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EmmCeeBee

Lessons learned

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Nuthin' like this ever happened to me before. Goes to show you that subs don't like to be prettied up.

 

I had my 88 Wagon in my garage for a week, working on the exhaust and changing fluids, including transaxle.

 

Got it finished and buttoned up on Saturday morning, and it started right up and purred like a kitten. Nice work, I thought to myself. Into reverse to back out of the garage -- but the car wouldn't budge. Checked for the obvious floor lift or wheel chock (!!!)..... Nope. The car should've rolled right out. Put it in first to inch forward, but still nothing. Into 4WD Lo and reverse, I could feel the clutch wanting to burn. Shut it down and went into deep thought mode: What did I screw up???

 

I quickly found it was the front wheels only, both locked tight. In fact, so tight, it was obviously the brakes (if it was the transmission, there would've been an inch or so of play in the wheels). The rear wheels were fine. It couldn't be the hydraulics, since the front wheels are on different circuits.

 

Took off both front wheels and inspected the brakes. The hand brake cables were free, working OK. The pads were locked tight to the discs. The pads are only about half worn, all around. Spent half an hour scratching my head till it finally dawned on me.

 

Before I pulled the car into the garage 8 days ago, I gave my pride and joy a wash and wax (been 5 years since the last one....) A full-dose, high-pressure, dirt-blasting bath, including wheel wells. I didn't drive it after that, except up into the garage. And in the garage, or course, I set the parking brake.

 

The discs had rusted up, a fine layer of rust probably .05" thick. With the hand brake set, the pads were locked tight to the disc. I've had that happen to disc brakes before, but never to this degree. The wheels wouldn't budge even under engine load.

 

I loosened the caliper bolts and freed up the pads with 30 seconds of pounding with a hammer. At that point, the hubs turned freely by hand. Then went for a drive up the Columbia Gorge :) I know disc brakes drag slightly, so the discs were hot, but not excessive.

 

So I learned my lesson: No need to pretty up my Subaru, or at least drive it after flushing the wheel wells. And don't say "What did I screw up??" in front of my wife, it only gives her more excuses to say "Time to buy a new car".

 

-- Mark

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My front brakes do it every time :( If I leave her sit over a week with the E brake on they are froze. I usally just undo the E brake, grab the Thule Rack and work them loose. Few good shoves to and fro bust them free. Even after they had been froze up for months!

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