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  1. Hello all. 2003 Forester XS. I installed purchased fresh rebuilt stock calipers from boxes 2 years ago, along with new pads and rotors, and a complete brake bleeding, here in the North East. I just had to rebuild them myself using new pistons and new rebuild kits with a light honing, this last winter after water got into both caliper pistons apparently from by passing the outer piston seal. Really badly on the right rear.This caused stuck calipers, and completely separated the friction material on 3 of the 4 rear brake pads from their backing plate on smooth rotors. One piston was very badly rusted inside, where it should have been protected from any water getting in. My guess is the sand/bead blasting on the rebuilt calipers cause a compromised water seal from the start. Another is the design of the stock rear calipers seems to be not geared to keep water out well either. In any event, I put a bead of copper high temp silicone around the new piston outer seal, on the rebuild, but that really does not hold well over time due to piston movement and brake vibration. This seems ridiculous. Because, the calipers were ruined/stuck not from internal deterioration and lack of brake bleeding, but simply because water easily gets past the outer piston seal no matter. In any event, I may end up getting 2 piston STI calipers on there eventually. But I am shocked at the poor design allowing water in, when this vehicle is not driven off road, or abused. It is a 2003 Forester XS and has alloy wheels which may contribute to more water exposure though. I now believe that worn rear wheel bearings played a big role in causing excessive play in the hub, and allowing the brake rotor to move side to side ruining the brake pads, and subsequently causing the caliper pistons to shift and allow water in. Even though the seals were not torn. Still, I think the rear caliper seal is not very effective in keeping water out from the inside of the caliper piston, and makes rebuilding or replacing the rear calipers a much more frequent even than one would assume. I now also hose off the calipers in winter to keep ice and crud which traps moisture, off of them, but I am possibly eventually looking for a better caliper conversion like the 2 pot Subaru ones. Not for a performance increase mostly, but simply because they are possibly better designed to keep water out of the caliper pistons. And will not require rebuilding as often. I mean, if I am looking at a caliper rebuild every 1-2 years, or at least replacing the outer caliper seal, that seems excessive. Any thoughts anyone?
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