Brakes and Bearings

Update by Tom Suddard to the Subaru Impreza WRX project car
Nov 30, 2012

The car looks great when it's stopped, but getting it to stop was a tall order. We had to fix it.
It took quite a bit of persuasion to get out most of the bolts.
Heat was employed a few times as well.
We broke a few bolts.
We removed the remnants of the broken bolts by welding new bolts to them.
Our WRX’s brakes had certainly seen better days.
For sale: used brake bads—they still have some life left in them.
The old rear wheel bearings also showed extreme signs of wear.
We used an appropriately sized socket and a large hammer to remove the old bearings.
We stuck each rear hub assembly in the ultrasonic cleaner before installing the new bearings.
The stock StopTech brakes don't look special, but they sure work well.

The brakes were so poor that even driving to the body shop was a test of courage.

Now that we had our 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX looking good and moving under its own power, it was time to address its less-obvious issue—stopping.

When we embarked on our 1,000-mile road trip home, at least one pad was on its wear indicators. Oh well, we figured. We’d be upgrading the brakes when we got home anyway. When we arrived home, all eight were squealing. The brakes were so poor that even driving to the body shop was a test of courage.

So we ordered two sets of pads and rotors from StopTech. One is comprised of normal OEM replacement parts, while the other has upgraded pads and rotors meant for track use.

We installed the OEM replacement pads and rotors, along with new rear wheel bearings, as ours were howling from being so worn out. The rusty suspension parts added a few extra hours of time to the job and required a few new bolts. The Subaru’s simplicity ensured that it wasn’t too difficult, though. When we encountered stuck bolts, we usually moved farther up the suspension system until we found something we could unbolt. This way, we avoided having to prematurely ruin, then replace, bushings that we’d be upgrading later.

The Subaru feels much better with its new pads and rotors; we’d almost forgotten what it’s like to actually slow down when the middle pedal is depressed! And now that our Subaru stops and goes, we’ll need to do some baselining.

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