This is a step by step guide on how to do a brake fluid flush on most Subaru cars. It’s often a good idea to do a brake fluid flush at least once a year to keep your Subaru’s braking system in good condition. This is even more important if you autocross or do track days with your car. Use a good performance brake fluid and not whatever is cheapest at Autozone. I have a strong preference towards ATE and Motul brake fluid. Good fluid combined with good brake pads like a Hawks or Carbotechs will give your Subaru great stopping power.
1.) Either jack-up the vehicle and place a rigid rack under it, or lift-up the vehicle.
2.) Remove all the wheels.
3.) Drain the brake fluid from master cylinder.
4.) Refill the reservoir tank with recommended brake fluid.
• Avoid mixing different brands of brake fluid to prevent degrading the quality of fluid.
• Be careful not to allow dirt or dust to get into the reservoir tank.
Air bleeding sequence (1) → (2) → (3) → (4)
5.) Install one end of a vinyl tube onto the air bleeder and insert the other end of the tube into a container to collect the brake fluid.
• Cover the bleeder with cloth, when loosening it, to prevent brake fluid from being splashed over surrounding parts.
• During the bleeding operation, keep the brake reservoir tank filled with brake fluid to eliminate entry of air.
• The brake pedal operation must be very slow.
• For convenience and safety, two people should do the work.
• The amount of brake fluid required is approx. 500
m2 (16.9 US fl oz, 17.6 Imp fl oz) for total brake
6.) Have a friend depress the brake pedal slowly two or three times and then hold it depressed.
ABS 5.3 Antilock Brake System for Early Subaru Part 5:
Beginning in approximately December of 1996, a new antilock braking system called ABS 5.3 was installed on Legacy vehicles equipped with ABS. This system uses a Bosch hydraulic control unit and a Nippon electronic control unit. ABS 5.3 is a four channel control design which can independently control the front wheels and utilize select low control to control the rear wheels (a system which provides the same fluid pressure control for the two rear wheels if either wheel starts to lock up).
Although similar to other Subaru ABS systems, there have been enhancements to component operation and location. Diagnosis has also improved because of the ability of the 5.3 ABS system to communicate with the Select Monitor. The hydraulic control unit or HCU is located under the hood on the right side of the engine compartment. The size of the HCU has decreased by approximately a third from that of the ABS-2E system, used on previous model year vehicles.
The HCU controls brake fluid flow by utilizing eight solenoid valves. There is an inlet solenoid valve and an outlet solenoid valve for each wheel. Mechanically, the inlet solenoid valve is open during normal braking, and the outlet solenoid valve is closed. The HCU also contains a motor and pump assembly, which operates only while ABS is actively controlling the brake fluid flow–preventing a wheel lock.
Externally the HCU of the ABS 5.3 has a relay box attached. This allows troubleshooting of the valve and motor relay area to be kept separate from the troubleshooting of the solenoid valves and pump motor. There are four modes of operation for the ABS 5.3 system. They are normal, pressure-drop, pressure-hold and pressure-increase. When wheel lockup is sensed, Mode Two, Mode Three and Mode Four may be activated. They are described as follows:
Many late model Subaru vehicles are equipped with ABS braking systems. The added complexity of these systems provides an additional incentive for following the recommended brake fluid replacement interval of 30 months or 30,000 miles. Brake fluid accumulates water and other contaminants over time. These contaminants can attack the internal parts of the brake system, compromising its performance and possibly causing brake failure.
The brake master cylinder has a semi-transparent reservoir, making it possible to check the fluid level without removing the reservoir cover. This minimizes the exposure to outside air and limits the amount of moisture that can reach the brake fluid. The fluid level will drop as the brake shoes and pads wear, but the reservoir is large enough to compensate for these changes. If the fluid level is very low, it’s a sure sign the brake pads or shoes are nearly worn out, or there is a leak in the brake system.
Note: When the brake fluid level in the reservoir tank is lower than the specified limit, the brake fluid warning light in the combination meter will come on.
Subaru warns against mixing brake fluids from different manufacturers. Doing so may degrade the quality of the fluid. Only DOT 3 or 4 brake fluid should be used in any Subaru vehicle preferably Subaru brake fluid if you are not going to do a track day build. Consult the service manual for vehicle specific brake bleeding procedures.