I have had nothing but trouble with the stock front brakes on my wife's 2005 Outback XT:
- soft pedal feel
- grinding noises
- poor stopping performance (not confidence inspiring to say the least)
Many trips to the dealer to check/fix rotors and pads, but at the end of the day nothing really improved. It got so bad that I considered selling the car to get rid of the brake problem; just gotta have trustworthy brakes.
Lucky for me I saw a really great thread here that prompted me to contact Brakeswap.com:
Eric at Brakeswap.com was very knowledgeable and answered all of my questions in a timely manner. In no time at all a brake upgrade kit was delivered:
I think other threads here go through the details of the install process very well, but I wanted to share a couple pictures of my installation experience.
There was one thing about this kit I wanted to change: I felt better having a washer between the caliper mounting bolts and the caliper. Nothing wrong with the kit setup, just my preference. The bolts included in the kit were too short to add a washer, so I got some longer Grade 8 bolts and some spacers (didn't want the bolts protruding through the bracket towards the rotor).
You can see the kit setup on the right, mine on the left:
A view from the other side, this time my setup is on the right:
The first order of business was to remove the stock parts and get things cleaned up:
The kit's bracket then goes easily into place, fastened with the stock bolts:
Next I put on the new rotor and attached the Wilwood calipers (remember that you are looking at my spacers here, the ones from the kit are between the caliper and the bracket):
In went the brake pads and the new stainless lines:
It was a tight fit, but it all went under the stock 17 inch wheels:
I bled the brakes using the included Motul fluid and bedded in the pads according to the Carbotech instructions.
The install process went smoothly, I just took my time and double checked everything. The hardest part was getting the stock brake lines off. If you have any experience working on brakes this install should go easily.
This kit is simply amazing compared to the stock brakes. The pedal is firm and gives good feedback. Stops with confidence!
While the cost of the kit was a bit daunting at the outset, I feel that it has really saved our Outback (plus the kit was way cheaper than a new car).