simplifies the job and works just fine. to replace the rotors you need to remove the caliper and bracket, not just the caliper.

if the rotors have worked fine for the past year and stop fine, your braking will only be better if you get new pads.

This is bad advice. I saw you post the same in another thread but since it was an old thread that was brought back up I let it slide. If you want to do a half rump roast job on your own car that's one thing, but advocating in a public forum that others do it is wrong.

Brakes are the most important safely system on a car and advocating one just slap a set of pads on is exposing the car owner and his family to not only an accident, but financial liability should it be determined his brakes were the cause of the accident.

A '99 Legacy likely has over 100k miles by now and is due for new rotors anyway. Braking surfaces on the rotor wear, sometimes smooth, sometimes not so smooth, sometimes warpped. Even if they wore smooth, they likely will have worn to the point where Federal safety specifications mandates that they be discarded. Sometimes the warp-age is so slight it doesn't become noticable nor problematic except in a panic situation.

A new set of pads may work better on the old rotor surface, and they may not. They certainly will not bed properly and not live up to their full potential in stopping distance.

With the price of new rotors being so low for most applications these days, there is no excuse not to replace them, or ar least resurface them if there is enough metal left in them and funds are tight. No reputable shop will open itself to potential liability in this manner, and neither should you, but that's your choice. At least don't advocate others do the same on a public forum, particularly to those that don't know enough about brakes to start with to make an informed decision if their rotors are good enough to let slide. They never are in my opinion.

/soapbox

One last suggestion. Once you finish your brake job with new or resurfaced rotors, properly torque your wheels back on as it helps to keep your rotors from warping. Make sure the shop does the same when they rotate or replace your tires too.

#7 McDave

McDave

    Subaru Fanatic!

  • Members
  • 477 posts
  • Highland Lakes, Texas

Posted 08 August 2008 - 09:50 AM

Got another quote from AutoLab for $554 for the job.
That sounds in the ballpark. I'm gonna call around some more.

That does sound reasonable but remember that that is an estimate before even having looked at the car, and it may not include replacing the rotors and/or replacing or rebuilding the calipers.

Make sure they show you why it needs more work before you authorize it. Don't fall for the "We can't give you a lifetime warranty unless we do everything" line. You will likely be spending more on work that really doesn't need done. On the other hand, if they refuse to do the job unless xyz is done, then it likely really does need to be done for their own liability protection.

#8 grossgary

grossgary

    Elite Master of the Subaru

  • Members
  • 19,677 posts
  • WV

Posted 08 August 2008 - 11:18 AM

This is bad advice.

i should have clarified that, but it's not bad advice. i never said "keep them"...i asked

are you sure you need new rotors?

and suggested:

considering keeping your rotors.


i was having a discussion and asking questions, awaiting his reply. this is a "discussion board" - not an "online repair manual" - that's how i treat it. i'm hear to help this guy through a discussion about his problem. otherwise he can get the Subaru FSM or go to endwrench and get a step by step there. i didn't go into details i was awaiting his response to the condition of rotors...i'm having a conversation with the guy, not writing a documentary on all and every possible failure mode, solution, and problems that might be encountered along the way. it's not bad advice because rotors don't need replaced with every brake job....i'm awaiting his response to see if they actually need replaced.

but you are correct - i should have qualified that for the average joe that doesn't know any better.

Brakes are the most important safely system on a car

that's over stated in the context of this thread. we are talking about the rotor...not the brake system as a whole. not replacing the rotors will never cause an accident if everything else is properly done. and stating liability issues with insurance companies is ridiculous as well, that's closer to "scare tactic" than it is reality. it's not even remotely on the radar screen of possibility. there are more important and ignored safety items on a vehicle...tie rods come to mind. i would take a used rotor any day over a used tie rod. ever seen a car loose a tie rod? ever seen a car loose a rotor?

but thanks for clarifying that and steering it straight. it's definitely an important item to take seriously, although we may disagree about the replacement interval of the rotor.

#9 pcwerk

pcwerk

    New User

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 19 posts
  • Rochester, MN

Posted 08 August 2008 - 12:27 PM

Just from my experience last weekend...I would ask if he is a good enough
mechanic to recognize if the calipers are bad. After a gruelling 10+ hour
job where I had to struggle with rusted bolts (no impact wrench) and
take a sledge to get the rotors off, then I had my front end smoking on the
way home! Turned out my calipers were stuck and so I had to take it into a
mechanic afterall ;-( Not a good weekend...
jimmy

#10 McDave

McDave

    Subaru Fanatic!

  • Members
  • 477 posts
  • Highland Lakes, Texas

Posted 08 August 2008 - 12:44 PM

i should have clarified that, but it's not bad advice. i never said "keep them".


You certainly suggested he could when you said:

i would recommend considering keeping your rotors. if they are madly damaged or gouged and shedding metal that's one thing, but this GREATLY simplifies the job and works just fine. to replace the rotors you need to remove the caliper and bracket, not just the caliper.



All rotors need to be either resurfaced or replaced when doing a brake job for the reasons I've already stated. How is he going to do that without removing the caliper bracket and rotor? You can downplay the importance of the rotors all you want but the fact is a too thin rotor that fades too quickly or a warped rotor that applies uneven braking forces is a contributing factor in accidents. I've never had a tie rod break but I have had lower ball joints come apart at speed. I sure was glad I had good brakes to get me stopped before going off the road on that curve!

it's not bad advice because rotors don't need replaced with every brake job.


I never said they always need to be replaced. I said they could be resurfaced if there was enough metal left in them. As others have mentioned, replacing the rotor is better as a thinner rotor will warp easier. If the replacement rotors happen to be expensive, or the owners funds are tight, resurfacing the rotors are fine if they have enough metal left in them.

it's definitely an important item to take seriously, although we may disagree about the replacement interval of the rotor.


Which brings up another important point. What do you consider the interval to be? 100k, 150k, 200k miles? My answer: none of the above. You have to measure the thickness of the rotor to determine when it needs to be replaced. Until you do you have no idea if they are within spec and will likely still be within spec by the next time it needs brakes. They could have already been resurfaced to minimum specs on the last brake job or by a previous owner. If they are already thinner than the 'machine to' minimum spec, they surely will be thinner than the 'discard at' spec by the next time you need brakes. That is getting into the territory where they become a contributing factor in accidents.

So they need to be measured with each brake job. How do you go about that? You could use an inexpensive dial caliper to measure thickness, but there's that pesky lip that doesn't wear out at the edge of the rotor so you actually need a micrometer to measure further down at the thinnest point, wherever that ends up to be on the rotor face. Not many backyard mechanics have micrometers.

So what do you do? You take the rotor off and have your parts store that turns rotors check the thickness with their tools and let them help you decide if they can be resurfaced without getting too close to the minimum 'machine to' spec, or if you need new rotors.

Just looking at the rotors and your odometer and saying, 'that'll work' doesn't cut it.

#11 McDave

McDave

    Subaru Fanatic!

  • Members
  • 477 posts
  • Highland Lakes, Texas

Posted 08 August 2008 - 01:00 PM

Just from my experience last weekend...I would ask if he is a good enough
mechanic to recognize if the calipers are bad. After a gruelling 10+ hour
job where I had to struggle with rusted bolts (no impact wrench) and
take a sledge to get the rotors off, then I had my front end smoking on the
way home! Turned out my calipers were stuck and so I had to take it into a
mechanic afterall ;-( Not a good weekend...
jimmy

Yeah, it takes a few jobs and one bad caliper to help you develop a feel for when a caliper wants to stick as you're pushing the piston back in and will cause problems down the road.

Something else I haven't seen mentioned in any of these brake threads is that you need to crack the bleeder as you push the piston back in. Otherwise you're just pushing the nastiest part of your brake fluid back up into your ABS controller. They don't like that! ;)

#12 DiscoStu

DiscoStu

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 58 posts
  • Grand Rapids

Posted 08 August 2008 - 02:29 PM

For the record, I'm not going to attempt this myself. I'm taking it to AutoLab this weekend. I've taken it there before and trust them. I also found a $50 coupon online. So it will end up being about $500 which I think is fair.

Thanks for all of your advice.

#13 McDave

McDave

    Subaru Fanatic!

  • Members
  • 477 posts
  • Highland Lakes, Texas

Posted 08 August 2008 - 06:37 PM

You're welcome. I want to apologize to you and Gary for taking the thread off on a tangent this morning. Brakes are something I feel strongly about, but I could have done a better job of putting my beliefs and suggestions into this thread. Gary, I particularly want to apologize for giving you a hard time. You're here to help too, so why should I rain on your parade? I'm sorry. I'll try to do better.

Good luck with the brake job. Lets us know how it turned out.

#14 grossgary

grossgary

    Elite Master of the Subaru

  • Members
  • 19,677 posts
  • WV

Posted 08 August 2008 - 06:52 PM

thanks for being understanding. my original suggestion did sound too "easy" and that's not what i meant, so it needed correction. even though we still may disagree slightly on rotor maintenance, that was a very important clarification.

i don't use any rotors under spec's (tossed a set away before my current brake job last week).

obviously this guy has $500 so it doesn't matter. i buy new rotors all the time (last week for my OBS and last year for my XT6). but there are people that can't or won't afford to do that.

rotors in spec and not grooved will work well. maybe not %100 factory spec. but how many 10+ year old cars do? there's plenty of other things that decrease braking distance and are far more dangerous as well...cheap tires, not bleeding fluid, extra weight in the vehicle, and more...all very common and all get virtually zero air time.

#15 hankosolder2

hankosolder2

    Subaru Nut

  • Members
  • 689 posts
  • Chicago

Posted 08 August 2008 - 09:51 PM

Another thought re: replacing rotors. The front brakes do around 80% of the braking...so cutting corners is more acceptable for the rear brakes than the front.

Nathan

#16 yohy

yohy

    USMB is life!

  • Members
  • 221 posts
  • The Great State of Maine

Posted 10 August 2008 - 06:45 PM

Not meaning to stir the pot, but ran across this last night. Just more information to consider:

Scratching the Surface: The Hazards of Rotor Turning
http://oeqf.com/techinfo/index.htm


#17 McDave

McDave

    Subaru Fanatic!

  • Members
  • 477 posts
  • Highland Lakes, Texas

Posted 10 August 2008 - 08:22 PM

Not meaning to stir the pot, but ran across this last night. Just more information to consider:

Scratching the Surface: The Hazards of Rotor Turning
http://oeqf.com/techinfo/index.htm

Glad to see I'm still doing it right. :) It's amazing how many chain brake shops don't know to put a swirl finish on rotors. Of course I'll never agree that putting pads on rotors without surfacing or replacing them is ok, as it goes against all my training, but overall it was an informative website. Thanks for posting it.

#18 grossgary

grossgary

    Elite Master of the Subaru

  • Members
  • 19,677 posts
  • WV

Posted 11 August 2008 - 10:19 AM

that's mentioned often on this forum, but often times it's not an issue as the cost of turning in many areas is prohibitive or inconvenient. where i used to live auto shops quit doing it and machine shops charged $50 minimum, hardly worth the down time and running around, when you can just go buy new ones. i have only used new rotors, i don't think i've ever had a set turned though i did mic a set two weeks ago and would have for those if they were in spec.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users