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I have my 99' Outback Limited, w/100,000 miles, currently in the garage and they say my front brake caliper are sticking and I need new pads, rotors and calipers. I have'nt noticed any odd behavior with the brakes, aside from pushing to the floor more than they should. Are bad calipers a common problem for this car? Do they need to be replaced or is there another solution? Or am I getting the $550.00 shaft.

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if indeed you need new calipers... buy the part and learn to swap them yourself. replacement calipers (piston/boot) are quite expensive for this car - about $180 each side... so yeah $550 is not too far off.

 

if you havent noticed any sticking there may or may not be a real issue?

buuuut... on the other hand,

sometimes the boots can wear down on the calipers,

and yes it's best to change them... for safety's sake.

 

it's not 'that hard' to do this yourself with simple tools.

 

sheeeesh i hope this helps. but i'm not sure it does??

Jamie

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It's hard to tell what is causing your trouble without having a look see. My guess is that the pads are wearing unevenly either due to bad calipers or lack of periodic lubrication. If left long enough the rotors would eventually be ruined.

 

In Western NY, with our obscene use of road salt, I find that lubricating the caliper slides, pins, and pad guides at least twice a year is necessary to keep the pads wearing evenly. The salt use is much less in NYC, but things should still be lubricated at least once a year IMHO for optimum wear. Your calipers may need to be replaced, but I suspect it's actually a lack of lubrication that caused the pads to wear unevenly. You may have to trust the shop on this one, because like I said, it's hard to tell without seeing it myself.

 

$550 isn't bad for pads, rotors, calipers, and labor. Make sure they are using genuine Subaru parts.

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You've received great advice. If your are at all mechanically inclined, you could rebuild the calipers yourself with overhaul kits from www.1stsubaruparts.com and go with high quality aftermarket rotors (from a reputable company like Brembo) and brake pads. It would cost you $200-$250 in parts. As Jamie said, it's not a very difficult job.

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Could you tell me exactly what you get with a rebuild kit. I asked my Subaru Dealer about a caliper rebuild kit and they told me there wasn't one, I needed to buy a whole new caliper.--- I knew they were wrong!

 

Thanks

 

 

 

You've received great advice. If your are at all mechanically inclined, you could rebuild the calipers yourself with overhaul kits from www.1stsubaruparts.com and go with high quality aftermarket rotors (from a reputable company like Brembo) and brake pads. It would cost you $200-$250 in parts. As Jamie said, it's not a very difficult job.

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I had a similar problem on my 98 outback at about 125,000 miles. I used up an entire set of pads one just one side in about 20,000 miles. The previous set lasted 55,000. The other side looked as though it would have gone 50,000. I had not even used them up half way. My mechanic (a friend) checked the caliper and said it was sticking on one side. He just cleaned and lubed it up and 20,000 miles later it seems to be working well.

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I have asked that question on here a couple of times and nobody seems to know. I think Bendix rebuilds are available for about $45, that is what I am going to do when I need to replace the calipers.

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Could you tell me exactly what you get with a rebuild kit. I asked my Subaru Dealer about a caliper rebuild kit and they told me there wasn't one, I needed to buy a whole new caliper.--- I knew they were wrong!

 

Thanks

You can find the kits at www.1stsubaruparts.com for about $20 per caliper. They include caliper pin boots (4), piston seals (2), piston boots (2) and metal retaining clips (2). The service representative at www.1stsbuparts.com told me that they come as axles sets, but you should call and verify.

 

Alternatively you can also get aftermarket kits, which do not include the caliper pin boots, from www.precisionbrakescompany.com. Their website doesn't show it, but they come as axle sets. I just received a set in the mail today, and even their catalogs don't show the front kits as axle sets so I wound up with more stuff than I need. I would go for these if your caliper pin boots look good, and these kits are less than half the price of those offered by Subaru. Also, you should overhaul both sides at the same time, and make sure that you thoroughly clean the calipers with brake cleaner and an air compressor while you have them apart. Take care.

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I would definatly take this opertunity to learn brakes, they are really easy to replace and most all shops try to snow you, and leave your wallet very dry. Majority of the charge is labor, I have been doing my own brakes for 5 years and saved tons of money, before I spend $550 on brakes for a surburban that would have cost me 1/3 if I would have just learned it myself.

 

I agree with the lubrication, and maybe even bleeding the system would be a good idea, one man brake bleeders arn't expensive and will pay for them selves quickly.

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The way disc brakes work is there is a piston down in a bore. There is a square o-ring that fits into a square groove slightly down into the piston bore that seals to the surface of the piston. As you step on the brake pedal, the piston moves out slightly to apply the brakes, and the square o-ring is extruded outward along with it from it's groove. when hydraulic pressure is removed, the o-ring snaps back, and drags the piston a tiny bit with it, releasing the brakes. This is all that retracts the brakes, there are no springs like with drum style brakes. This arrangement also makes all disc brakes self adjusting. The problem with a worn out caliper is the rubber o-ring gets hard and won't snap back. The surface of the piston is also a potential trouble spot, most pistons are satin finish chrome plated steel. If there is moisture in the brake fluid, the plating on the piston can break down, and can even flake off, jamming the piston in the bore. (this is not usually a problem!) normally a caliper rebuild is just a matter of replacing the rubber seal and dust boot, and making sure the piston is intact, and that there is no scale or rust in the piston bore. (some systems have a plastic piston that can crack or deform, maintenance is the same otherwise.)

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