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Hi all, been a while, since I was supposed to get back to everyone on this. I wish I was wrong on this one, but, alas, I've confirmed it. You should NOT replace your rear brake pads without using an EPB Service Tool.

Do not manually spin the EPB piston backwards out of the way.

As I mentioned someplace, there's a calibration mode - and I was pretty sure I knew what was happening during it. So, I've confirmed my suspicions with various Master Technicians I respect (inside and out of Subaru) - and then, I literally did the whole procedure myself (pic from during the install). The reason for this is that the EPB unit doesn't just disengage and re-engage when using the tool. It also goes through a calibration process, to set positions (plural) and pressure.

Failure to put it into service mode, out of service mode, and calibrate the EPB, can cause a variety of issues down the road, in the near to distant future, including parking brake "failure", or brake drag.

The solution for you DIY'ers, is to rent, borrow, or buy a tool that supports EPB Service Mode for the Subaru Ascent. That's how I do mine. Autel makes numerous. Other places do as well. Some auto parts stores rent them.
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Thanks for this. I was going to ask this exact question at some point. The Autel service tool is not exactly cheap, but I guess it can pay for itself in one brake change vs going to the dealer.

I was recently looking into this for our Mazda and the EPB service mode is a combination of ignition button, brake, and throttle pedal presses. i wish it was that simple for Subaru.
 

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Thanks for this. I was going to ask this exact question at some point. The Autel service tool is not exactly cheap, but I guess it can pay for itself in one brake change vs going to the dealer.

I was recently looking into this for our Mazda and the EPB service mode is a combination of ignition button, brake, and throttle pedal presses. i wish it was that simple for Subaru.
There's a rumor that a $110 tool sold by AutoZone does the EPB Maint Mode, as well as TPMS. I haven't had a chance to look into it though. My friends at AZP have a lift, so, I go there.

Also, there's a rumor that Harbor Freight sells something that does it as well. Again, I keep forgetting to check if it works on new Subarus. Maybe one of you other DIY'ers will beat me to it.
 

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2020 Ascent Touring / 2020 Forester Touring
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just don't get any Autel MaxiAP models , they keep releasing new models and they all connected to same dataset..
Subaru did not have update from 2018 , and they been saying "soon" for last 3 years

if you just need read out from sensors it is great (AP200 ), it can see all except is your auto windows
but for any service functions its completely useless on Ascent ...
 

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Also, there's a rumor that Harbor Freight sells something that does it as well. Again, I keep forgetting to check if it works on new Subarus. Maybe one of you other DIY'ers will beat me to it.
According to HF's website, the Zurich ZR15 ($299) works. Specifically, the user manual says "Perform Electronic Parking Brake (EPB) cable replacement and reset"
I'm still a while from having to change my brakes, so I won't be looking further into it until the time comes.

 

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According to HF's website, the Zurich ZR15 ($299) works.
Thanks for sharing that.

Has anyone had the dealer replace just their rear pads to compare pricing? Honestly over the life of the Ascent I'd be surprised if I had to replace the rear pads more than twice. It might be a good investment to buy the tool if the price of dealer pad replacement is more than half of the tool, or just out of pure convenience. I just can't imagine is a time-intensive job for the dealer to jack their price up on.
 

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Thanks for sharing that.

Has anyone had the dealer replace just their rear pads to compare pricing? Honestly over the life of the Ascent I'd be surprised if I had to replace the rear pads more than twice. It might be a good investment to buy the tool if the price of dealer pad replacement is more than half of the tool, or just out of pure convenience. I just can't imagine is a time-intensive job for the dealer to jack their price up on.
I only have experience with my previous Outback. The dealer charged $375 per axle to turn the rotors and change the pads. I thought that was pretty expensive, but I let them do it for convenience sake. Then within weeks the front rotors were pulsing! I bought new rotors and pads and re-did the job myself. SInce then I'm wary to have rotors turned. I'd rather just replace them. I still don't know if I'll do it myself. I might just use OEM parts at an independent shop.
 

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I only have experience with my previous Outback. The dealer charged $375 per axle to turn the rotors and change the pads. I thought that was pretty expensive, but I let them do it for convenience sake. Then within weeks the front rotors were pulsing! I bought new rotors and pads and re-did the job myself. SInce then I'm wary to have rotors turned. I'd rather just replace them. I still don't know if I'll do it myself. I might just use OEM parts at an independent shop.
When the time comes I plan to go with some quality aftermarket rotors, based on the amount of pulsing brake complaints out there from the OEM rotors (myself included).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
When the time comes I plan to go with some quality aftermarket rotors, based on the amount of pulsing brake complaints out there from the OEM rotors (myself included).
It's absolutely the pads.
 

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I have an old print out of stis where they suggest to use the rotator tool if you don't have SSMl. Have they since removed this from the manual? (which is on techinfo.subaru.com/stis/diag/2019/Ascent/contents/data/print/s405.html)


Perform the following replacement procedure if the Subaru Select Monitor cannot be used.
  1. Remove the caliper body and pad COMPL.
  2. Remove the mounting bolt on the lower side of the support rear disc brake, loosen the upper side bolt, and then slide the support rear disc brake upward and hold it.
  3. Secure the caliper body to the support rear disc brake, and push back the piston disc brake using a tool.
    Preparation tool:
    Disc brake piston tool: KTC disc parking tool rotor (E•F) ABX104
    Disc brake piston tool
 

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What’s everyone getting on prices for dealer replacement of the rear pads?
I was set on doing it myself, expecting $400 for the dealer to do it. They just called me letting me know my ball joint would have to be ordered and reminded me about the rear pads needing replaced. The price was $245, including resurfacing the rear rotors, so between not having time to do it myself and the weather having to cooperate to do it I gave them the go ahead.
 
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Thanks Robert for the notes and your experience, access to internal Subaru specialists and general knowledge shared on the board. I, like many value this expertise. With that, I comment in the most objective and respectful manner:

What kind of determinantal issues can arise from doing this procedure without using the brake maintenance mode with a scanner. There is a vague description above that it may not calibrate correctly and may cause issues in the near or distant future with brake drag. Can you offer more context than that? What specifically did the specialists list as risks? Why will these failures occur in the mechanism?

I ask because the rear EPB is identical in every way I can see to that of the 5th gen outback and late Forester which have an excerpt in the FSM on how to retract the piston without the scan tool. I understand this excerpt does not exist in the Ascent manual. In my experience, both hands on and on internet research, the hardware and functionality of the EPB is the same for our Ascent as the 5th gen outback.

I recall you have responded in past, that while the hardware is the same, these are considered different, how exactly are they different? Finally, I completed a rear brake pad replacement on my 2019 Ascent last week without using the software scan tool. I followed the procedure of the 5th gen outback:

Disconnect negative battery, disconnect EPB harness behind caliper, remove caliper mounts (7mm hex), retract piston spinning clockwise, install new pads, grease in appropriate places, reassemble. Double check work.

I buttoned it all back up, pushed the brake pedal a few times, then engaged/disengaged the EPB about 10 times. Everything works as it should, no drag and is engaging/disengaging just like it did with my old pads.

My question is: what could go wrong, and why?

Thank you respectfully,
 
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