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Old 01-18-2013, 10:25 AM   #1
04WhtWRX
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Question Rotors & Pads burning out at 13k miles on Highway Driving

I have a particular issue. I drive 125 miles / day on wide-open highway between 70-77 mph and only brake when I'm in town... so about 98-99% of the time I'm not using my brakes. The commute is pretty much is a straight line with minimal gradual hills. My ORIGINAL factory brakes (front rotors and front & rear pads) lasted 103,000 miles!

13k miles later (2-3 months), my front rotors were warped and pads burned. So we replaced the front rotors, pads, calipers. Ceramic pads again of a higher quality. (replaced under warranty)

~13k miles later (2-3 months), my front rotors were warped again, rear rotors looked damaged, and pads burned. So we replaced the front & rear rotors and pads of the highest possible quality. (replaced under warranty)

We think a possibility is the ABS system is engaging the brakes at highway speeds, enough, that it is burning out the brakes.

I've talked to a local Subaru dealership and their "master" mechanic (Subaru's for 30+ years) said he's never heard of this before. I found a technical bulletin that mentioned the early '90's Impreza had an ABS ECU problem.... I need to find that again.

My mechanic is ZB in Columbus, that you all recommended I use... awesome guy.

Now we're waiting to see what happens next. I'm currently at 131,200 miles. If it happens again, I'll take it to Subaru and let them look at it... and we'll decide what to do from there.

Has anyone else had issues like this??
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:17 AM   #2
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By pads burned what do you mean? Only a couple mm of material left until the backing plate, or just that they appeared to get way too hot and "burned"?

Do all the pads on each axle look the same, or do they all show various amounts of wear?
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:07 PM   #3
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No mention of caliper slide pins being looked at..

No mention of any sort of maintenance, just some shmo looking at them amd replacements..
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:22 AM   #4
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Going off what Aaron said... Who's doing the brake jobs? Thats the first thing that comes to my mind with this. I mean brakes are easy but you can do things wrong if you don't know any better. Example: "Torquing" the lug nuts with a 900 ft-lb capable impact. Many shops do this, which is why I've always re-torqued every wheel whenever I hire out a job on any of my vehicles. Its crazy what mechanics will do to vehicles that aren't their own... since they don't care about them like you, the owner, does.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:37 AM   #5
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could be sticky pistons, requiring caliper rebuild. could be dirty caliper pins. but it def sounds to me like your brakes are sticking, and you are just powering through it. do you track your MPG? has it dropped? you should have noticed a drop in MPG if your brakes are constantly dragging on the highway, but that is the only way I can imagine these problems occurring on the highway. if the ABS was engaging (unlikely), you should hear it and see a light on the dash coming on.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:58 AM   #6
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Check the temps at each wheel after a commute. If the brakes are coming on or sticking, they will be hot, so be careful. An infrared thermometer is ideal but sometimes just touching the wheel nuts is enough.

If they all seem excessively hot and you suspect the ABS, then you could try pulling the ABS fuse before your next commute to see if that makes a difference.

Sometimes it's just a process of elimination!
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Old 01-23-2013, 03:11 AM   #7
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Just put the thing in neutral and push it down your driveway. If they are sticking that bad you'll notice.
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:42 PM   #8
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Wow, that's a lot of information. Sorry I've been away... was really sick all week.

I go to a very reputable independent Subaru mechanic in my area. I've never had issues with any of the work he's done (unless it is one of his employees...?). He's been able to get the new rotors & pads replaced under warranty from the parts store he uses... otherwise it would be more $$ out of my pocket.

I'll have to ask him what the pads & rotors looked like and how bad they were.

My ABS light has never come on except the blue-moon periods where it was legit. The car has "brand new... now 28k mile" calipers. The originals had seen their day. He's checked them and they are good.

I'll have to check the temps... and maybe see what happens when I either turn off ABS (from the button inside) or as you suggested, pull the fuse.

I have noticed a drop in MPG, but that's only because the gas changed from summer to winter gas. It has all happened at the same time, so its difficult to know which is the culprit. I'll monitor it more and see. I have piles of gas receipts I usually log, that I haven't logged yet. I use fuelly.com and my own spreadsheet to keep track.

Thanks everyone for their advice! This is a real mystery. I've never experienced it before... and my mechanic is scratching his head, too. I guess we'll find out for sure in about 11.5k miles.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:09 PM   #9
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Do you happen to drive with both feet on the pedals? (If so... stop it...)
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:30 PM   #10
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this sounds like the wrong parts being used

wrong rotors and/or pads
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:52 PM   #11
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Ringe... I hate people who drive their cars like that.

Time to take it back to the shop... started hearing noises a few hundred miles ago. It's been a tad over 3,000 miles and just when I come to a complete stop I hear a loud crunching/grinding sound coming from the brakes. Never while I'm stopping... just the last couple seconds before the complete stop. That is either when I'm coming down from highway speeds or already going slow in traffic. I don't hear it very much when it's raining, though (crack window to hear). I have 132,600 miles now.

Uncle Scotty... I'm wondering about that, too.
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:57 PM   #12
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And for the burning brakes questions... I just asked my mechanic and he said the rotors were BLACK and burned.

I'm going to see what Subaru has to say...
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:16 PM   #13
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Only thing left is the booster and/or the ABS pump.. maybe something is hanging up in the booster not allowing the pads to return "home"...?

Best I got at this point..
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:55 PM   #14
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i also am having a similar problem. i have an 02 wrx wagon. i drive up and down a parleys canyon most every day. i replaced rotters and pads in the late summer and the rotters are now warped. i used ecb rotters and ecb pads. it seem that i have to do my breaks at least twice a year. i was going to change out my calipers for the jdm stile 4/2 pots you get on the 06 wrx. i figured that it was the slide bracket caliper that is causing the problems. am i on the rite track?

Last edited by gregmyer; 02-07-2013 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:11 PM   #15
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doesnt sound right. i have 52k and 5 years on my stock wrx brakes. nothing has been changed. i took them off over the summer. there is plenty of pad life left still. and im not easy on my car either.
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:35 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregmyer View Post
i also am having a similar problem. i have an 02 wrx wagon. i drive up and down a parleys canyon most every day. i replaced rotters and pads in the late summer and the rotters are now warped. i used ecb rotters and ecb pads. it seem that i have to do my breaks at least twice a year. i was going to change out my calipers for the jdm stile 4/2 pots you get on the 06 wrx. i figured that it was the slide bracket caliper that is causing the problems. am i on the rite track?
IF the slides don't move then yes, it's a problem.. IF they do, it's more likely YOU..

Do you season your rotors and bed your pads?

It sounds like you "canyon carve" enough, you're hard enough on brakes.. you should be an expert at seasoning rotors and bedding pads...

I had a set of KVR drilled rotors and EBC stockers, last many many floggings in the mountains of VT and hills of WNY, over 6yrs in fact... I attest this to proper seasoning and bedding along with proper torque on the lugs...

If you aren't following a procedure, you should be... see Baer Brakes/Stoptec/Wilwood tech sections for proper proceedures and maybe you'll get more than a year... hard to say for sure..
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:39 PM   #17
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it is possible that the flex lines to the calipers are full of garbage and arent allowing pressure equalize properly from the calipers

but that would be one or 2 maybe

i would have to say that i wouldnt even drive the car until i figured it out as this is not a good thing to have continue

Last edited by Uncle Scotty; 02-07-2013 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:44 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregmyer View Post
i also am having a similar problem. i have an 02 wrx wagon. i drive up and down a parleys canyon most every day. i replaced rotters and pads in the late summer and the rotters are now warped. i used ecb rotters and ecb pads. it seem that i have to do my breaks at least twice a year. i was going to change out my calipers for the jdm stile 4/2 pots you get on the 06 wrx. i figured that it was the slide bracket caliper that is causing the problems. am i on the rite track?
your problem is improper parts selection

and you MUST do at least the 'h6' rear mod....the 2.0s had the worst possible brake bias from the factory and doing the h6 with good pads---not ebc...and rotors---try centric...and good fluid and ss lines and a mc brace....will dramatically improve the brakes in every way

and ya dont have to change calipers as calipers are far less important to this than most think they are

and you could do it all for under ~$600 if ya get the right deals
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:47 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron'z 2.5RS View Post
IF the slides don't move then yes, it's a problem.. IF they do, it's more likely YOU..

Do you season your rotors and bed your pads?

It sounds like you "canyon carve" enough, you're hard enough on brakes.. you should be an expert at seasoning rotors and bedding pads...

I had a set of KVR drilled rotors and EBC stockers, last many many floggings in the mountains of VT and hills of WNY, over 6yrs in fact... I attest this to proper seasoning and bedding along with proper torque on the lugs...

If you aren't following a procedure, you should be... see Baer Brakes/Stoptec/Wilwood tech sections for proper proceedures and maybe you'll get more than a year... hard to say for sure..
i do "canyon carve" but the daly drive is on an interstate (I80). i spent the entire time between 70 & 80 mph. i do season the rotters, i also bed the pads. in fact when i just drove the car doing canyon carving i never had this problem. i already have ss break lines and Motul 5.1 fluid and a mc brace. when i changed the lines i did a full break flush.
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:21 AM   #20
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I'm going to take home one of our "cheaper" thermal checking devices today from work, and check my rotor temps at various times. I am noticing my MPG dropping and it feels like some resistance when driving at my 70-75 mph open highway speeds.

When I pulled into the parking lot this morning, I looked at the outside rim of the rotors... that the surface is starting to turn black. The rear rotors were fairly cold to the touch and a dull maroon color. The front rotors were quite red and I was probably stupid, but I went ahead and tapped the rotor with my finger... it was HOT!! Didn't burn my skin. I usually downshift or just let off the gas to slow down and barely used the brakes. How do you think my factory rotors, pads, and brakes lasted 103,000 miles?

I'm going to take your ideas and see what the experts think. Sometimes I wish some of you were closer to me and I'd have you look at it. My wife said, "Your car has been having so many issues!" I said, "And this is why I never kept cars beyond 60k miles... and you want me to keep it till it dies."
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Old 02-09-2013, 01:28 AM   #21
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You either have a brake piston that is stuck and won't go all the way back in, or you have air in your break lines that is expanding when the brakes heat up. This will cause you brake pads to be pushed up against your rotors.
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Old 02-09-2013, 01:52 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeh86 View Post
You either have a brake piston that is stuck and won't go all the way back in, or you have air in your break lines that is expanding when the brakes heat up. This will cause you brake pads to be pushed up against your rotors.

air in the system that bad would make the pedal go to the floor
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:11 PM   #23
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Front rotors are always hot after driving. There is a lot of energy to be scrubbed off as heat when stopping. If something is dragging when it shouldn't be it will create so much heat that the hub and wheel will feel warm. These should be safe to touch without burning. Unless you do special driving like coasting to a stop on most stops, front rotors will always be hot enough to burn if you touch them right after driving.

When I didn't notice my rear caliper pin was stuck, it made so much heat that the rear wheel was nearly hot enough to burn, and the wheel developed a crack at a spoke. Scary stuff, but I found the crack before anything dangerous happened.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:23 PM   #24
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Dude, I cant believe you're still driving this car. If both of the front rotors are glowing red, there is something terribly wrong. Usually if a piston or caliper slide pin freezes, it will cause one wheel to have issues you are describing, but to have both doing this means there is something more. Air in the lines will just make a squishy pedal or make the pedal go to the floor. IMHO the "trusted" mechanic did something wrong, used wrong parts, or something to that effect.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:36 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boilermaker29 View Post
Dude, I cant believe you're still driving this car. If both of the front rotors are glowing red, there is something terribly wrong. Usually if a piston or caliper slide pin freezes, it will cause one wheel to have issues you are describing, but to have both doing this means there is something more. Air in the lines will just make a squishy pedal or make the pedal go to the floor. IMHO the "trusted" mechanic did something wrong, used wrong parts, or something to that effect.

yeah...trusted mechanic may be an idiot and did something st00pid and somebody could look at it and figure it out in a minit
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