If you’re a Subaru owner looking to improve your vehicle’s braking performance, converting from drum brakes to disc brakes is a great way to do so. Disc brakes offer several advantages over drum brakes, including better stopping power, improved reliability, and easier maintenance. In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of converting your Subaru’s drum brakes to disc brakes, including the tools and components you’ll need, and provide some expert tips and insights along the way.
Why Convert to Disc Brakes?
Before we dive into the specifics of how to convert your Subaru’s brakes, let’s take a closer look at the advantages of disc brakes over drum brakes. Here are just a few reasons why many Subaru owners choose to make the switch:
- Better stopping power: Because disc brakes use a rotor that is clamped by the brake pads, they are generally better at dissipating heat and providing consistent stopping power than drum brakes.
- Improved reliability: Disc brakes tend to be more durable and reliable than drum brakes because they have fewer moving parts and are less prone to overheating.
- Easier maintenance: Disc brakes are generally easier to maintain than drum brakes because the brake pads and rotors can be accessed and replaced more easily.
What You’ll Need for the Conversion
Converting your Subaru’s drum brakes to disc brakes will require several components and tools. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Brake calipers: Disc brakes use calipers that clamp onto the rotor to slow the vehicle down. You’ll need to purchase calipers that are designed to fit your Subaru’s make and model.
- Rotors: The brake rotors are what the calipers clamp onto to slow the vehicle down. You’ll need to purchase rotors that are designed to fit your specific Subaru model.
- Brake pads: The brake pads are what come into contact with the rotors to slow the vehicle down. You’ll need to select brake pads that are compatible with your new calipers and rotors.
- Mounting brackets: To install your new calipers and rotors, you’ll need mounting brackets that are designed to fit your specific Subaru model.
- Other tools: You’ll need a variety of other tools to complete the conversion, including a jack and jack stands, a set of wrenches and sockets, and a torque wrench.
The Conversion Process
Once you have all of the necessary components and tools, you’re ready to start the conversion process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you along the way:
Remove the wheels: Use your jack and jack stands to lift the Subaru off the ground, then remove both wheels on the axle you’ll be working on. Set the wheels aside in a safe place.
Remove the old brake components: Begin by removing the old drum brake components, including the brake shoes, springs, and drum. Depending on your specific Subaru model, this may require removing the axle nuts or other components.
Install the new brake components: Next, install the new brake calipers, rotors, and pads using the mounting brackets and other hardware that came with your new brake kit. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and torque specifications carefully.
Bleed the brakes: Once you’ve installed the new components, you’ll need to bleed the brakes to remove any air bubbles and ensure that the brake fluid is flowing properly. Again, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when bleeding the brakes.
Repeat the process on the other side: After you’ve completed the conversion on one side of the Subaru, repeat the entire process on the other side.
Test the brakes: Once you’ve completed the conversion process, take your Subaru for a test drive to ensure that the brakes are working properly. Start slowly and brake gradually to allow the new components to settle in, and be sure to test the brakes in a safe and controlled environment.
Potential Challenges and Considerations
While converting your Subaru’s brakes from drum to disc is a relatively straightforward process, there are a few potential challenges and considerations to keep in mind. Here are a few tips to help ensure that your conversion goes smoothly:
- Verify compatibility: Before purchasing any new brake components, be sure to verify that they are compatible with your specific make and model of Subaru.
- Brake bias: When converting from drum to disc brakes, it’s important to ensure that the brake bias or balance is properly adjusted so that the front and rear brakes are working together effectively. This may require additional adjustments or the installation of a proportioning valve.
- Potential noise: Some drivers report experiencing noise or squeaking after converting to disc brakes. This is often due to the use of low-quality or incorrectly installed brake pads.
- Consider professional installation: While converting to disc brakes is something that many DIY mechanics can handle on their own, it’s important to recognize that it’s a complex and potentially dangerous process. Consider seeking the help of a professional if you’re uncertain about any aspect of the conversion.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few answers to some common questions that Subaru owners may have about converting from drum to disc brakes:
Q: Can I convert my Subaru’s drum brakes to disc brakes myself?
A: If you have the necessary tools and experience working on cars, converting your Subaru’s brakes is something that many DIY enthusiasts can handle on their own. However, it’s important to recognize that it’s a complex process and mistakes could lead to brake failure.
Q: How much does it cost to convert my Subaru’s brakes from drum to disc?
A: The cost of converting from drum to disc brakes on a Subaru can vary depending on the specific components and tools required, as well as whether you choose to do the installation yourself or hire a professional mechanic. Generally speaking, you can expect to spend anywhere from $500 to $1,000 or more on the conversion.
Q: Are there any downsides to converting to disc brakes?
A: While there are many advantages to converting from drum to disc brakes, there are a few potential downsides to keep in mind. For example, disc brakes tend to be more expensive to replace than drum brakes, and some drivers may experience noise or squeaking after the conversion.
If you’re a Subaru owner looking to improve your braking performance, converting your car’s drum brakes to disc brakes is a great way to do so. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can upgrade your Subaru’s braking system and enjoy better stopping power, improved reliability, and easier maintenance. Just be sure to take your time, verify compatibility, and consider seeking the help of a professional if you’re uncertain about any aspect of the conversion.