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Old 08-16-2005, 10:38 AM   #1
DDB
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Default 1997 Legacy L Wagon n00b brake questions

Hello all:

I apologize for what is probably a common question, but my forum search did not turn up any meaningful results.

I have a 1997 Legacy L wagon that is in dire need of brakes (pads and rotors) all around. This is my first experience with a brake job on this car, and I was hoping somebody could point me to the best products and vendors for pads and rotors. If OE parts are best, what is a good (read: cheap) place other than my dealership from which to get parts?

Thanks!
Dan Bauer
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Old 08-16-2005, 12:29 PM   #2
maciek
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Search for somebody selling the front brake system form a 02 WRX (rotors, calipers). The parts just bolt on and the difference in stopping power is huge.

You can probably find the whole front system for ~$150.
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Old 08-16-2005, 01:17 PM   #3
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Ebay has several OEM type sets for sale. I bought a set of "Lomandi" brake rotors and pads from Canada a few weeks ago, cost me $175 for parts and shipping.
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Old 08-16-2005, 01:54 PM   #4
DDB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maciek
Search for somebody selling the front brake system form a 02 WRX (rotors, calipers). The parts just bolt on and the difference in stopping power is huge.

You can probably find the whole front system for ~$150.
Thanks for the suggestion. Would my OE 14" steel wheels clear the WRX calipers?

- DDB
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Old 08-16-2005, 02:42 PM   #5
Jonathan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DDB
Thanks for the suggestion. Would my OE 14" steel wheels clear the WRX calipers?
Unfortunatly, NO.

WRX Rotors & Calipers will REQUIRE 16" wheels. Assuming you have an Antilock Braking System (and therefore four wheel disk brakes) your brakes are okay for normal street use. Having a Front WRX brake upgrade and a Rear "H6" brake upgrade will significantly improve high-speed braking performance and fade resistance. The cost of the hardware Calipers, Rotors (etc) isn't all that significant if you are having work done anyways, but when you add the cost of new wheels (and therefore tyres too) the true cost becomes less inexpensive then it at first may appear.
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Old 08-16-2005, 02:52 PM   #6
DDB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan
Unfortunatly, NO.

WRX Rotors & Calipers will REQUIRE 16" wheels. Assuming you have an Antilock Braking System (and therefore four wheel disk brakes) your brakes are okay for normal street use. Having a Front WRX brake upgrade and a Rear "H6" brake upgrade will significantly improve high-speed braking performance and fade resistance. The cost of the hardware Calipers, Rotors (etc) isn't all that significant if you are having work done anyways, but when you add the cost of new wheels (and therefore tyres too) the true cost becomes less inexpensive then it at first may appear.
Thanks for the great info, Jonathan. The cost of the upgrade is definitely not worth it in my case. I use the car to drive to work and for ski excursions during the winter; extra stopping power does not carry much value with me. If I were going to upgrade to larger wheels, then the brake upgrade would seem to be a no-brainer because of the inexpensive cost of WRX calipers (set on eBay right now with 1 day left for just $100).

I ended up ordering a full set of rotors and pads from Auto Parts Warehouse (Brembo rotors, PBR pads) for around $275 shipped. Considering the dealer wanted to replace just the front brakes (!), I feel pretty good about the cost.

- DDB
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Old 08-16-2005, 10:52 PM   #7
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Dan

For what you're looking for, the stock OEM pads for the front and the OEM shoes for the rear should be more than adequate (this is for a 97 L Wagon right?)

Try www.1stsubaruparts.com or www.subaruparts.com for the items you're looking for. The prices are about 15-20 % cheaper than any dealer, sometimes more when they run specials and no tax unless you're in Washington State.

Changing out the rotors and pads is a snap. Three bolts, rotate the caliper out of the way, push the rotor off with the special bolt, put the new rotor on, snap the pads into the caliper, rotate the caliper down onto the mounting spots, bolt it up and you're good to go. The rears, a bit more work, but not that hard to do.

Dale
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Old 08-17-2005, 12:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Subietonic
Changing out the rotors and pads is a snap. Three bolts, rotate the caliper out of the way, push the rotor off with the special bolt, put the new rotor on, snap the pads into the caliper, rotate the caliper down onto the mounting spots, bolt it up and you're good to go. The rears, a bit more work, but not that hard to do.

Dale
This should be "Three bolts, rotate the caliper bracket out of the way..." You can't get the rotor off until you take the caliper off (two bolts) and remove the lower caliper bracket mounting bolt and loosen the top one.

Agreed that 1stsubaruparts.com has awesome prices. The guys up at Auburn Subaru are fast, and know their parts really well.

I am running some Raybestos QuietStop dust free pads (I think that's the name). They were about $70 for the fronts and are VERY nice. They're not loud, are lasting well so far, definately less dust on my wheels, and have a nice design. I'm impressed with the quality and stopping power so far.
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Old 08-17-2005, 11:18 AM   #9
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if you dont worry about dust much, get some after market pads that'll work with your stock brakes. stoptech.com has good prices on axxis pads that'll fit, WELL cheaper than OE pads and the stopping difference is amazing.
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Old 08-17-2005, 09:06 PM   #10
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Even the Albany pads at Autozone work quite well.

I would also advise a fluid swap to some DOT4 Valvoline Synpower fluid. You will likely see a marked improvement in braking response from a fluid swap and bleed.

ss
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Old 08-18-2005, 12:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subysouth
I would also advise a fluid swap to some DOT4 Valvoline Synpower fluid. You will likely see a marked improvement in braking response from a fluid swap and bleed.ss
+1 Definitely bleed the brakes if your're changing out pads.\

edit: Unless of course you've just bled your brakes and you're swapping in your track/auto-x pads for your street pads and vice versa.

Dale

Last edited by Subietonic; 08-18-2005 at 02:53 AM.
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Old 08-18-2005, 01:20 AM   #12
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Hey,
Damn, I wish I had seen you sooner. I have some the ebc green stuff pads, and brembo rotors for your car I need to get rid of that I would have let go for $140.
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Old 08-18-2005, 11:07 AM   #13
DDB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subysouth

I would also advise a fluid swap to some DOT4 Valvoline Synpower fluid. You will likely see a marked improvement in braking response from a fluid swap and bleed.
subysouth:

Yes, I'll be bleeding the system with some ATE Typ 200 fluid. It's been about 18 months since I did this last, so it's probably due.

- DDB
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Old 08-18-2005, 01:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DDB
subysouth:

Yes, I'll be bleeding the system with some ATE Typ 200 fluid. It's been about 18 months since I did this last, so it's probably due.

- DDB
I would reiterate the suggestion on the Valvoline Synpower. I used to use Super Blue/Type 200 but the Valvoline is cheaper, more readily available and has nearly identical specs.

But you are already doing the best thing you can which is regularly changing the fluid. When I got my 94 BF a few years back I am fairly certain the fluid had never been changed.

ss
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Old 08-18-2005, 01:50 PM   #15
DDB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subysouth
I would reiterate the suggestion on the Valvoline Synpower. I used to use Super Blue/Type 200 but the Valvoline is cheaper, more readily available and has nearly identical specs.

But you are already doing the best thing you can which is regularly changing the fluid. When I got my 94 BF a few years back I am fairly certain the fluid had never been changed.

ss
Thanks for the suggestion, but I already have several bottles of ATE Typ 200 and Super Blue sitting in my garage.

I had the same situation with my Legacy re: brake fluid. On one of the first really cold days that I had my car, the water in the brake lines froze. Quite a scary experience when trying to use the brakes! A fluid change solved the problem.

Scary to think about how many cars are driving around with fluid that is more than a few years old!
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Old 08-18-2005, 02:02 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DDB
Thanks for the suggestion, but I already have several bottles of ATE Typ 200 and Super Blue sitting in my garage.

I had the same situation with my Legacy re: brake fluid. On one of the first really cold days that I had my car, the water in the brake lines froze. Quite a scary experience when trying to use the brakes! A fluid change solved the problem.

Scary to think about how many cars are driving around with fluid that is more than a few years old!
Gotcha, its great fluid obviously and if you already got it....

Yep, the fluid that came out of the lines on the 94 looked like tan milk. Nasty.

ss
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Old 08-22-2005, 12:00 PM   #17
DDB
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Default UPDATE: completed brake job last Thursday

New pads and rotors at all four corners last Thursday night. Took me about 4 hours with one trip to Sears and one monumentally stupid mistake, but all came out well in the end. I'm a VERY amateur mechanic, so the fact that I was able to complete the job fairly easily is a testament to how simple the job is!

My rear rotors looked like they have never been changed, ever (car has 156K miles). I needed an 8-pound sledgehammer to un-seize them from the hub. The bolts holding the caliper frames onto the hub assemblies in the rear were very difficult to dis-lodge because their small head size (14mm?) meant that I had to use my smaller 3/8" drive wrench.

When all was done, I bled the brakes with ATE Super Blue and took a spirited drive (well, as spirited as a drive can be with a 2.2L naturally-aspirated engine) to bed in the new pads. Car feels great again. Thanks to all for the comments in this thread.


Next projects are to replace the axles, and figure out the cheapest way to replace my dysfunctional power steering pump.

- DDB

- DDB
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Old 08-22-2005, 02:47 PM   #18
Plays_With_toys
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Doh'. If I had seen this I coulda posted up. Anyhoo, I've been running the brembo rotors and akebono pads and the stop power is very nice and after 5,000 miles I only had one week of slight squeel that was most likely caused by my spirited driving in a dirt parking lot.

The brake job is incredibly easy. I don't like to do work on integral pieces but with the cost of brake jobs, I took my time and it was no problem.
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Old 08-23-2005, 04:20 AM   #19
Al_Smokemcrack
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Yeah, I wished I had seen it too. I'm running the same combination on my Outback and love it to bits except for one issue; It seems a more spongy now, despite the fact that I bled the crap out of the whole system. The sponginess seems to go away somewhat as the pads heat up some. I wonder if the Akebono ceramic pads are a little gooshy? Not to jack the thread (though it is really past its usefulness by now since he's done his brakejob already), but did you experience an increase in sponginess with your Akebonos, Plays_With_toys? If it's not those, maybe its my new, not-siezed front calipers that are being squishy. The old driver and passenger ones had a siezed bottom piston and a sticky top piston, respectfully.
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Old 08-23-2005, 12:36 PM   #20
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I didn't really notice an increase in sponginess, but I did replace the brakes 2 weeks after buying the car In comparison with driving my family's other cars the legacy has the most responsive pedal of them all. (87 toyota pickup, 97 neon, 02 camry). I also only did the fronts since the back brakes had a long ways to go.

Also, when all my driving students go into the classroom I sometimes take my wagon out on the braking/handling course and I know for a fact the brakes pull harder since I originally took the class on the old brakes, and the new ones can get you to lock up/ABS real quick if you aren't conscious about keeping the input precise and smooth.
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Old 08-23-2005, 03:44 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motorswapsleeper
Hey,
Damn, I wish I had seen you sooner. I have some the ebc green stuff pads, and brembo rotors for your car I need to get rid of that I would have let go for $140.
still got those? is that for all 4? will they fit a 98 legacy wagon L model?

i was reading in the haynes manual the other day (need to do brakes very soon myself) and it mentioned something about some anti-squeal libricant that should be applied to the pads. are you guys using that when you install new pads?
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Old 08-23-2005, 06:23 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfinn
still got those? is that for all 4? will they fit a 98 legacy wagon L model?

i was reading in the haynes manual the other day (need to do brakes very soon myself) and it mentioned something about some anti-squeal libricant that should be applied to the pads. are you guys using that when you install new pads?
If you use the oem style pad shims, you may not need the anti-squeal compound.

ss
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Old 08-23-2005, 06:29 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfinn
i was reading in the haynes manual the other day (need to do brakes very soon myself) and it mentioned something about some anti-squeal libricant that should be applied to the pads. are you guys using that when you install new pads?
I didn't use any anti-squeal paste and no problems yet. Probably better to use it just to be on the safe side, though.

- DDB
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Old 08-23-2005, 09:23 PM   #24
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The paste came with my pads, and it only costs something like 70 cents from the auto shop, so its a good investment to save headaches down the way.
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Old 08-23-2005, 09:52 PM   #25
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I looked in the brake forum, and didn't see any real explanation.

When I just changed out my front pads, I bled just the front brakes.

I just read, that it is recommended to do all four.

something in this order. Front left, Rear left, then Front Right, then rear right caliper.

If my fluid is fairly new, is this overkill? What's the reasoning behind bleeding the rears if you've just changed the front pads?
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