Question about 1993 Subaru Legacy

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1993 Subaru Legacy Wagon: Bumpy Brakes

When I apply the brakes on my 1993 subaru legacy, there is an intermittent bumpy feeling. Anyone know what it may be? Thanks!

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  • djhartley1 Dec 28, 2008

    Thanks for the quick answer, much appreciated. It's a pronounced bumping when the brakes are applied, so I think that it could be a warped rotor like you say. Maybe I should mention that I have not used the car in six months. I live and work overseas most of the year and only drive the car 3 months out of the year, so it's been sitting... can the rotor warp if the car has just been sitting? Also, and unfortunately I did not cover the car, so lots of dry leaves got into crevices. Could this have anything do do with it?

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    1993 fuel pump access point

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Your '93 Legacy was one of the first cars to provide ABS as standard. If your ABS is activating, you'll feel a fast pulsing feel when braking, is that what you experience? 
If it's more of a brake pedal movement that changes frequency with the cars change of speed, and when moving slowly it feels slower and more pronounced, you likely have a warped rotor. 
An ABS issue should be checked out by a Subaru mechanic. If it's the rotor, then the offending rotor will have to be machined or replaced. If you can identify the rotor that's warped (with the car on stands, rig up a steel ruler so that it touches the rotor, and spin the wheel by hand. If it touches intermittently, then the rotor is warped) you may be able to remove it yourself (buy a workshop manual for instructions) and bring it to a brake shop and have it machined. This is far cheaper than they doing the whole job. 
However, if you're not comfortable with these suggestions, then have a brake shop do it for you. This is an important safety device (obviously) and worth the money to have it done correctly. Early Legacy's are pretty much bullet-proof and last forever, so the investment will be worthwhile.
Hope this helps.

Posted on Dec 27, 2008

  • Stephen McGloughlin
    Stephen McGloughlin Dec 28, 2008

    It still could be a warped rotor. You say this only happens when you apply the brakes, which would further point to a rotor issue. That's the most likely and commonest fit for your symptoms.


    Let me add however, I got my '91 Legacy from my brother who had let it sit for about 10 months in his warehouse. It drove bumpy and I could feel the bumpyness through the brake pedal when I applied it, and the cause of that issue was that the tires had developed a flat spot where they had been sitting for so long. This resulted in a noticeable throbbing when driving, especially at low speeds. However, I checked the pressure all around (they were low) and after a few long drives where they had a chance to warm up and stretch out, the issue went away. See if this fits your symptoms. This is not particular to Legacys, but just a coincidence that one of the three I've owned had a "bumpyness associated with sitting for a while" issue. A quick inspection of your tires, and noticing a bumping at low speeds without any brakes applied will indicate this.


    One other things worth checking. It's possible that the balance weight on one of your wheels has fallen off while sitting. This should be easy to tell as it will be noticeably missing, and you should be able to see a cleaner spot where it once was fixed in place. If this is the case, then this could cause a significant out-of-balance with your wheel which would cause a shake/bumpy/throbbing that would also be felt more on braking. However, you'd not notice this very much if at all at low speeds, only when going at about 30+ mph (depending on how out of whack the unbalanced rim is). But worth a quick visual check.

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